A few years ago, I was pleased to talk about automotive history to a class at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN. One student asked, “What is your dream car?” Now I hadn’t really thought about any one car as being “my dream car.” I enjoy many for various reasons. But I found that I didn’t hesitate with an answer too long before I decided—the Cadillac Sixteen, which debuted at the 2003 North American International Auto Show.
I have to admit that this car did not fit with the theme of my presentation Mileposts in Indiana Automotive History. However, this model does make me think of the coachbuilt era of the 1930’s, when many of America’s great cars were designed. Cadillac introduced its first V-16 automobile in 1930, followed by Marmon shipping its first Sixteen in 1931. Both of these cars were top of the mark in their era. I believe the current Cadillac Sixteen pays tribute to these cars and extends the design to the new millennium. For me, the Cadillac is the epitome of current American car design.
So, let us take a look at the Cadillac Sixteen. This luxury-sedan concept, measuring 20 feet long and weighting 2.5 tons, is powered by a 13.6 liter V-16 engine producing over 1,000 horsepower and 1,000 lb-ft of torque. The engine debuts fuel-saving “Displacement on Demand” technology for a 20 m.p.g. rating.
The Sixteen features an ultra luxurious cabin with hand-stitched, Tuscany leather upholstered seatsand an all-glass roof. Walnut burl veneer inlays trim the dash, door panels, and front and rear consoles. A Bulgari clock is mounted in the dash center.
The exterior styling has a long hood and a low sedan passenger compartment much like its predecessors from the 1930’s. I like how the design line flows from the LED headlights to the LED taillights. The wheel arches show-off the 24-inch polished aluminum wheels with custom Michelin tires. A Sixteen nameplate resides over the vent behind the front wheels.
So, I can dream about the Cadillac Sixteen, can’t I?