There are Cadillacs and then there are Cadillacs.
This 1930 Cadillac V-16 Sport Phaeton is one of only 85 Sport Phaetons built together for the V-16 chassis in 1930 and 1931. It will be up for auction in RM Sotheby’s 16th Annual Hershey Sale at the Fall Meeting of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Eastern Division in Hershey, Pa. on October 5 and 6, and the car is expected to fetch more than $1 million, high cotton indeed.
The phaeton is undoubtedly one of the most heady 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 “double hood” phaetons included a separate hood and windshield for rear seat passengers, the Sport Phaeton had a windshield mounted directly behind the front seat and raised and lowered by a hand crank. The result was an uncluttered body with grand yet elegant proportions – one that looked spectacular with the roof up or down – and still does today.
Cadillac historians credit the existence of 17 authentic survivors, one of which is preserved in the General Motors’ Heritage Collection.
This Sport Phaeton, engine number 702515, was originally supplied by the Towell Cadillac Company of Cleveland marked “Tag PW Harvey”.
And who was this PM?
Perry Williams Harvey was a multimillionaire leader in business and political circles in Cleveland who married into the politically prominent Hanna family. The man was also an avid sportsman and collector of rare books. However, he didn’t have long to enjoy his ride – he died in 1932.
The next known owner was one 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 left on Hammond’s property, the seller was thrilled that he got it out of the way. Runyan spent about $2,500 to restore it. ($47,740 in 2022 dollars.)
But the final product, complete with a hand-rubbed paint job literally applied under the Runyans’ backyard shade tree, won numerous awards in the West Coast competition.
It was one of the first V-16 Cadillacs to be treated as something unique, different, and special; when the great classics started to gain collectability, the best examples got noticed first, and Mr. Runyan had the best V-16 Sport Phaeton around.
It also started appearing in the magazines in the pages of Roy Schneider’s Sixteen cylinder cars and in those of Maurice Hendry Cadillac, Standard of the World: A Complete History. It was also the subject of an editorial in the October 1967 issue Car classics.
Runyan kept the car for the rest of his life and began another restoration in the early 1990s, which was completed shortly before his passing in 1995, changing the color to the subtle shade of Bottle Green.
When the Runyan family decided to part ways with the Cadillac, legendary sportsman and classic collector Otis Chandler was the first to show interest. Mr. Chandler completed a careful refresh of the restoration resulting in a score of 95.25 and 2nd in class at the Classic Car Club of America Grand Classic in July 1997. He was later invited to be displayed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where he appeared in 1998 and came third in class. (And a note to potential buyers: Pebble Beach’s last appearance was in 2009, so it’s now eligible to be re-exhibited by its new owner.)
The car would become one of the cherished favorites in the Chandler collection, just as other V-16s came and went. It was only taken over by Keith Crain in 2006 after his death; he would keep the car until it was bought by the next owner – himself a Cadillac V-16 connoisseur – in 2020. Under his care, the Cadillac benefited from a mechanical service, a new roof and six new tires in 2020, with work carried out by the sender’s own professionals.
This was followed by a professional engine and exterior details ahead of its appearance at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2021, after which it was acquired by the current owner. Shortly before the takeover by the sender, the ignition lock was rebuilt. It is accompanied by a color-matched case, ready to be placed on the rear luggage rack for longer trips.
What makes this car unique and an award worth winning is its enthusiastic ownership, history of exhibition and publication, and beautiful design. A Classic Car Club of America Full Classic, it deserves continued appreciation and exhibition by its next caretaker, who will have an unparalleled opportunity to discover exactly what the “Standard of the World” really means.
The Hershey Auction is the official auction of the Eastern Division Fall Meet of the Antique Automobile Club of America, one of the largest automobilia shows and flea markets in the world. Each year, collectors from all over the world come to Hershey in search of rare and sought-after parts and collectibles. Hershey, Pennsylvania is rich in car culture, home to the AACA International Headquarters and the AACA Museum; the event offers a true world-class automotive experience.