Friday 22nd August 1902
Cadillac, which is among the oldest automobile brands in the world, second in America only to fellow GM marque Buick, was founded in Detroit, Michigan, US. It was named after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, who founded Detroit in 1701. The Cadillac crest is based on his coat of arms. Cadillac was formed from the remnants of the Henry Ford Company. After a dispute between Henry Ford and his investors, Ford left the company along with several of his key partners in March 1902. 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 in preparation for liquidating the company’s assets. Instead, Leland persuaded the pair to continue manufacturing automobiles using Leland’s proven single-cylinder engine. Soon after its inception, Cadillac’s first automobiles, the Tonneau and Runabout were introduced. These vehicles were a type of horseless carriages and were powered by Leland’s single-cylinder engines, but looked incredibly similar to Ford Model A. This is where the company began its long journey of new innovations and technologies, contributing greatly to American cars. After being purchased by General Motors in 1909, Cadillac became GM’s prestige division, which was responsible for producing commercial vehicles and institutional vehicles, such as funeral home flower cars, hearses, ambulances, and limousines. By 1910, the company introduced the first car to ever be built with a closed frame body-style. Soon enough, Cadillac introduced vehicles which had an electric powered ignition and headlights system. Therefore, this major innovation led to the company winning the Dewar Trophy twice. The company also created the first mass-produced v8 engines and pioneered the use of fast-drying Duco Lacquer Paints. Not to mention, in 1930, the company also introduced the world’s first V-Type 16-Cylinder engine in passenger cars that was powerful, smooth, and quiet with an HP of 160 and torque of 120 lb-ft. In 1937, the Cadillac Lasalle V8 set a new high speed record of 82 MPH and even managed to introduce the only vehicles to have sunroofs in America.
The early 40s was a successful time for Cadillac, as the company introduced cars with fully automatic transmission, known as the ‘Hydra-Matic Transmission’. In 1944, Cadillac launched the famous M-24 Tank which was of great use during the Second World War, powered by a Hydramatic Gearbox and Cadillac V-Engine.
By the end of the 1940s, the company had gone the extra mile having introduced a new, small and more economical and efficient V8 engine. In the 1950s, Cadillac introduced the most famous and of course, the American Dream Car with a record of over 23 years, the Cadillac Eldorado. Other innovations included the first automatic headlight dimmer (Autronic Eye), signal-seeking automotive radio, and the first wrap-around windshield.
In the 60s, Cadillac still didn’t fall back on adding more innovations to the automotive industry and gave a good start to the new decade, with the first automatic vacuum operated parking brake release, first sidelights in the front fenders, automated air-conditioning and heating system, the first tilt or telescopic steering wheel, and also the first car with power steering solution.In fact, Cadillac became the first automaker to offer power steering as standard equipment on all vehicle models introduced. By the end of the 60s, Cadillac introduced the first American car which used closed cooling system and even introduced the famous dual comfort 40/60 seats. By the time General Motors purchased the company in 1909, Cadillac had already established itself as one of America’s premier luxury carmakers. The complete interchangeability of its precision parts had allowed it to lay the foundation for the modern mass production of automobiles. It was at the forefront of technological advances, introducing full electrical systems, the clashless manual transmission and the steel roof. The brand developed three engines, with its V8 setting the standard for the American automotive industry.
In 1970, Cadillac offered an advanced computerized rear-wheel skid-control braking system, known as the ‘Track Master’ and even pioneered the use of the compulsory safety requirement nowadays the air cushion restraint (airbag) system. In the 80s, Cadillac introduced cars that came equipped with electronic fuel injection systems and even introduced the catalytic convertor. In the 90s, Cadillac was the first American luxury car manufacturer which implemented the 365-days a year, 24 hours, 7 days a week, roadside assistance program. Additionally, it even introduced the first vehicle that featured the all-new traction control system. The company is even known to introduce the first V8 engine that had 32-valves and even pioneered the thermal-imaging technology or night-vision. The same year, Cadillac goes on to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Additionally, the company also introduced a limp home feature that enables the engine to run for 50 miles without the need of engine-coolant. Not to mention, Cadillac even created a unique induction system for perfect fuel distribution which can be found in almost all of its vehicles.