1933 Cadillac Model 370A V-12 Coupe

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In the mid to late 1920s a number of luxury car manufacturers began work developing multicylinder engines. Not to be outdone, Cadillac began work on two different multicylinder engines, a V-12 and a V-16. Larry Fisher, Cadillac General Manager, leaked to the press information about the V-12, hoping to keep the V-16 a secret.

Owen Nacker, who designed the Cadillac V-16 engine, also designed the Cadillac V-12 engine, and it shared the tooling and many of the components of the V-16. The V-12 was essentially a truncated V-16, with a bore of 3.125″ instead of 3″, giving it a displacement of 368 cubic inches. It shared the V-16’s 45 degree bank angle., rather than the 60 degree angle that would have been ideal. The V-12 was less powerful than the V-16, generating 135 versus 175 horsepower. Both engines featured overhead valves in the first generation.

The 1931 Cadillac Model 370A V-12 was introduced in October 1930. A V-12 roadster was used as the pace car at the Indianapolis 500. The Cadillac V-12 had a shorter wheelbase than the Cadillac V-16, with a choice of 140 in (3,556 mm) or 143 in (3,632 mm), compared to the V-16’s 148 in (3,759 mm), but it offered a similar choice of Fisher and Fleetwood semi-custom bodies. It was difficult to tell a Cadillac V-12 from a Cadillac V-16 unless you were close enough to read the figure “12” mounted on the headlight tie bar, but the hood was four inches (102 mm) shorter, and the headlights and horns smaller than a V-16’s. More significantly, the V-12 cost about $2,000 less for each bodystyle, starting at $3,795. The Cadillac V-12 might have been lower in prestige than the Cadillac V-16, but it joined a select group of 1930s cars with multicylinder engines, namely those manufactured by Auburn, Franklin, Hispano-Suiza, Horch, Lagonda, Maybach, Packard, Pierce-Arrow, Rolls-Royce, Tatra, Voisin, Walter, Marmon and Lincoln. Moreover, thanks to its lower price, it immediately outsold the Cadillac V-16 with 5,733 sold in the 1931 model year, versus a mere 363 for the V-16.

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Text from Wikipedia

Photos by Patrick Ernzen for Worldwide Auctioneers