From the Pierce A. Miller Carriage Collection
1930 Cadillac 452 V16 Ambulance
Coachwork by Fleetwood
Engine no. 700731
Three-speed manual transmission
Unrestored survivor, ideal for preservation
Possibly unique sixteen-cylinder ambulance
Coming from long-term family ownership
Cadillac's overhead valve 45 degree V-16 introduced in 1930 was, by any standard, the most refined, luxurious automobile of its era.
Quiet, strong, flexible and powerful, the Cadillac V-16 defined luxury in the golden age of classic luxury automobiles. As brilliantly styled under the hood as its Harley Earl exterior, it exuded quality and exclusivity that was reinforced by the refinement of its drivetrain and chassis.
The Cadillac V-16 also was durable, which explains the transformation of this 1930 Cadillac 452 V-16 body style 4375S Fleetwood Four-Door Sedan into an ambulance with 1935 Cadillac V-16 grille, hood, skirted front and rear fenders and '35 Cadillac 17 inch wheels, hubcaps and trim rings.
Cadillac V-16s were too good not to keep in service and the cost of updating was far less than a new ambulance. In the depths of the Great Depression it simply made sense.
Preserved in original condition for many years in the Miller Carriage Collection, this Cadillac presents an intriguing challenge for collectors.
It is uniquely attractive with its combination of the steeply raked '35 Cadillac grille, small teardrop headlights, skirted fenders and wheels concealed behind full discs. The erect full width windshield with visor is anomalous, but also attractive, giving the blended coachwork a unique, purposeful visage.
The body's rear compartment is fully open with a side-opening rear door and sliding glass division to the driver's compartment. There are no rollers in the floor, suggesting that dual ambulance/hearse service was not contemplated.
It could be restored as a 4375S four-door sedan an unlikely prospect or rebuilt as any number of attractive and rarely surviving open 1930 Cadillac 452 V-16s. But maybe, just maybe, the best course of action would be to preserve the car as it sits today, a unique snapshot of a different era, when obsolete luxury cars enjoyed a second life serving a more utilitarian need. Refreshed with new grille, hood, fenders and smaller wheels to create a unique combination of styles on the finest chassis and drivetrain of the classic era.
The choice is up to you.
- Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.