[ last update: June 2, 2018 ]

The (new) Cadillac Database©

The Cadillac V-16

Series 452-452A

The European “Tour” Cars

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V-16 index page


(en bas de page se trouve un résumé en français)


This revised account of the “V-16 European “Tour” is the combined effort of three Cadillac enthusiasts who painstakingly went through dozens of documents and photos relating to the event. They are: Anders Läck (Sweden), Anne Ekström (Sweden) and Yann Saunders (Scotland and USA). The main “Tour” information and pics were gleaned from the in-house magazine “General Motors World” issues from June through December 1930. Some help was provided graciously by Swedish auto-historian, Jan Ströman.

In June of 1930, the Cadillac Motor Car Division of GM sent five of the most representative of its sixteen-cylinder models to Europe, on a promotional “Tour”.

There was initially some debate as to which Sixteens were part of the “Tour”.  In his excellent book Sixteen Cylinder Motor Cars, Roy Schneider mentions a first group of Fleetwood-bodied Sixteens that traveled the U.S. auto show, salon and dealer showroom circuits; these included a close-coupled sedan (style #4330-S), an all-weather phaeton (style #4380), a “sport” or “special” dual-cowl phaeton (style #4260), a town car with special cane work on the lower rear quarters - one of only three built this way (style #4264-B) - and a convertible coupe (style #4235). Roy said that six ”Sixteens” were sent to Europe, in June; he did not specify which ones but we assume they included the four listed in this paragraph (#4330S, #4260, #4264B and #4235); the fifth “Tour” car was a “Madame X” imperial limousine (style #4175).

So, after scrutinizing the relevant issues of General Motors World magazine (the 7 issues from June to December, 1930), it appears that only FIVE (not SIX) cars were part of the “Tour”. A sixth car (a Fleetwood-bodied “All-Weather Phaeton”, style #4380), traveled separately to Europe (to Vienna, inter alia, where it is known to have won a prize there in a Concours d’Elégance. All these cars are illustrated below.  Note that a “seventh” V-16 model may be seen among those that were shown among the “Tour” in Germany; that car probably had been acquired earlier that year by the local Cadillac dealer in that country, Eduard Winter of General Motors GmbH. It was a “Tour” PLUS to have it seen among the five other Sixteens.

In one of the many reports published in relation to the event, the writer declared: Their various color schemes were chosen with the idea of having each car contrast with every other.  Regrettably, we have seen no color photos of ANY of the five “Tour” cars to better appreciate that statement.

Here now are photos from a rare Fleetwood promotional “photo book” illustrating the 28 basic models in the “V-16” line for 1930 and 1931. Below are extracts from that superb album Yann was allowed to copy from the private collection of the late Z. Taylor Vinson (the original is now part of the Hagley Library and Museum collection in Wilmington, DE. Included are the five early models that were chosen by Cadillac to participate in the European “Tour” in the summer of 1930.

It has not been established with certainty that the 5 cars illustrated are those that effectively participated in the “Tour” although, being early production models, it is more than likely that some (if not all) of them did travel to Europe.

We have listed the photos in ascending numerical order of the serial numbers (VIN).


Left: hard cover of the “V-16” promotional book
Right: RH side view of Cadillac’s superb sixteen-cylinder motor

One additional V-16 model (Fleetwood Style #4376 Stationary Coupe)
was shown at one or more “Tour” destinations in Germany; we assume it 
was provided by the Cadillac dealer there; it was NOT a part of the Caravan



Shipping dates and destinations

The “Tour” was led by T. W. Henderson, chief of the Cadillac-La Salle division. On the trip were also G. T. Caroll, regional Cadillac-La Salle specialist and S. W. King, regional Cadillac-La Salle service specialist.

There was some debate as to the actual shipping date from New York as well as the port of disembarkation in Europe. According to the GM Motor World, issue for June 1930 (that was probably typeset in April or May 1930), the cars were scheduled to leave New York aboard the S/S “Deutschland” on June 12, 1930; in fact, and owing to delays in preparing the five cars for the ocean voyage, they were compelled to board a later vessel, the “SS United States”. In the definitive book on Fleetwood coachwork published in 2001, author James Schild asserted that the “Tour” had begun in Paris, on June 21, 1930; one factory build sheet provided kindly by V-16 enthusiast, Steven Nanini of Arizona, shows that the special phaeton (Style #4260, body #2) was shipped from the factory on June 11, 1930, bound for Copenhagen. That information ties in with historian Alan Merkel's findings; writing in the 70s, Alan said the cars had been shipped first to Copenhagen, in Denmark. Later research conducted by Anders and Anne revealed that the cars had driven the 630 miles from Detroit to New York where they were boxed, loaded onto the Danish-American Line (DFDS) steamship, S/S “United States” and shipped directly to Copenhagen.

This is the actual steamship that ferried the Sixteens from New York to Copenhagen[1]

This ad appeared in New York days before the cars sailed
( a rare find, thanks to Anders! – Yann’s notes in
red font)


Until March 2018 we had been unable to determine with any certainty when and how the five cars got the temporary French license tags they bore throughout the duration of the “Tour” (except in Germany). Indeed, all the “tour” cars carried French “tourist” license tags with the suffix “XB”; that suffix is a positive indication that these temporary tags were issued in France's Seine inférieure region; they could only have been issued in Le Havre (or possibly Rouen, the district capital of Seine inférieure). Who issued them? Where? When? Why?

Yann had first thought the cars had been offloaded at Le Havre (one of the larger, French, merchant sea ports on the Channel, providing access from the North Atlantic eastwards to the North Sea and the Baltic Sea) and that they had travelled to Denmark, by road, via Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. That theory was proved wrong.

Investigation by Anders, Anne and Jan confirmed that the cars had traveled by ocean freight directly to Copenhagen; Anders believes the French license tags (although effectively issued in France's Seine inférieure “administrative department” were ordered, at the last minute, at the request of General Motors (France) in Paris; they would have been delivered by mail or courier to General Motors International A/S in Copenhagen. The French authorities certainly must have had all the necessary vehicle information, model descriptions and VINs to allow the licensing process to take place without the cars being physically present in Seine inférieure.  Thierry Baudin, a specialist in French automobile history, sent this interesting piece on licensing, in France, of automobiles issued to (temporary) foreign visitors.  He wrote: The topic is quite familiar today; the “XB” series was used in France's Seine Maritime region (formerly Seine inférieure) from 1928 to 1933 to allow importing temporarily and duty-free, as well as registering the automobiles of foreigners disembarking at Le Havre (our emphasis) to visit France and other countries in  Europe. In the case you mention, it would appear that the Cadillacs did not disembark at Le Havre, but proceeded on to Denmark; that situation is less common (again our own emphasis). Since 1919, there has been a preferential trade agreement between France and the USA that allows US cars to be imported by foreign tourists and for them to obtain temporary title documents (France’s “carte grise” or gray card) without the need to present to the authorities any other document than the US “title”.

Mr. Baudin was not sure if similar trade agreements were signed with any of the other countries visited during the “Tour”. He added, “A simple stop at a French port was all that was needed to provide the cars with a French “identity”, allowing them to drive in all the selected countries on the strength of their French “carte grise”. This preferential treatment meant the cars were not required to undergo any technical inspection (such as required under Department of Transport – DOT – regulations in most countries, including the USA); the only requirement was to show the (French) authorities the US title documents. In addition, requests (for such French registration) could be made in advance, in particular by the shipping company on whose vessel the cars were carried. For example, on arrival at Le Havre, we do not believe the cars had to be off-loaded; their mere presence as cargo loaded aboard a ship (we would guess that a copy of the ship's Bill of Lading would suffice) was enough for customs and licensing authorities to deliver a “carte grise” for each car.  Thierry continued: “Assuming the French ‘carte grise’ documents still exist (in the archives of the French licensing authorities) these will show important information relative to each car such as date of issue of the ‘carte grise’ and the identity of each owner. That information would be available also for the “missing” tag in the series (i.e. 2147XB ... which may not even be a Cadillac!).

So far as we have been able to determine, the French authorities have no record of the cartes grises issued in 1930 for the five V-16 Cadillacs[2].

We have listed in numerical sequence the French tags you will see in the Table, below. You will notice a gap in the sequence; we all wonder what car (make and model) got the out-of-sequence tag #2147XB; was it a Cadillac? The table of “Tour” cars shows also the factory shipping dates, the body style and type of each vehicle, their body number (when known) and the corresponding French (temporary) tag numbers.



Body Style
and Type





June 10

4264B Town Car



These Fleetwood “Town Broughams” were built, only 3 had cane-work applied to the rear body


June 6

4330S Sedan



394 of these standard 5-pass. cars were built


June 10

4175 Limousine



86 of these flat-windshield, 7-pass Madame X limousines were built; 24 others had the Pennsylvania “Split-V” windshield


June 11

4260 Sp. Phaeton




85 were built; the chassis of this car was used later to receive custom bodywork by Jacques Saoutchik; later still, the Saoutchik job was removed and put on another V16 chassis and VIN701554 got back its original body[3]


June 11

4235 Conv. Coupe



94 were built



Covers of the seven issues of GM World we consulted for our research

The issues for July and October were silent on the question of the “Tour” but did provide other interesting information and photos relating to the General Motors marque, including the Cadillac.  




