By on November 13, 2010

Bob Lutz’ Cadillac Sixteen concept wasn’t the first time a revival of the classic Cadillac V12 and V16 era was considered. In the mid sixties, Cadillac was seriously mulling production of one or the other, and several versions of a SOHC V12 engine (see post here) were built. But if you think the Sixteen Concept had a long nose and was a bit over the top, check out this rendering by Cadillac Studio Chief Wayne Kady. From the size of the steering wheel and dashboard, it appears they were planning to transplant the V16 from a tug boat. This must be where the infamous bustle-back trunk of the 1980 Seville originated. Well, this is just a not-so-small taste of the creativity that was unleashed when the designers were asked to come up with ideas.

Now this clay is flying a bit closer to Earth. A pretty stock ’63 front end married to a set-back coupe, to leave plenty of room for all those cylinders. They all have that Maybach Exelero look. Well, I haven’t shown you them all though, have I? But there’s a double treasure trove awaiting you this Saturday with the following two links: at hemmingsblog, there’s a reprint of a 1981 Special Interest Autos story detailing the whole program, including lots of clays, many design aspects of which later show decided similarities to cars like the ’66 Toronado (below)

and the ’67 Eldorado (below).

The other link is to Dean’sGarage, where a remarkable set of color renderings by Wayne Kady await your perusal.

Wayne Kady spent 38 years in the Caddy and Buick studios, and is responsible for the “highly successful 1971 Eldorado” (not my quote). The CC Deadly Sin for that is here.  Mr. Kady is apparently also responsible for a number of questionable designs at Cadillac as its Studio Head from 1974 to 1988, which include the disastrous 1985 shrunken head mobiles.

No disrespect to Mr. Kady, whose renderings are highly creative, but I’m afraid history will not smile kindly on all of his production creations. But these wild flights of imagination sure brought a smile to my face on this dark, drizzly Saturday morning. I thank you for that, sir.

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23 Comments on “Wild and Garish Cadillac V16 Concepts From The Sixties...”

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    Come on man, don’t be a hater. These are sweet.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    Wildly excessive, but at least back in those days GM displayed a decent measure of stylistic leadership.  For example, to my eyes the 1967-70 Eldorado was a much more subtle and interesting design than the Continental Mark III’s generic radiator grille and spare tire theme.
    Funny how in that era so many designs displayed such a strong fixation with phallic shapes.  Car design was very much a man’s world back then.

  • avatar

    Especially interesting to see the beak of the ’69 Grand Prix and boattail of the ’71 Riv showing up first on the  Toronado and Eldorado models. Very cool post.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    As anybody who has regularly read what my comments on this site would know; I love this sort of thing.  Let me just say… “Sweet.”
    Although if any of these had actually been built they might make the Imperial CC we had a few days ago seem tame in its styling.

  • avatar

    Interesting to see all the different cues that were tried-out … that is essentially the purpose of design sketches and drawings … to develop and present new ideas.  There is no rule that all cues and features in a drawing must make it to production … btw, the hubcaps on the 67 Eldo look amazingly like the deluxe vented frisbee caps that came on my parents 1972 Chevy wagon.

  • avatar

    “As I said, I love the renderings. Some of the cars that actually came from them, not quite so much.”
    Whenever I see side-by-side images of a concept and a resulting production car, I always wonder how much of the blame for the loss of pizazz goes to the bean counters, interference from higher-up execs, limits of technology and respect for practicality. Ultimately its up the the designer to advocate for his creation, but if its too expensive, can’t be done or isn’t useful in the real world, the designer set himself up for a fall.
    On a more sympathetic note, having an artistic job in a huge corporation has got to be difficult.

    • 0 avatar

      Virgil Exner Sr. wrote a very funny essay in 1949 describing how a beautiful design is gradually turned to hash by cost and engineering considerations. I don’t know if it’s on the web, but it appears in Peter Grist’s Virgil Exner: Visioneer.

  • avatar

    As far as I can tell, the connection between the Toronado and these Cadillac concepts was limited. The Toronado emerged from an Olds styling exercise by Dave North, done in the spring of 1962; the production design was approved in April 1963. A lot of the V-16 studies were done after that, so if anything, I think they were probably evolutions of certain Toronado themes, rather than the other way around. (Although the Toronado originated in the Olds studio, the clay models were done by Advanced 3, and Cadillac’s design team was well aware of the project, since they were going to be sharing the E-body.)
    I had previously thought the XP-840 (the third and fourth images, with the dramatically pointed “power bulge” and bladed fenders) was a predecessor of the Eldorado, but that clay actually dates from late 1966/early 1967, after both the Toronado and FWD Eldorado were already on sale.
    It appears that the V-16 studies were really a parallel design track throughout the sixties. Chuck Jordan and the other stylists involved have been pretty clear that they were never seriously intended for production — it was mostly an exercise to develop themes. Looking at the clays of the XP-727, Cadillac’s version of the XP-784, XP-820, and XP-825 suggests a pretty clear progression to the ’67 Eldorado. Of course, there’s naturally some overlap, since they were being done by some of the same designers.
    I’ve been going through a lot of this material to revamp my Toronado history (, and a revamp of my Eldorado piece is next, so this is fresh in my head…

  • avatar

    Standard of the world is a myth.

