Highlights

  • 1931 Cadillac Coach Sill Convertible Coupe, one of seven known to exist
  • Shipped October 30, 1930 and built specifically to be showcased in the Chicago Auto Salon
  • Chassis no. 7-2921
  • Engine no. 702807
  • Style no. 4235
  • Coachwork by Fleetwood
  • Known ownership history from new
  • Former owners include Pat Carr of Casper, Wyoming; Mr. Dolph of Goose Egg Springs, Wyoming; Oscar Annis of Alcova, Wyoming; Arvin Martensen of Loveland, Colorado; John Bergquist of Loveland, Colorado; Lawton Clark of Amarillo, Texas; Jim Pearson of Kansas City; Dick Gold of Minnesota, a past president of the Classic Car Club of America; and current owner George Ferrell of Loveland, Colorado
  • Meticulous multi-year nut-and-bolt restoration by Cadillac marque experts Jim Pearson and Sonny Elliot completed in 2019
  • Faithfully restored to Chicago Auto Salon form based on a Cadillac build sheet copy supplied by the GM Historical Services archive
  • Original 452/165 HP OHV V-16 engine
  • Dual Cadillac carburetors
  • 3-speed synchromesh manual transmission
  • Soissons Gray and Samaranda Gray two-tone finish with Vermillion pinstriping
  • Light Green canvas convertible top
  • Tan cloth interior within main cabin and leather rumble seat upholstery
  • Detailed undercarriage
  • Cadillac Heron hood ornament
  • V-16 grille badge
  • Pilot Ray lights that turn with the wheels
  • Chrome bumpers
  • Front and rear leaf spring suspension
  • 4-wheel drum brakes
  • Wire wheels with V-16 center caps
  • Wide Whitewall tires
  • Golf club compartment with proper 1930s era leather golf bag and wood-shaft clubs
  • Original unrestored Cadillac trunk included
  • A 10% buyer premium applies

Story

Toward the end of the 1920s, American luxury automobile manufacturers were in a race to see who could build the finest and most powerful transportation for their affluent customers. The field was strong, and companies such as Cadillac, Packard, Pierce-Arrow, Lincoln and Duesenberg were all in the competition. Although styling and comfort were important, as always, to luxury automobile owners, smooth power, speed and positive acceleration were of equal significance.

The large foreign luxury cars such as Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz, Isotta-Fraschini and Hispano-Suiza relied on large-displacement inline 6- and 8-cylinder engines to propel their heavy chassis and coachbuilt bodies adequately. However, engineers were realizing that more cylinders of smaller diameter moving pistons on a shorter stroke provided longer firing intervals. Reduced and more complete combustion forces provided a smoother operation than a six or eight. The sales success of the 1916-1923 Packard Twin-Six showed that the buying public approved of the benefits of what was designated as a “multicylinder” configuration.

When Lawrence P. Fisher took over the Cadillac Division in 1925, his priority was to expand and modernize Cadillac’s model range. His plan for the low end was to offer the LaSalle V-8 in 1927 to compete with Packard’s 6-cylinder line. Its advanced design by Harley Earl successfully forced the hand of Packard. On the other end of the model spectrum, Fisher envisioned a “supercar” that would shatter the competition at that level, an idea that was realized in the sensational 16-cylinder Cadillac.

By 1926, Larry Fisher was already forming the ideas and direction of this new “supercar.” He recruited experienced engineer and engine designer Owen Milton Nacker to lead the 16-cylinder program at Cadillac. Nacker had been a friend and consultant to Howard C. Marmon, who had led a team to France in 1917 to study Bugatti’s U-16 aircraft engine project and used that knowledge as the inspiration for the V-16 automobile engine concept. By the time Nacker was in place at Cadillac, he had already formulated ideas on how to develop a V-16 engine.

