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Type Division
Industry Automotive
Predecessor(s) Henry Ford Company
Founded August 22, 1902
Founder(s) Henry M. Leland, founder
Henry Ford, original founder
Headquarters Warren, Michigan, U.S.[1]
Area served Worldwide
Products Automobiles
Owner(s) General Motors Company
Website Official sites
(select by country)

Cadillac /ˈkædɨlæk/ is an American luxury vehicle marque owned by General Motors (GM). Cadillac currently sells vehicles in 37 countries, with its primary market being North America.[2] In 2012, Cadillac's U.S. sales were 149,782.[3] Globally, Cadillac's next largest market is China. The SRX crossover has been Cadillac's best selling model since 2010.

Cadillac is currently the second oldest American automobile manufacturer behind fellow GM marque Buick and is among the oldest automobile brands in the world. Depending on how one chooses to measure, Cadillac is arguably older than Buick. Cadillac was founded in 1902 by Henry Leland,[4] a master mechanic and entrepreneur, who named the company after Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, the founder of the city of Detroit. The company's crest is based on a coat of arms that Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac had created at the time of his marriage in Quebec in 1687. General Motors purchased the company in 1909 and within six years, Cadillac had laid the foundation for the modern mass production of automobiles by demonstrating the complete interchangeability of its precision parts while simultaneously establishing itself as America's premier luxury car. Cadillac introduced technological advances, including full electrical systems, the clashless manual transmission and the steel roof. The brand developed three engines, one of which (the V8 engine) set the standard for the American automotive industry. Cadillac is the first American car to win the prestigious Dewar Trophy from the Royal Automobile Club of England, having successfully demonstrated the interchangeability of its component parts during a reliability test in 1908; this spawned the firm's slogan "Standard of the World." It won that trophy a second time, in 1912, for incorporating electric starting and lighting in a production automobile.[5]


[edit] Early history

1903 Cadillac
1903 Cadillac Model A

[edit] Founding

Cadillac was formed from the remnants of the Henry Ford Company when Henry Ford departed along with several of his key partners and the company was dissolved. With the intent of liquidating the firm's assets, Ford's financial backers William Murphy and Lemuel Bowen called in engineer Henry M. Leland of Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Company to appraise the plant and equipment before selling them.

Instead, Leland persuaded them to continue the automobile business using Leland's proven single-cylinder engine. The company needed a new name after Henry Ford left. On 22 August 1902 the company reformed as the Cadillac Automobile Company. Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing and the Cadillac Automobile Company merged in 1905.[6]

The Cadillac automobile was named after the 17th-century French explorer Antoine Laumet de la Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac, who founded Detroit in 1701.[7][8]

Cadillac's first automobiles, the Runabout and Tonneau, were completed in October 1902. They were two-seater horseless carriages powered by a 10 hp (7 kW) single-cylinder engine. They were practically identical to the 1903 Ford Model A. Many sources say the first car rolled out of the factory on 17 October; in the book Henry Leland – Master of Precision, the date is 20 October; another reliable source shows car number 3 to have been built on 16 October. In any case, the new Cadillac was shown at the New York Auto Show the following January, where it impressed the crowds enough to gather over 2,000 firm orders. The Cadillac's biggest selling point was precision manufacturing, and therefore, reliability; it was simply a better-made vehicle than its competitors. Cadillac participated in an interchangeability test in the United Kingdom 1908, when it was awarded the Dewar Trophy for the most important advancement of the year in the automobile industry.

From its earliest years Cadillac aimed for precision engineering and stylish luxury finish, causing its cars to be ranked amongst the finest in the US. Utilization of interchangeable parts was an important innovation in 1908. Cadillac was the first volume manufacturer of a fully enclosed car in 1906, and in 1912 was first to incorporate an electrical system enabling starting, ignition, and lighting.[9][10]

[edit] General Motors

Cadillac becomes part of General Motors

Cadillac was purchased by the General Motors (GM) conglomerate in 1909.[11] Cadillac became General Motors' prestige division, devoted to the production of large luxury vehicles. The Cadillac line was also GM's default marque for "commercial chassis" institutional vehicles, such as limousines, ambulances, hearses and funeral home flower cars, the last three of which were custom-built by aftermarket manufacturers. Cadillac does not produce any such vehicles in their factory.

