Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

Cadillac

Cadillac


A chronological day-by-day history of Cadillac.

Wednesday 12th June 1901

116 years ago

The first Peerless automobile was introduced. Established in Cleveland (US) in 1900 at 43 Lisbon Street, Peerless Motors began producing De Dion-Bouton "machines" under license from the French Company. Engineer Louis P. Mooers designed the first Peerless models, as well as several proprietary engines.[3] The first Peerless-branded vehicles appeared in 1902, with a front-mounted engine driving the rear wheels through a shaft. This later became the standard vehicle propulsion layout for automobiles. In 1904, Mooers penned the Green Dragon racecar and enlisted Barney Oldfield to drive it. The Green Dragon brought notability and success to Peerless, as Oldfield used it to set a number of early world automobile speed records. In 1905, the 35-horsepower Green Dragon, competed in the world's first 24-hour endurance race in Columbus, Ohio. Piloted by Earnest Bollinger, Aurther Feasel, and briefly by Barney Oldfield, the Peerless led the race for the first hour before crashing into a fence, later finishing in 3rd place. From 1905-1907, Peerless experienced a rapid expansion in size and production volume. As the Peerless namesake grew in fame, the company began producing increasingly higher-priced models with a focus on luxury. Notable customers included Cornelius Vanderbilt and John D. Rockefeller. In 1911, Peerless was one of the first car companies to introduce electric lighting on their vehicles, with electric starters added in 1913. In 1915, the firm introduced its first V8 engine, intending to compete with the Cadillac V8 introduced a year earlier. This model became Peerless' staple production vehicle until 1925, when engines produced by other manufacturers were first used in Peerless models. During World War I, Peerless manufactured military vehicle chassis and trucks.In 1929, the entire Peerless range was redesigned to compete with other vehicles produced by Stutz and Marmon. This move saw increased sales, and for 1930 another design refresh was undertaken. The Peerless-designed V8 was replaced by a Continental straight-8 as a cost-saving measure. However, the Great Depression that began in 1929 greatly reduced the sales of luxury automobiles. Peerless stripped down production and attempted to market one line of vehicles to wealthy Americans who were not affected by the depression. In 1930-31, Peerless commissioned Murphy Body Works to design what the company envisioned as its 1933 model. The task was assigned to a young Frank Hershey, who produced a remarkably clean, elegant vehicle. A single V16-engined 1931 Peerless was finished in June 1931, the last Peerless ever produced. Peerless remained an idle business until the end of Prohibition in 1933 allowed the manufacture of alcohol. Peerless then revamped its factory and gained a license to brew beer under the Carling Black Label and Red Cap ale brands. Hershey's single prototype remained in Peerless factory until the end of World War II and it is now owned by the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum. The following Peerless vehicles are deemed "classic cars" by the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA): 1925 Series 67; 1926 — 1928 Series 69; 1929 Model Eight-125; 1930-1 Custom 8 and the 1932 Deluxe Custom 8. However, all Peerless vehicles are considered collectible.