Tour Itinerary
and Photoshoot Locations

The cars were offloaded at the Copenhagen wharf on June 25, 1930. They were taken (or did they drive?) to the GM factory premises in the south harbor[4]. Anders and Anne provided some Swedish auto club magazines (all in Swedish!), containing factual historical information about the “Tour”; they confirmed that it had definitely begun in Copenhagen on June 26, 1930. Also, in the summary that Anders supplied (in January 2012), we know that the “Tour” ended in Paris on September 9. 

We have a good idea of the order in which the Caravan effectively advanced through continental Europe after it left Sweden and entered Germany; this is based on available photos (most of them unfortunately undated), as well as on some clippings (in Dutch) from Cadillac aficionado and friend Dirk Van Dorst, as well as the photos taken in Vittel (France), the one in Spain (from the book Cadillac Eldorado) and the ones in France (in Hendaye, Cadillac, Bordeaux, La Baule and Angers).

A reported nine countries were visited, in this order: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, France (a second time), Spain and France (a third and last time). There were 11 Border Crossings: (1) Denmark to Sweden, (2) Sweden to Norway, (3) Norway back to Sweden, (4) Sweden to Germany, (5) Germany to Holland, (6) Holland to Belgium, (7) Belgium to eastern France, (8) eastern France to Switzerland, (9) western Switzerland back into France, (10) France to Spain, (11) Spain back into France to reach the final destination in Paris.

The two inserts, below, show what might have been the “Tour” itinerary. In our long search we were able to examine all the relevant issues of “GM World”, from June to December 1930[5], as well as one issue of General Motors Continental; nevertheless, the precise itinerary is still not known for sure, but the order in which the cars proceeded through Europe seems now to be well established.

Let’s look at the actual countries, dates and towns mentioned specifically in those “GM World” reports. According to “GM World” for June 1930, the initial planned route was to be:  [1] France (Paris, etc.) June 23-27, [2] Belgium (Brussels, etc.) June 30 to July 5, [3] Holland (Antwerp, etc.) July 7-10, [4] Denmark (Copenhagen) July 14-16, [5] Sweden (Stockholm etc.) July 21-25, [6] Germany (Berlin, etc.) July 28-Aug. 8, [7] Switzerland (Basel, etc.) August 10-15, and [8] Spain ([Madrid, etc.) August 25 and the supposed end of the “tour”). That is NOT how it happened.

There was a last-minute change of plans, presumably owing to the late departure to NY, by road, of two of the “Sixteens”. Note that a press cutting published in New York's “Daily Eagle” on June 22, 1930 (i.e. eleven days after the cars already had boarded and left the S/S United States), asserted that the five cars would “Tour” Great Britain and the Continent. There definitely was NO visit to GB.


The mentioned press cutting on the left, provided kindly by Anders, shows just how much we should take published “news” with a large “pinch of salt”: (1) There was no tour of Great Britain; (2) the Caravan cars did NOT leave New York on the S/S France; (3) the itinerary did NOT “begin at Paris on June 21”, but in Copenhagen on June 24.

The itinerary and schedule on the right mentions a route to Madrid (correctly it seems):  Geneva > Aix-les-Bains > Nice > Toulouse > Biarritz > San Sebastiàn. In this regard, Yann initially had got it wrong; he got confused because of a “Tour” photo (below) that he believed had been taken at Le Perthus, the border post located on the Mediterranean side of the Spanish peninsula; in fact, he later  discovered that photo was effectively taken at Hendaye, on the Bay of Biscay.

The “end of the road”, according to the revised itinerary on the right (above), was to be Madrid, in central Spain, arriving there on September 8. We have not been able to establish whether or not the Caravan effectively traveled to Madrid (i.e. from San Sebastiàn and back via the same route).

Yann’s (corrected) sketch of the assumed itinerary, based on published “GM” monthly reports,
… and some guess work! The purple arrows show the (assumed) direction of travel

According to the revised schedule and time-line, Madrid was to receive the Caravan of cars on September 8, yet the first cars drove into Paris the very next day (September 9). We find it hard to believe, in passing, that the Caravan could have traveled the 1300 kms (800+ miles), from Madrid to Paris, in a single day, especially in the absence (in 1930) of Spain’s “autopistas” and France’s “autoroutes”, and with so many stops and activities on route[6].

The various progress reports mention 31 “formal showings” and 44 cities as having been visited, where the cars were presumably on “controlled public display” in hotels or dealership settings. We have identified (almost) all of these, each one being mentioned specifically in one or more of the published reports: (1) Copenhagen, (2) Helsingborg, (3) Hamlstad,  (4) Gothenburg, (5) Oslo, (6) Carlstad, (7) Örebro, (8) Stockholm, (9) Jönköping, (10) Malmö, (11) Dresden, (12) Berlin, (13) Nuremberg, (14) Münich, (15) Stuttgart, (16) Frankfurt, (17) Wiesbaden, (18) Cololgne, (19) Arnhem, (20) Utrecht, (21) The Hague (22) Rotterdam, (23) Antwerp, (24) Brussels, (25-27?) unspecified resort towns along the English Channel, (28) Vittel, (29) Basel, (30) Zürich, (31) Lucerne, (32) Berne, (33) Lausanne, (34) Geneva, (35) Aix-les-Bains, (36) Nice, (37) Toulouse, (38) San Sebastiàn, (39) Madrid, (40) Cadillac,  (41) Bordeaux, (42) La Baule, (43) Angers and (44) Paris.

The total distance traveled by the “Sixteens” was a reported 10,709 kilometers (6,693 miles) from start to finish (another source mentions 6,654 miles); we guess those figures are based on the odometer readings of one (or more) of the five cars ... and probably includes the “thousands of demo rides” performed at various destinations on route by the #4330S sedan.

Shown below, in chronological order, are notes about each visit, with whatever photos were taken at the time; unfortunately, few are of a high quality and resolution, being digital copies from “grainy” period magazines (Yann is wont to say: “Better a poor photo than NO photo”).


Copenhagen, Denmark (June 26-28),

Anders said that on Thursday evening June 26 the V-16s where shown in the Palmehaven (a huge  glass hall known as the “Garden of Palms”) of the Hotel d'Angleterre  (established in 1755, that hotel is an icon and a Copenhagen landmark celebrated for its elegance, luxury and style). Another published record reads: The first showing (in Copenhagen) was held in the Angleterre Hotel where the convertible coupe and the town brougham were displayed in the tea room (see photo, below) before an audience of invited guests comprising distinguished citizens of the town.”. Outside the hotel, where great crowds surrounded them, the other three models were parked on bright red carpets. These cars took invited guests on ten-minute demonstration rides and were kept busy for two hours by many eager applicants. In the same published record, it is said that: On the following evening about 200 members of the Royal Society of Engineers were invited  to the Industry Building to see the cars on exhibition there and to receive demonstration rides.  Mr. Lundsgaard, Sales Promotion Manager, gave a short lecture on the V-16 Cadillac and answered many questions from his audience.

On June 27, the cars where shown by General Motors International A/S. Next day (Saturday June 28) they were shown off by the Danish Cadillac dealer, F. Bülow & Co. Anders was able to provide a photo (see below) taken in front of the Bülow showrooms; it is from the collection of Danish enthusiast, Uffe Mortensen.

Two views of Copenhagen's prestigious Hotel d'Angleterre



Fleetwood’s style #4235 convertible coupe (left) and #4264B Town Brougham (right)
in the lobby of the Hotel
d'Angleterre that was decorated with fine oriental rugs

The V-16 Town Brougham is the center of attention in
front of the premises of Danish Cadillac dealer, F. Bülow 


Always on the lookout for photos and info relating to the “V16 European Tour”, Anne came up (in April 2018) with three microfiches from local newspapers; not surprisingly, the images are of very poor quality, so we only describe them here. Anne, a Swede, can handle Norwegian and is fluent in English but she admits her command of Danish has limits (we should be so lucky to have a polyglot helping us). Anne has done her best to give us the gist of the short texts appearing with the images; they are actually quite repetitive and there is really not much more to say than what has already been said and shown above.

Photo 1

The column heading reads “POLITIKER” and shows another view of the #4235 convertible coupe and #4264B Town Brougham (as above) in the lobby of the Hotel d'Angleterre, attending a “Tea Dance” (i.e. a dance held while afternoon tea is served; this was popular in the 20s and 30s).

General Motors and Bülow & Co were pleased with their “Tea Dance” in the Hotel d’Angleterre yesterday afternoon. Lots of guest were admiring these beautiful 16-cylinder phenomena and there is reason to believe that orders for the V-16 will soon follow for Bülow. In any case, everyone admired them greatly. Later in the evening the 5 cars moved to the industrial site where automobile experts were congregating and where engineer Lundsgaard from General Motors gave an instructive speech regarding this unique production automobile. Today the five cars are exhibited at Bülow & Co premised on Toldbodevej, and tomorrow, early, they leave for Oslo on the first leg of the European Tour. The photo [not shown] is taken in the Palm tree garden of the Hotel d’Angleterre.