In July 1917, the United States Army needed a dependable staff car and chose the Cadillac Type 55 Touring Model after exhaustive tests on the Mexican border. 2,350 of the cars were supplied for use in France by officers of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I.[12] General Motors of Canada built Cadillac 1923 to 1936 and saved it from A. P. Sloan from his wanting to stop the build. Pre-World War II Cadillacs were well-built, powerful, mass-produced luxury cars aimed at an upper class market. In the 1930s, Cadillac added cars with V12 and V16 engines to their range, many of which were fitted with custom coach-built bodies.[13]

In 1915 it introduced a 90-degree flathead V8 engine with 70 horsepower (52 kW) at 2400 rpm and 180 pound-feet (240 N·m) of torque, allowing its cars to attain 65 miles per hour.[10] This was faster than most roads could accommodate at this time. Cadillac pioneered the dual-plane V8 crankshaft in 1918. In 1928 Cadillac introduced the first clashless Synchro-Mesh manual transmission, utilizing constant mesh gears. In 1930 Cadillac implemented the first V-16 engine, with a 45-degree overhead valve, 452 cubic inches, and 165 horsepower (123 kW), one of the most powerful and quietest engines in the United States. The development and introduction of the V8, V16 and V-12 helped to make Cadillac the "Standard of the World."[10] A later model of the V8 engine, known as the overhead valve, set the standard for the entire American automotive industry in 1949.[10]

In 1926, Cadillac recruited automobile stylist Harley Earl in a one-time consulting capacity, but his employment lasted considerably longer: by 1928, Earl was the head of the new Art and Color division and he would ultimately work for GM until he retired, over 30 years later.[14] The first car he designed was the LaSalle, a new, smaller "companion marque" car, named after another French explorer, René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. That marque remained in production until 1940.[15]

Cadillac introduced designer-styled bodywork (as opposed to auto-engineered) in 1927. It installed shatter-resistant glass in 1926. Cadillac also introduced the 'turret top,' the first all-steel roof on a passenger car.[10] Previously, car roofs were constructed of fabric-covered wood.

The Great Depression sapped the auto industry generally, with the luxury market declining more steeply; between 1928–1933, Cadillac sales had declined by 84%, to 6,736 vehicles.[16] Exacerbating sales performance for the Cadillac brand was a policy, reflective of the times, which discouraged sales to African Americans.[17] Nick Dreystadt, mechanic and national head of Cadillac service, urged a committee – set up to decide whether the Cadillac brand would live on – to revoke that policy. After the policy was eliminated, brand sales increased by 70% in 1934 – and Dreystadt was promoted to lead the entire Cadillac Division.[17]

By 1940, Cadillac sales had risen tenfold compared to 1934.[13] In 1936, Dreystadt released the Series 60 as Cadillac's entry into the mid-priced vehicle market. It was replaced by the Series 61 in 1939, but a popular model that was derived from it, the Sixty Special, continued through 1993. Another factor helped boost Cadillac growth over the next few years: a revolution in assembly line technology. In 1934, Henry F. Phillips introduced the Phillips screw and driver to the market. He entered into talks with General Motors and convinced the Cadillac group that his new screws would speed assembly times and therefore increase profits. Cadillac was the first automaker to use the Phillips technology in 1937, which was widely adopted in 1940.[18] For the first time in many years all cars built by the company shared the same basic engine and drivetrain in 1941.[19] 1941 also saw introduction of optional Hydra-Matic, the first mass-produced fully automatic transmission.