1905 Peerless advertisement

1905 Peerless advertisement

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Friday 22nd August 1902

115 years ago

Cadillac, which is among the oldest automobile brands in the world, second in America only to fellow GM marque Buick, was founded in Detroit, Michigan, US. It was named after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, who founded Detroit in 1701. The Cadillac crest is based on his coat of arms. Cadillac was formed from the remnants of the Henry Ford Company. After a dispute between Henry Ford and his investors, Ford left the company along with several of his key partners in March 1902. Ford's financial backers William Murphy and Lemuel Bowen called in engineer Henry M. Leland of Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Company to appraise the plant and equipment in preparation for liquidating the company's assets. Instead, Leland persuaded the pair to continue manufacturing automobiles using Leland's proven single-cylinder engine. Soon after its inception, Cadillac’s first automobiles, the Tonneau and Runabout were introduced. These vehicles were a type of horseless carriages and were powered by Leland’s single-cylinder engines, but looked incredibly similar to Ford Model A. This is where the company began its long journey of new innovations and technologies, contributing greatly to American cars. After being purchased by General Motors in 1909, Cadillac became GM’s prestige division, which was responsible for producing commercial vehicles and institutional vehicles, such as funeral home flower cars, hearses, ambulances, and limousines. By 1910, the company introduced the first car to ever be built with a closed frame body-style. Soon enough, Cadillac introduced vehicles which had an electric powered ignition and headlights system. Therefore, this major innovation led to the company winning the Dewar Trophy twice. The company also created the first mass-produced v8 engines and pioneered the use of fast-drying Duco Lacquer Paints. Not to mention, in 1930, the company also introduced the world’s first V-Type 16-Cylinder engine in passenger cars that was powerful, smooth, and quiet with an HP of 160 and torque of 120 lb-ft. In 1937, the Cadillac Lasalle V8 set a new high speed record of 82 MPH and even managed to introduce the only vehicles to have sunroofs in America. The early 40s was a successful time for Cadillac, as the company introduced cars with fully automatic transmission, known as the ‘Hydra-Matic Transmission’. In 1944, Cadillac launched the famous M-24 Tank which was of great use during the Second World War, powered by a Hydramatic Gearbox and Cadillac V-Engine. By the end of the 1940s, the company had gone the extra mile having introduced a new, small and more economical and efficient V8 engine. In the 1950s, Cadillac introduced the most famous and of course, the American Dream Car with a record of over 23 years, the Cadillac Eldorado. Other innovations included the first automatic headlight dimmer (Autronic Eye), signal-seeking automotive radio, and the first wrap-around windshield. In the 60s, Cadillac still didn’t fall back on adding more innovations to the automotive industry and gave a good start to the new decade, with the first automatic vacuum operated parking brake release, first sidelights in the front fenders, automated air-conditioning and heating system, the first tilt or telescopic steering wheel, and also the first car with power steering solution.In fact, Cadillac became the first automaker to offer power steering as standard equipment on all vehicle models introduced. By the end of the 60s, Cadillac introduced the first American car which used closed cooling system and even introduced the famous dual comfort 40/60 seats. By the time General Motors purchased the company in 1909, Cadillac had already established itself as one of America's premier luxury carmakers. The complete interchangeability of its precision parts had allowed it to lay the foundation for the modern mass production of automobiles. It was at the forefront of technological advances, introducing full electrical systems, the clashless manual transmission and the steel roof. The brand developed three engines, with its V8 setting the standard for the American automotive industry. In 1970, Cadillac offered an advanced computerized rear-wheel skid-control braking system, known as the ‘Track Master’ and even pioneered the use of the compulsory safety requirement nowadays the air cushion restraint (airbag) system. In the 80s, Cadillac introduced cars that came equipped with electronic fuel injection systems and even introduced the catalytic convertor. In the 90s, Cadillac was the first American luxury car manufacturer which implemented the 365-days a year, 24 hours, 7 days a week, roadside assistance program. Additionally, it even introduced the first vehicle that featured the all-new traction control system. The company is even known to introduce the first V8 engine that had 32-valves and even pioneered the thermal-imaging technology or night-vision. The same year, Cadillac goes on to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Additionally, the company also introduced a limp home feature that enables the engine to run for 50 miles without the need of engine-coolant. Not to mention, Cadillac even created a unique induction system for perfect fuel distribution which can be found in almost all of its vehicles.

A 1917 Cadillac Advertisement -

A 1917 Cadillac Advertisement - "Style, Utility, Comfort"

Shoreline Gold 1965 Cadillac Eldorado

Shoreline Gold 1965 Cadillac Eldorado

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Tuesday 19th May 1903

114 years ago

Buick Motor Company, founded by Scottish-born American David Dunbar Buick, was incorporated. The following year, William Durant, a titan of the horse-drawn carriage industry, invested in Buick’s company, which was by then based in Flint, Michigan. That same year, the company made a total of 37 autos, known as the Model B. By 1906, Buick had lost control of the business and sold his stock, which would later be worth millions of dollars. Two years later, in 1908, William Durant made the Buick firm the cornerstone of his newly formed holding company, General Motors. Durant soon acquired Cadillac and Oldsmobile, among other car companies. In 1923, Buick built its 1 millionth vehicle. The Buick brand would play a key role in General Motors’ rise to become the world’s largest automaker by the early 1930s (a title it held until 2008, when it was surpassed by Japan-based Toyota). Today, Buick is GM’s entry-level luxury brand and one of the auto industry’s oldest nameplates.

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Tuesday 24th November 1903

113 years ago

The first U.S. patent for an automobile electric self-starter was issued to Clyde J. Coleman of New York City (No. 745,157). He invented the self-starter in 1899, but the invention was impractical. The license was purchased by the Delco Company, which was taken over by the General Motors Corporation. Charles Kettering at General Motors modified the self-starter, which was first installed on Cadillac cars in 1911. This was a response to the death of a friend, who had died from injuries suffered when a car hand-crank recoiled against him. Having eliminated the dangerous job of cranking the engine, it put women behind the wheel in greater numbers.

Patent No. 745,157 - Means for Operating Motor Vehicles

Patent No. 745,157 - Means for Operating Motor Vehicles

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Wednesday 13th April 1904

113 years ago

The Cadillac Motor Car Company's factory in Detroit, Michigan, US was heavily damaged by fire.

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Saturday 24th December 1904

112 years ago

Henry Leland agreed to take a management role within the Cadillac Motor Car Company.

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Tuesday 27th December 1904

112 years ago

Henry M Leland was officially named General Manager of the Cadillac Motor Car Company. Leland created the Cadillac automobile, later bought out by General Motors. In 1902, William Murphy and his partners at the Henry Ford Company hired Leland to appraise the company's factory and tooling prior to liquidation. Leland completed the appraisal, but he advised Murphy and his partners that they were making a mistake to liquidate, and suggested they instead reorganize, building a new car powered by a single-cylinder engine Leland had originally developed for Oldsmobile. The directors lost no time in renaming the company Cadillac.[7] At Cadillac, Leland applied many modern manufacturing principles to the fledgling automotive industry, including the use of interchangeable parts. Alfred P. Sloan, longtime president and chair of General Motors, considered Leland to be "one of those mainly responsible for bringing the technique of interchangeable parts into automobile manufacturing." The Cadillac won the Dewar Trophy for 1908. Leland sold Cadillac to General Motors on July 29, 1909 for $4.5 million, but remained as an executive until 1917. With Charles Kettering, he developed a self-starter for the Cadillac, which won its second Dewar Trophy in 1913 as a result. He prodded Kettering to design a workable electric starter after a Cadillac engineer was hit in the head and killed by a starting crank when the engine backfired. He left General Motors in a dispute with company founder William C. Durant over producing materiel during World War I. Cadillac had been asked to build Liberty aircraft engines but Durant was a pacifist.

