19-20 August 2016

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Lot 130

1930 Cadillac V-16 Sport Phaeton by Fleetwood

  • Engine no. 702425
  • Body no. 33

Sold for $687,500

Model 452. Body Style 4260. 175 bhp, 452 cu. in. OHV V-16 engine, three-speed selective synchromesh manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptical leaf spring suspension and hydraulic dampers, three-quarter floating rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf spring suspension, and four-wheel vacuum-assisted mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 148 in.

  • Formerly of the Russell Strauch and Richard Gold collections
  • One of 17 surviving authentic Sport Phaetons on the V-16 chassis
  • Exceptional history and authenticity
  • Documented by a copy of its original build sheet


One of the most beautiful body styles mounted to the early V-16 chassis was the Sport Phaeton, body style 4260. A modern update of the traditional “dual cowl” phaeton, which provided a second cowling and windshield for the rear seat passengers, it had a windshield mounted directly in the back of the front seat. This windshield could be raised and lowered in and out of the seat by means of a small hand crank, thus cleaning up the lines of the car by removing the bulky and awkward second cowl. The result was an unusually light and delicate appearance of line, reminiscent of nothing less than a four-passenger roadster. Typical of designs for this chassis, it had excellent proportions thanks to a very long hood and low beltline, and it looked spectacular with the top either up or down.

Only 85 Sport Phaetons were built for the V-16 chassis in 1930 and 1931 combined. Cadillac historians record the existence of seventeen authentic survivors, which are fiercely prized and count among the centerpieces of significant collections worldwide. It is worth noting that an original Sport Phaeton is the car that represents the V-16 in General Motors’ own corporate Heritage Collection—high praise, indeed, for this remarkable design.


The car offered here, engine number 702425, is one of the seventeen extant original Sport Phaetons, as is documented by a copy of its original build sheet, noting its delivery new in New York City. It subsequently made its way southwest and in April 1958, it was featured in Motor Trend magazine, showing the car in well-preserved condition in the ownership of Houston industrialist and socialite Charles M. Knipe.

The car was subsequently owned during the 1960s by Clarence Stalts, then acquired by the late Russell Strauch of Toledo, Ohio. During the 1960s, Mr. Strauch owned what was arguably the finest and most complete collection of coachbuilt Full Classic automobiles in the Midwest, including fine examples of Duesenberg, Mercedes-Benz, Packard, and others. He displayed the Sport Phaeton for several years in the excellent, solid condition in which it had been maintained by previous owners, including at a Cadillac-LaSalle Club meeting in 1970.

Mr. Strauch had begun a fresh restoration of the car at the time of his untimely passing in 1975. Two years, later the V-16 was sold by his estate to another very well-known enthusiast of the era, Richard Gold of Deephaven, Minnesota. Mr. Gold was a charter member of the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) and later its president; he was probably the foremost American collector of Classic Era Cadillacs, with an enviable stable noted for the excellence of its curation. While he is most famous today as an early appreciator of unrestored original Classics, when Mr. Gold did restore a car, it was done properly and was usually “the one to beat” thereafter.

The Sport Phaeton was restored for the Gold collection by Melvin “Beaver” Culver of Wisconsin, who restored many significant, award-winning automobiles during this era. It was finished in a beautiful rich pewter and black with a black leather interior and equipped with dual side-mounted mirrors, Cadillac Pilot Ray driving lights, a low-profile “touring trunk,” and original-style wind wings. Following completion of the work, it was taken to the CCCA Annual Meeting in Boca Raton, Florida, receiving 100 points, eventually achieving Senior status in CCCA judging; it also won the AACA’s national James Melton Memorial Cup, as the outstanding Senior car in its division. It was considered by many the finest restoration in the Gold collection, and certainly among the most award-winning.

In 1989, Mr. Gold sold his prized Sport Phaeton to the Weber Brothers of St. Louis, Missouri, in whose ownership it was featured the following year in Beverly Rae Kimes’s book, The Classic Car. Shortly thereafter, it was sold by the Webers to Hans Lüscher of Switzerland, with whom it remained for over a decade before joining the current owner’s collection.

A recent inspection showed the car to have been well-maintained and its restoration to have held up well for its age, typical of Mr. Culver’s excellent workmanship; it would still appear well at local shows and concours d’elegance, and it would be a superb CARavan entrant. Alternatively, as one of the most famous V-16 Sport Phaetons, it would be perfect to restore for a modern concours d’elegance career.

The ex-Russell Strauch and Richard Gold V-16 Sport Phaeton, offered today for the first time in 15 years, would mark a cornerstone acquisition for any Full Classic collection—that is, in keeping with its rich tradition of enjoyment by only the most astute connoisseurs.

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

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

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