Saturday 4th January 1930
Cadillac introduced its first V-16-powered car at the New York Auto Show, less than three months after the stock market crash. It was made from two 45-degree V-8s, totalling 452 cubic inches (4.9 litres) and conservatively rated 165-185 horsepower. With it, Cadillac instantly catapulted itself to the head of the luxury class in one brilliant stroke. Until then, only Bugatti had produced a 16-cylinder engine, and it was accomplished by bolting two 8-cylinder inline engines together, which was an innovation that was originally intended for aircraft use. Cadillac’s V-16 was the first true 16-cylinder engine to be built from scratch. Furthermore, Cadillac’s V-16 was the first automotive engine ever to be “styled,” as all of the wiring was hidden and the engine compartment was dressed up with plenty of gleaming, polished aluminum, porcelain, and a pair of beautiful valve covers with brushed aluminum ridged surfaces that featured the Cadillac emblem.