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I'm a Cadillac Fanatic!
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Hey all. I'm looking to get a page together that goes through all of Cadillac's history.. It can be written by more than one person and added to as time goes by.. I'm looking for an entire history of the company.. Does anyone care to be involved? If so, you could start by replying here with what you know.. I don't know of any sites out there who really go into depth about Cadillac history so I'd like to get it down somewhere before we never know or forget forever...

Thanks,

Sal
 

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How is your history project going? I know quite a bit about Cadillac history and would be willing to write some sort of historical background in my free time (which isn't much!). Cadillac has a very interesting history. To begin with, the company was named after the founder of Detroit, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.

Max
 

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Hi Max! Actually, I haven't even started. I just posted that topic yesterday morning and I'm looking for as much input as possible. I'd like this to be a joint effort so all and any information is important to me. Thank you for offering your time! I do appreciate it. :)
 

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history

Although I don't have dates, names or anything written on this...

Years ago I read about the first muscle car.

It was a 1949 Olds.

But it was actually a Chevy with a Cadillac Overhead valve engine.

They modified the engine to over 12:1 compression and used avaition fuel.

It performed flawlessly in a cross country run and set several speed and endurance records.

more on this??

Pat
 

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I'm new here and I don't own a Cadillac yet, but I have a couple of really good books that are out of print if you need me to look anything up for you.
 

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I have the "Standard of the World" book, by Hendry & Holls. I think it was the last edition. It covers just about every detail I've ever wanted to know, right up to the late 80's.

I also have a copy of "The Standard Catalog of..." which is printed for several manufacturers, and still in print. There are a couple of other old books that I can't put my hands on right now, they're in storage. When it warms up I'll probably be able to dig them up.

Thanks for the welcome.
 

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I also have the "Standard Catalog of Cadillac". Good book, lots of historical articals in it. There was recently an update published that covers 1991-99 or 2000 I belive. You should be able to get it from one of the major chain book stores in the Transportation section. If they don't have it they should be able to order it.
 

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I promised a little history so here it is. I guess to start properly, I’ll have to go back to 1701 in what was known as “French North America.” A small party of men made their way upstream from Lake Erie. They stepped ashore on the west bank downstream from Lake Saint Clair. The officer commanding the detachment was a tall, handsome figure in thighboots, dark blue frock coat and red sash, white lace jabot and cuffs—his blue cocked hat and sword at his side, symbols of leadership and authority from a noble family. It was decided to build a stockade and establish a trading post and a permanent settlement where they were. It was to be called Ville d’Etroit. The name of the man who just established the site of what was to ultimately be called Detroit was Le Sieur Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.

Fast forward to February 16, 1843 near Barton, Vermont, when Zilpha, the wife of a farmer named Leander B. Leland, presented her husband with their sixth son. He was named Henry Martyn Leland. His Quaker parents taught him Christian ethics and a set of moral standards to guide him throughout life with an emphasis on practical Christianity—square dealing, kindness, and assistance to others. He also received patient instruction in everyday duties on the farm—the necessity for doing every job properly, no matter how small. Henry went to work at the age of 11 and began showing his aptitude for improving methods. He developed a way to peg soles that enabled him, as a schoolboy, to earn money comparable to adult pay levels. He later went to work at Colt (who had produced the first successful revolver) as a mechanic and made precision his passion. Then he went to work for another company called Brown and Sharpe, prosperous manufacturers of precision machinery where he enhanced his precision standards. They produced the first practical quantity produced hand micrometers with compensation for wear and accurate to one-thousandth of an inch in measurement. They advertised their tools as “The World’s Standard of Accuracy.”

Leland later began to think seriously about his own business and was attracted to the city of Detroit where he had a friend with a business selling machine tools. He met a wealthy man named Robert C. Faulconer and convinced him the city had a need for machine shops and they created the firm of Leland, Faulconer, and Norton in Detroit in 1890. Their main work was gear grinding and the design and building of special tools. Their business was booming with an emphasis on gear making. The bicycle boom swept the country at this time and Leland was asked to design and develop trouble free gears. The gears were accurate to a half thousandth of an inch and fully interchangeable. The company then went into motive power, both steam and internal combustion which was shortly to prove invaluable.

