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1930-31 CADILLAC V16 Cadillac Index
The V16 (series 452 and 452-A) is one of the most desirable Caddies today for a number of reasons, but most of all because of the shape, style, and obvious quality.


Although full-custom bodies were built by Fleetwood, Murphy, Waterhoulse, Saoutchik, VandenPlas, Pinin Farina, Pininfarina, and others; most were "catalog customs" by Fleetwood. A few cars had Fisher bodies. Only about one fifth were open or convertible. Two-thirds were five or seven passenger sedans or Imperials. The rest were Coupes or Town Cars.

More than 50 body styles were offered, but the list consists of only a few basic shells with several variations each: metal or leather quarters, with or without quarter windows, fixed or collapsible (Landau) quarters, with or without Imperial division, straight or coach sill, plain or recessed hood/cowl, etc.

With few exceptions, the "41" styles had plain hood and straight sill, the "42" styles had plain hood and coach sill, and the "43" styles had recessed hood/cowl and straight sill.

Windshield treatment varied from vertical Vee to 22 degree sloping as follows:
Windshield typeBody Style
Vertical Vee swing-out (Penna.)Windshield type4130, 4155
7 degree flat swing-out4212, 4220, 4225, 4264, 4291
7 degree V-type swing-out4312, 4320, 4325, 4376, 4380, 4391
7 degree flat crank-up (V-V)4330, 4355, 4361, 4375, 4381
16 degree flat swing-out, folding4302
18 degree flat crank-up (V-V) "Madame X"4130, 4155, 4161, 4175, 4276, 4476
21 degree flat swing-out4235
22 degree flat, divided4260
The sobriqet "Madame X" (with an "e") is not prominent, if it appears at all, in Cadillac promotional literature. Perhaps the only place Cadillac printed it is in body styling listings found in various parts lists, as early as March, 1930. The term is associatated with job/style numbers 4130, 4155, 4161, 4175, in plain, -S, -C, or -SC variations. In later parts lists, job number 4476 is listed as having a "Madame X" windshield. 193027 Cadillac

"Madame X" has a Hollywood flavor, but is no more inappropriate than the style designations "Fleetbourne," "Fleetdowns," etc. the term must have arisen from a distinctive styling feature common to the four basic body styles. Further, the term more likely came from Detroit than from Pennsylvania Dutch country. The most distinctive styling feature of the "41" series bodies built in Detroit is the 18 degree flat, crank-up (V-V) windshield. It is unlikely that the Pennsylvania version with vertical Vee swing-out windshields were thought of as "Madame X" bodies. Job/style number 4276, being style 4476 with coach sill, also has a "Madame X" windshield.

Chrome plated window reveals were used on "41" bodies but were not unique to those styles. Although early body specs listed chrome plated reveals, July 1930 body specs listed painted reveals on "41" bodies. Painted window reveals on "Madame X" bodies are probably as rare as the "standard" rear-mounted spare tire.

In simplest terms, 1930-31 Fleetwood four door bodies with 18 degree windshield, mounted on Cadillac V-16 chassis are "Madame X"; and two Coupe body styles have the "Madame X" windshield.

Body details unique to the V-16 or introduced with the V-16 and seen on the full 1931 line include: Single bar bumpers, dual horns, concave monogram bar, radiator screen. 13 inch Guide "Tiltray" headlights, dual rear lights matching the headlights, triple molding on dust shield panels of straight sill styles, five doors in the hood, single matching door in the side of the cowl, and none, one, or two rectangular vent doors in the top of the cowl. Most bodies with recessed hood/cowl had one triangular door in the top of the cowl.

Frame similar to 353 except for five-point engine mount on V-16. Brake system had vacuum assist operated on manifold vacuum, not vacuum pump. Brake drums 16.5 inch diameter. Specially balanced white wall tires used.

Wheelbase148 in.
Overall length222.5 in
Front Tread59 in.
Rear Tread59.5 in.
Tires7.00 - 19 early (7.50 - 19 mid-model)

Rear engine support at tail of transmission. Heavier clutch linings (chassis unit 7-2991 and later used thinner lining of V-8). Rear axle shafts same as on 353 except made of special steel. Optional 3.47:1 final drive ratio dropped mid-model.

Extra effort and expense went into a polished, plated, enameled. uncluttered engine compartment. Wiring was concealed and covers were used on engine and dash to hide plumbing and controls.

Twin coils were mounted in recesses in the radiator top tank. Spark plug wires came out the rear of the double deck distributor cap and disappeared under the cover inside the Vee. The narrow (45 degree) Vee allowed for outboard mounting of manifolds and dual carburetors. Intake pipes from higher in the engine compartment were added at engine number 702502 to eliminate the problem of road splash entering the carburetors. Fuel feed was by dual vacuum tanks operated by vacuum pump. By May, 1930, the chrome plated vacuum tanks were superceded by painted units. The dual exhaust system ended in fan-shaped tail pipe tips.

To silence the overhead valve system, hydraulically rotated eccentric bushings were used in the rocker arms. The early use of a different head thickness for various compression ratios was replaced by the use of a single head with gaskets of different thickness. Right and left heads and blocks were interchangeable. One row of head studs went through the block to the crankcase, the second row sealed in the block.