Photo 2

“When the Cadillacs emerged from the containers”

As previously stated, Copenhagen has had honor of being the starting point for the imposing 16-cyl. Cadillac caravan which is about to tour Europe. The upscale automobiles, much like the well-known car currently owned by Minister Booth, disembarked from the steamship “United States” and proceeded straight to the General Motor’s factory in the south port, where the large boxes gave up their [precious?]  cargo. Tomorrow afternoon already, the cars will be presented at a huge gala parade in the Hotel d’Angleterre.

Photo 3

“The big day for Cadillac”

(The text is very similar to the other two clippings, but includes detailed technical data about the cars).

Photo 4

“The 16-cylinders arrived yesterday”

(Again, the text is much the same as for photos 1 and 2)

In front of the premises of Danish Cadillac dealer, F. Bülow:  From L to R:
Fleetwood V-16 models #4330-S, #4260 and #4264-B

[above 2 Photos: courtesy and © Uffe Mortensen, Denmark]


 (June 29-30),

On the evening of June 29, the cars traveled just 28 miles, by road, to Helsingör (or Elsinore, where Shakespeare's “Hamlet” had contemplated suicide). There, they boarded the ferry to Helsingborg, in Sweden (just 2 miles and 20 minutes away). From Sweden’s border area they traveled by road back to Oslo, in Norway, via Halmstad and Gothenburg (both in Sweden); there was already a successful showing of the cars in Gothenburg (notification below). 



Thanks to my Swedish buddy, Jerry Jansson, here is the translation:
A procession of five 16-cylinder Cadillac automobiles will be arriving in Gothenburg
on July 5, 1930 and a demonstration will take place in the Mässhallen (showroom)
from 9.30 am until 12.30 in the afternoon. No-one should neglect this opportunity
to view these new carriages by Cadillac, the World's premier automobile.
 H.J. WALLIN Automobile Company, Gothenburg, General Motors authorized dealer

Later that day, the Caravan cars were put on display in the Norwegian capital; unfortunately, we have no photographic evidence of that particular showing.

June 29 and July 1 to 5

We owe to Anders and Anne this most accurate, most detailed and largest collection of photos and documents relating to the Scandinavian part of the “Tour”. They consulted Sweden's central library, the Kungliga Biblioteket (“Royal Library”) where they noted that the Caravan had driven from Oslo to Stockholm on July 1, via Karlstad and Örebro, reaching Stockholm that same evening. In Dagens Nyheter (the Daily News?) for July 2, there is a short article and a photo of the five “Tour” cars posing in front of Sweden's Grand Hotel.

The Swedish contingent (from L to R): Mr. Winstedt, C.H. Fleming, P.S. Steenstrup,
Mr. and Mrs. T.W. Henderson, Mrs. Steenstrup, Mr. Osterman (half hidden),
Mr. S.W. King, Mr. and Mrs. G.T. Carroll (and two unidentified guests)


This “Google Earth” view of Stockholm's Grand Hotel (left) and the Royal Automobile Club (KAK - in the
 center) was submitted kindly by Yann’s Swedish friend and confirmed Cadillac aficionado, Jerry Jansson

EuroTour-2 (3)Anders

Stockholm’s Grand Hotel was the place to see the cars … before the crowds arrived




Clip from a documentary movie shot in front of the Grand Hotel


A group of the “Tour” organizers, led by T.W. Henderson
chief of the Cadillac-La Salle division of GM

The five “Tour” cars outside the HQ of the Royal Swedish Automobile Club[7]
(Photo: courtesy Autohistorica #3/71 -  

The article reported that the Caravan had effectively started out from Oslo on the morning of July 1.  It was said that for two days the cars would be in Stockholm’s Marble Halls, the renowned Cadillac showrooms of Hans Osterman. Sure enough, on Wednesday and Thursday July 2 and 3 the cars were effectively on display there. One photo taken at the time (below) shows that King Gustaf V of Sweden even paid a visit there on that occasion; he did not buy one of the big, new V-16 cars even though he was a keen admirer of Cadillac and LaSalle automobiles; in fact, he already owned one that he had acquired some time before the start of the “Tour” (photo).









Advertising by Hans Osterman


Some of the King’s own stable of (stretched) Cadillacs from 1930


dr30KellnerD2  King-30KellnerD

The King had his own (stretched) Cadillacs; he was not too impressed
with the inner dimensions of the new V-16 closed models
Below: custom stretched 1930 limousine-landaulet by Alexis Kellner, Berlin
[ Photos:  Fred Summers, CLC ]

https://www.newcadillacdatabase.org/static/CDB/Dbas_v16/FirstSwedv16c.JPG   https://www.newcadillacdatabase.org/static/CDB/Dbas_v16/FirstSwedV16b.JPG

https://www.newcadillacdatabase.org/static/CDB/Dbas_v16/v6-31KingGustaf.jpg   https://www.newcadillacdatabase.org/static/CDB/Dbas_v16/FirstSwedV16.JPG

The King had acquired a 1930 V-16 limousine, style #4375 before the “Tour” cars reached Sweden



The photo shows the French “tourist” tag on this Caravan car (style #2260)



From L to R: Mr. T. Hendersson, in charge of the Cadillac V-16 European Tour, Hans Osterman, director of the Marble Halls showroom (also inset, below), HM King Gustaf of Sweden, Mr. Steenstrup, the showroom supervisor; the King is wearing a black armband to mark the passing (in Rome, on April 4) of his spouse, Queen Victoria

We have it from GM Nordiska AB, in a GM World monthly magazine from the late 20s, that Hans Osterman’s Cadillac-LaSalle and Buick dealership in Stockholm was the most magnificent automobile showroom in all of Europe. GM Nordiska's Cadillac Division chief, Baron Claes Fleming, joined the Caravan throughout the journey through Sweden.[8]

Hans Osterman had organized an extensive program to receive the five Cadillac cars. He influenced crown equerry, Charles 0'Otrante, to allow King Gustav V to enjoy a semi-private viewing of the cars.

The Fleetwood style #4264B Town Brougham – so impressive
(only THREE like it were built)

Fleetwood style #4260 Special Phaeton, with style #4235 Convertible Coupe in the background

Odd as it might seem, the King was not particularly impressed with the V-16s. This prompted Hans Osterman to write a letter to Alfred Sloan, CEO of GM (documents and the correspondence exchanged in this regard are attached as Annex 1 to this section). The royal host asserted he was more than happy with the Cadillac he already owned (photos above). In these cars (the new V16 models) he said, I cannot sit up straight with my hat on (and hardly even without my hat); I cannot sit comfortably with my legs, but must sit hunched up, as if I were sitting in a Ford wagon.

On Friday morning, July 4, the cars left the Grand Hotel. Two of the cars took the northern route via Vasteras - Orebro - Motala to Jonkopinq. There, they meet the three other cars, which had taken the southern route via Norrkopinq to Jonkopinq. Leading the Caravan was a Chevrolet truck, carrying advertising banners for the V-16s (photos below).



This advertising truck followed the “Tour” cars throughout the Swedish part of the trip
The text in front of the truck reads: Cadillac Caravan, Stockholm – Madrid. On the side it reads:
Look out for the Cars that are following (this truck); they are made by General Motors: the CADILLAC
V-16. The World's only 16-cylinder Luxury Car. The car industry's premier Creation: V-16
Exclusive dealer for Sweden: A.B. Hans Osterman, Stockholm


After stopping for a hearty lunch (accompanied by quite a few strong drinks!), the cars continued on route to Gothenburg. They were on display there until lunchtime the following day, parked outside the auto sales premises of H.J. Wallin. 

From Gothenburg the “Tour” drove south to Halmstad where they parked at Lilla Torget. The party stopped there to enjoy a fine meal … doused (again) with a few “interesting drinks”.

Halmstad where the Sixteens parked at Lilla Torget

Much later, the cars continued on to Helsingborg, where they made a further (brief) stop. However, because they were running very late and had to catch the ferry from Trelleborg to Sassnitz, in Germany, they did not stop in Malmö, despite the thousands of people who had assembled on the square, outside the hotel Cramer, eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of the exclusive cars.

The Caravan reached Trelleborg and caught the ferry with only five minutes to spare!


July 5-6 to July 24

The German portion of the “Tour” lasted around 19 days ... the longest lap of the entire journey. The first stop after the ferry crossing was Berlin. The cars are presumed to have left Scandinavia around July 22-23, embarking in Trelleborg at the southern tip of Sweden and disembarking the same day in Sassnitz, on Ruden island in Germany after a sea voyage of 60-70 miles south across the Baltic sea.

There, they were welcomed by General Motors G.m.b.H. and the local Cadillac dealer, Eduard Winter. It is our educated guess, looking at the map of Europe, that the cars probably drove through Germany along this itinerary: Rostok > Berlin > Dresden > Nuremberg >  Münich > Ulm > Stuttgart > Frankfurt > Wiesbaden > Cologne > Essen, then across the border into Holland. That is the order in which we have shown the known photos of that section of the “Tour”. We have seen only one photo of a V-16 in Berlin (“Madame X” limousine, style #4175).  

