Trio of 16-Cylinder Classics Hit the Auction Block
Three cars, 48-cylinders at RM Sotheby's upcoming Arizona sale.
Sick of the wheezy four-cylinder in your family commuter? We don't blame you. With gas still (relatively) cheap and internal combustion still legal, it just might be time to let your quarantine-length hair down and upsize to something a bit more Jurassic. We say skip the Scat Pack and to hell with the Bimmer V-12; it's time to quadruple your cylinders with one of three V-16 flavors available at RM Sotheby's upcoming Arizona sale.
1993 Cizeta V16T — $600,000-$750,000
Behold—the first and only V-16 supercar ever made. Yes, ever-ever. Don't cite the Bugatti Veyron and Chiron, either—those billionaire bruisers rumble around Monaco with a "W-16" cylinder configuration that's conceptually a bit like two inline-fours smashed together on each cylinder bank rather than two V-8s welded down the middle.
Speaking of two welded V-8s, the infamous Cizeta's got just that under the rear decklid. Well, it's a bit more complicated than that, but the core of the V16T's transversely-mounted 6.0-liter V-16 are two V-8's originally sourced from the Lamborghini Urraco—mated within a single block. Official details around the V16T are scarce owing to the ultra-low production numbers and excruciatingly short lifespan, but the output from that massive mill is rated at a strong 540 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, enough grunt for a 0-60 mph run of around 4.2 seconds and a top speed of more than 200 mph.
Master mechanic and Cizeta head honcho Claudio Zampolli worked with design legend Marcello Gandini to bring Gandini's original design for the Lamborghini Diablo to life, as Lambo's parent company, Chrysler, softened and tweaked his first drafts for the production model. With financial and aesthetic backing from the legendary composer, producer, and disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder, the V16T was set for success. Then came the 1990 recession in the United States, which was immediately followed by Japan's stock market crash in 1991. Cash reserves from the initial fourteen $100,000 deposits dried up, and eventually, Cizeta was bankrupt shortly after finishing just nine coupes plus a one-off V16T drop-top ordered by a Japanese client that was completed in 2003.
This particular Cizeta was one of three V16Ts ordered new by the royal family of Brunei. While the two other cars were ordered in black and subsequently sent to Pininfarina to strangely swap-in a Ferrari flat-12 engine, this blue Cizeta sat at a high-end Singapore dealer for 25 years before being sold to the current owner. Hey, Brunei's loss is your gain, as this right-hand-drive example might just be the first V16T to ever cross the auction block.
Can't make the sale? Get in touch with Zampolli, who's now stationed in Orange County, California. Word on the street is if you have around a million bucks, he'll build you a brand-new Cizeta from the ground up.
1932 Marmon Sixteen — $300,000-$375,000
Fancy another 'Bahn-burning, ankle-cutting V-16 hyperwedge? Well, sorry about that. The other two sixteens at RM Sotheby's Arizona sale are a bit statelier, but they're no less super, at least in their own right. Aside from a few one-off prototypes and engineering case-studies, only Cadillac and Marmon managed to push a V-16 into semi-mass production. Of the two, the Indiana-based Marmon is the lesser-known sixteen, but that just means you can pick a Marmon up for far less than the equivalent Cadillac.
Though the development of the Marmon's V-16 kicked-off before Cadillac started on its own, the Marmon didn't make it to market until two years after the Caddy in 1931. Despite launching in the throes of the Great Depression, around 400 Marmon Sixteens were completed before Marmon's automotive branch went kaput in 1933. Those 400-odd tycoons that did take delivery of a Sixteen were rewarded with one of the quickest accelerating cars on the road at the time; the all-aluminum 8.0-liter (491-ci) V-16 churned out an impressive 200 hp, allowing the Marmon to scoot ahead of the contemporary Duesenberg Model J, though the Duesey eventually cruised to a higher top speed.
This particular Marmon possesses a fascinating history endemic of blue-chip pre-war collector cars that managed to survive this long. After hopping between owners, the car enjoyed a 2,200-mile stint at the Monte Carlo Rallye in 1974, and a 2,400-mile run on the 1977 Glidden Tour that was matched by an extended drive down to the Indianapolis 500 in the 1990s. Not bad for an old-timer.
After a few more owners, the Marmon settled with the current Arizona-based owner in 2014, where it enjoyed a comprehensive restoration, after which it was used primarily for occasional local dinner outings and showings at major automotive events, including Pebble Beach. A bit anti-climactic after its excursion-filled life a few decades prior, but hopefully, the new owner will take it for more than just a spin around the block.
1932 Cadillac V-16 Convertible Coupe — $750,000-$850,000
Of course, the final member of this 48-cylinder troupe has to be one of the aforementioned Cadillac V-16s. Arguably one of the most evocative and well-engineered ultra-luxe cars of the pre-war era, the Cadillac V-16 stands as one of the most desirable American cars ever created, sitting at the top of the wire-wheeled, chrome-dipped heap alongside top-level Duesenbergs and Packards.
Developed as GM's broadside salvo against the rising tide of V-12 luxury cars emerging from rivals Packard, Pierce-Arrow, and Lincoln, the Cadillac's V-16 was essentially an extreme evolution of Cadillac's existing V-8, with a 28-percent increase in displacement to a mighty 7.4 liters of V-16 symphony. Aside from claiming the crown as the world's first production V-16, Caddy's monumental heart also incorporated the first production use of hydraulic lash adjusted valves. We'd go into further dork-tastic detail on this jewel of an engine, but we already did earlier last year—go check it out here for all the oily details.
This specific Cadillac V-16 is one of only fourteen examples to wear the outrageously elegant Convertible Coupe body by Fisher, and one of only four known survivors. Not much is known of the car's early history, but its well-documented re-discovery on a Native American reservation in northern Minnesota occurred in 1959. It then changed owners until the 1990s, at which point it remained with the same custodian until 2017, an ownership period that saw it take home a class-win at Pebble Beach in 1995. It later rolled onto the green again as an exhibit-only participant in 2002.
It once swapped hands in 2017, sliding under the care of the current owner and consignor, but not before it took home an award at the 2018 Amelia Island Concours. If you're the lucky high-bidder, we hope you get this sweet-sixteen drop-top back on the show circuit.