Daimler Sp 1953,
Alfa Romeo 1929,
Cadillac V16 engine
Cadillac V16 1930
Photo from Sparreholm museum. Ref 1
Cadillac V16. Ref 1
Duesenberg story 1
How Duesenberg Works
Cadillac 452A 1930
Trying to dig info about Cadillac there is a must to first decide
what to dig about. General about history, general development or
engines. After much searching it became about engines as most
websites talk about this subject and specially about the V16.
1970 Cadillac decided to bore the 472 engine to 500 cc (8.2 liter)
engine just because Lincoln had announced an engine with 7.7 liter,
just to get the biggest engine. In the 1930th it was due to that
Marmon and Peerless was on the way to build a V16. Cadillac started
to build together two straight 8 engines with a single crankshaft
and one camshaft in the middle with pushrods and standing valves.
One new invention were the hydraulic tappets. This was chosen to get
a silent engine. Advertising said that a 16 cyl engine is very
smooth running, but this is not true for 16 cyl. The reality for a
good balanced engine should have 12 or 18 cylinders. The mathematical
problem to count the counterweights must have been quite a challenge
for the Cadillac engineers.
In the beginning it was quite easy to sell such an expensive car
1930. The first 7 month 2000 cars were sold. All these were offered
with body according to catalogue and customer wish. These were built
by Fisher or Fleetwood.
The 2 coach work companies were earlier bought by Cadillac just
to get them inside Cadillac walls. Empty chassis were offered but
only small sales. Same time the same bodies were sold with V12
engines and a few with straight 8.
The V16 car was sold at a loss and they tried to make the engine
cheaper. The engine was rebuild to a 135° V and side valves, but
rated the same 185 hp. This engine became much simpler and cheaper.
These heads were called L-Head. The engine was named 90 and came 1938
to 1940. The engine became much broader but the bodies had
changed design and there was no problem with space. The last V16 car
was delivered 1940 to a buyer in Germany. America had not yet
entered the war.
After the first 2000 cars it took 10 years to sell another 2000
units. This car, the V16, is one of the most asked for.
Cadillac V16 in Sweden.
One V16 at the museum in Sparreholm. It was ordered by Torsten
Ivar Krüger who committed suicide in Paris). Torsten got 1 years in prison because of an economical swindle 1933
and the car was sold to publisher Pettersson in Malmö and then to
Helge Kaarinen, owner of
Sparreholm Castle and car museum, now
living i London. This car is original and never renovated. Another
two 452B 1931 and 1932 are owned by Anders Läck in Sweden.
No one should believe that a Cadillac 452, for a car
enthusiasts, is the very finest and imposing car. Though Duesenberg had "only a straight 8", but nevertheless it had
double camshafts which worked direct on the four valves on
each cylinder. Besides it had better material which was
widely better than what Cadillac used. Which one to choose?
You can recognize a Duesenberg on the slightly rounded
ventilations on the side of the hood. It is the first
impression that decide your choice. Cadillac tried to make
the car cheaper when they went over to a side valve engine
with only 185 compared to 265 hp. No good!!
The Duesenberg brothers, August (Augi) 1879-1955, Fred 1876
(1878?)- 1932, were both born in Germany. Augi got a son
Fritz, 1908-1976. There were also an older brother Henry,
1843- 1940. When their father died all three moved to
America. Fred died in a car accident when he drove his car
into a rock face. About the years mentioned, there is great confusion
on internet, but my years should be quite true because I have
read on their tombstones.
They settled in Rockford Indiana near Mason City. Fred
worked as a salesman for a day care home and also selling
seed to the farmers. For this he needed a cycle. Soon they
opened a cycle/work shop and built also their own petrol
engine which was mounted on the cycle. Now it became easier
to move around and sell his stuff. They understood soon that
the future was to build cars. A new engine was developed and
they put their interests in car competitions. No less than
Indianapolis 500. In the beginning they didn't won with
their arrow formed race car. Their engine was developed and
a racing driver, Rickenbacker, was employed. They drove
against cars like Peugeot, Mercer, Stutz, Mercedes and Isotta Fraschini.
As time went on they won three races and the most difficult
opponent was Miller who won 4 races. Now they earned money
and also sold an engines to the American marine. They had
close contact with
|Miller and Charles King
(Charles Wiggins) when testing Bugatti engine King
Bugatti. No one of these men had learned business and
soon they had no money left because of all racing
competitions and trial to produce a private car.
L. Cord bought Duesenberg company and succeeded to get
the business in order. Auburn - Cord - Duesenberg was
founded. Racing ended and work started to bring the best car
ever built under the supervise of L Cord. Fred started to
design the engine. It became an straight 8 with double
OH camshafts and 4 valves pro cylinder giving up to 400 hp
equipped with compressor, only in the model SSJ. The weight
of the car was near 3 tons. Now the stock market crash
occurred just as the first cars were announced for selling.
Cord stood there with 480 chassis all produced 1929. These
were all sold up to 1937 as different year models. The Cord
firm had not the large economical resources as General
Motors and Ford so Cord's finances crashed 1937. Fred died
in a car accident 1940 and Auigi who lived to 1955 withdraw
and started with cars competitions again. He was always on
place at Indianapolis 500. In museums in Europe I only know
about 2 Duesenbergs. They are
Sinsheim museum in Germany and Haynes in England.
Note. About Duesenbergs cars in Sweden
only 2 were imported through Philipson car agency 1930. One
of them by Torsten Krüger (not Ivar Krüger Swedish Match)
and the other by publisher Erik Åkerlund. The Krüger car was
bought after some owners by Martin Strömberg in Hedemora
1938. He paid 1500 Skr plus 230 for taxes. He has told us
about this car in the book Bilar och Brudar (Cars and
Babes). He used the car for long trips in Europe up to late
1939 and in Sweden during the war driving on wood gas. After
an accident and when the engine started to consume oil he
left it to a scrap merchant in Falun. The Åkerlund car was
scrapped after a heavy accident by Bil
& Metallprodukter in Stockholm. This engine was bought
by Strömberg as reserve but never used. and also scrapped
together with his car.
About Rickenbacker. He was a famous fighter pilot during