EuroAltesMusBerlin2   EuroAltesMusBerlin

The steps in front of this building - and the French number plate on the car had Yann thinking this location was the cathedral in Cologne; in fact the color photo (right) identifies it correctly as the Altes [old] Museum in Berlin

The Brandenburg gate: classical "Triumph" arch today
 The cars did pass by it
v6euro3.jpg (9131 bytes)   Eur4330.jpg (16683 bytes)

The “demo” sedan, style #4330S

The oriental rugs on display in Copenhagen’s Hotel d’Angleterre
were used again in Berlin to enhance the displays of the V-16

The precise location of the Berlin venue was not shown GM World for November 1930

v6eurok.jpg (8682 bytes)   v6eurol.jpg (7789 bytes)

This photo of style #4175 limousine (left) appears to have been taken also in Dresden;
similar oriental-style rugs were spread around also in Nuremberg, a few days later;
In the same showroom (?);  the oval license tag on the phaeton you can see
in the background, confirms the cars wore German “tourist” tags in Germany



Style #4175 at the old fortress in Nuremburg (“before” and “after”)

Style #4235 in front of Münich’s astounding Mittelsbach fountain

Three “Tour “ cars before the cathedral in Cologne
: styles #4235, 4264B and 4260


July 24 to 29

The cars drove through Holland, on route to Arnhem, Utrecht and The Hague. There was a reported overnight stay in Arnhem, where the five V-16s were displayed in the showrooms of Mr. K. Landeweer, general agent for GM in Holland and enterprising distributor for Cadillac and LaSalle cars at General Motors Continental.  He met the V-16s at the border between Germany and Holland on July 24 and remained with the cars for the entire duration of the Dutch part of the “Tour”.  In Utrecht (Mr. Landeweer's HQ) there was a 2-day showing as well as many demonstration rides, so that prominent Dutch persons might enjoy what the Sixteens had to offer.

Following a press luncheon and demonstration, a well-known automotive authority wrote a highly laudatory article about Cadillac's V-16 models; it was published in Holland's De Auto. We do not have a copy.

The title of the following piece is: THE CADILLAC “SIXTEEN-CYLINDER” CARAVAN; it is sub-titled: A “Tour” along Holland’s highways and was published on August 4, 1930, in the Limburger Courrier (a provincial newspaper from the southern part of Holland). The opening line reads:  we have received this from Utrecht; the next line begins: It is a sensational feeling to ride in a sixteen-cylinder car for the first time.

The actual Caravan of cars is mentioned only in passing; the onus of the piece centers on past and present Cadillac automobile production with only references to V-16 performance and styling. If any Dutch-speaking viewers want to translate the full text to English, we will gladly post their work here.

Thanks to CLC member, Dirk Van Dorst (coordinator of the club's activities in Europe) and to Paul Ayres (club Vice-President for International Affiliates), we were able to get copies of the article, above, and the two clippings below. Our knowledge of Dutch is limited so please forgive our NOT attempting to translate the two cuttings into English. We did make an attempt to translate the headlines.

This cutting is from News of the Day, a daily paper
published in Batavia, Dutch East Indies

The preceding extract is dated July 29, 1930; my own translation reads: The international Cadillac Caravan comprising five deluxe models in the new V-16 Cadillac range were shipped on June 12  aboard the SS Deutschland (mistaken information once again; in fact the carrier was the S/S United States) with the objective of doing a tour of Europe this summer. The Caravan will visit eight (actually 9countries; it left Copenhagen on June 24 (actually June 28), to end the trip in Madrid on September 8 (actually it ended in Paris, on September 9).  In the intervening period the following towns will be visited (the actual itinerary and the dates of the visits are not clearly defined but include Stockholm (Sweden), Berlin, Dresden, Nuremberg, Münich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Wiesbaden and Cologne (Germany), Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague (Holland), Antwerp and Brussels (Belgium), Paris, Aix-les-Bains, Nice, Toulouse and Biarritz (France), Basel, Zürich, Berne and Geneva (Switzerland) and finally San Sebastiàn and Madrid (Spain). 

Despite the requests for information made on Yann’s behalf by Dirk Van Dorst (coordinator of the Cadillac and LaSalle Club's activities in Europe) to many known Dutch historians and collectors, including Frans Frijaldenhoven and Koen Ongkioehong, nothing new on the subject has come to light regarding the Dutch portion of the “Tour”.

This clipping is from the west Indian  De Indische Courant. It reads:  The Cadillac
V-16 Caravan that recently made a trip through Europe, visited the picturesque
small town of Cadillac in the South of France, where a wreath was laid on the
War Memorial in honor of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, founder of Detroit, Michigan.

Three photos also  were published in General Motors Continental during the time the cars spent in Holland; the copies in my possession  were scanned from those magazines and many fall short of what  would be needed in the Cadillac Database; a better copy (below) was provided by Peter Ratcliff of Melbourne, Australia.

Vollendam, in Holland, featuring the five “sixteens”, led by Style #4330S sedan
[General Motors World, September 1930]

One report published by General Motors - Continental in Holland identified the correct location of the above below. Yann first believed it had been taken near Le Perthus, on the Spanish border with France; in reality – and this has required a change of the map itinerary. It was snapped near Doorn, in Holland, where the Caravan had stopped at the gates to Huis Doorn.

Huis Doorn is the former home of Germany's late Emperor Wilhelm II (1859 – 1941). He was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia and eldest grandson of Britain’s Queen Victoria; he was related to many monarchs and princes including Britain’s King George V, founder of the House of Windsor. Kaiser Wilhelm supported Austro-Hungary in the crisis of July 1914 that led to the First World War.  An ineffective war leader, however, he lost the support of the army, abdicated in November 1918, and fled to exile in the Netherlands where he bought Doorn Castle in 1919, after the debacle of World War I.  He lived in the Castle until his death in 1941. The residence is still a museum. Huis Doorn has become a place of pilgrimage for German monarchists; a small but enthusiastic group of them gather there every year on the anniversary of his death to pay their homage to the last German Emperor.

Huis Doorn, Holland, featuring Fleetwood “Madame X” style #4175
General Motors World, September 1930 - scanned by Peter Ratcliff, Australia)


July 29 to August (?)

Following a successful “Tour” of the larger cities and towns of Holland, the Sixteens made their way to Antwerp, in Belgium, on July 24; this was reported by General Motors Continental around the end of July 1930. There had been cabled reports to GM headquarters in Detroit about similar successes encountered in Scandinavia, Germany and Holland. It is assumed there were 3-4 stops on route, e.g. in  Antwerp and Brussels, and possibly also in Bruges and Ostende, before the Caravan reached the French Channel resorts and then headed south in the direction of Switzerland.

Unfortunately, the archives of GM's facility in Antwerp, Belgium, were destroyed either during the war or possibly during a major “clean-up” of archival material after the war (the same thing happened with GM in Switzerland – AND with Cadillac on Cark Street in Detroit!). We put feelers out to friends in Belgium, and others familiar with the V-16 European “Tour”. So far, there have been no responses. Shame for we crazy collectors of “old stuff”!


August (?)- August 10

The “straight-line” first stop after Antwerp and Brussels in Belgium was the French spa town of Vittel, where photos were taken … but would the Caravan really have made a bee-line from Brussels to Vittel without first taking in beautiful Bruges, to the north and west? Yann is thinking of an itinerary that would look like more this: Bruges > Lille > Arras > St. Quentin > Laon > Reims (Champagne country!) > Bar-le-Duc > Toul > Vittel   (where a couple of photos were taken) > Epinal > Belfort (or Mulhouse) > Basel (in Germany).


(Left) Style #4235 convertible coupe at the entrance to the Hôtel Ermitage
in the spa town of Vittel (eastern France); (right) the same entrance today
The former Hotel Hermitage is now the Hotel Continental

What we do know is that the Caravan crossed the border from Belgium into France in the 1st or 2nd week in August as it headed south towards Switzerland[9]. Strange as it might seem, there are very few reports and photos to describe the progress of the “Tour” in France. It was only in 1936 and thereafter that all French workers began to enjoy paid leave (congés payés); that's when an estimated 80% of the otherwise active French population ceases all forms of work and heads for the country's major “recreational areas”, being on the coasts of the Mediterranean, the Atlantic ocean, the English Channel (known in France as La Manche) and the French Alps; such vacations usually are taken in the (warm) months of July or August. Perhaps French workers already had got into the habit of “taking it easy” at that time of year, which might explain France's apparent “silence” during the “Tour” …  even if such essential annual vacation time were taken at the workers’ own expense.

Style #4260 heading to the golf course in Vittel



From other reports in “GM World” we learned that the Caravan was in the country for 4-5 days, from around August 10-15, 1930. Yann (a long-time resident of Switzerland) has put feelers out to the two major Swiss automobile clubs that  were already in operation in that country in the 30s; he contacted also the Tourist Boards of the principal cities and towns believed to have been visited:  Basel (the assumed border crossing point), Zürich (the banking capital), Berne (the capital city), Lucerne (spelled “Lussan” in one report), Geneva and finally (logically), the border town of St. Julien-en-Genevois in the Geneva enclave to the south, to re-enter France in the west. Until now we have seen NO reports of the Caravan passing through all these beautiful, scenic parts of Switzerland … but we have not given up hope.

