- Custom built for Al Jolson, famous 1920s-1930s singer and movie star.
- It is equipped with a powerful V-16 engine.
- It was Cadillac’s most expensive model in 1933 ($8,000).
Cadillac Motor Car Company’s first V-type engine design was introduced in October, 1914 as the Cadillac V-8 Model 51. In its quest for higher engine performance, Cadillac experimented for more than three years with a V-16 engine design. The V-16 was designed and engineered, prototypes were hand-built, and hundreds of thousands of miles of testing was accomplished without public knowledge. But when it was formally announced in December 1929, orders poured in from eager would-be owners who had not even seen one.
The new 16-cylinder Cadillac made its first public appearance in the form of a majestic Imperial Landau Sedan with Fleetwood coachwork at the 1930 New York Automobile Show. In an era of fours, sixes and straight-eights, the public was dazzled by the very notion of a 16-cylinder power plant.
Despite the technological innovations and high quality custom coachwork, Cadillac sales dropped yearly as the Depression continued to devastate the luxury car market. Cadillac’s worst year was 1933 and it was announced that only a limited number of V-16’s would be produced. Serial numbers would range from 1 to 400 and the owner’s name and the car’s serial number would be engraved on a special plate attached as an integral part of the car.
Al Jolson, a famous singer and movie star in the 1920s and 1930s, ordered this five-passenger All-Weather Phaeton. It was Cadillac’s most expensive model for 1933, priced at $8,000. Of an anticipated 400 V-16’s, only 126 were produced in 1933 and Al Jolson’s car was number 56.