cadillac, Henry M. Leland beside the 1905 Osceola.cadillac
Few automobiles are fortunate enough to have the rich heritage that is Cadillac. The name Cadillac is appropriately that of Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac, the French military commander who founded the city of Detroit in 1701. What better name for the oldest automobile manufacturer in Detroit.


Henry M. Leland, founder of Cadillac,
stands beside the 1905 "Osceola"
which was built to evaluate the
feasibility of a closed bodied car.
Henry M. Leland, known as the master of precision, initiated his precision manufacturing techniques at the founding of Cadillac in 1902. His exacting standards prompted the motto by which Cadillac has been guided over the years - "Craftsmanship A Creed - Accuracy A Law."
The introduction of the first four cylinder engine in 1905 led the industry and enabled Cadillacs to travel at speeds up to 50 mph.
Charles F. Kettering with cadillac V16 cadillac Dewar Trophy
For attention to quality and innovation, the Royal Automobile Club of England awarded the prestigious Dewar Trophy to Cadillac twice... first in 1908 for achieving perfect interchangeability of parts and again for introducing the electric self starter, electric lighting and ignition system on 1912 models. Cadillac is the only American manufacturer to win this honor and the only manufacturer in the world to win it twice. As commonplace as standardized parts are today, in 1908 parts were still individually hand fitted both in production and service.
Standardization opened the eyes of the industrial world and was the cornerstone of modern assembly line production. From this achievement evolved the reference to Cadillac as "Standard of the World."

In 1909 Cadillac was purchased by the then new General Motors Corporation.

Convenience, cleanliness and all-weather comfort were greatly enhanced in 1910 when Cadillac became the first manufacturer to offer closed bodies as standard equipment.

cadillac "The Penalty of Leadership" first appeared in the January 2, 1915 issue of The Saturday Evening Post as an expression of the Cadillac commitment to leadership, quality and innovation. It is widely regarded as one of the finest documents ever written. It was published following the introduction of the first production V8 engine, which was standard in all Cadillacs beginning with the 1915 model.
Harley Earl in a 1927 Cadillac LaSalle cadillac

cadillac Many Cadillac "firsts" have followed over the years, including the synchro-mech clashless transmission, a nationwide comprehensive service policy, security plate glass, chrome plating and the first car to be designed by a stylist (1927 LaSalle/Harley Earl). The '30s witnessed production of the powerful, smooth and quiet V12 and V16 engines. The crisp, contemporary lines of the 1938 60 Special series ushered in a new era in styling.

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During World War II, shortly after Pearl Harbor, Cadillac discontinued car production for the first time since 1902 in order to construct light tanks, combat vehicles and internal parts for Allison V1710 engines. Two Cadillac V8 engines and Hydra-Matic transmissions were used in each M5AT and M24 tanks.

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cadillac For the 1948 model, Cadillac introduced the legendary tail fin which once more set the trend in automotive styling for nearly two decades. This was closely followed with the two door hardtop Coupe DeVille and the industry's first modern overhead valve, high compression V8 engine on the 1949 model.

cadillac Engineering innovations, conveniences and styling dominated the '50s and '60s. Cruise control, automatic climate control, tilt and telescoping steering wheels, twilight sentinel and four door hard tops all debuted in these years. In 1957 the Eldorado Brougham featured advances such as air suspension, memory seat, automatic electric door locks, transistor radio, a brushed stainless steel roof and low profile tires.

cadillac The Eldorado, introduced in 1953, was redesigned for 1967 as the first front wheel drive personal luxury car. The 472 cu. in. V8 engine used in all Cadillacs in 1968 and 1969 was enlarged to 500 cu. in. for all 1970 through 1976 Eldorados. The Track Master computerized skid control braking system option debuted on 1970 Eldorados.


A driver and passenger Air Cushion Restraint system (air bag) was available on all 1974, 1975 and 1976 Cadillacs.

Analog Electronic Fuel Injection was available, on 1975 Cadillacs and standard on the new international size 1976 Seville. In 1978, the Trip Computer option incorporated the first on-board microprocessor.

The electronics and computerization which were pioneered by Cadillac in the '70s came of age in the '80s with Digital Fuel Injection and On-Board Diagnostics in 1980, four wheel Anti-lock Brakes on 1986 models and Traction Control in the fall of 1989.

This rich tradition continues into the '90s as Cadillac became the first automobile manufacturer to be awarded the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award.

cadillac cadillac seville sts The 1992 Seville STS was the first car ever to win all three major automotive awards: Car of the Year, Motor Trend; Ten Best List, Car & Driver; Car of the Year, Automobile Magazine.

Cadillac Northstar 4.6L V8 A 1993 Cadillac Allante in stock technical configuration, was selected as the pace car for the 76th Indianapolis 500. The demanding pace car performance and handling requirements were met because of such advances as the Northstar system. The system inclues the 32 valve, dual overhead camshaft, Northstar 4.6 liter V8 engine, 4T80-E electronically controlled automatic transaxle, road sensing suspension, speed sensitive steering, anti-lock brakes and traction control.

For more than nine decades Cadillac has been a leader in quality and technical innovation. Now more than ever, substance takes shape ... Cadillac Style