August 15-18 (guess)

To get from Switzerland, to the Spanish border, the revised itinerary schedule (RH image, above) the organizers drew up this route: Aix-les-Bains > Grenoble > Nice > Toulouse > Biarritz > San Sebastiàn. 

In the revised itinerary published in the “GM World” issue for November, 1930, the proposed itinerary includes San Sebastiàn (the border post at Irún), then northwards through France via  Cadillac > Bordeaux > La Baule > Angers > Paris.


August 18 to 28 (guess)

There are NO known photos of the Caravan (nor any of the cars) between Vittel (France) and San Sebastiàn (Spain), near the French border. Strange, wouldn’t you say?

Madrid, the Spanish capital city was shown as being the end of the “Tour” but there is no record of the Caravan ever stopping there. According to the GM Motors progress reports, San Sebastiàn seems to have become the starting point of the return trip to the ACTUAL final destination that was changed (unofficially?) to Paris, France.

The image below is from the book Cadillac Eldorado by James W. Howell and Jeanna Swanson Howell. The text that accompanies the image reads (in part): This picture shows one of several (V16 models) that made an introductory tour through Europe beginning in the summer of 1930.


We believe the above photo is a Cadillac from the early 20s (it is NOT a V16 model);
it has RHD (?); it appears also to carry license tags from Madrid, in Spain

The text by the authors, that accompanies the preceding image, reads (in part): This picture shows one of several (V16 models) that made an introductory “Tour” through Europe beginning in the summer of 1930. The trip included a visit to the ancestral home of the Cadillac family in France (Yann has studied in depth the history of the Sieur Antoine de la Mothe-Cadillac; he asserts that there never was a “Cadillac” family in all of France; feel free to take a Cadillac history lesson in this other section of his Cadillac Database: https://www.newcadillacdatabase.org/static/CDB/Dbas_txt/Coatarms.htm.

So far is Spain is concerned, we have determined that there was a change of plans along the way. On the far right of the billboard (above), that was placarded on the outskirts of San Sebastiàn, the inset text reads: In San Sebastiàn on 27 and 28 August (at) Miracruz 2 [10]

San Sebastiàn is in the Basque region of north-eastern Spain; it is officially known as Donostia in the Basque language and as San Sebastiàn in Spanish. The cars are known to have been in San Sebastiàn on August 27 and 28 (as stated on the billboard). What happened between August 28 and September 9? That's almost 2 whole weeks! We have to assume the Caravan made an undocumented return trip from San Sebastiàn to Madrid, but we have found NO report(s) of any travel in Spain.

We have convinced ourselves – with no tangible proof – that following the mysterious trip to and in Spain, the Caravan proceeded northwards from San Sebastiàn, in the direction of Paris, through the border posts at Irùn (Spain) and Hendaye (France).

The cars made a first stop in the market town of Cadillac, whence the name of our favorite automobiles, even though it is historically accurate to assert that Antoine Laumet (aka Antoine de la Mothe-Cadillac), founder of Detroit, the motor capital of the world, had no connection at all with that town or its ancestors.


August 28-29 to September 9

In the third and final part of the “Tour” (which had NOT been initially planned) and took place from circa August 29 to September 9, i.e. another almost 2 weeks, the Caravan entered France, coming from Spain at the border post of Irùn (Spain) and Hendaye (France). The following towns and cities were visited:  Cadillac, Bordeaux, La Baule and Angers. The route that was followed from Angers to Paris is not specified; it could have been either Le Mans > Chartres or perhaps the more scenic route through the Loire Valley, via Tours > Orleans[11], effectively the (unplanned) final destination.

Entering France, coming from Spain, at Hendaye

The three arches (left) and the “bar” (right) are still a part of the local scene
The fine detective work was done by my good South-African buddy, Don Fraser of Dallas, TX;
I simply sent him the photo as a Facebook attachment on May 5, 2014 and Don identified the spot

Next stop: the market town of Cadillac and the Château des Ducs d’Epernon, a historic old castle which – it is often claimed in error – was the 17th century home of the founder of the city of Detroit. He was actually from a village near Castelsarrasin, 4 miles from the town of Cadillac and 24 miles from the city of Bordeaux.

On the square in Cadillac, with the five V16 cars grouped behind him, the Caravan director T.W. Henderson, placed a wreath at the monument to the soldiers who fell in World War I.  It was an honorable gesture towards one Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, an adventurous commoner, native of Castelsarrasin; his real name was Antoine Laumet.  Antoine had borrowed the name of the town next door to his and given it (indirectly, later) to the cars that bear his alias since 1902.

Château Cadillac – the (dried up) moat

#4235 in front the entrance doorway to Château Cadillac

The #4235 Convertible Coupe did get around;
here, again in front of the entrance to the Château

Close-up of the front door to “Château Cadillac”; the inscription is mostly illegible but you can
still  make out these three words: “Duc D’Epernon”, “construire” (to build) and “Cadillac”

In this photo you can probably identify 4 of the 5 “Sixteens” posing in front of St. Martin’s
church in the town of Cadillac: in front #4235, in the background, left, #4264B, in the
backbround, center, #4175 and partly hidden in the background, #4330S


EuroBordeaux2a   EuroBordeaux

Initially, I thought the above photo (left) and the enlargement (top) was taken in Paris; but  thanks to
Bruno Amiot of Angers, France, I know now that it was taken  in Bordeaux, in front of the Girondins
monument (a tall column and fountain that stands on Quinconces Square - color photo); an optical
 illusion caused by he camera lens and the angle at which the photo was taken, makes the #4260
phaeton in the foreground look smaller than the #4235 convertible coupe behind it
[ Photo: courtesy Barry Dougherty, via Anders Läck ]

The first stop after Bordeaux was La Baule, on September 6 and 7, 1930. A clipping in a contemporary newspaper notes that the cars would be on display on September 8 at the Place du Pelican in Angers in France, having stopped previously outside the casino in La Baule. In August 2005, Yann had a contact with Bruno Amiot, a researcher from Angers town council; Bruno effectively recalled that the Caravan had stopped there in September of 1930, as evidenced by 2 cuttings he kindly sent me from the local newspaper, Le Petit Courrier. He included 2 period photos of the newspaper ads. Having come from La Baule (circa 100 miles west), where they probably spent September 6 and 7, the ad said the “Sixteens” would be on display in Angers (from 4 p.m. on September 8 until noon on September 9),  on the premises of the local GM/Cadillac dealer, Laudreau & Co. at the Central Garage.


This photo from General Motors World magazine for November 1930
shows the five Sixteens lined up in front of the casino in La Baule
(General Motors World, November 1930 - scanned by Peter Ratcliff, Australia)


Another view of the same line-up, courtesy
(Photo: courtesy Barry Dougherty, via Anders Läck)


Crossing the old bridge at Angers

The Pont de la basse chaîne in Angers, with its fortress (in the center and below)

Originally, this castle was built as a fortress in Roman times. The huge fortresse was built starting in 1234  before King Louis IX turned 21 (before that, he was known as Saint-Louis); in 1246, he gave the fortress to his brother, Charles (General Motors World, November 1930 – LH image scanned by Peter Ratcliff, Australia)


Somewhere in France (?); note the French flags in the background, behind the convertible coupe 

From San Sebastiàn, back to the actual final destination in the City of Lights (Paris), the selected route took the Caravan through the border posts at Irùn (Spain) and Hendaye (France); there were a number of stops thereafter in the market town of Cadillac, the Casino in La Baule, a public viewing of the cars in Angers and, finally, the arrival of the Caravan in Paris on September 9. On September 9 the cars rolled into Paris, the final destination. The total mileage for the trips from Copenhagen to Oslo was 577 kilometers (360 miles). 

Summary: During the ten  weeks they had been on the move, the cars  were shown at 21 formal views, 44 different cities  were visited, 9 countries  were visited and 11 different border crossings was passed without problems or delays. Each country's sales organization had posed one person at each border crossing to explain to customs the purpose of the Caravan. It was done so effectively that the group's accompanying luggage passed all duty stations without any bags being searched. The record shows that the cars had driven 10,709 km (6,650 miles) in total, from Copenhagen to Paris. The cars certainly could have been sold several times in the demonstration trip so great was the interest. The sport coupe model #4235 was sold later to a prominent banker from Basel, while the 5-passenger sedan, type #4330S, was sold to another Swiss gentleman, this one in Geneva; he had retired after having made a fortune in business ventures in (South?) America. The 7-passenger so-called “Madame X” limousine, type #4175, appears to have made its way to Morocco; a period photo shows the car being loaded onto a ship for the journey there.  The other two cars were used for demonstration purposes in Paris during the annual auto show in the “City of Lights” in October. The first one, the sports style #4260 special phaeton with dual cowl was acquired by renowned French coachbuilder, Jacques Saouchik; he removed the phaeton body and created an enclosed sedan featuring a special sliding roof with a glass “observation panel” which – when the roof was opened up - matched the car’s back light (details of what happened to the “Sixteens” follow, below).



Unidentified locations

We are hoping that some travel buffs will help us pin-point (for sure, with recent photos) the “mystery” places where these snapshots were taken. We are guessing France, but perhaps also Belgium, where French and Flemish both are spoken





Publicity shot of the research library at the REVS Institute in Naples:
Yann  and Gita spent 2 days here, on research for this (revised) story





What became of the Five V-16s?

Let’s look at them, one by one, in the order of their French tag numbers:

2145XB, style #4260, Special Phaeton

This V-16 went from one “adventure” to another, starting with the fact that it was wrongly identified (from the very beginning, in the factory build sheet) as an “All-Weather Phaeton”; were that the case, the style number would have been “4380” and not “4260”. It remained in Paris through the 1930 Paris Salon (auto show) that opened its doors on October 2, 1930 and closed on Sunday October 12.

The (clipped) photo, below shows the five V-16s parading down
the Champs Elysées, between the 1st and 2nd weeks in October

Much of what follows should be considered anecdotal unless and until the story Yann was able to piece together is proven to be 100% accurate. After the Salon (i.e. after Sunday October 12, or perhaps even later), the Phaeton appears to have been acquired by the wealthy German Countess von Opel, spouse of the grandson of Adam von Opel who first built the cars that still carry his name.  The Countess took the car to Switzerland where it got Swiss tags #VS18439, from the Canton of Valais.

While on those Swiss tags the car won the “Grand Prix” (Concours d’Elégance?) in Cannes on France’s Côte d’Azur (see caption to the original GM World photo, below),


Later still (no dates found), the car was acquired by Jacques Saoutchik, one of France’s premier coach-builders from pre- and post WW2 days; he removed the Phaeton’s (rear) body (what happened to it is anyone’s guess) and built on the chassis (which included the V-16 mechanicals as well as the hood and the firewall) a custom “sliding-roof” sedan.

The latter had some adventures of its own, which need not be related here; suffice it to say that the sedan found its way back to the USA in the mid-80s. A well-known American auto restorer did an in-depth face-lift to the sedan (photo #4) and put it on another V-16 chassis (VIN700979); he then created an exact replica of a #4260 Special Phaeton and put that replica body onto the original V-16 chassis (VIN701554). The latter was later acquired by a well-known collector of classic cars who, even later, sold it to the current owner.


2146XB, style #4330S, Sedan

Like 2145XB the 5-passenger sedan - the demo car - made various appearances around Paris’ many monuments and avenues. After the Salon closed its doors, this V-16 was acquired by a Swiss gentleman with obvious good taste. We don’t know the date of the transaction nor what happened to the car after it moved to Geneva. According to the report in General Motors World for November 1930, that gentleman had made his fortune in America and had returned to Switzerland after retiring from business.  We wonder if that sedan survived.

Style #4330S, here, went to Geneva

2148XB, style 4175, Limousine

Like the other four “Sixteens”, #2146XB spent (at least) a month in Paris before moving to other climes. We have little information about this one, other than it appears to have gone to North Africa, to the country of Morocco. We nay only assume this is what happened, based on a “fuzzy” photo of the car being loaded onto a ship bound for that destination; it is (barely) identifiable by the French tourist tag (2148XB) it was assigned in Denmark. Thank you, Peter Ratcliff, long-standing member of the Cadillac Club of Australia, for bringing this photo to our attention and sharing it with us. Could this “Tour” car have been acquired by HM King Mohamed V, who reigned over of Morocco from 1927 to 1961?   We know his eldest son, HM King Hassan II, was a keen car collector. Anyone seen this collection?

Style #4175 (possibly) went to Morocco


2149XB, style #4264B, Town Brougham

We are unsure of the fate reserved for this fabulous vehicle (one of only THREE built with the French cane applied to the rear body). Like the other V-16s, it remained for a time in Paris, in October 1930, and was seen “about town” with its sister “Sixteens” throughout the duration of the Salon. There is a strong resemblance between this Fleetwood style #4264B and a Town Brougham converted by the now extinct Dutch coachbuilder Bronkhorst, in Holland. Yann discovered in the French magazine “Auto Carrosserie” for March-April 1931, the existence of such a car and is convinced it is the “Tour” Town Brougham. There is indeed a remote possibility that style #4264B found its way back to Holland, where it had been on display already from circa July 24 to 29, before proceeding to Antwerp, in Belgium. The Bronkhorst car features large quarter windows and a body extended a few inches, we guess to accommodate twin, forward-facing, full width auxiliary seats. It is a shame that such a grand “classic” should apparently have disappeared, It may well be that it was seized by the Nazis, as a “spoil of war” during their occupation of Holland; if that were the case, it is doubtful it would have survived the massive allied bombings of major German cities during WW2. 

The Dutch car on the right is “stretched” and has got ¼ windows; the door handles are different as is the trim on the tool-box below the driver’s door; it is also possible (but unlikely) that the base car was bought directly from GM

It would be a “crying shame” to learn that this exceptional limousine-brougham was destroyed!

https://www.newcadillacdatabase.org/static/CDB/Dbas_v16/v6-4291.jpg   https://www.newcadillacdatabase.org/static/CDB/Dbas_v16/v6-4264b.jpg

Factory photos of town car style #4291 (left), the donor car, and style #4264B with canework (right)


You can tell the body has been stretched a few inches; note the large ¼ windows and the distance
from the rear door hinge pillar to the arm rest (with what appears to be a microphone beside it


By comparison, this is the interior of a “re-created” #4264B Town Brougham, converted
from a style #4291 Town Car (B&W photo above); note the absence of quarter windows


2150XB, style 4235, Convertible Coupe

This sporty convertible coupe was also put to work during the Paris auto show. It may be of interest to note that GM omitted (deliberately or not?) to make any reference, in  its monthly “GM World” magazine for December 1930, to the recent participation of all five cars in the “V-16 European Tour” that had ended in Paris two months earlier, after a 3-month and more than 6,000-mile trip to 9 countries.

Style #4235 went to Basel

By now the cars all were “used”, or “pre-owned” or “second hand” and may have been offered for sale at “unbeatable” prices, to avoid costly repatriation to the USA. We don’t know the price paid for the “used” convertible; we do know that like the style 4330S sedan it was acquired by a Swiss gentleman in Basel.

Information Wanted

Missing from this revised Database section relating to the “V-16 European Tour” also photos and reports from a number of the countries through which the Caravan passed but (apparently) did NOT get any press coverage, even less photos. Could it be that comments and pics were suppressed? Indeed it may be that when Mr. Sloan got from Mr. Osterman the many negative comments about the cars and the general situation that had obtained in Sweden, during the “Tour” in that country, as well as the bad press he had got via GM’s Export office in Paris, he simply decided to curtail the program and keep published comments (especially negative ones) to a minimum. It seems very odd, that countries like Belgium and especially Switzerland, for example, got NO coverage at all in GM World or GM Continental.  Mysterious also is the fact that there appears to be NO photos or press releases relating specifically to the “Tour” cars visiting Spain.

In order to complete the story of the “V-16 European Tour” story, we are looking for any articles or photos relating to that “Tour” that may have been published, at any time, in any of the countries that we know to have been included in the final itinerary. At this writing, Sweden has been the most prolific in supplying the kind of information we need.  France comes second, but with only two small cuttings from a single regional newspaper in Angers, as well as just a few photos taken in Paris, a month or more after the “Tour” had ended. There are some photos from Holland as well as three press cuttings (thanks to research carried out by Dirk Van Dorst). 




“Tour” Trivia

Trivia 1: It is worth noting that England's Motor Sport for November, 1962, recalled (p.894) that “several” V-16s were seen in Cologne in 1930.  The writer did not question why the cars had not come to Britain that summer. It seems strange, in my opinion, that England was not on the initial itinerary. But perhaps a visit to that country was not considered essential at the time, considering that the company was planning to show a couple of Sixteens at the Olympia show in London that coming Fall (October, 1930).

Trivia 2:  Interestingly, in all the photos we have seen that were taken during the “Tour” (some of them are shown above), you can see that none of these cars seems to carry a Goddess hood ornament or any of the (later?) optional sidemount covers. In addition all but one of them have regular, black-wall tires. The convertible coupe (#4235) has the optional, chrome-plated hood louvers, as does also the special phaeton (#4260)d.

Trivia 3: A reported seventy orders for V-16 models were taken during the “Tour”. This number corresponds to the recorded export sales of the V-16. Of these, fourteen units  went to Antwerp (Belgium), twelve to Madrid (Spain), eleven to Berlin (Germany) of which one style 4325C town car landauletlicensed #1A75825, seven to Mexico City (Mexico), six to Paris (France) of which at least one style #4130 and one #4330 - possibly the “Tour” car - or #4375 with French tourist registration #2017XB, five to Stockholm (Sweden), four to Copenhagen (Denmark), two to London (England - possibly because the Caravan did not stop there), two to Buenos Aires (Argentina) - engine #701530 was one of these (it is currently in Spain, mounted in a custom-bodied V-16 racer), two to Havana (Cuba) of which one was a style 4391 Town Car Broughamthe other may have been a style 4175 Imperial,  one to Bombay (now Mumbai, India) of which one style #4260 special phaeton with RHD for the Maharajah of Tikari, one to Manila (Philippines), one to Honolulu (Hawaii … that did not become a State of the Union until  August 21, 1959), one to Moscow (then the USSR) and one to Port Elisabeth (South Africa), it was a  RHD style 4380 all-weather phaeton). One additional unit (Fleetwood style #4291) went to the Royal Thai household in Bangkok (then Siam, now Thailand); the latter unit appears to have been a domestic purchase that was subsequently exported to the Far East and, therefore, is not included in the official “export” total.



We have scoured all the newspapers and magazines of the time but have found very little material about the trip that followed the visit to Sweden. GM executives might have moderated the news value of the trip owing to Hans Osterman's scathing criticism of it. Osterman was not gracious with his verbal remarks letter to the head of GM's European office about the way the Caravan had made its way through Sweden. Despite (or because of?) the negative “press” that had come from the Swedish royal household, some improvements were wrought during the trip from Sweden to Holland; it is a fact that K. Landeweer, the Dutch general agent for GM, was quite enthralled with the cars and showered praise on them at every occasion during the reception they got in Holland. It is possible also that GM's European HQ in Paris had got Osterman's bitter criticism and so the “Tour” organizers may have been rebuked by Paris and “ordered” to “get their act together”.

To ensure the success of the Caravan through Sweden, Osterman had devoted substantial resources. In one letter he wrote:  (it) cannot be called a GM Caravan but it is more like a picnic party”. He pointed out that his objections, which might seem overly severe, in fact (in our opinion) they were quite tempered. Osterman was extremely disappointed with the American officials who led the Caravan, and not just because they seemed to sleep late every day (and enjoy the local “refreshments”, but also because they failed to keep the cars in tip-top condition. He had managed to interest in the “Sixteens” some of the country's wealthiest auto enthusiasts, but they were far from impressed by what they saw. A general complaint which, was no fault of the Caravan participants, was the inner dimensions of the cars; they all found the space “cramped” for such a costly car. The King himself complained he had room neither for a hat nor for his long legs. Torsten Kreuger said that the Cadillac was inferior to the Rolls-Royce cars with overhead valves he had test driven; he did find them superior to the Duesenberg he had just acquired. For Osterman, the Caravan, which of course had required a great deal of organizing as well as costly advertising, must have been a major disappointment ... as it had been, also, for the 3000 inhabitants of Malmö!

As you have seen, the “Tour” organisation and itinerary are covered – but only in part – in part in “GM World”, an in-house magazine distributed to all GM offices and distributors outside the United States. After much searching, a complete set of the issues from June to December 1930 was found in the REVS Institute and Library in Naples, Florida, in March 2018.

In conclusion, our sincere thanks go out to the REVS Institute and Library in Naples, Florida, and especially to Mark Vargas, its Director. He and Paul Kierstein, a library volunteer, received Yann (and his wife Gita) most graciously, for two whole days in March 2018; they had come to the library to study and photograph the issues of “GM World” that related to the “Tour”; what they discovered was not only a fabulous collection of classic and sports cars, but also many bound volumes of the pre- WW2 French magazine, “Auto Carrosserie”, that Yann had been searching for some 40 years!

The “Tour” story has been published previously (in Swedish) in the club magazine Autohistorica; the latter graciously provided some fine photos for this report signed hereunder by its authors:


       Anders Läck                                  Anne Eckström                                      Yann Saunders.



Here is a selection of letters and other communications relating to the V-16 European tour. Most of them were found (and copied) in the archives of Hans Osterman, General Motors dealer in Stockholm, Sweden. Mr. Osterman obviously was unhappy with the way the “Tour” organizers had dealt with their responsibilities. While the publicity made around the Sixteens is flattering, to say the least (and we should not expect less from the new Standard of the World, it was ascertained from Hans Osterman's correspondence (discovered in the firm's archives) that he was actually quite disappointed at how Mr. Henderson (the tour organizer from Detroit) and his party had done their job. He reflected that they had not acted in a very professional manner. In addition, there is a letter (cropped copy below) from Mr. Osterman to the Paris office of GM Export Corp., another to Alfred P. Sloan, as well as the latter's reply, indicating that Mr. Osterman was NOT particularly impressed with the quality, style and reliability of the five V-16 cars he got for the tour:

-  It was discovered that the ignition was altogether wrong ...
-  I think it is a disgrace that cars as expensive as this should be in an inferior shape after such a short drive ...
-  These cars do not nearly live up to the distinction which you wish to give them ...
-  The 7-passenger Imperial Sedan could not seat 7 people comfortably ... it was crowded.
-  [
there is] no more space than in any ordinary, medium-priced car."

That could be one of the reasons why so little information seems to have been published, about the tour, subsequently, in the other European countries that were visited.






Mr. Sloan, center
Mr. Hans Osterman, left
 the CEO of GM Nordiska, right


(Appel aux lecteurs français)

Qui connaît cet endroit? On dirait Paris, mais nous nous trompons peut-être (transl: who knows this location? It looks like Paris but we could be mistaken).


The V-16 that won a prize in Vienna

In the in-house “Cadillac-LaSalle Sales Bulletin” #37 for July 21, 1930, there is a snippet of information (above) that was brought to light during Anders’ thorough research; it is from the Harrisburg Evening News for July 9, 1930 and refers to the presence of the Cadillac V-16s in Europe; it refers specifically to “… a V-16 Phaeton, with a special Fleetwood body”. There was no photo of the car. Anders immediately jumped to the conclusion (and we all agreed) that the “Phaeton” in question was one of the five V-16s sent on the promotional “Tour” of Europe.


The “Baroness” in question did indeed acquire in July 1930 a Fleetwood-bodied phaeton; however, THAT car was the “All-Weather” model, style #4380, as may be seen in the photo below that we found also in an old issue of “GM World”. That “phaeton” is believed to have been shipped to Europe also in June, 1930 … but probably on a different, earlier ship than the S/S United States that carried the (other) five V-16s cars to Copenhagen; two of them had been delayed in Detroit and finally left the factory only on June 11, 1930; they reached New York (by road) but it was too late for them to board the ship that had been originally booked (S/S Deutschland). 

There is no evidence that any of the “Tour” cars made the trip to Vienna; firstly, that European capital was NOT listed on the initial or revised “Tour” itinerary; secondly, the Concours in Vienna happened during the week the five Tour” Sixteens were traveling through Germany; Vienna is more than 200 miles from Münich, which would have been a 5-6 hour drive in 1930. Surely someone would have heard about the “Tour” caravan, other than this “phaeton”.


Anders had another interesting theory; he pointed to the blurb in the heading of the “GM World” report for December, 1930. It underlined how the experience gained by the “Tour” – and notably in Paris – had put considerable publicity value on having such De Luxe models in evidence at focal points in large cities … like Vienna!

Perhaps the 5-car Caravan did bypass Austria, but GM Export Co in Paris certainly must have mulled over the idea of wanting to show a V-16 at the Concours in Vienna. Baroness von Rosenberg’s V-16 saved the “Tour” some time and expense!



Baroness Catherine von Rosenberg in her V-16 Cadillac, Fleetwood style #4380 All-Weather Phaeton that won first prize in a Concours d’Elégance held in Vienna; note the Bugatti “Prancing Elephant” mascot used in lieu of the Cadillac “Goddess”!

According to another  clipping provided kindly by Steven Nanini entitled Looking back  ... the 1930 V-16, the writer asserted: In July [1930] the V16s [plural] won prizes in Vienna.  In the same article it was asserted that the five V-16s were loaded onto the S/S Deutschland in New York (again erroneous information). The writer  went on to mention a visit to the ancient seat of the Cadillac family in the Bordeaux region of southern France, as well as the Dukes of Epernon, claimed by the writer to be the ancestors of the Sieur Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.  

More “fake news”

In a second, similar paper supplied kindly by Steven, from circa 1992 and entitled  welcome Home - Goodwill Ambassadors, the writer (Donald S. Hoeft of GM International Export Sales), stated the same erroneous facts, possibly gleaned from (or supplied to) the writer of the earlier clipping. Hoeft said King Gustav of Sweden was in admiration of their (the Cadillac's) excellent coachwork and mechanical perfection (our emphasis). That statement is at odds with the general opinion of Hans Osterman, Sweden's highly regarded Cadillac dealer; in a letter of July 21, 1930, to then GM President Alfred P. Sloan, Osterman wrote: His Majesty expressed as his opinion that these cars did not give a real comfort, especially in insufficient leg and head room (Osterman did omit to mention the fact that the King stood more than 6’3” tall!). Hoeft mentioned also the V-16 Caravan's visit to the French town named for the family of the founder of Detroit; he refers also to the Dukes of Epernon as being the ancestors of Le Sieur Cadillac, describing him as the town's illustrious son. Once again, this is all “historical misinformation”; there is no (known), noble “Cadillac family” in all of France; the self-styled Sieur Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac was a commoner (albeit an adventurous one); he was born simply Antoine Laumet in the small township of St. Nicolas-de-la-Grave, located some 80 miles south-east of Cadillac and some 100 miles south-east of Bordeaux; Laumet created for himself the alias “de la Mothe Cadillac” at the time he married in 1687 another commoner, Marie-Thérèse Guyon, niece of French-Canadian privateer, François Guyon. The true facts about le Sieur Cadillac are to be found in this section of Yann’s “Cadillac Database”. 