[edit] Post World War II

Cadillac in the Postwar years

Postwar Cadillac vehicles, incorporating the ideas of General Motors styling chief Harley J. Earl, innovated many of the styling features that came to be synonymous with the classic (late-1940s and 1950s) American automobile, including tailfins, wraparound windshields, and extensive exterior and interior bright-work (chrome and polished stainless steel). Fledgling automotive magazine Motor Trend awarded its first "Car of the Year" to Cadillac in 1949; the company turned it down.[20] On 25 November 1949, Cadillac produced its one millionth car, a 1950 Coupe de Ville.[21] It also set a record for annual production of over 100,000 cars,[21] a record it repeated in 1950 and 1951.[22] Cadillac's first tailfins, inspired by the twin rudders of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, appeared in 1948; the 1959 Cadillac, designed by Peter Hodak, was the epitome of the tailfin craze, with the most recognizable tailfins of any production automobile. From 1960 thru 1964, the fins decreased in size each year and disappeared with the 1965 model year (except for the 1965 series 75 chassis which was a carry over from 1964). The Cadillac tailfin did serve one practical purpose, however. From the inception of the fin up to the 1958 model year, the driver's (left) side fin housed the gasoline filler neck under the taillight assembly. To fill the car with fuel, the taillight had to be released and pivoted upward to access the gas cap. This eliminated the unsightly gas filler door from the side of the vehicle, providing a smoother, cleaner appearance.

Tailfins were added to body shape in 1948.[10] In 1953, the "Autronic Eye" was introduced. This feature would automatically dim the high-beam headlamps for the safety of oncoming motorists.[23] The Eldorado Brougham of 1957 offered a 'memory seat' function, allowing seat positions to be saved and recalled for different drivers.[24]

Cadillac's other distinctive styling attribute was its front-bumper designs which became known as Dagmar bumpers or simply Dagmars. What had started out after the war as an artillery shell shaped bumper guard became an increasingly important part of Cadillac's complicated front grille and bumper assembly.[24] As the 1950s wore on, the element was placed higher in the front-end design, negating their purpose as bumper guards. They also became more pronounced and were likened to the bosom of 1950s television personality Dagmar. In 1957 the bumpers gained black rubber tips which only heightened the relationship between the styling element and a stylized, exaggerated bumper design. For 1958 the element was toned down and then was completely absent from the 1959 models.

The first fully automatic heater/air conditioning system was introduced in 1964, allowing the driver to set a desired temperature to be maintained by 'climate control'. From the late 1960s, Cadillac offered a fiber-optic warning system to alert the driver to failed light bulbs. The use of extensive bright-work on the exterior and interior also decreased each year after 1959. By the 1966 model year, even the rear bumpers ceased to be all chrome – large portions were painted, including the headlight bezels.

In 1966, Cadillac would mark up its best annual sales yet, over 192,000 units (142,190 of them de Villes),[25] an increase of more than 60%.[26] This was exceeded in 1968, when Cadillac topped 200,000 units for the first time.[27]

The launch of the front-wheel drive Eldorado in 1967 as a personal luxury coupe, with its simple, elegant design – a far cry from the tail-fin and chrome excesses of the 1950s – gave Cadillac a direct competitor for the Lincoln and Imperial, and in 1970, Cadillac sales topped Chrysler's for the first time.[28] The new 472 cu in (7.7 l) engine that debuted in the 1968 model year, designed for an ultimate capacity potential of 600 cu in (9.8 l),[29] was increased to 500 cu in (8.2 l) for the 1970 Eldorado. It was adopted across the model range beginning in 1975. Driver airbags were offered on some Cadillac models from 1974 to 1976.

The 1970s saw vehicles memorable for their luxury and dimensions. The 1972 Fleetwood was some 1.7 in (43 mm) longer in wheelbase and 4 in (100 mm) overall, compared to the 1960 Series 75 Fleetwood; the entry-level 1972 Calais was 2.4 in (61.0 mm) longer than the equivalent 1960 Series 62, on the same wheelbase.[30] During this time, the Cadillac series gained a smoother ride while vehicle weight, standard equipment, and engine displacement were all increased. Cadillac experienced record sales in 1973 and again in the late 1970s.

