Jay Leno Drives 92-Year-Old Cadillac V16, Says It’s the Bugatti Chiron of Its Era

Jay Leno is perhaps one of the luckiest automotive enthusiasts out there. Apart from owning some unique classics gems, he also gets to drive some of the rarest cars on his YouTube show, Jay Leno’s Garage. On his latest episode, he hosted what he described as automotive royalty – Nethercutt’s 1930 Cadillac V-16.
Jay Leno 1930 Cadillac V-16 9 photos
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/Jay Leno's Garage
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Cameron Richards, J.B Nethercutt’s grandson, gave Jay Leno a tour of the immaculately preserved 1930 Cadillac V-16 at the Jay Leno’s Garage. The former comedian also got the chance to drive this rare gem that currently belongs to the J.B Nethercutt Museum (named after the founder).

It seems Cadillac just got a jolt from its old spirit with the new Cadillac Lyriq. It’s a phenomenal build reminiscent of what the automaker stood for more than a decade ago – perfection in luxury and performance.

Like the Lyriq, the 1930 V16 452A put Cadillac on the map. Designed in secrecy, this classic’s debut aimed to cause ripples in the industry – and it did. Donning a V16 engine under the hood, the 452A Cadillac was a game changer and departure from the commonly used V12 engines.

Leno compares its uniqueness back when it was released to a Bugatti Chiron or Koenigsegg. Cadillac outdid themselves when it came to engineering perfection. The 1930 V16 452A Cadillac might not have been the fastest car (even with a V16), but it offered something better – effortless perfection.

At first, the 452A Cadillac was offered like the rest of its competition with a V12 engine. But in secrecy, the automaker was working on a V16 variant to take the industry by storm. There was so much pressure on the team that they had to use an older body on the new drivetrain and chassis.

This was for the banker, you know, the prestigious wall street guy. This is the car that really put Cadillac on the map,” Leno revealed.

Leno couldn’t help but marvel at the 1930 Cadillac V-16’s engine bay. For a car released 92 years ago, its layout aesthetic was unrivaled even by today’s standards. Behind the wheel, its smooth running engine, in his words, was “unbelievable.”

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About the author: Humphrey Bwayo
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Humphrey is a car enthusiast whose love and passion for automobiles extended into collecting, writing, driving, and working on cars. He got his passion for cars from his Dad, who spent thousands of hours working on his old junky 1970 E20 Toyota Corolla. Years later, he would end up doing the same with a series of lemons he’s owned throughout his adult life.
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