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Douglas ( -1 )

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1933 Cadillac V16 Convertible Phaeton by Fleetwood
Quantity Views Date Posted
1 3013 3/29/2010
Asking Price Shipping Amount Condition
$462,000.00 None Auction Results
Description: 1933 Cadillac V16 Convertible Phaeton by Fleetwood
RM Auctions
Automobiles of Amelia Island Collector Car Auction
Amelia Island, Florida
March 13, 2009
AUCTION RESULTS: Lot 151 - Sold at a price of $462,000


Style 5580. 185 bhp, 452 cu. in. overhead valve sixteen-cylinder engine with three-speed synchromesh transmission, four-wheel power-assisted brakes, leaf spring and solid axle front suspension and leaf spring live axle rear suspension with torque tube drive. Wheelbase: 149"


Cadillac's introduction of the magnificent V16 in 1930 sent the competition reeling. While others were working on new V12s, Cadillac leapt right past them. Then, in 1931, while the competition was still struggling to respond, Cadillac introduced the V12. Based on the V16, it created an unbeatable lineup – V8, V12 and V16.


The new V16 was truly a remarkable engineering achievement. With a novel hydraulic valve lash compensation system, the engine was as quiet as the side valve engines of the period. Nonetheless, its mechanical specifications and performance were nearly unmatched, producing prodigious torque almost from idle, allowing the car to accelerate almost from rest in high gear. It is also fitting that this engineering tour de force should showcase the first use of the designer's touch under the hood. With its gleaming black enameled valve covers contrasting with brushed aluminum ribbing and delicate cloisonné medallions, opening the hood on a V16 was an awe inspiring experience, and it remains so today.


Cadillac had long since earned the motto "standard of the world," and the quality of the cars was undeniable. Innovations such as the self-starter in 1912 and the synchromesh transmission in 1928, among others, kept the company at the leading edge. Few brands have earned the iconic cultural cachet Cadillac enjoyed; to this very day, to say "the Cadillac of (whatever)" is universally understood to denote the very best.


In the face of a declining luxury market, Cadillac managed to survive, thanks in large part to the financial support of General Motors. Nevertheless, the cars were brilliantly designed, and while the failing market meant that the V16 was produced only in tiny numbers, the few that remain offer us a glimpse into one of the most exciting automotive eras of all time.


For the first time in 1933, Cadillac gave the V16 a separate identity, with horizontal hood vent spears and matching chrome trim on skirted fenders. Also unique to the sixteen were massive four bar bumpers, chrome wheel covers with spinner caps, and very striking multi-coned art deco horns. Body lines and fender edges were highlighted with polished stainless trim, and the headlight, radiator shell and marker lights were painted for the first time – but with chrome accents. It was also the first Cadillac to feature the "de Sakhnoffsky" hood, a striking feature in which the hood overlaid the cowl and reached to the base of the windshield.


Cadillac was so confident that the new look would be successful that the company advertised extensively that production would be limited to "just 400" examples. In fact, that proved optimistic, and just 126 cars were delivered. Of those, just one of these striking Fleetwood built convertible phaetons was built.


Fleetwoods were true customs – nearly 50 styles were offered, but only about 10 were built. According to the factory build sheet, the example offered here was ordered by the Chicago factory branch for G. E. Crandell, a Montgomery Ward executive who lived on Lake Shore Boulevard in Chicago. It took Fleetwood 16 weeks to construct, and at $8,000, it was double the price of the eight-cylinder Fleetwood all weather phaeton. For that sum, the new owner received, among other things, a personalized dash plaque giving his name and car number – #143 in this case.


We are fortunate in that the complete ownership history of S/N 5000116 is known from new – largely as a result of research done by a 1970s owner, Bob Schill. As a result of his efforts, an extensive file of correspondence, titles and photographs that accompanies the sale indicates that on January 28, 1952, S/N 5000116 was purchased from Nolan-Brown Motors Inc. for $125 by Ralph S. Fralick of Coral Gables, Florida. According to Fralick, the car was being sold either to settle a mechanic's lien or a storage bill. The previous owner's name was Wilson, and he apparently had homes in both Illinois and Florida but bought the car in Chicago, probably from Crandell or his estate.


Fralick sold the car in Florida in May of 1955 to Russell Grant, a gas station owner of Strasburg, Virginia. The car was parked at his station one day when noted collector Bill Pettit of Louisa, Virginia drove by and saw it. He passed on the information to his friend James G. (Jim) Groendyke of Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Groendyke bought the car from Grant in early 1963. Victor E. Kohman of Verona, New Jersey bought the car from Groendyke in October of 1963. He owned the car for about seven years, selling it to Dr. Donald Shields of Manasquan, New Jersey in August of 1970. Shields sold the car to Robert H. Schill of Hinsdale, New Hampshire on March 8, 1973.


At some point, probably in the mid 1980s, Schill sold the big V16 to well known classic car enthusiast Roy Warshawsky (of J.C. Whitney fame). He had the car delivered to noted restorer Fran Roxas of Alsip, Illinois, who carried out a complete nut and bolt restoration in the original color of Crescendo Green, completed in 1990.


Multiple awards have followed, including a CCCA National First Place award received the very first time the car was shown, then an AACA National First Place at the Hershey Fall meet, followed by Best in Show honors at the CCCA's Cadillac-LaSalle experience in Hickory Corners, Michigan. Although this restoration is now 16 years old, the car remains in high point condition today, a testimonial to both the workmanship and the care the car has received since restoration.


After Roy Warshawsky passed away in 1997, many of his cars, including the V16, were sold at auction. S/N 5000116 was purchased by dealer Jerome Sauls, who resold the car to Chicago area collector Ron Benach. Two or three years later, Chicago businessman Neil Nicastro bought the car via Fran Roxas; he kept the V16 until the fall of 2004 before selling it to highly respected Cadillac collector, Carmine Zeccardi, via RM Classic Cars Inc. of Chatham, Ontario. Mr. Zeccardi elected to offer the car for sale at RM's Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance auction in August 2006, at which time it was acquired by Mr. John O'Quinn.


With Cadillac's unveiling of a new concept called, simply, the "Sixteen" – the star of the 2003 Detroit Auto Show – awareness and interest in Cadillac's V16s has never been greater. Furthermore, there is little doubt that S/N 5000116, combining the apex of Cadillac engineering with the epitome of the stunning but short lived Art Deco movement, is one of the single most important V16s remaining in the world today. And it is the only one of its kind there is and ever was.
Keywords: 1933 Cadillac V16 Convertible Phaeton by Fleetwood


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