[edit] The Art and Science Era

Cadillac in recent years

Cadillac has resisted the trend towards producing "retro" models such as the revived Ford Thunderbird or the VW New Beetle. It has instead pressed ahead with a new design philosophy for the 21st century called "art and science"[31] which it says "incorporates sharp, sheer forms and crisp edges – a form vocabulary that expresses bold, high-technology design and invokes the technology used to design it." This new design language spread from the original CTS across the line all the way up to the XLR roadster. Cadillac's model lineup mostly included rear- and all-wheel-drive sedans, roadsters, crossovers and SUVs. The only exceptions were the front-wheel drive Cadillac BLS (which was not sold in North America)[32] and the Cadillac DTS, neither of which are still in production. Many of these actively compete with respected high-end luxury cars produced by German and Japanese manufacturers. The performance flagship of these efforts is the second-generation CTS-V, which is a direct competitor to the vaunted BMW M5.[33] An automatic version of the CTS-V lapped the Nürburgring in 7:59.32, at the time a record for production sedans.[34]

Despite Cadillac's re-invention, little work had been done with the Cadillac brand towards the end of the decade due to GM's bankruptcy. A range topper based on the Cadillac Sixteen was cancelled along with the Northstar engine replacement. With the STS and DTS ending production in 2011, Cadillac was left without a proper range topper. However, Cadillac did commence with the second generation SRX in 2009. The SRX is now based on the Theta Premium platform and is offered in either FWD or AWD. The SRX crossover has been Cadillac's best selling model since 2010.

Reports suggested the Escalade would move the Lambda platform in 2014 but it has since been revealed the Escalade will continue on its body-on-frame architecture with a redesign in 2013. A Lambda-based Cadillac will join the line to complement the next Escalade, which could possibly cost more than the current model. Cadillac showcased the XTS Platinum concept in 2010 and announced intentions to build the FWD/AWD sedan on the Super Epsilon platform starting in 2012. Also, in late 2009, GM announced the upcoming 3-Series competitor, the ATS, will go into production on the RWD/AWD Alpha platform in 2012. Reports have surfaced that GM had green lighted not only a Zeta based 7-Series competitor, but another Zeta based full-size based on the Sixteen concept. The reports suggest the latter will carry a price tag of as much as $125,000 and will be positioned as Cadillac's halo. It has also been revealed the next CTS, scheduled for 2013 as a 2014 model, will move to a long-wheelbase version of the upcoming Alpha platform. It is expected to grow in size and price and likely lose its coupe and wagon versions. GM also has also been working on a new roadster to compete with the BMW Z4. With that said, this would leave Cadillac with a full range of vehicles by the mid 2010's.[35][36]

[edit] In art and sculpture

Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture in Amarillo, Texas. It was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez, and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm. The art installation consists of older running Cadillac automobiles that were originally installed during 1974, and were either used or junk. It represents a number of evolutions of the car line (most notably the introduction and discontinuation of the defining feature of early Cadillacs, the tailfin) from 1949 to 1963, that are half-buried, nose-first in the ground at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.[37] The piece is a statement about the paradoxical simultaneous American fascinations with both a "sense of place" – and roadside attractions, such as The Ranch itself – and the mobility and freedom of the automobile.[38]

A tribute to the Cadillac Ranch was featured in the Walt Disney and Pixar film Cars. The fictional town of Radiator Springs sits at the edge of an area referenced on a map as the "Cadillac Range", and throughout the movie, rock formations shaped like the upended cars can be seen as a horizon backdrop.

[edit] Advertisements

A 1906 Cadillac Advertisement – August 1906
A 1911 Cadillac Advertisement – "Only the Good Endures" – Syracuse Post-Standard, 31 January 1911
A 1917 Cadillac Advertisement – "Style, Utility, Comfort" – Syracuse Herald, 30 September 1917
A 1919 Cadillac Advertisement – Phaeton, 4-passenger touring – Syracuse Herald, 30 September 1917
1921 Logo

[edit] Motorsport

Before the outbreak of World War II, Cadillac (like most manufacturers) participated in various types of motorsport. Many Allard automobiles used Cadillac engines.