Engine lubrication was full pressure from oil pump on rear main bearing cap. At engine unit number 7-1038, the oil level indicator was moved from rear of right hand cylinder block to left side of crankcase. The belt driven fan was mounted on ball bearings, lubricated by grease fitting, not engine oil pressure. Crankshaft thrust was taken by center main. A harmonic balancer was mounted on front end of crankshaft. A single chain to drive camshaft and generator was provided with automatic adjuster incorporated in an idler acting on the outside of the chain. A thermostat was used to close the crankcase ventilation intake at higher engine temperatures.

The double outlet water pump on the right side of the engine was driven by an extension shaft from the rear of the generator. A cooling system condenser tank was used once again.

The engine, transmission assembly was mounted at the four corners of the engine plus a dual mount at the rear of the transmission. The front mounts were supported by diagonal members in the frame.

Description45 degree overhead V-16, Cast Nickel Iron blocks on Silicon/Aluminum crankcase
Bore and Stroke3.00 x 4.00 in.
Displacement452 cu. in.
Compression Ratio5.35:1 early std., 5:11 std., 4.98:1 opt.
Brake H.P.175-185 @ 3400 rpm
SAE/Taxable H.P.57.5
Main bearingsfive
Valve liftersPush rod/rocker arm with hydraulic rotary eccentric silencer in rocker arm


TransmissionSelective, synchro-mesh
Speeds3 forward, 1 reverse
Drive controlLeft hand drive with center controls (right hand optional)
ClutchTwin disc
DriveShaft with torque tube
Rear axle3/4 floating rear axle
Rear differentialSpiral bevel drive
Overall ratio4.39:1 std (3.47:1, 4.07:1, 4.75:1 opt)
BrakesVacuum assisted mechanical brakes on four wheels
WheelsWood artillery (wire, disc, demountable wood were optional)
Wheel size19 in.


Serial numbers were not used on the 452/452-A series. Engine numbers were stamped on crankcase right hand side, on the generator drive chain housing. Starting 700001. Ending: 703251.

Style NumberDoorsModelSeatingPriceWeight
4108-C4-doorImperial Landau Cabriolet5/7P--
41554-doorImperial Cabriolet5/7P73505940
4155-C4-doorImperial Landau Cabriolet5/7P--
4155-S4-doorSedan Cabriolet5P71255900
4155-SC4-doorLandau Sedan Cabriolet5P--
41614-doorImperial Club Sedan5P--
4161-C4-doorImperial Landau Club Sedan5P--
4161-S4-doorClub Sedan5P69505740
4175-C4-doorImperial Landau7P--
42004-doorSedan Cabriolet7P--
42084-doorImperial Cabriolet5/7P--
42124-doorTransformable Town Cabriolet5/7P87505915
4212-C4-doorCollapsible Transformable Town Cabriolet5/7P--
42204-doorTransformable Town Cabriolet7P87505850
4220-B4-doorTransformable Town Cabriolet7P--
42254-doorTransformable Town Cabriolet7P87505850
4225-C4-doorCollapsible Transformable Town Cabriolet7P--
42352-doorConvertible Coupe2/4P69005670
42604-doorSport Phaeton5P6500-
4260-A4-doorSport Phaeton5P--
4260-B4-doorSport Phaeton5P--
42624-doorImperial Cabriolet7P--
42644-doorTown Brougham5/7P92005765
4264-B4-doorTown Brougham5/7P97005675
42754-doorImperial Sedan7P--
4275-C4-doorImperial Landau Sedan7P--
42804-doorAll Weather Phaeton4P73505675
42854-doorAll Weather Sport Cabriolet5P--
42914-doorTransformable Limousine Brougham7P87506020
43124-doorTransformable Town Cabriolet5/7P70005930
4312-C4-doorCollaesible Transformable Town Cabriolet5/7P--
43204-doorTransformable Town Cabriolet7P71505850
4320-C4-doorCollapsible Transformable Town Cabriolet7P--
43254-doorTransformable Town Cabriolet7P71505850
4325-C4-doorCollapsible Transformable Town Cabriolet7P--
43352-doorConvertible Coupe2/4P59005655
43554-doorImperial Cabriolet5/7P63505940
4355-C4-doorCollapsible Imperial Cabriolet5/7P--
4355-S4-doorSedan Cabriolet5P61255885
43614-doorImperial Club Sedan5P--
4361-S4-doorClub Sedan5P59505740
4375-C4-doorCollapsible Imperial7P--
43804-doorAll Weather Phaeton5P66505690
43914-doorTransformable Limousine Brougham7P71506020
4391-C4-doorCollapsible Transformable Limousine Brougham7P--
44124-doorTransformable Town Cabriolet5/7P--
3289-A4-doorTransformable Town Cabriolet7P--
39814-doorSedan Cabriolet5P--
39914-doorTransformable Limousine Brougham7P--
LX-29054-doorTown Sedan5P--
30-1524-doorTown Sedan, Fisher5P--
30-1582-doorCoupe, Fisher2/4P--
30-1594-doorSedan, Fisher5P--
30-1682-doorConvertible Coupe, Fisher2/4P--
30-1722-doorCoupe, Fisher5P--


Sidemount cover(s)$5.00-40.00
Tonneau windshield$185.00
Wind wings$47.50
Heron or Goddess ornament$20.00
Auxiliary lights$37.50-75.00
Seat covers$26.75-73.50
5 wire wheels$70.00
6 wire wheels, fender wells, trunk rack$210.00
5 demountable wood wheels$50.00
6 demountable wood wheels, fender wells, trunk, rack$190.00
5 disc wheels$50.00
6 disc wheels, fender wells, trunk rack$190.00
Fenders other than black$100.00


NEXT: History of the 1931 Cadillac

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