Pair of one-of-none Cadillac V-16s
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One of the indisputable legends of the Classic car scene is restorer Fran Roxas, who in the early 1980s discovered that a designer at Fleetwood, then Cadillac’s in-house coachbuilder, had come up with a number of body designs for the magnificent Cadillac V-16 chassis that, as far as anybody knows, were never actually produced. Roxas decided that two of those designs – the Style 5859 Custom Phaeton and the Style 5802 Custom Roadster – deserved to be rendered in steel and thus set out to do exactly that. For both cars, Roxas had the equally legendary Strother MacMinn create full-size renderings based on the 1930s designs and based on factory blueprints of the Cadillac V-16 chassis provided by Dave Holls, then GM’s head of Advanced Design.
Roxas then secured a couple of Cadillac V-16 seven-passenger limousines, removed the bodies and began to construct the new phaeton and roadster bodies based on MacMinn’s renderings. He began with the 5859 Custom Phaeton, a dual-cowl design that includes a disappearing top and hidden spare tire for ultra-clean lines. At the 1984 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, it won first in its class. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that he then took on the 5802 Custom Roadster, a more ambitious build that included a rumbleseat under a disappearing top and a passenger door on one side only. Both cars are powered by Cadillac’s 185hp 452-cu.in. overhead-valve V-16. The Milhous brothers then bought both of the cars directly from Roxas in the mid- to late 1990s.