In the 1950s, Cadillac (like all American manufacturers at the time) participated in the Grand National Stock Car Series. The brand disappeared from the series by the 1960s.

Cadillac powered a Le Mans Prototype in the early years of the American Le Mans Series. When the prototype proved unsuccessful, Cadillac withdrew from the series.

Cadillac's most successful venture into motorsport in recent years has been its use of the CTS-V in the SCCA World Challenge Grand Touring class.

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ pdf "Cadillac Centennial Anniversary (brochure)". 
  2. ^ Rick Kranz (30 November 2011). "Cadillac Develops New Strategy In Europe". Automotive News. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "GM's U.S. Sales Up 5 Percent in December". 3 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  4. ^ General Motors (1954). "Cars That Built GM: An Album of Historic General Motors Cars". p. 8. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  5. ^ General Motors (1954). "Cars That Built GM: An Album of Historic General Motors Cars". p. 10,12,14,16. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "Cadillac: A Century of Excellence" by Rob Leicester Wagner (ISBN 978-1-58663-168-0)
  7. ^ "Cadillac, Antoine de la Mothe, Sieur de". 11 September 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  8. ^ Granzo T History of Detroit
  9. ^ Nazario (17 May 2012). "The Continual Innovation and History of Cadillac". GearHeads. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Laam, Michael (January 2002). "100 Years of Cadillac History". Popular Mechanics. [dead link]
  11. ^ "1909, Cadillac Enters the Fold". Generations of GM History. GM Heritage Center. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  12. ^ Bentley, John The Old Car Book, Fawcett Books (1952) p 12
  13. ^ a b "1930–1939 Cadillac". Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  14. ^ LaSalle "1927–40 LaSalle". Motor Era. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  15. ^ "Earl, Harley J.". Generations of GM History. 
  16. ^ Gordon,John Steele,"The Man Who Saved The Cadillac". Forbes. 30 April 2009. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  17. ^ a b Gordon.
  18. ^ "The Beginning of the Phillips Screw Company". Phillips Screw Company. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  19. ^ Bonsall, p. 17
  20. ^ Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1946–1959 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2008), p.190.
  21. ^ a b Flory, p.255.
  22. ^ Flory, p.323.
  23. ^ 80 Years of Cadillac LaSalle by Walter M.P. McCall, Motorbooks International, Osceola WI, 1992, p. 298
  24. ^ a b "1957 & 58 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham". Generations of GM History. GM Heritage Center. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  25. ^ Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1960–1972 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2004), pp.423 & 425–8.
  26. ^ Flory, p.423.
  27. ^ Flory, p.570. Karl Ludvigsen's "Cadillac: The Great American Dream Come True", in Northey, Tom, ed. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Vol. 3, p.297, mistakenly dates this to 1967.
  28. ^ Flory, p.721.
  29. ^ "Cadillac Eldorado History". Edmunds. 24 October 2011. 
  30. ^ Flory, pp.20, 23, 878, & 880.
  31. ^ Robyn Meredith (12 November 1999). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING; Cadillac is redesigning its image before its retooled cars appear." (The New York Times). The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  32. ^ "2006 Cadillac BLS – Car News". Car and Driver. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Cadillac CTS-V Blisters the Ring in Under 8 Minutes". Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  35. ^ "Next-Gen Camaro, CTS to Join Small Cadillac ATS on New Rear-Drive Platform – Wide Open Throttle – Motor Trend Magazine". 4 February 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  36. ^ "GM Flexes Alpha Platform Options – Motor Trend Auto News". 26 February 2007. Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  37. ^ McBride, Jim. "American Monument to the Dream". Amarillo Globe-News. 
  38. ^ "Eccentric Roadside: August 2009". Retrieved 28 August 2012. 

[edit] References

[edit] External links

[edit] Official links

[edit] Other