A Timeline of Achievement
The first Cadillac automobile was completed on October 17, 1902. It was powered by a
10 - horsepower single - cylinder engine. An early innovation on this vehicle
was the use of special split - core fasteners which locked a nut on its thread
with no need for washers.
Cadillac is a pioneer of multi-cylinder motorcars, with their introduction of a 4-cylinder
Cadillac won the internationally recognized Dewar Trophy, administered by the
Royal Automobile Club of Great Britain, for interchangeability of parts. Three
Cadillacs were driven through the streets of London, then run on a test track
and then totally dismantled. The more than 2,000 parts for the three cars were
scrambled together and the cars were reassembled.
At the end of the first day of re-assembly, the first Cadillac was on its wheels.
The other two were finished in short order. The acid test came, of course, when
the mechanic took hold of the crank handle and started the engine. It wasn’t a
100 percent success: The first two Cadillacs started at the first crank while
the third required two swings of the handle. An immediate 500-mile
demonstration run proved the ready interchangeability ( standardization ) of
each car's 721 component parts. Cadillac legitimately laid claim to the slogan,
"Standard of the World."
Cadillac is the first manufacturer to offer closed bodies available as standard
equipment. Also, a Delco coil and breaker-point ignition system was first
offered as a major improvement in reliability over magneto ignition.
Cadillac got rid of the crank by adopting a sophisticated Delco electrical
system to handle self-starting, ignition and lighting functions. Cadillac won
its second Dewar -- the only manufacturer ever to win two and the only US
company to ever win at all. Auto manufacturers all over the world followed
Cadillac's lead by adding similar electric starters to their products.
Cadillac is the first to offer a production car with a V-type, water-cooled,
8-cylinder engine. The United States War Department purchased over 2,000
standard Cadillac V8 models for use in Europe during World War I.
Cadillac began controlling the engine's fuel mixture thermostatically. Except
for choke operation during starting, the driver was relieved of all carburetor
A fundamental advancement in the design of V8 automobile engines was the
incorporation of a fully counter-weighted two-plane crankshaft. All primary
and secondary forces were balanced to vastly improve the smoothness of V8s in
Cadillac automobiles. The introduction of lacquer paint reduced manufacturing
time and improved the finish of car bodies.
Cadillac is the first automaker to develop a comprehensive service policy and
place it on a nationwide basis.
Security Plate safety glass, double-acting Delco shock absorbers, and chrome-plated trim
items were introduced for all models. Cadillac eliminated gear
clash during shifting by the introduction of a new "Synchro-Mesh Silent-Shift"
transmission. Bronze - on-steel cones matched speeds during shifting to
facilitate the smooth meshing of gears.
Cadillac introduced the world’s first V16 engine for passenger car use.
This engine featured overhead valves with hydraulic lash adjusters, twin
carburetors, dual exhaust and a delivery of 160 horsepower from 452 cubic
inches. A V12 derivative introduced later in the same model year produced 135
horsepower from 368 cubic inches. Cadillac is the only automobile manufacturer
to offer a complete line of V8, V12 and V16 engine-equipped vehicles.
Cadillac is the world's first automobile manufacturer to introduce coil
springs on a production vehicle.
A Cadillac-built V8 breaks all previous stock car records at the Indianapolis
To clear the floor and facilitate comfortable three-abreast seating in the
front seat, Cadillac relocated the gear shift to the steering column. With an
eye toward reinforcing its V16 supremacy, Cadillac introduced an all new 16
cylinder design for a limited number of luxury models. This 431 cubic-inch
engine used twin carburetors, water pumps and distributors to generate 185
horsepower. The first sunroofs available in America were offered by Cadillac.
Cadillac introduced a fully automatic transmission consisting of a fluid
coupling, four forward speeds, and a hydraulic "brain" one year after
Oldsmobile pioneered this key innovation in its 1940 models. Thirty percent of
Cadillac's customers opted for the new Hydra-matic transmission.
Cadillac went to war work with peacetime production stopping in February, 1942,
and 55 days later the M-5 light tank came off the line at Cadillac’s immense
Clark Street facility in Detroit. Cadillac engineers had prepared for this in
early 1941, adapting the V8 engine and Hydra - Matic transmission to tank work,
using two per vehicle. The M - 5 was one of the most effective armored vehicles
of the war; its chassis was later adapted to the M - 8 howitzer carriage.