The V-16 Cadillac program was conducted in secret to avoid the automobile industry’s espionage practices, so Fisher successfully used a ruse of a new V-12 for truck and bus use as a decoy. While engine development was underway, Fisher used the skills and talents of Harley Earl and his new Art and Colour Section to design the bodies. The success of the 1927 LaSalle Hispano-Suiza-based styling was advanced to the body designs for the V-16. Most were designed and built at Fleetwood.

The announcement of the V-16 was scheduled for fall 1929, but it was put on temporary hold after the October 29 stock market crash. By mid-November, the market rebounded and a confident Larry Fisher sent out the first announcements to dealers on December 10, 1929. Three examples of the new V-16 Cadillac were shown at the Automobile Show and General Motors Salon in New York; more than 20,000 people crowded into the GM Salon at the Hotel Astor to see the new V-16, and rave reviews soon followed.

Both the 1930 and this identical 1931 Cadillac V-16 452A Coach Sill Convertible Coupe are based on a 148-inch wheelbase chassis supported by parallel semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear and solid front and live rear axles riding on 19-inch steel-spoke wheels with V-16 center caps and mounted with 7.50-19 wide whitewall tires. Stopping is provided by vacuum-boosted mechanical drum brakes at all four corners. Power is sent to the rear axle by a floor-shifted 3-speed synchromesh transmission. This chassis is No. 7-2921 and is fitted with the identifying matching Engine No. 702807.

The Cadillac 45-degree 452 CI overhead-valve V-16 develops 165 HP and is equipped with dual single updraft carburetors and hydraulic valve silencers to offer an extremely quiet running experience. The valve covers and center valley cover are finished in glass black enamel, and the spark plug wires are hidden from view along the length of the engine, making the V-16 one of the most beautiful engines ever in an American automobile. The firewall cover hides all of the usual lines and wiring.

This coach sill convertible coupe, Body No. 91, is designed with a flat, slanted windshield and a curving “coach sill,” used only on the 4200 series bodies. This is one of only seven known to exist of the 94 such bodies built in 1930 and 1931. The body is finished in two-tone Soissons Gray and Samaranda Gray with Vermillion pinstriping. Front and rear one-piece chrome-plated bumpers complete the impressive look of this Cadillac. The radiator is adorned with an iconic Cadillac Heron mascot, and the front of the car is enhanced by accessory Pilot Ray lights that turn with the front wheels. The cabin interior is trimmed in soft tan cloth with tan wool velvet carpeting and a bright engine-turned instrument panel. The leather-trimmed rumble seat features built-in armrests, and the folding convertible top is light green with chrome-plated Landau irons.

Originally ordered and built to be displayed at the Chicago Salon at the Hotel Drake, this Cadillac was shipped on October 30, 1930, and was delivered in early November to be ready for the show opening on November 8. The Chicago Salon was especially important, as it was the first of the official Automobile Salons. A known ownership history from new accompanies this car, with former owners including Pat Carr of Casper, Wyoming, Mr. Dolph of Goose Egg Springs, Wyoming, Oscar Annis of Alcova, Wyoming, Arvin Martensen of Loveland, Colorado, John Berquist of Loveland, Colorado, Lawton Clark of Amarillo, Texas, Jim Pearson of Kansas City, Dick Gold of Minnesota, a past president of the Classic Car Club of America, and its most current owner, George Ferrell of Loveland, Colorado.

A meticulous multiyear nut-and-bolt restoration by Cadillac marque experts Jim Pearson and Sonny Elliot was completed in 2019, with the Cadillac being faithfully restored to the Chicago Auto Salon form based on a Cadillac build sheet supplied by the GM Historical Services Archive and the undercarriage detailed to concours standards. This stunning V-16 is certain to be the centerpiece of any Cadillac or classic car collection, as well as a winner for its fortunate new owner at any major concours or club event.

Arrangements to purchase this vehicle can be made directly by contacting Mecum representative Rob Williams by phone or text at (262) 236-7705 or by email at rwilliams@mecum.com.