1930 V16 Phaeton is His Favorite

By Providence Journal

    Of all the cars in Dick Shappy’s collection of Cadillacs, his current favorite is his 1930 V16 Phaeton convertible sedan. The all-weather phaeton, a Model 4380, is a national award winner in the Classic Car Club of America competition and won the Chairman’s Award in June at the Newport Concours d’Elegance.

    The 452-cubic-inch engine makes 175 hp and the car rides on 19-inch wire wheels. It is one of 58 models made with center-hinged doors, and Shappy says only five or six such cars have survived.


Photo by Steve Szydlowski
    Unique features include Pilot Ray lights that automatically turn with the steering mechanism to "light the winding way" and a glass hood ornament by Rene Lalique, a famed French jeweler. It’s in the form of an eagle’s head, and is one of the most controversial of Lalique’s pieces because it was fitted to Nazi officers’ staff cars.

    "But I just like the way it looks," Shappy says. "The Eagle is an American symbol. Don Summer makes the radiator caps so it’s easy to install." Shappy says the eagle ornament is worth about $1,000, and between $5,000 and $7,000 if signed by Lalique.

    "Mine is signed," he said.

    Typically, the phaeton was a wreck when Shappy started restoring it 20 years ago. "I’ve been driving it for about 10 years without doing much to it," he said.

    The car was painted blue but is now two shades of green, plus yellow. "These colors are right from DuPont," Shappy says. "You could order any color combination you wanted on a custom-made car, and these colors are legitimate for the era."