Henry M Leland

Henry M Leland

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Friday 18th August 1905

112 years ago

An application was filed to have the Cadillac crest registered as a trademark.

Cadillac crest

Cadillac crest

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Tuesday 7th August 1906

111 years ago

The Cadillac crest was granted registered trademark status.

Cadillac crest - 1906

Cadillac crest - 1906

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Saturday 29th February 1908

109 years ago

A standardisation test on three random Cadillac cars began under the watchful eye of the Royal Automobile Club at the Brooklands track, Surrey, England. The cars were driven around the track for 50 miles and then taken to a garage and locked up before being dismantled. The frames were stacked up and the 721 parts from each car was piled on the floor. The parts were then mixed up so that it was impossible to identify the parts that had come from a particular vehicle. A few days later mechanics began assembling the cars. No filing or reshaping of parts was allowed. The first car, ready after two days was filled with oil, petrol, and water as required and started first time. The other two cars were finished on March 10th and they also started first time. All three cars were then driven on a 500 mile ride at full throttle. This test was the first step towards a heightened reputation for American cars overall as well as proving the concept of interchangeable parts to be a valid one.

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Thursday 16th April 1908

109 years ago

The first Oakland car was sold to a private owner. As originally conceived and introduced, the first Oakland used a vertical two-cylinder engine that rotated counterclockwise. This design by Alanson Partridge Brush, inventor of the single-cylinder Cadillac and Brush Runabout, also featured a planetary transmission. Five models were created, designated Model A–E with each subsequent letter increasing in total vehicle size. 1908, the first year of Oakland production, saw 278 vehicles roll off the line. Oakland Car Company was the creation of Edward Murphy, the founder of the Pontiac Buggy Company. Oakland ran independently for less than a year before it was purchased by William C. Durant and absorbed into General Motors. Durant's purchase of Oakland is often regarded as mysterious, considering the company had enjoyed little success and had produced less than a 1,000 cars at the time Durant purchased it.

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Sunday 26th July 1908

109 years ago

At 6.15 pm the German car, Protos, driven by Lt Koeppen crossed the Paris finishing line in the race from New York via Alaska and Peking, sponsored by the New York Times, after traveling more than 18,000 miles in 170 days – 88 of which had been on the road and averaged over 150 miles a day (with a maximum of 400 in 24 hours). But the declared winner was American Thomas ‘Flyer’ car after the Protos was penalized for traveling part of the way by train. When the Protos was delayed by repairs in America, it was shipped by rail to Seattle in order to sail with the ‘Flyer’ to Russia. On February 12th, 1908 six automobiles had lined up at the start of a 22,000-mile race to Paris. Along Broadway 250,000 people cheer them on as they head north: three French vehicles, De Dion, Sizaire-Naudin and Moto-Bloc; one German Protos; one Italian Zust; and the American entry, a Thomas Flyer. The route they plan to take is across the US via Chicago to San Francisco, from there by ship up to Alaska, across the Bering Straits (which it is hoped will still be frozen), through Siberia to Moscow, then St Petersburg, Berlin and finally Paris. The previous year there had been a race from Paris to Peking, won by Prince Scipio Borghese whose prize was a magnum of champagne, but this is the big one, sponsored by the New York Times and Le Monde. There were snowdrifts and seas of mud; the roads were dirt tracks, if there were roads at all. If there was a railroad track, they drove along it, straddling the rails and bumping from sleeper to sleeper on deflated tyres. By the time the Thomas Flyer reached San Francisco in the third week in March, its nearest competitor, the Zust, was 900 miles behind. The secret of the Flyer, capable of 60 mph and retailing at $4,000, was its team mechanic (and soon main driver) George Schuster, endlessly resourceful and determined. The Flyer was then shipped to Valdez in Alaska, where Schuster surveyed the route to Nome, in theory the beginning of the crossing to Eurasia. He reported to the organisers that it was quite impossible, so it was decided the vehicles should be shipped from Seattle to Japan. After problems over Russian visas, the Flyer ended up the last to leave, but was awarded a 15-day allowance for its time in Alaska, while the German Protos got a 15-day penalty for having been put on a train for part of the American leg. By the time Vladivostok was reached, all three French vehicles had withdrawn; by St Petersburg, and after endless frustrations and adventures, Lieutenant Hans Koeppen’s Protos just had the edge over the Flyer, while the Italians were 3,000 miles behind. The Protos reached Paris on July 26th while the Flyer was still in Berlin, but it finished on July 30th. The French had been grudging in the welcome they gave the Germans, but the Flyer’s arrival was greeted with huge enthusiasm, especially since the penalty and allowance made it the clear winner. The Italian Zust only reached Paris in September. The publicity value of the race for the automobile industry was huge; at the same time it demonstrated to governments the inadequacy of the world’s road systems. Over a thousand photographs taken of the race survive. Its timing could not have been better, since 1908 was the year that Henry Ford introduced his Model T and General Motors was created out of the amalgamation of Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac (then Cadillac in 1909). The absence of a British vehicle indicated the weakness of the industry there, while the presence of three French entrants reflected their dominance. But the lead was soon to cross the Atlantic, though the Thomas firm collapsed in 1913.

