Cadillac


The History of Cadillac

   

Cadillac is a luxury car marque owned by General Motors Company. Cadillac vehicles are sold in over 50 countries and territories, but mainly in North America.
Cadillac is currently the oldest American car manufacturer and among the oldest car brands in the world. Founded in 1902 as the Cadillac Automobile Company, it was purchased in 1909 by General Motors and over the next 30 years established itself as America's premier luxury car. Cadillac pioneered many accessories in cars including full electrical systems, the clashless manual transmission and the steel roof. The brand developed three engines, one of which (the V8) set the standard for the American car industry.
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 prior to selling them. Instead, Leland persuaded them to continue the car business using Leland's proven single-cylinder engine. Henry Ford's departure required a new name, and on August 22, 1902, the company reformed as the Cadillac Automobile Company. Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing and the Cadillac Automobile Company merged in 1905.
The Cadillac car was named after the 17th-century French explorer Antoine Laumet de la Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac, who founded Detroit in 1701.
From its earliest years Cadillac aimed for precision engineering and stylish luxury finish, causing its cars to be ranked amongst the world's finest. Utilization of interchangeable parts was an important innovation in 1908. Cadillac was the first volume manufacturer of a fully-enclosed cab in 1910, and in 1912, was first to incorporate an electrical system enabling starting, ignition and lighting.
In 1915 it introduced a 90-degree flathead V8 engine with 70 horsepower at 2400 rpm and 180-pound feet of torque, allowing its cars to attain 65 miles per hour. 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, 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."
A later model of the V8 engine, known as the overhead valve, set the standard for the entire American car industry in 1949.
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. Previously, car roofs were constructed of fabric-covered wood.
Tailfins were added to the body shape in 1948. The Eldorado Brougham of 1957 offered a 'memory seat' function, allowing seat positions to be saved and recalled for different drivers. 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. Driver airbags were offered on some Cadillac models from 1972 to 1973.
Their first car was completed in October 1902, the 10 hp (7 kW) Cadillac. It 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 car industry.
Cadillac was purchased by the General Motors (GM) conglomerate in 1909. 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.
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; these engines were remarkable at the time for their ability to deliver a combination of high power, silky smoothness and quietness.
Automobile stylist Harley Earl, whom Cadillac had recruited in 1926 and who was to head the new Art and Color section starting in January 1928, designed for 1927 a new, smaller "companion" car to the Cadillac which he called the La Salle, after another French explorer, René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. That marque remained in production until 1940.
The year 1934 brought about a revolution in assembly-line technology. 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 carmaker to use the Phillips technology, which was widely adopted in 1940. For the first time in many years all cars built by the company shared the same basic engine and drivetrain in 1941.
Postwar Cadillacs, 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 car, including tailfins and wraparound windshields.  On 25 November 1949, Cadillac produced its one millionth car, a 1950 Coupe de Ville. It also set a record for annual production of over 100,000 cars, a record it repeated in 1950 and 1951. Cadillac's first tailfins, inspired by the twin rudders of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, appeared in 1948; the 1959 Cadillac was the epitome of the tailfin craze, with the most recognizable tailfins of any production car.
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. 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.
In 1966, Cadillac would mark up its best annual sales yet, over 192,000 units (142,190 of them de Villes), an increase of more than 60%. This was exceeded in 1968, when Cadillac topped 200,000 units for the first time.
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. 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), was increased to 500 cu in (8.2 l) for the 1970 Eldorado. It was adopted across the model range beginning in 1975.
As with most American brands, Cadillac was forced to downsize its offerings between the 1973 and 1979 fuel crises. Its staple De Ville and Fleetwood were downsized for 1977 and again for 1985 when the cars were also changed to a front-drive configuration. A downsized Eldorado debuted in 1979, with a new bustleback Seville sedan introduced on the same platform in 1980. Both the Eldorado and Seville were further downsized in 1986 into the compact-car class, with sales also shrinking.
Cadillac has resisted the trend towards producing "retro" models and has instead pressed ahead with a new design philosophy for the 21st century called "art and science" 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 line-up mostly includes rear- and all-wheel-drive sedans, roadsters, crossovers and SUVs. The only exceptions are the front-wheel drive Cadillac BLS (which is not sold in North America) and the Cadillac DTS. Many of these actively compete with respected high-end luxury cars produced by German and Japanese manufacturers.

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