TheCadillac Series 90 for 1938 was essentially a Series 75 with a V-16 engine. Even though the wheelbase was 330mm shorter, the bodies were equal or larger in all dimensions than previous Cadillac V-16’s. This was accomplished by fitting the nearly flat engine low in the frame and partially behind the line of the firewall. V-16’s were distinguished from the counterpart V-8’s by a coarser pitch eggcrate grille, fender lamps, and streamlined louvers on the hood side panels and all fender skirts.
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1938 Cadillac Formal Sedan
The new V-16 engine was of L-head, short stroke square design, cast-en-bloc, with 135 degree Vee. With each block in running balance, the engine was basically a twin-eight. Dual accessories included carburetors, oil bath air cleaners, manifolds, distributors, coils, fuel pumps, and water pumps. The fuel pumps were interconnected so that either one could supply both carburetors if needed. Only the left hand distributor contained breaker arms; the two arms being electrically independent but operated by a single eight-lobe cam. The right hand unit acted only to distribute the high tension voltage to the spark plugs in the right bank. A cross pipe connected both exhaust manifolds and fed into a single down-pipe at the left. The generator was placed low in the Vee and was driven by an internal rubber ring in the fan hub acting on a driven wheel on the generator shaft. This arrangement allowed for fan speeds less than engine speed and generator speeds nearly twice engine speed – it lasted only one year.
I. D. DATA
Serial numbers were on frame side bar, just ahead of the steering gear.
Starting: Same as engine number.
Ending: Same as engine number.
Engine numbers were on upper rear left hand corner of left cylinder block, parallel with cylinder head.
Starting Engine Number: 5270001.
Fleetwood Series 39-96 141 in. Wheelbase
Presidential, 161″ wheelbase
135 degree Vee
Cast iron block
Bore & Stroke
79.4mm x 79.4mm
6.287 Liters (see note)
185 hp @ 3600 rpm
138 kW @ 3600 rpm
Carter WDO 407s(L) – 408s(R)
Note: Most literature says the displacement is “431 cu. in.” (i.e., 7.062 Liters), but in calculating the bore and stroke for 16 cylinders results in 384 cu. in. (6.287 Liters)
7.50 x 16
Selective synchro manual transmission.
3 Forward, 1 Reverse
Left Hand Drive; Gearshift on column; handbrake at left