Cars lined up for the start of the New York to Paris road race: De Dion-Bouton (in front), Protos, Motobloc

Cars lined up for the start of the New York to Paris road race: De Dion-Bouton (in front), Protos, Motobloc

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Tuesday 22nd June 1909

108 years ago

The Cole Motor Car Company was founded in Indianapolis, Indiana, US by Joseph Jaret Cole. In 1904 Joseph J. Cole, formerly with the James Moon Buggy Company, who built the Moon Automobile, purchased the Gates-Osborne Buggy Co. of Indianapolis, Indiana. He then formed The Cole Carriage Co. an became a horse drawn carriage manufacture. By 1909 Joseph Cole organized The Cole Motor Car Co. and produced a primitive high wheeler with a 90 inch wheelbase, solid tires and a air cooled opposed two cylinder engine with 14 Horsepower. The Cole High Wheeler was not very successful. So Joseph Cole turned his attention to a more conventional four cylinder American Automobiles. By 1913 he was building six cylinder automobiles and by 1916 some of the nations first American Automobiles with V-type eight cylinders engines. The 1910 Cole Roadster shown above was equipped with a 4" x 4" four cylinder engine that was rated at 30 horsepower. This new engine was well designed and quickly found approval with the public. Ignition was furnished by a Splitdorf magneto and a battery system. A three speed selective gear set transmission was used along with a cone clutch. The Cole 30 had a 108 inch wheelbase with 32 inch x 3 1/2 inch wheels and tires. Note the spare tire mounted on the rear. The 1910 Cole Roadster and Touring Car was priced at $1500.00. In 1911 the Cole got longer and was strengthened (see below). The wheelbase was increased from 108 inches to 115 inches, wheels and tires were increased to 34 inch x 4 inches, the frame was given a drop effect and a new Northway engine was used. The 4 1/2 inch x 4 1/2 inch four cylinder 30 horsepower Northway engine was built by The Northway Engine Co. of Detroit. A Touring Car and Roadster were built. In 1912 the Cole wheelbase was now 122 inches with 36 inch wheels and tires. The Cole for 1912 was called the 30-40 due to another increase in horsepower on the Northway engine. The drive train consisted of a clutch, selective transmission and shaft drive. The regular gear ratio was 4 to 1, also available was 3 1/2 to 1. Once again a Touring Car and Roadster were built. A new line consisting of three chassis models called the Series 8 was introduced by Cole in 1913. The three chassis models consisted of a small four cylinder with 40 horsepower, a larger four cylinder with 50 horsepower and a 60 horsepower six cylinder engine. All engines were produced by Northway with electric Delco starting and lighting systems.The Cole "Four" and Cole "Six" introduced in 1914 had left side drive, center transmission control, automatic spark advance, speedometer and many other advanced features. The big four cylinder 50 horsepower model was dropped. The lighter four cylinder's wheelbase was increased to 120 inches, while the six cylinder wheelbase was increased to 136 inches. 1914 Cole four cylinder models included a $1,925.00 four passenger Toy Tonneau, $1,925.00 two passenger Roadster and a $2,350.00 three passenger Coupe. Six cylinder models included a $2,600.00 six passenger Toy Tonneau, $2,600.00 two passenger Roadster, $3,000.00 four passenger Coupe and a $4,000.00 seven passenger Limousine. 1914 models were painted Cloe blue with the fenders and running gear black. 1915 Cole automobiles included a Standard Four "440" and a Cole Big Six "660". The 1915 Standard Four model 440 had Northway four cylinder 29 horsepower engine, selective gear three speed transmission, cone clutch, shaft drive, 120 inch wheelbase, 56 inch gauge, 34 inch x 4 inch wheels and tires and typical Delco electric system. Three different models were made. A $1,485.00 Touring Car, $1,485.00 Roadster and a $1,885.00 Coupe. The 1915 Cole Big Six model 660 was equipped with a Northway six cylinder 44 horsepower engine. Special features included a 136 inch wheelbase and 37 inch x 5 inch wheels and tires. Both Cole models had left side drive and center controls. 1915 models were painted Brewster green and the running gear was black. Only a seven passenger Touring Cars and three passenger Roadsters was produced by The Cole Motor Car Co. in 1916. 1916 was also the first year that Joseph J. Cole used a Northway eight cylinder V-type engine in one of his automobiles. This was about one year after Cadillac introduced it's first Northway V-8 in an American Automobile. Common features of the 1916 Cole automobiles included 127 inch wheelbase, 56 inch tread, cone clutch, selective sliding type three speed transmission, spiral bevel drive, full floating axle, emergency brake and demountable 35 inches x 4 1/2 inch wooden wheels. Both models were priced at $1,595.00 and included a top, top hood, windshield, speedometer and voltmeter. 1916 models shown below were painted Norland green and the running gear was black. 1917 Cole production included four different models all equipped with eight cylinder V-type engines. (1) Model 860 seven passenger Touring Car $1,695.00 (2) Model 861 four passenger Tuxedo Roadster $1,695.00 (3) Model 862 seven passenger Toursedan $2,295.00 and (4) Model 863 four passenger Tourcoupe $2,295.00. See all four 1917 production models below. All 1917 Cole automobiles used the new water cooled Northway V-8 engine. This was the same engine used by GM in their Cadillac automobiles. The engine had a 3 1/2 inch bore and 4 1/2 inch stroke, lubrication was force feed to all bearings, cast in fours, arranged in a V type (90 degrees) and had a N.A.C.C. rating of 39.2 horsepower. A cone clutch was used to transfer power to a selective sliding gear transmission with three speeds forward and one reverse. Final drive was by a shaft and floating rear axle. Model's 860 & 861 were painted Norland green with cream wheels, while Model's 862 & 863 were painted American flag blue. Specifications included 127 inch wheelbase, 56 inch tread or gauge, wood wheels, 35 inch x 4 1/2 inch anti-skid tires, electric starting system and six volt electric lighting system. In addition to the above specification the price included top, top hood, windshield, speedometer, ammeter, tire pump, electric horn and demountable rims. The 1917 Cole Eight four door Toursedan was advertised as "A Fitting Finale To Closed Car Achievement". The Toursedan was an open Touring Car, a divided Touring Car, a Family Sedan, a Towncar Limousine, or a Berline Limousine as the occasion or weather demands. All parts need to convert the Toursedan from a closed car to an open car could be stored away out of sight. A new measure for power replaced the antiquated N.A.C.C. rating. The Cole V-8 came in rated at 70-80 brake horsepower and stayed there until Cole car production ceased. The above 1917 Cole eight advertisement claimed 70 horsepower. Also note that the Tourcoupe and Toursedan bodies were made in Springfield, MA. By 1918 the total production of the Cole Motor Car Company was twice that of any other year in the company's history. The Cole 870, 871 and 872 was a sensation at the 1918 Auto shows. A Touring Car, Sportster and Roadster were produced with the same specifications as the 1917 Cole models. New body colors for 1918 were Cole deep blue with running gear black on the Model 971 and dust-proof gray on the models 871 and 872.

