Why Buy a Cadillac?Buying Guides • Advice • Reviews
In 1902 Henry Leland was a master precision machinist. When Leland was asked by an investor group to look at a car making plant in Detroit for a sales estimate he instead sold them an engine with interchangeable precision gears he and Robert Faulconer had designed. The investors bought the idea. This was the beginning of Cadillac, which itself is named after the founder of Detroit, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. Cadillac’s history can be traced through its many innovations.
1912 – Cadillac introduced the self-cranking engine.
1915 – Brought the first 8-cylinder engine by Cadillac. It was a water cooled V-8 design engine and mass produced.
1918 – Cadillac introduced the dual-plane V-8 crankshaft to make their engine more efficient.
1925 – Cadillac first uses lacquer paints in its car manufacturing; an innovative design strategy for the time.
1926 – Cadillac began using shatter-resistance glass in its vehicles. There were over 500 color combinations for a Cadillac.
1927 – Stylist Harvey Earl joined Cadillac and designed the LaSalle coupe. This was the first time a car had been designed for looks rather than mechanical functionality. Steel top car roofs were introduced that year.
1928 – Cadillac introduces the Synchro-mesh transmission to stop the problem of locked transmissions.
1930 – The company introduced the V-16 as well as the V-12 engine. These were the largest, most powerful car engines at the time.
1935 – They took a V-8 to Indianapolis and won in the stock division. There were 68 different body styles customers could select.
1936 – Cadillac introduces mid-market cars for those who could not afford the expense of the luxury market.
1941 – The beginning of automatic transmissions. The Hydra-matic was introduced by Cadillac and was the first available automatic transmission for cars.
During World War II Cadillac stopped building cars temporarily and built transmissions and engines for Howitzer tanks as well as other light tanks. After the war ended Cadillac began building cars again.
1949 – They introduced the tail fin as a design modification. It was the first of its kind. Cadillac also introduced the hardtop convertible and broke their production record by manufacturing over 100,000 cars in one year. They offered power steering on every vehicle, another first.
1953 – Another first was an "autotronic" eye which caused the lights on the car to dim without human assistance.
1956 – Cadillac introduces the 4 door sedan with a pillar-less hard top.
1957 – They introduced a seat with memory functions for each driver, a signal seeking transistor radio, and used 13 transistors in the vehicle’s circuitry.
1962 – Innovation in braking was Cadillac’s next breakthrough. Their brake system reservoirs were for their dual master cylinder brake system.
1964 – Cadillac introduced the first fully automatic heating and air conditioning system. They introduced seat belts for the front seat of the car. Automatic headlights, variable power steering, electric seat warmers and stereo radios were introduced.
1967 – The Cadillac El Dorado is launched. Its innovations included an 8.2 liter engines with 400 horsepower and the highest torque of any previous axle on the market.
1974 – Cadillac puts safety on top of their innovative list and adds air bags to their vehicles.
1975 – Electronic fuel injection is added to Cadillac’s line of vehicles.
1978 – The Seville becomes the first car in the era of computer control. It contained an onboard microprocessor with a digital display function for the driver.
1980 – Cadillac begins downsizing many of its models. The slant back rear-end style of the Cadillac is introduced. They introduced a written policy on how to inspect their cars. They furnished driver tutorials and walk around lists for showing customers the vehicle on the sales floor. This won their first J. D. Power Customer Satisfaction Award.
1990 – Cadillac introduced electronic traction on front wheel drive vehicles.
1992 – A new engine innovation is a 32 valve V-8 with a limp home system (50 miles driving with no water in the radiator). They added electronic traction control, electronic power train control, anti-lock brakes and speed sensitive steering innovations.
1999 – Cadillac introduces the Escalade. This is the first luxury SUV.
2003 – Safety is another innovation with high intensity discharge headlights for low beams. Stabilitrak, electronic stability control, is added to 4 wheel drive vehicles.
2004 – Comfort is introduced with bucket seats in the back and XM Sirius radio as well as a tire monitoring system.
2008 – Cadillac introduces the Escalade Hybrid, a full size luxury SUV with both gas and electric power. The gas motor is 400 horsepower and the electric motors combine for 379 horsepower .
2015 – The Escalade has a makeover with an architectural look to the outside. Cadillac is going back to its design roots with a new design concept for the look of their vehicles.
Throughout its history Cadillac has maintained both a standard of excellence as well as being one of the most innovative car manufacturers in the world. A history of the company shows major innovations introduced time and again at the forefront of both technology and the market for personal luxury vehicles.