Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

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Lot 220

1938 Cadillac V-16 Convertible Coupe by Fleetwood

  • Engine no. 5270250

$325,000 - $375,000


Series 90. Body Style 9067. 185 bhp, 431 cu. in. L-head V-16 engine, three-speed selective synchromesh manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil-spring suspension, semi-floating rear axle, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 141.25 in.

  • An authentic V-16 convertible coupe with original chassis, engine, and body
  • One of a mere 10 examples built in 1938
  • Formerly owned by George Holman and Rick Carroll
  • High-quality older restoration with recent mechanical sorting
  • An excellent CARavan car with rarity and great presence


Cadillac introduced its second-generation V-16 engine for 1938. More conventional in design than the original V-16, it featured a simple side-valve configuration packed in an unusual 135-degree bank angle. The new engine provided comparable horsepower and torque while weighing a remarkable 250 pounds less and being less costly to build than the previous V-16s. This represented an ideal situation, both for the enthusiasts who appreciated the V-16’s superb performance, and for Cadillac, who was facing decreasing sales as the United States was just starting on the road to recovery from the Great Depression.

The new Series 90 V-16 engine was mounted in a chassis of the same 141¼-inch wheelbase as the eight-cylinder Series 75, enabling the two series to share Fleetwood bodies. This allowed prices to be significantly reduced from previous years. Twelve Series 90 body styles were catalogued for 1938 and 1939, all with beautiful styling directed by Cadillac’s Chief Designer Bill Mitchell. The emerging young GM legend borrowed design cues from his very modern Series 60 Special for the Series 90 coachwork and presented the buying public with a stylish and traditional range of Series 90 vehicles.

This example, engine number 5270250, was one of just 10 convertible coupes built on the Series 90 V-16 chassis in 1938. Its original build sheet notes that it was originally painted Moleskin Gray, a color code that matches the paint code (number 6) shown on the original Fleetwood firewall tag. Originally sold in Rochester, New York, the Cadillac had made its way to Pennsylvania by the 1960s. It was found along the famous Pennsylvania Turnpike by early CCCA member Ted Johnson and was subsequently restored for him by the well-known George Holman of Massachusetts. Mr. Holman then purchased the car and traded it to the renowned collector Rick Carroll of Jensen Beach, Florida.

Refinished some time ago in an attractive bright red, the car shows typical wear from age and use, but it remains overall presentable. The brown leather interior shows wear around the edges from passengers’ arms but is intact and in overall good condition. The wood-grain on the dashboard is absolutely beautiful, and the varnish on the wooden door caps has a rich shine. The engine bay is clean and presentable, as is the underside of the car. The car has undergone a recent full service and features the following: all fluids flushed and changed, chassis fully greased and cleaned, new tires and tubes, rebuilt shock absorbers, new coil springs and rubber bushings in the front end, new brake hoses, rebuilt wheel cylinders, a refurbished radiator, new fuel tank, and carburetor service.

Renowned in the period for its smooth and effortless power, this Cadillac, one of the rarest of the late V-16s, makes a commanding statement of class and sophistication not often seen on the road today. This Full Classic is ready for the summer touring season and is an ideal CCCA CARavan car.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more