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Thursday 1st July 1909

108 years ago

A contract was signed by William C Durant and Henry M Leland leading to the acquisition of the Cadillac Motor Car Company by General Motors.

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Thursday 22nd July 1909

108 years ago

Upon receiving an order from Cadillac for 8,000 automobile ignition units, the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company was incorporated by Charles F. Kettering and Edward A. Deeds The name of the company, suggested by associate William A. Chryst, was picked to allow the 'Delco' acronym.

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Thursday 29th July 1909

108 years ago

The Buick Motor Company acquired the Cadillac Motor Company on behalf of General Motors for $4.5 million. Cadillac was born from the ashes of the Henry Ford Company, a business organized by William Murphy to produce a car by Henry Ford. Murphy had been one of the original backers of the Detroit Automobile Company, which had dissolved in 1901 after Ford had failed to build a car he was willing to put to market. Such faith did Murphy have in Ford that he gave him another chance in the Henry Ford Company, opting to use Ford's name due to the recognition he had received from his recent racing ventures. Ford was so wrapped up in racing that he again failed to produce, and Murphy fired him. He then asked Henry Leland, a partner in Detroit's successful Leland and Faulconer Machine shop, to appraise the business before he sold it. Leland persuaded Murphy and his partners to stay in business, promising them that he could design a car successful enough to make it profitable. In August 1902, they formed the Cadillac Car Company. Leland gradually took control of Cadillac's daily operations, and by the end of 1903 2,500 Cadillacs had been produced. The founding of Cadillac helped solidify Detroit's position as the centre of the automobile industry, and in 1904 Leland became president and general manager of Cadillac and agreed to merge Cadillac with Faulconer and Leland. Sales continued to rise and Cadillac established a reputation for exacting quality under Leland's detail-oriented supervision. In a triumphant demonstration of the interchangeability of Cadillac's parts, in 1908 three Cadillacs were disassembled by the Royal Automobile Club in England, reassembled at random, and driven away by the mechanics. In November 1908, Benjamin Briscoe made a bid for Cadillac, but he was unable to generate enough backing to carry the deal. William Durant seized the opportunity to add the valuable brand to his newly formed General Motors Corporation, and arranged a deal of stock transfer with the Lelands, but the Lelands ultimately refused it--they wanted cash. Finally, Durant got the cash together and purchased Cadillac, through Buick, on behalf of General Motors. Durant kept the Lelands on as management, saying, "I want you to continue to run Cadillac exactly as though it were still your own. You will receive no directions from anyone.". Henry M. Leland and his son, Wilfred, continued operating Cadillac until 1917, when they left to form the Lincoln Motor Company.

