2019 Collector of the Year, John D. Groendyke has elected to include his 1935 V-16 Cadillac Imperial Convertible Sedan as one of the six V-16s he will have on display during the 2019 Concours to be held in Plymouth, Michigan July 26-28, 2019.
By 1935, the era of the Cadillac V-16 was rolling towards an end. The car still offered matchless engineering, which operated under the same durable, smooth, and beautifully built overhead-valve engine with hydraulic valve lifters that had been created by Owen Nacker for the 1930 season. Its styling had been updated to follow other Cadillacs over the years, with increasingly more full-bodied and streamlined lines, and in turn, it grew even longer, with the car finally measuring over 20 feet from stem to stern. There may have been more modern luxury cars in the offering by 1935, but absolutely none had the V-16's presence and personality. It was a grand car for the grand person who could still afford one, which was a description that was applying to fewer and fewer people as the Great Depression wore on.
Cadillac built only fifty V-16s in 1935, and survivors are few and far between, probably numbering fewer than a dozen altogether.
Groendyke's car is believed to be one of six Imperial Convertible Sedans built on the V-16 chassis In 1935. Its original build sheet clearly identifies body number 86 the number which can still be found on the original tag on the firewall today, and body style number 5880, although the build sheet misidentifies it as a "Conv. Coupe. One wonders about the mindset of the employee typing Cadillac's build sheets, as the same sheet also identifies this car's engine number as 5100143, while the engine Is clearly stamped 5100043, which is an error on either the part of the stamper or the build sheet creator.
Interestingly, the build sheet records the car as having been delivered through Hoosier Cadillac Company, of Indianapolis, with "Tag - E.B. Lilly.' The "Tag,' in Cadillac parlance of this era, meant to hold the car for a special customer, in this case for someone who was likely a member of Indianapolis's prominent Ell Lilly pharmaceutical family.
The car retains its original master Cadillac radio with "B" eliminator. The car presents itself in excellent condition even though the restoration is now over twenty-five years old. These were designated body style 5880 and cost a staggering $7850.
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