Cadillac also made camshafts, crankshafts and piston pins for a variety of
Cadillac is presented with the Army-Navy "E" award for excellence in production
of war equipment.
Cadillac produces the M-24, the fastest and most maneuverable light combat
tank, serving the country on all battlefronts. The M-24 features two Cadillac
V8 engines and two Hydramatic transmissions.
Cadillac initiates the 50s era horsepower war with the introduction of a modern overhead- valve V8 rated at 160 horsepower. The 331 cubic-inch engine featured high compression, a short stroke and light-weight construction.
Three interesting safety innovations by Cadillac were an "autronic eye" which automatically dimmed the headlamps. A one-touch system for washing and wiping the windshield, and a padded instrument panel cover. Cadillac is also the first car manufacturer to provide power steering as standard equipment on its entire line of automobiles.
Cadillac's low - volume Eldorado Brougham introduces the quad headlamp system ( simultaneous with other U.S. makes ), a brushed stainless-steel roof panel, a power seat with memory, automatic door lock, "wide oval" ( low profile ) tires, forged aluminum wheels and air suspension. One feature common with mainstream Cadillac models was a foot operated parking brake that automatically released when the transmission was shifted into gear.
Low pressure freon-filled shock absorbers improved Cadillac's ride quality.
Self - adjusting brakes were adopted.
Comfort Control is introduced by Cadillac to provide customers with the auto industry's first thermostatically regulated heating, ventilating and air conditioning system. A Twilight Sentinel automatically turned headlamps on at dusk and off at sunrise. Front seat belts became standard Cadillac equipment.
The introduction of Delco Superlift rear shock absorbers provided automatic load-leveling capability and Cadillac was also the first car company to introduce tilt and telescoping steering wheels.
Cadillac is the first to introduce, on an American car, variable-ratio power steering which permitted quick parking maneuvers with a slower ratio for more stable highway control. Electric seat warmers and a stereo radio were also added as optional equipment.
With the industry's first closed cooling system, engine coolant lost as a result of momentary overheating was automatically captured and returned to the radiator. A vented translucent reservoir permits visual checking of the fluid level without exposure to hot coolant, or loss of radiator pressure. A new Dual-Comfort seat is divided 40 per cent for the driver and 60 per cent for the passengers, allowing seat adjustments to be made separately. Also in 1969, a new seat belt system with automatic adjustors and "mini" buckles to keep belts separated neatly and ready for use. There is a new built-in receptacle in the front seat below the center arm rest, where unused belts can be stored. On two door models the seat back locks automatically unlocks when either door is opened. The seat backs relock automatically when the door is closed.
Cadillac unveils a new 500 cu. in. ( 8.2 litre ) engine for the Eldorado producing 400 horsepower with 550 foot pounds of torque. This was the largest production passenger car engine in the world.
An industry first, Cadillac introduces an integral ductile iron steering knuckle on all standard models. A Cadillac exclusive, the knuckle has inherently higher reliability, fewer fasteners and fewer human variables than the multi-piece unit it replaces. The 1970 axle is totally redesigned and features quieter operation, greater durability, improved serviceability, and has the highest torque capacity of any passenger car in the industry.
Another industry first is an exclusive signal seeking radio. In addition to receiving AM-FM and FM stereo stations, the radio has the ability to tune itself to FM stereo broadcasts exclusively, while bypassing all non-stereo stations.
Track Master, an electronically controlled skid braking system, was also made available on Eldorado.
A new stronger front-end structure is introduced on all '71 cars. Developed through new computer techniques, it included the frame, bumper mountings and stiffer sheet metal to provide a 45 percent increase in energy absorption in front-end impacts.
All 1971 Cadillacs have a unique combination of an air injection reactor and the controlled combustion system for exhaust emission control. So Cadillac engines ( 472 cubin inch and the 500 cubic inch ) have been redesigned to operate on leaded or new low pollutant fuels. To accomplish this, the compression ratio has been reduced to 8.5 to 1 and changes made to spark advance specifications.
A significant improvement comes under the hood where a practical and systematic rearrangement results in improved serviceability and neater appearance.