Cadillac emblem

Cadillac emblem

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Friday 6th January 1911

106 years ago

Earl Howard of the Cadillac Motor Company delivered a new Cadillac to Delco to facilitate development of the self-starter by Charles F Kettering and associates.

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Wednesday 8th February 1911

106 years ago

Charles F Kettering installed his reduced size starter-generator in a Cadillac and conducted the first successful tests on the system.

Charles Kettering with the first electric self starter

Charles Kettering with the first electric self starter

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Monday 17th April 1911

106 years ago

Charles F. Kettering applied for a U.S. patent for the self-starting mechanism he had designed for the Cadillac Car Company. The vision for the self-starter is said to have been the result of the peculiar death of Cadillac founder Henry Leland's close friend, Byron Carter. In 1910, Carter, the manufacturer of the Cartercar, suffered a broken jaw and arm when he stopped to help a woman with the crank-starter on her car. The crank, linked directly to the car's driveshaft, was capable of bucking out of the hands of its "cranker," and Carter suffered for it. His injuries complicated and combined with a case of pneumonia to kill him. Distraught by the event, Leland determined to solve the problem of the crank-starter. He hired Kettering, then famous for creating an electric engine small enough for the electric cash register. Kettering believed he could create an engine capable of starting the motor of car that was light enough and small enough not to hinder the car's ability to run. The engineering problem took him no time at all. He offered Leland a prototype in December of 1910. Kettering's system relied on a storage battery that supplied a 24-volt charge to the starter to ignite the engine. The battery then switched to six volts to feed back into the battery and recharge it. His first operating model was delivered to Cadillac on February 17. Leland ordered 12,000 units to be installed in the 1912 Cadillac. The self-starter gave women access to cars for the first time. Without the arduous task of cranking the engine to deter them, women could drive cars on their own. Since there were almost as many rich women as rich men, the self-starter drastically broadened the market for the automobile.

Time magazine cover - Charles Kettering

Time magazine cover - Charles Kettering

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Saturday 1st July 1911

106 years ago

Charles Kettering announced his invention of the self-starter for automobiles. Early automobiles required a hand crank for starting. Occasionally, when the spark lever was not properly set, the hand crank kicked back, causing serious injury: a broken wrist, arm, or shoulder. On a winter night in 1908, the result was much worse. Byron Carter, founder of Cartercar, came across a stalled motorist on Belle Isle in the middle of the Detroit River. He gallantly offered to crank the car for the stranded driver. When she forgot to retard the spark, the crank kicked and broke Carter's jaw. Complications developed, and Carter later died of pneumonia. When Cadillac chief, Henry M. Leland, heard the news, he was distraught. Byron Carter was a friend; the car that kicked back was a Cadillac. "The Cadillac car will kill no more men if we can help it," he told his staff. Leland's engineers were able to build an electric self-starter, but the device was not small enough to be practical. He called Charles Kettering. The engineers at Delco worked around the clock to get the job done by the February 1911 deadline. Kettering later described their work thus: They didn't have a job so much as the job had them. Kettering's key insight lay in devising an electrical system that performed the three purposes it continues to serve in modern cars: starter and, as generator, producer of spark for ignition as well as current for lighting. Leland approved their product for his 1912 model and placed an order for 12,000 self-starters. Delco, the research and development outfit, had to quickly learn the business of production. Kettering's self-starter won a Dewar Trophy in 1913.

Charles F. Kettering with his automobile self-starter

Charles F. Kettering with his automobile self-starter

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Saturday 6th April 1912

105 years ago

The Model 30 Cadillac became the first car to be fitted with both electric starting and lighting - the famous 'Delco' system.This thirty horsepower, four-cylinder vehicle with bore and stroke of 4.5-inch by 4.5-inch was built with a selective sliding gear transmission and was delivered at a cost of $1,890. The vehicle was capable of cruising at the rate of 40 to 45 miles per hour but a lack of quality roads precluded this ability, and in 1912, the British observer F.A. Talbot stated that the Model 30 was, 'a favorite amongst British motorists...(and)...refined and reliable as money could make them.' The 116-inch wheelbase Model 30 became one of the most sought-after vehicles for sheer reliability. This is the first vehicle to use the electric starter designed by Charles Kettering in his humble Ohio workshop, called the Dayton Electric Company. Offered to Henry Leland, President of Cadillac Motor Cars, this unique unit was designed with four 6-volt batteries which operate and are charged by the vehicle's generator. When starting the car, the parallel wiring of the batteries is mechanically changed to a series circuit producing 24 volts for the starting motor. Called a 'world wonder,' and advertised as 'The car that has no crank,' the electric starter became a most valuable asset making Cadillac the....Standard of the World! Cadillac were awarded the prestigious Dewar Cup, acknowledging the self starter as the year's greatest industrial accomplishment.

