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Lot 443: Cadillac Series 90 Sixteen Formal Sedan

Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia, Bonhams (3 June 2012)

During 1938-1940, the second-generation Cadillac Sixteen topped the short list of the world's finest and most exclusive cars. The mighty 16-cylinder car proclaimed prestige and power in every line of its massive form and was favored by America's super-rich, from moguls to movie stars. The U.S. Government's Presidential fleet included two specially lengthened Cadillac Sixteen convertible sedans, and even the Papal garage at the Vatican housed a town car from the series. Cadillac introduced the first production V-16 engine in 1930, a 452-cid, 165-hp overhead valve design that would power Cadillac's largest and most expensive models through 1937. Then, for 1938, the luxury automaker released a completely new 16-cylinder engine. This 431-cid power-house produced 185 turbine-smooth horsepower from what was essentially a pair of L-head straight-eights tilted to a 135-degree angle and joined to a common crankshaft. Only 498 Cadillacs were equipped with this technical wonder over its three-year production span. The 1939 Sixteen offered here is a handsome and rare Formal Sedan with coachwork by Fleetwood, Cadillac's premium in-house body building operation. Designated Fleetwood style 39-9033F, the model features 'blind' rear quarters and a division window for rear-seat privacy. The style's leather top covering adds to the traditional formality. Inside, the Formal Sedan rear compartment is upholstered in luxurious cloth, while the front is trimmed in black leather. A corded "Motorphone" in the rear compartment facilitates communication with the driver when the division window is up. The Formal Sedan has two clocksone is in the instrument panel, and the other, a special Fleetwood type, is located beneath the division window. The car's Fleetwood body plate indicates this is the eighth and final 9033F Formal Sedan built upon a 1939 V-16 chassis. Only 30 Sixteens in total received the Formal Sedan body during the three years the second generation Cadillac V-16 engine was in production. The Cadillac offered here was purchased new by the Calumet Farms Family of Lexington, Kentucky, who are considered the most successful breeders in the country, having produced eight Kentucky Derby winners! The car remained in their possession until the late 1970s, until Gene Beardslee took ownership of the car. Shortly after acquiring the Cadillac, Gene turned the car over to Hibernia Restorations for a comprehensive refurbishment. A flawless paint job in Midnight Blue lacquer was applied and a new dark blue roof fitted. Presently, the interior is in exquisite condition, the passenger compartment is finished in correct wool broadcloth, and all of the rare vanity items are accounted for including the hand mirror. The elaborate inlaid wood trim is in excellent condition. The gentleman's side of the car is complete with the "Motorphone" intercom system, and the car includes its original sales literature. The car has been subject to recent service work including rebuilding of both carburetors as well as a complete fuel system refresh. It is fine working condition today.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia
Bonhams, Greenwich, Connecticut
Lot Number443
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration number
Chassis number
Engine number5290100
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors4