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Cadillac Baseball Team and “IR16” a 1930 V-16 with Custom Coachwork

Today’s feature image is an interesting view of a 1930 Cadillac V-16 with custom or semi-custom coachwork wearing Pennsylvania license plate IR16. No information is with the photograph and a google search for the picture online resulted in not learning more about it.

Using the clues available in the shot it is possible that a successful Cadillac agency located in one of Pennsylvania’s larger cities was offering this V-16 sedan from stock and also sponsored the baseball team. Another Cadillac is visible in the image on the far-right above a team member’s shoulder.

It is also feasible that the coachwork was constructed by the Fleetwood Body Company that was located in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania until 1929. The Coachbuilder became a part of General Motors when the Fisher Body Corporation, a part of GM since 1916 purchased it in 1925. Fleetwood was moved by Fischer to a new plant in Detroit in 1929 where the coachwork on this V-16 may have been built?

Share with us what you find of interest in this image, or if you can identify the coachbuilder that fabricated the body work on this Cadillac V-16 chassis.  The photograph is courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

31 responses to “Cadillac Baseball Team and “IR16” a 1930 V-16 with Custom Coachwork

  1. I have read that there were a lot of touring baseball teams in the depression. They’d hit smaller towns — towns that never saw a live semi-pro game — for demonstration games against local teams at town fairs, then go on their way. It would have been a great way to advertise. The car could have traveled with the team. I’m sure there were towns that had never seen a Caddy V-16 before, as well.

    Of course, this is pure speculation, but it seems plausible.

  2. This is somewhat off-topic, but I drive a 1976 Plymouth Volare Premier that was owned by the daughter of the owner of Fleetwood Auto Body, of Fleetwood, PA.

    • Probably not, Michael; they all look too old to be in high school. It’s sobering to realize that all the baseball players in the old photo were born in the 1800’s; now I’m wondering if multiple photos were printed and if somewhere there’s a grandson or more-likely a great-grandson or daughter of one of these young men who has this same photo tucked away in their family album. If so, that would probably reveal the details behind the old photo. Notice, too, the baseball gear on the ground in front of the car: looks like all of the catcher’s equipment from his shin guards to his face guard and everything in between including his oversize catcher’s mitt. Also, notice in the close-up photo that there’s a man behind the wheel of the Cadillac; he’s wearing spectacles and dressed in a suit and tie, perhaps the team manager or coach or someone from the Cadillac dealership.

  3. Interesting photo for sure. No photos exist, but during this same time, or a little later, my first father-in-law played soccer (football) for Rolls Royce/Canada. Must have been wonderous times for each. Prohibition, a job, and perhaps a little fame.

  4. I’m sure it isn’t but the guy standing nearest the cowl on the passenger side bears fair resemblance to Babe Ruth.

  5. Let’s talk about MOTORS! That vehicle has one of Cadillac’s most magnificent engines they every produced. It is an OHV V-16! Later Cadillac V-16’s were valve in block (flathead). If you have never actually seen one of these amazing early V-16 cars in person and heard the quiet power, you have missed a special moment all lovers of fine machinery wish for. Please read up and learn more about these rare vehicles. Yes, they represent money spent by the priveleged perhaps that most of America was not privy to during the difficult early days of The Great Depression, but fine engineering and production of these special cars did provide some quantity of needed jobs.

    I have been fortunate to have seen two of these vehicles out here at Huntington Beach Concours d’Elegance in recent years. Oh my, they were fine! Anyone out there who owns one of these rare V-16 early Caddy’s care to comment? The driving experience would certainly be interesting to know more about. Smooth and endless torque with quietude perhaps?

    Rich

  6. Intresting photo, the car has a few options. Dual sidemounts, wire wheels, double white wall tires, flying lady. Also note the Trico Visionall wipers are correctly parked in the center of the windshield next to each other. I would love to have one of those uniforms for my collection!

  7. It wasn’t until the final enlargement that I noticed there are two people sitting inside the car. The reflection of the trees on the windshield makes them almost indiscernible.

  8. IS this a vanity plate? “I are 16”, as in cylinders? I know Dodge Brothers had a company team. I am sure other companies did too.

    • It might be a requested number, but it’s not what we would consider a vanity plate. In the early 30s, PA drivers could request a specific plate, but it had to be within the normal combinations allowed by the state.

