Cadillac, named after the French Military officer and explorer, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac – the founder of Detroit, celebrated a hundred years of automotive innovation in 2002.
The build of the first Cadillac was completed on the 17th of October 1902. It was powered by a 10 hp single-cylinder engine and had a proposed price tag of $750. In 1903 the Cadillac Model A, or rather three of them, were shown to the public for the first time at the New York Auto Show. So enthusiastic was the response that the company received 2 286 orders for this first ever Cadillac.
The Cadillac name was built on its reputation for precision engineering and the highest quality standards. By carefully manufacturing components to tight tolerances Cadillac made repairs both more simple and cost effective by allowing just damaged components to be replaced rather than whole assemblies. For example if a piston were damaged the customer would only have to replace the piston rather than the piston together with a matching cylinder as was the case with other vehicles at the time.
In 1912 Cadillac was the first company to introduce a sophisticated electronic system that included an electric starter motor and battery management. Three years later it unveiled the first mass-produced V8 engine. The company also introduced the first two-plane fully counter-weighted crankshaft that significantly enhanced the smooth running characteristic of V8 engines.
In 1930 Cadillac introduced the world’s first V16 engine for passenger car use. The 7,4 litre engine produced 160 hp. This was followed by a 135 hp V12 unit just months later. These two remarkable engines made Cadillac the most talked about automotive brand in an era of large capacity multi-cylinder automobiles that lasted for two decades.
Cadillac played a defining role in North American culture in the years after World War II. The Cadillac culture extends to countless car clubs, private collections and exotic and creative retrofits based on production models. Cadillac has featured in music productions, movies, TV and even fine art productions as it rose to prominence as the quintessential American automotive brand.
Today Cadillac has evolved into a global brand fully in tune with wider markets and tastes, particularly those of European buyers. The latest range of Cadillacs is building a renewed momentum in the global marketplace as a range of world-class vehicles capable of competing with the best contenders in class. The latest range of luxury vehicles from Cadillac offers precise handling, a host of active and passive safety features, the latest in infotainment systems and bold styling.