Steven recalled that GM’s Cadillac Division published a confidential Cadillac-La Salle Sales Bulletin; during the summer of 1930, all dealers (in the US and Europe) got updated information on the “Tour” from those bulletins. Unfortunately, Steven has found only a single example of that in-house publication; it is issue #37 of July 21, 1930, mentioned above. In it, the writer makes no specific reference to the European Tour of five V-16s. 

Interestingly, Steven told me in June 2014 that he had owned at one time the Fleetwood Style #4260 special phaeton that was one of the five European “Tour” cars [VIN 701554]; in fact he had “only”  the chassis, motor, hood and firewall from the original car; a “replica body” was fashioned for him in Colorado by the late Wayne Merriman, obviously a highly skilled artisan. We don’t know what happened to the actual phaeton body #2; perhaps it will turn up one day!

Steven asserted that the original car had been acquired by Baroness Von Rosenberg of Vienna. That information, again, is at odds with the facts AND with the photo shown above. The Baroness’ car was a Fleetwood V-16 style #4380 “All-Weather Phaeton”; she had acquired that car independently of the five V-16 “Tour” cars.[12]

Steve  said: I am also sending a copy of a letter from [the late] Wayne Merriman dated March 11, 1987 which conclusively proves 701554 was the Sports Phaeton (#4260) that I restored and ultimately sold to Dennis Sobieski. As you can see from my Bill of Sale from Alain Rouhaud[13], my Sports Phaeton was sold during the European “Tour”  to Baroness Von Rosenberg[14] and later received a Saoutchik body and was purchased by Alain Rouhaud who then sold it to me on January 28, 1987. I purchased 701554 under the advice of Wayne Merriman. Fred Weber of St. Louis, MO purchased the Saoutchik body and I fabricated a Sports Phaeton body [that was put on an authentic V-16 chassis - VIN 700979] to return 701554 to its original European configuration[15] (all emphases by Yann).

This is the “Tour” car Special Phaeton, style #4260, purported to have been acquired (after the “Tour”
ended) by Mrs. Fritz von Opel; it carries Swiss number plates from the Valais region (“VS”);
she showed the car in Cannes where it won the “Grand Prix” (photo); the date of that event is not
known, nor is the time-frame when the car was acquired by Saoutchik and converted to a sedan

This is the “sliding roof” sedan that was put on VIN 701554 circa 1930-31 by Saoutchik;
 restored in Paris, in 1964, the car was repainted the original dark-blue, with
matching dark-blue upholstery and brown top, as per Saoutchik’s original specs

This is what the Saoutchik sedan looked like in the mid-80s, after restoration “à l’américaine
by Chicago restorer, Fran Roxas (in Yann’s opinion it is “over-restored”); the body was
repainted silver-blue with dark-blue fenders and belt molding; the original Marchal headlights
were removed and replaced with Grebels; he added a large, centrally-mounted fog light; the
original dark-blue upholstery was replaced with off-white; finally, the top was changed to
dark-blue and the six wheels got wide white-wall tires (Photo: “Torque” magazine, CCCA)










Return to The (New) Cadillac Database© Index Page
or go back to the 
V-16 index page

© 2018, Yann Saunders and the Cadillac-LaSalle Club, Inc.

[1] In those days, DFDS carried freight to and from Copenhagen to both the USA and France).  The Scandinavian America Line (Skandinavien-Amerika-Linien) was founded in 1898, when Det Forenede Dampskibs-Selskap (DFDS)  took over the steamship company Thingvalla Line. The passenger and freight service between Scandinavia and New York City was operated under the name Scandinavian America Line until 1935. One of their ships was the SS United States, constructed in 1903 by A. Stephen and Sons in Glasgow. The United States made her maiden voyage on March 30, 1903, sailing from Copenhagen to Christiana (present-day Oslo) to New York. Her last voyage was on October 25, 1934. She was scrapped in 1935.

[2] Please to remember that WW2 raged in Europe from 1939 to 1945, with the German occupation of Paris and much of northern France, starting in June 1940. Many records could have disappeared.

[3] This is body #2, although another published source says it was #1; we have a copy of the build sheet for VIN701554; the “re-built” car was owned for many years by Steven Nanini (AZ) who subsequently sold it to Dennis Sobieski; the car carries CLC Senior car #141.

[4] (Note: in 1923, GM's first European assembly plant was established in Copenhagen under the name General Motors International A/S; it was to build Chevrolet cars for sale in Scandinavian countries, the Baltic, Germany, Poland. (Note: in 1923, GM's first European assembly plant was established in Copenhagen under the name General Motors International A/S; it was to build Chevrolet cars for sale in Scandinavian countries, the Baltic, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary and Russia; the first GM vehicle assembled outside the U.S. and Canada was a Chevrolet utility truck; it came off the Copenhagen assembly line on January 7, 1924).

[5] There were none for July and October, 1930

[6] Even more than 30 years later, in 1963, it was still a strenuous 20-hour drive to cover the distance from Geneva (Switzerland) to Valencia (Spain), i.e. roughly the same distance as Madrid to Paris; granted, Yann had done that trip in a tiny 500cc Fiat Cinquecento and not at the wheel of a Cadillac V-16 with a displacement of more than 7400cc!

[7] Yann had thought, initially, that these cars were photographed in front of Stockholm's National Museum entrance; however, Rickard Johansson Wolrath, Editor of Sweden's Classic Motor Magasin wrote (in Feb. 2002) to say that, in fact, the photo was taken in front of the Swedish Royal Automobile Club (the KAK, Kungliga Automobil Klubben); the Swedish leg of the Caravan actually started from there.  The KAK building was (and still is) located next door to Stockholm’s National Museum; that is probably the building to be seen here, in the background; since that photo was taken, the Museum entrance has been rebuilt.


[8] Anders and Anne, with help from auto historian Jan Stroman, examined in detail the Hans Osterman archives in Stockholm’s “Center for the History of Industrial Life”. They picked out any available information relating to all sixteen Cadillac V-16 models that were imported to Sweden in the period 1930-1931. The “Tour” cars are NOT included among those 16 cars as they were merely “passing through”. By the way, no later V-16s were ever imported to Sweden.

[9]  Note that the Caravan made THREE incursions into France that summer; the visits are described below.

[10]  Today, Miracruz-Bidebieta is one of San Sebastiàn’s newest quarters

[11] In 1953, Cadillac designers named two of its “Showcars”, Le Mans and Orleans; were they possibly inspired by these two French cities (possibly visited 23 years earlier by the five bespoke “V-16” models).

[12] We looked at six interesting hypotheses regarding the car used by the Baroness to demonstrate how impossible it was that her car was the “Tour” car  #4260 special phaeton: (1) it was off-loaded at Le Havre, where it got the French “tourist” tags, then she (or her chauffeur?) drove the car to Vienna (a long day's drive in 1930); if the car were indeed her property, in Austria, she would have had to turn in the tourist tags for regular Austrian ones within a few weeks of “coming home”; (2) Austria was not included on the European “Tour” itinerary;  (3) logic dictates that the concours was held the weekend before the article about it was published, i.e. July 5-6 … at the time the Caravan was “on the road” somewhere between Sweden and Germany;  (4) the Baroness was a wealthy person – duh! – with a residence in Paris and used the car with the “tourist” tags to travel around Europe; (5) the car was a “loaner”, owned by GM in Paris who allowed wealthy clients to rent the car for European jaunts; finally (6) the Baroness’ “would be” #4260 Sport Phaeton was in fact a #4380 All-Weather Phaeton #4380!

[13]  Is this the same Alain Rouhaud, the well-known French collector of Ferrari automobiles?

[14]  Another photo (below) discovered in a similar issue of “GM World” shows Fleetwood’s style #4260 (body #2) in the possession of Mrs. Fritz von Opel, spouse of the grandson of Adam von Opel, founder of the car that bears his name; the caption reads: Mrs. Fritz von Opel, in the Cadillac V-16, purchased during the Cadillac Caravan’s trip to Europe last summer, which won the Grand Prix de Cannes recently.

[15]  We know that Paris' Jacques Saoutchik mounted a sedan body on this engine/chassis combination (VIN 701554) and fitted it with a special sliding roof. We don’t know the date(s) when that conversion was done. While the converted car was in France, it carried license #8651RK2 (photo); the same registration number was still on the car when it was sold by RM Sotheby’s at Villa D’Este in 2011 for 307,500 Euros.  Meanwhile, the Saoutchik body had been removed from VIN 701554 and been put on another (genuine) 1930 V-16, VIN 700979 (formerly a 5-pass. sedan style 4330S that shipped from Detroit in April 1930).  The car, as converted by Saoutchik (VIN 701554), was still owned in 1960 by an elderly lady (89) and would have been sold at auction by a Paris garage, had she not sent an agent over in the nick of time to pay an outstanding repair bill. A few years later that car is said to have been acquired (from the elderly lady's estate?) by French (?) auto dealer, Johnny Thuysbaert, then later by the late Serge Pozzoli, editor of France's Le Fanatique de l'Automobile. Serge subsequently sold the car to Hubert le Gallais, former CEO of POKER beer in Paris.