Model 30 Cadillac - 1912

Model 30 Cadillac - 1912

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Tuesday 2nd July 1912

105 years ago

William L. Mitchell, an important General Motors designer from the late 1930s to the late 1970s, who succeeded Harley Earl as Vice President for Styling in the late 1950s, was born. He is best identified with the Chevrolet Corvette and the Buick Riviera, although most agree his best accomplishment was the 1967 Cadillac Eldorado.

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Saturday 2nd January 1915

102 years ago

The legendary Cadillac “The Penalty of Leadership” advertisement appeared in the US newspaper, Saturday Evening Post. Written by Theodore F. MacManus, it is considered by some to be the greatest of all advertisements. There were no pictures or artwork—just text: In every field of human endeavour, he that is first must perpetually live in the white light of publicity. Whether the leadership be vested in a man or in a manufactured product, emulation and envy are ever at work. In art, in literature, in music, in industry, the reward and the punishment are always the same. The reward is widespread recognition; the punishment, fierce denial and detraction. When a man’s work becomes a target for the shafts of the envious few. If his work be merely mediocre, he will be left severely alone if he achieves a masterpiece, it will set a million tongues a-wagging. Jealousy alone does not protrude its forked tongue at the artist who produces a commonplace painting. Whatsoever you write, or paint, or play, or sing, or build, no one will strive to surpass, or to slander you, unless your work be stamped with the seal of genius. Long, long after a great work or a good work has been done, those who are disappointed or envious continue to cry out that it cannot be done. Spiteful little voices in the domain of art were raised against our own Whistler as a mountebank, long after the big world had acclaimed him its greatest artistic genius. Multitudes flocked to Bayreuth to worship at the musical shrine of Wagner, while the little group of those whom he had dethroned and displaced argued angrily that he was no musician at all. The little world continued to protest that Fulton could never build a steamboat, while the big world flocked to the river banks to see his oat steam by. The leader is assailed because he is a leader, and the effort to equal him is merely added proof of that leadership. Failing to equal or excel, the follower seeks to depreciate and to destroy—but only confirms once more the superiority of that which he strives to supplant. There is nothing new in this. It is as old as the world and as old as the human passions—envy, fear, greed, ambition and the desire to surpass. And it all avails nothing. If the leader truly leads, he remains—the leader. Master-poet, master-painter, master-workman, each in his turn is assailed, and each holds his laurels through the ages. That which is good or great makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamour of denial. That which deserves to live—lives

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Friday 8th January 1915

102 years ago

The Cadillac Motor Car Company’s two speed rear axle was ruled to be an infringement of patent rights held by Walter S Austin of the Austin Automobile Company in Michigan, with damages and costs awarded.

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Tuesday 18th May 1915

102 years ago

Cannon Ball Baker, driving a Stutz Bearcat, arrived in New York City 11 days, 7 hours and 15 minutes after leaving San Diego, California, breaking all existing cross-country records. The following year he drove a Cadillac 8 roadster from Los Angeles to Times Square in 7 days, 11 hours and 52 minutes while accompanied by an Indianapolis newspaper reporter. In 1924 he made his first midwinter transcontinental run in a stock Gardner sedan at a time of 4 days, 14 hours and 15 minutes. He was so impressed by the car, that he purchased one thereafter. In 1926 he drove a loaded two-ton truck from New York to San Francisco in a record five days, seventeen hours and thirty minutes, and in 1928, he beat the 20th Century Limited train from New York to Chicago. Also in 1928, he competed in the Mount Washington Hillclimb Auto Race, and set a record time of 14:49.6 seconds, driving a Franklin.His best-remembered drive was a 1933 New York City to Los Angeles trek in a Graham-Paige model 57 Blue Streak 8, setting a 53.5 hour record that stood for nearly 40 years. This drive inspired the later Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, better known as the "Cannonball Run", which itself inspired at least five movies and a television series. In 1941, he drove a new Crosley Covered Wagon across the nation in a troublefree 6,517-mile (10,488 km) run to prove the economy and reliability characteristics of Crosley automobiles. Other record and near-record transcontinental trips were made in Model T Fords, Chrysler Imperials, Marmons, Falcon-Knights and Columbia Tigers, among others.

Cannonball Baker sits behind the wheel of his Stutz Bearcat while on a record breaking transcontinental trip from San Diego to New York in 1915.

Cannonball Baker sits behind the wheel of his Stutz Bearcat while on a record breaking transcontinental trip from San Diego to New York in 1915.

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Thursday 11th May 1916

101 years ago

Charles Kettering and Edward Deeds agreed to sell their Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco) to the United Motors Corporation, a holding company founded by William C. Durant in his attempt to regain control of General Motors (GM). Deeds and Kettering both left the National Cash Register Company--where Kettering had invented the motor that made the electric cash register possible--in order to start Delco. Originally a research and development company, Delco began manufacturing in order to meet the demand for the self-starter that Kettering invented for Durant's Cadillac Corporation. After Durant regained control of GM in the spring of 1916, he moved to make certain that GM would have primary availability to Delco's parts. In a dramatic restructuring which pulled together some of GM's most vital part suppliers, Durant integrated five previously independent companies under the name of the United Motors Corporation. All of these companies would later fall under the GM name.