      This plate’s a shorty (4 characters instead of 5, 10″x6″ instead of 12″x6″), and it’s 1R16, not IR16. The letter I wasn’t permitted on passenger plates, and if it were, it would be the same height as the R, not the other numbers.

  9. I did find a great video on line of a running restored V16 Cadillac running by simply typing in “Cadillac V16”.

  10. Now theres a jersey that I bet Ebbets Field Flannels doesn’t carry!
    I heard that Cad V16s were simply two V-8s coupled in-line in the middle.
    Any truth to that?

  11. It’s impossible to know from this front-end photo, but this car may most likely be a 7-passenger sedan by Fleetwood.

    It’s far less likely that it’s a custom-bodied car. GM’s two captive coachbuilders were Fisher (MI) and Fleetwood PA), and 10 “factory custom” bodies catalogued by Fisher and 72 [!] by Fleetwood accounted for over 80% of production.

    The most common choice was the 7-passenger LeBaron (name not builder) sedan that listed for $6225; the cheapest was the 2-passenger rumble-seat roadster at $5350, and the most costly the 7-passenger Town Brougham at $9200.

    Weights ranged from 5000-6000 pounds and top speeds from ~100 mph on the roadster to 80-85 mph on the rest.

    Mileage ran around 8 mpg. Which was another reason relatively few were bought. In addition to the fact that the V-16 was announced on December 10, 29 and debuted on January 4, 1930. Two and three months after the crash.

    But it was very smooth (OHV not flathead like Cadillac V-8), gentle (1-year-new 3-speed Synchro-Mesh) and quiet.

    It exhaust piping was surprisingly small and its finishers were flattened to further reduce exhaust sound (and flow.)

    But it wasn’t the biggest or most powerful V-16: 452 CID and 165-175-hp versus Marmon’s 491 CID and 200-hp.

    PS – And much cost extra. Wire wheels. Sidemounts. Luggage rack. Trunk at $100-119. Cost of a nice used Ford.

  12. When I was about 14, had an extended ride in a V16 Cad–a 1931 as I remember. Because of war time tire rationing , it was impossible to get tires the right size for it- even after the war for a long time. The only tires the right rim size that the owner could get were meant for the front wheels of farm tractors–with three ribs for tread–of course, the owner told me this when we were going about 60. Rear ones at this time were the best of the pre-war that the owner had. I was scared, the whole ride that we would have a blow out. There was a roll up window separating the front from the rear seats–can’t have the vassals hearing your discussions, you know.
    The owner of this car, was a good friend of his, and was the propiater of the neighborhood garage, and state inspection station. He had two stunning V16’s. One was a swoopy car built for the 1940(?) car show- a one of a kind body body. The other. a 2 seat touring car, had been the property ,when new, of the owners of the Bryers Ice Cream Co. and was painted the colors that were on a Bryers box–green body , red wheels, and white walls. This one was my favorite an absolutely stunning car . One day I stopped in and it was gone–he had sold it! I remember thinking why hadn’t he sold the coupe? But it was his favorite, and was admittedly a much more one-of a-kind piece. I never cared for cars that you couldn’t see the radiator core. He ran the coupe, but I never saw the touring move. but, knowing the owner, I know that it did.

    Ah, the good old days!!

  13. I am leaning toward a Catalog car – not really custom bodied (more along the lines of a “standard” bodied Sedan, 7 Passenger Sedan, Limousine, or Club Sedan). A Sculptured Hood is always pretty !

  14. ….well, I jumped the gun on my comment thinking that the photo was taken in 1916. I apologize for spreading even more confusion than already exists.

  15. The sun visor looks like it’s a piece of 1/4″ thick glass being held by metal brackets at each end. Anybody know if these sun visors were glass or not? If not glass, then why the metal brackets at each end?

  16. …Ooops, goofed again, Ruth’s first year with the Yankees was 1920. I should have remembered that since my mother was born in New York that same year! Although we associate ‘Babe” Ruth as the legendary icon for the New York team, his incredible performance with the Red Socks in the years leading up to his switch are what inspired the Yankees to buy him in.

  17. I was just wondering and hopeing you might post some photos of city delivery trucks somettime. I am an86 yrar old retired truck driver, started my 40 year career in St. Louis in 1951.

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