Auto World’s 1932 Cadillac V16 Sport Phaeton
I’m no authority on pre-war classic cars, but most car crazies like me recognize the Cadillac V16 or Sixteen as it was often called.
This was Cadillac’s most powerful and expensive car to date when introduced at the New York Auto Show in January of 1930. Talk about bad timing, the Depression had just begun.
Yet the wealthy and famous still had cash and more than 2,000 V-16 models were ordered in the first six months of production with 2,500 selling that first year. That was an amazing number and even more so in that just 4,076 of the cars were ever made during an 11-year run from 1930 to 1940 when GM stopped production as it ramped up for World War II military production.
Auto World expands its 1:18 scale classic car lineup with a new dark green 1932 Cadillac V16 Sport Phaeton and it’s an eye-pleaser.
Just 300 of the 1932 models were made as sales began to rapidly fade. Cadillac made only 50 V-16 models a couple of years in the late 1930s.
Originally the bodies were made mostly by Fleetwood Metal Body, but by 1932 Fischer Body had taken over that function for the Harley J. Earl-designed Cadillacs. Earl would later become GM’s design chief and was known for his use of concept cars to introduce radical designs including tail fins. He also was involved in design of the original Corvette.
All orders were custom for the V16 and research says 70 styling codes were used during the car’s production life. The Sport Phaeton was one of those and its styling was sportier as it employed a longer hood and lower roofline, here with a tan top over the green body. Fenders also were more curved and the headlamp shells were streamlined too.
The Phaeton also used a second windshield just in front of the rear seats to distinguish it, this version being the fold-down style known as a dual-cowl design.
For the record, V16s were made in 2- and 4-door convertibles, 2-door coupes and 4-door sedans, town cars and even limousines. Power came from a narrow 45-degree V16 creating what now seems a paltry 165 horsepower, but reportedly the cars could hit at least 116 mph, incredibly fast at the time. Power was smooth from the V16 and said to run so quietly they were hard to hear.
These were massive cars, unsurprisingly, riding on 149 to 154-inch wheelbases, so a couple feet longer than today’s giant pickups and SUVs. Lead sleds too. They weighed between 5,300 and 6,600 pounds.
One 1930 Town Brougham model was listed at $9,200 new. That would be about $149,000 in today’s dollars, probably a bit much for the Depression era and before any silicon chip boom.
A beautiful car beautifully reproduced with real rubber tires and a sharp-looking tan plastic roof that looks like canvas and easily snaps off to pose as a convertible.
The body shape and functionality are excellent as always, with both front doors opening and the dual sided hood folding up independently. Under the hood the massive V16 fills the engine bay and features silver headers and exhaust pipes, plus V-shaped chrome bracing to stiffen the car’s front end. There’s also a fan behind the radiator, the front of which is chromed with a handsome V16 logo on its face.
Atop the radiator is a chrome Cadillac heron hood ornament to class up the Caddy. That heron was swapped for a goddess style ornament the following year.
Up front is a banded chrome bumper with two running lights atop that, then the streamlined sealed beam chrome headlights and horns atop the gently rounded front fenders. Turn signal lamps, also chromed rest atop each fender.
Out back are dual slim but wide chrome exhausts, the chrome banded bumper and chrome trunk holder along with chrome taillights and a chrome trunk handle. A green trunk rests atop the chrome stand.
A silver trim line runs from the nose around the top of the tail and then around to the other side’s nose and there are chrome door handles and windshield trim, on both shields. I like that the side vent windows move so you can pose them in or out and these too are trimmed in silver paint.
Need more flash? Well, there are tall white sidewall tires tucked into the fenders on each side, plus a chrome ring holding them each in place while chrome mirrors are molded into their tops.
Along each side are black running boards trimmed in silver paint.
Tires are wide white-sidewalls, treated but not branded and they wrap around spiffy chrome wire wheels with a red V16 logo at the center of each hub. Likewise, the spares showcase the same wire wheels.
AW creates black textured seats to reflect a leathery look in both passenger compartments while the front door trim features the same look, plus chrome door releases.
The dash is simple with seven round gauges printed on its black face, plus a series of buttons arranged vertically mid-dash. Pedals are far beneath the dash and a tall chrome shift lever rises to next of the gloss black steering wheel, which also features that red Caddy V16 logo.
The undercarriage is complete too with black chassis, suspension parts and differential, plus dual silver exhaust systems.
Cars were both simpler mechanically, yet more ornate in the 1930s, Depression or not. This 1:18 model is a sterling representation of that chrome-laden era and the elegance of its luxury cars.
Vital Stats: 1932 Cadillac V16 Sport Phaeton
Maker: Auto World
Stock No.: AW314