The Cadillac V12 was introduced in the autumn of 1930, during the deepening slide of the Thirties Depression. Cadillac took a big risk by introducing not only a V12 but also a V16, within months of one another. Despite the economical crisis, the sixteen, shown at January 1930's New York Auto Show, had been a relative success, with more than 1,000 shipped in four months.
The V12 was basically the V16 with four cylinders eliminated, although its bore was larger. The stroke remained the same. This resulted in 368 cubic inches from the 45-degree block, and like the sixteen it ran quietly, the benefit of hydraulic valve lifters. The V12 is rated at 135 brake horsepower, 30 less than its larger sibling.
The Cadillac V12 also sold quite well, but at the expense of the sixteen. From September 1930, sales of the sixteen hit the skids, and whether from real hardship or merely the wish to appear somewhat less ostentatious, the fact that the equivalent V12 was priced $2,500 lower certainly had something to do with it. Moreover, wheelbase aside, the cars looked very much alike, so the image of a V12 seemed a much better bargain.
In any case, both the twelve and the sixteen remained in the catalog, side by side with the more popular V8 models, through 1937, offered with semi-custom bodies by Fisher and Fleetwood.
One of the body styles available was this Dual Cowl Phaeton by Fleetwood. Just 128 of this body style were built on Series 370 V12 chassis.
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