    • 0 avatar

      “Standard of the World” is a title given to Cadillac by the Royal Automobile Club of England, for winning the Dewar trophy.

    • 0 avatar

      Two reasons for this theme:

      1. At the time it was used, it really was true:  After the demise of the other great luxury brands like Dusenberg, Packard, et al., really only Cadillac and Rolls remained at the top of the heap; nobody, not Lincoln, Imperial, nor AFAK any foreign brand save Rolls/Bentley (albeit at very small volumes) came close (Mercedes was still in its post-war recovery.)

      2. Even when it was true, it was at its core, USA-centric advertising hyperbole in the vein of a “The World Series of Baseball” (which, in reality, was limited not to the World, or even North America, bur rather just the USA.)

  • avatar

    The ’63 with the Bristol-length fenders and the Rambler Marlin greenhouse is almost too cool. That would be a sick ride.

  • avatar

    The bustle trunk at least stylistically looks as if it belongs on a short-tail/long-hood coupe.

    On the Seville sedan it looked like Roger Smith backed the prototype into a wall and nobody had the guts to say anything, so they put it into production looking that way.

  • avatar

    When I was in middle school back in the late 1980’s my school had a book in the library called “Cars That Never Were” that featured these Cadillac prototypes.  They were my favorite in the book.  The book also featured the last Packard prototypes that were to be the 58’s.  They were very similar looking to Edsels, so they probably wouldn’t have saved the company.  That chapter was called “The last days in the bunker” I think I kept checking the book out my whole 6th grade school year.

    • 0 avatar

      If you follow the link over to Hemmings and look at the original Special Interest Autos article (right click on each image and open in a new tab, that way you can see it full size and be able to read it), you’ll see that Cars That Never Were, by Langworth, is one of the author of that 1981 SIA article’s sources.

  • avatar

    Looking over the 1960s Cadillac concepts and some 1950s era Cadillac concepts here, I have to say that the 2003 Cadillac Sixteen concept makes them all the other in-house Caddy concepts look a little grotesque. The Sixteen is a brilliant design, the work of Brian Smith, who heads exterior design for Cadillac and also did the Converj concept.
    The Sixteen could have gone into production. Contrary to some reports, the V16 was not just two LSx engines welded together. Well, in a sense it was, but only in the digital domain. The engine architecture was based on the LS family, but once they got all the design and finite element testing to optimize strength and weight, they sent the CAD/CAM files to a German company that die casts directly from the code, and made a single V16 crankcase. Since it’s a 90 V and bore centers are the same as on the LSx, it could have gone down the same transfer machinery.
    Franky, I like the stuff that Ed Welburn’s team has done better than the work of supposed GM giants like Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell. GM Styling is one of the parts of the company that helped make any prospect of survival possible.

    • 0 avatar

      On existing machinery, I could see how it would be possible to machine a 6 in a line designed for an 8, but wonder how one would actually go in the opposite was to machine a 16 in a line designed for an 8

      Given that the datum points would likely be at one end of the engine, anything that was longer (regardless of similar architecture) might have problems to get the “far end” machined without significant redesign of the machining center.

      I’d be interested to hear if anyone knows how such a thing would be accomplished.

      (p.s. the real savings would be in all the reuseability of all the non-length dependent components that go into a motor.)

  • avatar

    As an artist/designer I really love some of those concepts (the top one especially, It really evokes the 20-30’s Bugattis perfectly) As a car guy, I can’t imagine how those would manage in traffic built with 60-70’s technology. But i wish they could have built one of these (and the newer ’16’ too, as an alternative for those who think a Phantom drophead is boring, or a Veyron isn’t classy enough. I’m quite sure Cadillac could not have built it to the expectations of their buyers though.

    • 0 avatar

      I especially love how that first rendering has cut lines for 4 doors. Almost like it was originally penned as a chauffeur-driven Coupe de Ville style. (true coupe de ville: open driver’s compartment and closed rear passenger compartment.)

      • 0 avatar

        Judging by the “humps” on the front fenders, I’d say the cut line forward of the doors was meant to be a removeable access panel for side-mount spare tires, similar to the 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow special.

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