Cadillac's 70th anniversary year, a new impact-resisting system significantly increases protection of front end sheet metal, lights and components. The front bumper impact capability is increased to withstand a five mile an hour car to car situation. Additional imporvements were made in the frame, body reinforcements, shock absorbers and body mounts to assure an even softer and quieter ride. A new detachable litter box is standard on all cars. An optional hard plastic boot cover is available on the Eldorado convertible.
Cadillac introduces a functionally unique front bumper-grille assembly which retracts as a single unit upon impact. The front bumper utilizes the new Delco energy absorbing mounting system while the rear bumper employs the new urethane energy absorbing system. An exhaust gas recirculation system ( E.G.R. ) has been added for the purpose of further reducing NO ( oxides of nitrogen ) emissions.
Along with Buick and Oldsmobile, Cadillac pioneers the use of an air cushion restraint ( airbag ) system to protect the driver and front-passenger in the event of a frontal collision. Other options offered include a new high-energy electronic ignition system, a space-saver tire for more luggage compartment capacity, and a new pulse-action wiper control which adds an adjustable intermit delay action to the wiper system.
Cadillac offers the first U.S. production cars with electronically fuel-injected engines, using analog computer technology to analyze vehicle operating data to determine precise fuel needs on 1975 Eldorado, Fleetwood, and DeVille models.
Cadillac is the first to test the capability of digital computerization in automotive applications by offering a microprocessor, the "Trip Computer", on the 1978 Seville.
Cadillac advances fuel delivery technology with the introduction of digital electronic fuel-injection, including self-diagnostics and microprocessor controls.
Cadillac introduces the Gold Key Delivery System, a set of standardized procedures for new car delivery, in all Cadillac dealerships. This extra attention to customers and their automobiles during the delivery process (two vehicle inspections, explanation of features in a ride-and-drive and product walk-around, two sets of gold keys and more) helped Cadillac to earn the #1 position in the annual Sales Satisfaction Index, published by J.D. Power & Associates in "The Power Report," which evaluates the quality of the customer buying experience.
Cadillac introduces the world's first transverse V8, frontwheel drive automobile. Another advanced feature in the new DeVille line was a viscous-damped torque converter clutch.
A multiplex wiring arrangement is introduced on the Cadillac Allante to control exterior lighting.
Cadillac is the first American luxury carmaker to implement a 24-hour, 365-day-a-year Roadside Service Program. This service allows any Cadillac owner to receive emergency service by dialing a toll-free number.
The first Traction Control system offered in the American market was a system introduced as standard equipment on the Cadillac Allante.
Cadillac's General Manager, John O. Grettenberger, was presented with the Baldrige Award by President George Bush in Washington D.C. (This award promotes national awareness about the importance of improving total quality management and recognizes quality achievements of companies in the United States.)
Cadillac introduces its first four-valve-per-cylinder V8, the 4.6-liter Northstar. Like previous powerplants from Cadillac, the new V8 set new standards for the automotive industry. Constructed with both an aluminum block and cylinder heads, the Northstar V8 features 16 new patents, including a unique "limp home" feature that allows the engine to operate without coolant for over 50 miles in emergency situations.
The 1995 model year marked the eightieth year of the Cadillac V8 engine. Cadillac added a new level of control and integration with the Integrated Chassis Control System (ICCS). This system established shared sensor inputs for the Road-Sensing Suspension, Bosch® ASR 5 ABS and Traction Control Systems. The result was improved ride and handling with superior brake performance in straight-line and cornering situations
The Seville Touring Sedan, Eldorado Touring Coupe and DeVille Concours feature the highest horsepower (300 hp @ 6000 rpm) front-wheel-drive engine in the world.
StabiliTrak is added to the Seville STS, Eldorado Touring Coupe and the DeVille Concours. Praised by a field of automotive journalists, StabiliTrak helps prevent skids or loss of directional control through curves, on slippery surfaces or during severe steering maneuvers. It expands a proven array of computer-controlled Northstar technologies such as Road-Sensing Suspension, anti-lock brakes, traction control and Magnasteer variable-assist steering.
Adaptive seats are introduced in the Seville STS, adding a level of comfort never before achieved. Adaptive seats adapt to your body by the use a series of 10 air cells that measure internal pressure and make adjustments so that the seats promote blood flow and reduce muscle fatigue. The seats are endorsed by the American Physical Therapists Association.
Standard of the World