Down the road in Lansing, Michigan, Ransom Eli Olds founded the Olds Gasoline Engine Works. While he and his father built gasoline engines for farm use, early Olds vehicles were steam powered. By this time, the gasoline vehicle idea was making headway, following the pioneering work of Daimler and Benz in Germany in the mid 1880’s. Back in America, Olds joined a group of American inventors in the early nineties and completed one of the pioneer gasoline automobiles in Michigan. In 1897, the Olds Motor Vehicle Company was established. They had a big problem with the gears in their transmissions trying to make them mesh not to mention the fact that they were intolerably noisy. Olds went to Leland and Faulconer (now called L and F), to make a quiet running transmission where the gears were precision ground and interchangeable from car to car without any hand fitting. In 1901, L and F was given a contract to make two thousand engines for Olds. There were 2 other brothers named Dodge that also supplied engines for Olds. The Dodge engine produced about 3.0 horsepower while the Leland engine produced about 3.7 horsepower. The Leland engine ran at higher speeds and had lower friction than the Dodge engine thanks to closer machining due to the higher craftsmanship (some things never change! :) ). Leland realized that his expertise could be of great use in the new industry. He had his team improve their original engine which now developed 10.25 horsepower. Leland presented his newly developed engine to Olds but they were selling so many cars that they didn’t have a need for a new engine, especially one that would increase cost and delay production. This was disappointing for Leland but it wouldn’t be long before his engine got some use.

In August of 1902, two men came to see Leland about a company they were trying to liquidate. It had been organized three years previously and was named the Detroit Automobile Company. It had only produced a few cars but the company failed in 1900. It was revived and reorganized a year later with the chief mechanic now in charge. He renamed it after himself. It was called the Henry Ford Company but Ford left after 3 months when the company was failing again. The investors claimed that Ford only wanted to build race cars but Ford said the company was in too much of a hurry to make a profit and had no long term plans. The investors, now trying to just get out, asked Leland to appraise their automobile plant and equipment for sale. Leland agreed and went to look the factory over. This gave him a tremendous idea. He went and got his new engine and took it for his meeting. When he later met with the investors, he told them “I believe you are making a great mistake in going out of business. The automobile has a great future. I have brought you a motor which we worked out at L and F. It has three times the power of the Olds motor. Its parts are interchangeable, and I can make these motors for you at less cost than the others for the Olds works and it is not temperamental” (which was a problem back then). Impressed by the man before them, they voted to continue the business and gave him the leading role in the company which now needed a new name. The investors hoped that their new company would be the first successful automobile company in Detroit so what more appropriate title than the one the great French adventurer had first brought to that very spot some two hundred years before? It was dubbed the CADILLAC and shortly afterward, the Cadillac family crest was adopted (the design was prepared using the celebrated many-quartered shield surmounted by a seven-piked coronet and garlanded with a laurel wreath) and registered as a trademark.

I hope this wasn’t too long for everyone but I thought it was interesting info.

Max
 

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We had a kid from FoMoCo come to speak to my Rotary Club a few weeks ago. He was asking trivia questions throughout his speech and giving away promotional stuff to people who had the right answers.

Ford is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year, and he was making a big deal out of "how many companies can you name that are 100 years old and still going strong..." I mumbled "Cadillac" and everyone at my table kind of chuckled. I don't know if they believed me or not.

A few minutes later he got to the part in his presentation where he had to admit the story about Henry Ford being kicked out of Cadillac a year before he started what is now the Ford Motor Company.

He then walked over to my table and handed me an insulated aluminum "Ford Focus" coffee mug. I thought that was pretty cool of him.
 

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I saw a plate on my door sill that says Body by Fisher. Who is Fisher?
 

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Sal--I got most of it from a book I have for the last article. The previous article came from different internet sites as will as from my own input. When I get home, I'll post the name of the book.

Mad'lac-Fisher is the name of a company that was owned by two brothers named Fisher. They used to make the actual body of the car for the GM chassis back in the early days of the car business until GM fully acquired the company in 1926 and then it was an exclusive deal.

Isn't it interesting how all the original car families came together in the first part of the century? Cadillac, Olds, Ford, Benz, Dodge--names that are still around today!

Max
 

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I think Olds got the ax last year didn't they? But you're right they all been around for such a long time.
 

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