3. Cadillac V16
Back in the early days of the automotive industry, luxury car buyers had lots of choices. There were several upscale domestic brands like Packard, Pierce-Arrow, Lincoln, Imperial, Auburn, Marmon, Duesenberg and Cord. And then there was Cadillac. Despite having General Motors as its parent company, Cadillac needed something to attract wealthy buyers and generate sales.
And what better way to introduce something outstanding than an updated engine? In those days, V8 engines were a novelty. In fact, just a few brands produced them. Most luxury models had smooth-running straight-eight powerplants with lots of torque. So, Cadillac decided to introduce a new V16 engine.
They knew it could deliver performance and power on a whole new level. The Cadillac V16 had the displacement of 452 CID and produced 185 HP. But even with its relatively small power figures, it delivered unmatched torque and smoothness, as well as effortless acceleration. However, the timing of the introduction couldn’t have been worse. The stock market crashed, and the Great Depression started just a few months before they introduced the V16.
However, the qualities of the V16 found their way to the buyers. So, in 1940 when production stopped, Cadillac built more than 4,000 of those magnificent machines. The V16 was available in all body styles that specialized body shops produced. They could even personalize them according to the wishes of the buyer.