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Cadillac V-12


scott12180

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Hello ---

You hear alot about the Cadillac V-16 engine but don't see much about the V-12.

Could someone give me an opinion on the V-12 chassis cars?

How good is the engine?

Is it reliable?

Does it have enough power to pull around a 5300 pound Sedan body?

Are parts available?

I appreciate your thoughts, in public or as a private e-mail.

Thanks -- Scott

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  • 1 month later...

The Cadillac V-12 was a relatively good engine and very smooth. However, since it was derived from the 452 V-16, its displacement (about 360 cu in) was smaller than the twelves from all the other manufacturers except for the Auburn and the smaller of the two original Pierces and is only slightly more powerful than the Cadillac V-8. It's adequate, but no more, in a 5300 pound car, and requires a lot more downshifing into second than the V-16 cars do.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Scott:

I had a lenghty experience with a '32 Caddy V-12 touring car. The motor held up into the 1980's. It didn't drive as well as a good Packard, but the use of grease fittings rather than the trouble prone Bijur system kept the chassis in good shape. Because of the eight bladed fan there was always a loud roar from under the hood. As for power, the car didn't have the absolute dead pull torque of the V-16 or Packard V-12 and was not nearly as peppy as a 33 Super Eight Packard. It was a good 50 mph car which if well cared for would go a long way. However, a 1933 Pontiac, or a good Plymouth would run most of those big cars off the road. Period.

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Guest Trunk Rack

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: TimCole</div><div class="ubbcode-body">. . . . However, a 1933 Pontiac, or a good Plymouth would run most of those big cars off the road. Period......

</div></div>

"PERIOD" he says. What "finality" ! Guess he has decided he is entitled to the "last word" on the subject.

I guess when you are an "expert" like this guy you can say "PERIOD" and that means HE has decided there is no reason for the rest of us to question or comment on his "post" ?

I disagree. I think the rest of us DO have a right to comment on Tom's post - that it should NOT be the "last word" on his discussion.

I have seen over the years examples of how sloppy, incompetent maintainence has reduced the multi-cylinder "super" cars of the pre-war era to poor-performing, cantankerous, hard-to-start over-heating slugs. Sure, that can be done. Be assured they weren't like that when they were in service as new cars.

C'mon, Tom - didn't it occur to you that there are people in here who read these posts, who actually have "hands on" familiarity with these cars ?

No one can doubt that the six to nine hundred dollars you spent to get a brand new Pontiac or Plymouth in the 1930's got you one heck of a good car for the money.

But anyone who thinks the rich folk who, in those days, spent five to ten times more than that to get big fast super-cars DIDNT get THEIR money's worth, is simply ignorant of automotive technical history.

The big multi-cylinder "super cars" of that era were at LEAST 20-25 mph faster than the ordinary cars of that era. Some, like, for example, the Pierce Arrow V-12 had over-drive, and thus bone stock could do nearly 120, at a time when the ordinary cars of that era would be hard put to hit 75.

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Condition, tune and axle ratio are what make these cars run well or not. Running properly, the V-12 Cadillac is a fine engine. One paced the Indianapolis 500 at 100mph in 1931. Even in a heavy car, they are quite lively. Excessive downshifting is not required, and they run smoothly at 65mph. Additionally, they are handsome engines as well.

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There seems to be some wide variation in opinions here! I just acquired a 32 V-12 in what seems to be good running shape. I have not driven it enough to have an informed opinion yet but compared to my 28 Pierce it drives like a modern car! Other experienced owners have told me that the state of tune and carburetor balance are critical in maximizing performance on this engine so I will be working on that but my initial impression has been very positive.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: TexRiv_63</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

= = = = = =

There seems to be some wide variation in opinions here!

= = = = = <span style="font-weight: bold"> <span style="font-style: italic"> </span> <span style="font-weight: bold"> </span> That is not surprising, considering that some of us know what we are talking about from actual "hands on" experience with the big "super cars" of the 1930's..and some of us dont...!</span>

= = = = I just acquired a 32 V-12 in what seems to be good running shape. I have not driven it enough to have an informed opinion yet but compared to my 28 Pierce it drives like a modern car! Other experienced owners have told me that the state of tune and carburetor balance are critical in maximizing performance on this engine so I will be working on that but my initial impression has been very positive. </div></div>

<span style="font-weight: bold"> </span> <span style="font-style: italic"> </span> Yes - that's the point; there was incredible technical progress between the simple approx 380 cu. in motors found in the typical luxury car of the 1920's, and the huge "super car" motors, typically WELL over 400 cu. in, introduced in the 1930's.

While the CAD V-12 was certainly not in the same performance class of the much larger and much more powerful Cad V-16, Pierce, Lincoln, and Pacakard V-12's, it certainly was a fine high-performance car for its day, well-capable of running circles around the "ordinary' cars of its era.

As someone who appreciates fine high quality, and excellence in engineering, it disappoints me to see so many of the big "super cars" of that era at auto shows, all "prettied up", but often not maintained in good operational condition. No wonder so many people have NO CLUE how those cars could PERFORM compared to the ordinary cars of their era!

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