9-10 October 2014

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Lot 151

1930 Cadillac V-16 Madame X Sedan Cabriolet by Fleetwood

  • Engine no. 702054
  • Body no. 2

Sold for $242,000

Body Style 4155S. 185 bhp, 452 cu. in. OHV V-16 engine, three-speed manual transmission, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs with hydraulic dampers, and four-wheel vacuum-assisted mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 148 in.

  • The only known survivor in this style
  • Rare and desirable Madame X styling features
  • Formerly owned by Wayne Merriman
  • An unusually beautiful formal V-16 Cadillac

On January 4, 1930, New Yorkers were treated to an engineering tour de force. At the opening of the National Automobile Show at the Grand Central Palace, Cadillac unveiled the world’s first production V-16 automobile engine. Aesthetically, this powerplant was a work of art, and it was said to be the first powerplant that was truly styled, as all of the wiring and hoses were concealed to the extent possible, hidden behind covers or in raceways. Viewed from outside, the engine department showed no clutter whatsoever. The late historian Griffith Borgeson described it elegantly as being what “made Cadillac, beyond all discussion, the absolute world leader in motoring magnificence…it was the super engine that set the whole exercise apart.”

The exterior design of the V-16 was not left behind though. Buyers could choose from a plethora of 54 bodies, with the most ornate and most expensive being part of the so-called 4100 series, a group of closed body styles distinguished by sporty 18-degree slanted windshields and narrow window pillars that were edged in chrome. Early on, the sobriquet “Madame X” was applied to the style, after a famous stage play of the era. It was a name never used by Cadillac, but has been enthusiastically adopted by enthusiasts.

The car offered here is body number 2, in style number 4155S, meaning that it is a five-passenger sedan cabriolet with a “convertible-look” leather-covered padded roofline. It is believed that only seven V-16 Cadillacs were produced in this style, and in the case of body number 2, this was likely the first to be built with a one-piece windshield at the Detroit Fleetwood Works. Today, this is the only Madame X Sedan Cabriolet known to survive.

The original Cadillac build sheet for this Sedan Cabriolet, a copy of which is on file, records it as having been delivered new by Don Lee Cadillac, of Los Angeles, and that it retains its original engine. It was later part of the well-known collection of early V-16 enthusiast Wayne Merriman before being restored in its present green and black livery some years ago. It is distinguished by its landau irons and formal roofline, and it has an undeniably jaunty air, which is accentuated by soft wool broadcloth upholstery within. Numerous accessories on the car include a rear-mounted trunk and rack, chrome wire wheels shod in wide whitewall tires, dual driving lights, covered side-mounted spares, and Cadillac’s goddess mascot. The rear compartment is complete with dual smoking sets and vanities, as well as a shade for the backlight.

This is a V-16 of fine character and elegance. It is ideal for continued enjoyment on CCCA CARavans and other tours, and another one like it may never be found.

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


+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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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