In the Museum's collection since 1949, one of four known to exist with unique features
1936 Cadillac Series 90 V-16 Convertible Sedan
Coachwork by Fleetwood
Chassis no. 51102222
The Cadillac Series 90 V-16 of 1934-1937 was built on the longest wheelbase of any production American car
its 154 span topped the Duesenberg long-wheelbase chassis by 1/2-inch! The 1936 V-16 Cadillac offered here is one of six built that year with the Fleetwood Style 5880 Special Convertible Sedan body. It is believed that four exist today. One of its unusual features is that the front and rear doors swing out from a common center-mounted hinge pillar.
This V-16 was donated to the museum in 1949 by a Minneapolis industrialist, when it was thirteen years old. The odometer shows a reading of approximately 17,000 miles that, based on the overall condition, very likely reflects the original mileage.
The Convertible Sedan sports several custom design features. The factory full-length running boards have been modified or replaced with short, wing-like running boards, for the rear doors only. The front fenders on the vehicle have also been extensively modified and now have headlamps built into them, replacing the bullet-shaped original headlamps that once flanked the grille.
It is posited that the special running boards were designed into the vehicle when new and that the front fenders were modified by a coachbuilder just before, or perhaps shortly after, World War II. (Some number of 1930s classic cars was updated by their owners with custom touches during that period.) Photographs of the car taken in late 1947 indicate the custom features had been added by that time and also show the 1942-1947 Cadillac-style bumpers it still carries had been added by that time.
It is historically interesting to note that this Convertible Sedan carries its spare tire within its built-in trunk. The enclosed rear spare was a new and much-admired streamlining feature in the mid-1930s. The Cadillac V-16 Aerodynamic Coupe shown at the 1933 Chicago Century of Progress Exposition started the trend. GM styling chief Harley Earl was always especially proud that the 1934 LaSalle brought the enclosed spare to production models. It was probably by his direction that all of the 1934-1937 V-16 design drawings published in the Cadillac Book of Fleetwood were illustrated without sidemounts. Many customers clung to their sidemounted spares, though, and indeed the other three known surviving 1936 V-16 convertible sedans are reportedly so equipped.
Inside the offered car, the original leather is largely intact and in good overall condition. The dashboard retains all of its proper gauges and controls. The Fleetwood style 5880 body included the division window that separates the front drivers compartment from the rear passenger compartment.
The exterior was probably repainted when the body modifications were done in the 1940s. The paint remains quite presentable for its age. The top material has been replaced and is somewhat deteriorated. Two of the exterior door handles are missing, as is the original radiator mascot.
Mechanically, the car appears complete. The 452-cubic inch overhead valve V-16 engine is very original and has all of its scarce, original components such as the dual carburetors, dual vacuum tanks, correct distributor, spark plug cover, valve covers, etc.
The car also retains the large hubcaps flipper-style used on this generation V-16. The stainless steel wheel discs behind them were an optionpainted discs were standard. The combination effectively disguises the standard 17-inch wire wheels.
Overall, the Cadillac, with minor freshening, could be left in its current condition.
From 1934 to 1937, there were only 212 of the 154-inch wheelbase Cadillac V-16 chassis built, in a wide variety of body styles. Only 52 of the massive cars carried 1936 serial numbers. Today, these vehicles rank among the worlds great classic cars. The opportunity to obtain a largely original, very low mileage example equipped with the beautiful Fleetwood 4-door convertible body is beyond extraordinary.