Extremely rare 1930 Cadillac V-16 Sport Phaeton will be auctioned October 5-6 and could fetch over $1 million
There are Cadillacs and then there are them Cadillacs.
This 1930 Cadillac V-16 Sport Phaeton is one of only 85 Sport Phaetons built together in 1930 and 1931 for the V-16 chassis. It will be sold at RM Sotheby’s 16th Annual Hershey Auction at the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Eastern Division fall meeting in Hershey, Pennsylvania on October 5-6, and the car is expected to fetch over $1 million, a steep price indeed.
The Phaeton is undoubtedly one of the most dashing body styles of the classic era, and Cadillac’s V-16 Sport Phaeton, style 4260, is one of the finest examples of the genre. While typical “dual cowl” Phaetons included a separate windshield and windshield for rear seat passengers, the Sport Phaeton featured a windshield mounted just behind the front seat that could be raised and lowered by hand crank. The result was an uncluttered body with grand but elegant proportions – one that looked spectacular both with the top up and down – and still does.
Cadillac historians document the existence of 17 authentic survivors, one of whom survives The General Motors Corporate Heritage Collection.
This Sport Phaeton, engine number 702515, was originally delivered by the Towell Cadillac Company of Cleveland tagged ‘Tag PW Harvey’.
And who was this PW?
Perry Williams Harvey was a leading multi-millionaire in Cleveland business and politics who married into the politically prominent Hanna family. The man was also a keen sportsman and collector of rare books. However, he did not have long to enjoy his ride – he died in 1932.
Its next known owner was a certain Bennett Hammond of Brandy Flip Farm in Nicasio, California, from whom Joseph Runyan of Pasadena bought it in 1952.
Mr. Runyan only paid $25 for the car. After being abandoned on Hammond’s property, the seller was thrilled to move it out of the way. Runyan spent about $2,500 on the restoration. ($47,740 in 2022 dollars.)
But the finished product, complete with a hand-rubbed finish applied literally under the Runyans’ backyard shade tree, won numerous awards in a West Coast competition.
It was among the first V-16 Cadillacs to be treated as something unique, different, and special; When the great classics started to become collectors’ items, the finest specimens got noticed first, and Mr. Runyan had the best V-16 Sport Phaeton around.
It also started getting magazine attention, appearing in the pages of Roy Schneider’s Sixteen cylinder motor car and at Maurice Hendry Cadillac, Standard of the World: A Complete History. It was also the subject of an editorial in the October 1967 issue of classic cars.
Runyan kept the car for the rest of his life and began a renewed restoration in the early 1990s, which was completed shortly before his death in 1995, changing the color to a subtle shade of bottle green.
When the Runyan family decided to part with the Cadillac, legendary sportsman and classic collector Otis Chandler was the first to express his interest. Mr. Chandler performed a meticulous refresher on the restoration, resulting in a score of 95.25 and 2nd place in class at the Classic Car Club of America Grand Classic in July 1997. It was later invited to be shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1998 and was awarded 3rd place in class. (And a note to potential buyers – its last appearance at Pebble Beach was in 2009, so it’s now available for display again by its new owner.)
The car became one of the most coveted favorites in the Chandler collection and endured as other V-16s came and went. Only after his death was it acquired by Keith Crain in 2006; He would keep the car until 2020 when it was bought by its next owner – himself a Cadillac V-16 connoisseur. Under his care, the Cadillac benefited from a mechanical service, a new top and six new tires in 2020 with work done by the shipper’s in-house craftsmen.
It was followed by a professional engine and exterior detailing ahead of its appearance at the 2021 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, after which it was acquired by its current owner. Shortly before the purchase by the consignor, his ignition lock was modified. It is accompanied by a color-matched trunk that can be placed on the rear rack for longer trips.
What makes this car unique and at a price worth winning is its enthusiastic ownership, showing and release history and superb design. As a Full Classic of the Classic Car Club of America, it deserves continued recognition and display by its next custodian, who will have an unprecedented opportunity to discover exactly what the “Standard of the World” really means.
The Hershey Auction is the official auction of the fall meeting of the Eastern Division of the Antique Automobile Club of America, one of the largest automobile shows and flea markets in the world. Collectors flock to Hershey each year from around the world in search of rare and desirable parts and collectibles. Hershey, Pennsylvania is rich in auto culture, home to the AACA World Headquarters and AACA Museum; The event offers a truly premium automotive experience.