The Cadillac V16 was produced until 1940, and during that time made a mark for the reputation of Cadillac as a provider of luxury cars. Cadillac designed the chassis for these cars around the engine and basically offered custom built cars. A customer for a 1930 Cadillac V16 could choose from over 30 different body styles in a catalog from Fleetwood. In 1930, 2887 V16s were built. Repercussions of the Great Depression caused sales to falter and changes to be made during the V16's lifespan.
The V16 was a 45° Vee engine equipped with two carburettors. Two eight-cylinder nickel cast iron blocks were used for the engine. Five main bearings supported the crankshaft in an aluminium crankcase. Four counterweights were used to balance the engine. The bore was 76.2 (3 in) and the stroke was 101.6 mm (4 in) for a total capacity of 7.4 L (452 in3). Power was rated at 1123 kW (165 hp) with a compression ratio of 5.11:1 (ranged from 5.35:1 to 4.98:1 for variations). It was an overhead valve engine that used an automatic valve adjustment system using an eccentric cam on the rocker arm shaft.
This cam adjusted valve lash to zero as the engine temperature increased. The wheelbase of the 1930 Cadillac was 3759 mm (148 in). The V16 had 3273 parts associated with it and could achieve speeds of 129-161 km/h (80-100 mph). Prices ranged from $5300 to almost $10,000, at a time when the average Chevrolet might cost under $500.