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Friday 1st June 1917

100 years ago

Henry Leland, the founder of the Cadillac Motor Car Company, resigned as company president. Ever since William Durant had arranged for General Motors (GM) to purchase Cadillac, Leland and Durant had endured a strained relationship. Leland started the Lincoln Motor Car Company. He won the first contract to manufacture Liberty engines for the war effort. Leland worked closely with British, French, and American engineers to design a high-production, high-powered twelve-cylinder airplane engine for the war effort. By the war's end, Lincoln had manufactured more Liberty engines than any other single company.

Henry Leland

Henry Leland

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Wednesday 29th August 1917

100 years ago

The Lincoln Motor Company was founded in Detroit, US by Henry Leland, a former manager of the Cadillac division of General Motors, and his son, Wilfred Leland. The Lincoln Motor Company Plant was at 6200 West Warren Avenue (at Livernois) in Detroit, Michigan. Leland named the new company after Abraham Lincoln, his hero and for whom he cast a vote in 1864. Lincoln's first source of revenue came from assembling Liberty aircraft engines, using cylinders supplied by Ford Motor Company, to fulfill World War I government contracts. After the war, the Lincoln factories were retooled to manufacture luxury automobiles. Ford Motor Company purchased the Lincoln Motor Company in 1922, but Lincoln continued to operate as a somewhat separate company from Ford through early 1940. In April 1940, the operation of Lincoln changed as the Lincoln Motor Company became the Lincoln Division of Ford Motor Company. Once an autonomous entity, Lincoln was now brought closer under Ford control, in part to modernize the division to better compete with the equivalent competition from Chrysler (Imperial) and General Motors (Cadillac).

Lincoln Motor Company plant 1923.

Lincoln Motor Company plant 1923.

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Friday 8th November 1918

99 years ago

The McLaughlin Motor Company of Canada was absorbed by General Motors. In the year 1876, Robert McLaughlin realized that his carriage works in Eniskillen, Ontario must be moved to a more favorable location if it was to grow. So he decided to move 35 miles to the larger town of Oshawa. In Oshawa, Robert built a small 3 story building, where he produced his carriages. It was his reputation for quality which earned the confidence of his customers and made the McLaughlin Carriage Company the success it became. In 1880, Robert came up with an invention that was to revolutionize the carriage business. His invention was a new type of carriage gear. The gear is that part of a carriage between the body and the wheels: the springs, couplings, chassis, and the mechanism that permits the front wheels to turn and thus steer the vehicle. It was the introduction of the fifth wheel to the gear of his carriage, which made the name of McLaughlin known throughout the country as a safer and smoother riding carriage. The appeal of the gear to other carriage manufacturers was so great that they sent in orders for nearly 20,000. Once the name McLaughlin became known for quality, other carriage makers began buying the gear and soon competitors began purchasing complete carriages. During his three year apprenticeship in the upholstery shop, young Sam McLaughlin had received a salary of $3.00 a week from which his father had deducted $2.50 for room and board. When he turned 21 in 1892, Sam received all the money his father had deducted, as well as a bonus. He and his brother were then made partners in the business. In town was a building that had been used to build furniture. The furniture business had failed and the building was standing unused. In an unusual deal, the outgrown carriage works was traded in on the new building and production began in the new plant, in 1893. With a continuing growth in the sale of carriages, it was decided to open a branch office. In 1896, George McLaughlin was sent to Saint John, New Brunswick where he opened the first branch away from home. Later, similar branches were opened in Montreal, London, Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary. All was not to be a bed of roses, however. In 1899, the company suffered a serious loss when its Oshawa plant burned to the ground. There was no insurance on the building or contents and things looked very dark for the future of the business. As it turned out, things were not as bad as they seemed. Robert McLaughlin wanted to stay in Oshawa and with a loan of $50,000 from the city of Oshawa to be repaid "as convenient", he set about rebuilding. When the new plant was opened in the summer of 1900, the business continued to grow. R. Samuel McLaughlin Then along came a newfangled contraption called the automobile. Quick to see the opportunity, young Sam McLaughlin went to the United States to visit some friends he met at carriage conventions and to investigate the automobile business. Robert McLaughlin conferred with another member of the carriage trade in the states, William Durant, who had purchased the Buick Motor Car Company. A visit to the Buick plant in Flint saw Sam McLaughlin going over every detail of the operation for two and a half days. Final details of the financial arrangement could not be worked out and he left Flint without any plan to build the car in Oshawa. Despite this, he still felt that a car should be built in Canada, and with his brother George, worked out the details. An engineer, Arthur Milbrath was set up in a building set aside as an automobile plant. The plant was equipped with automatic lathes and machines by the dozen, used to produce cars. The cylinders, crankshaft, and pistons were ordered according to specifications, and the engine casting was to be produced in Oshawa. The body was designed by Robert McLaughlin. Everything was in readiness to produce the first one hundred cars when the engineer became seriously ill and the shop was idled. A hurried call to their old friend, Durant requesting the loan of an engineer brought the McLaughlins unexpected results. Durant himself arrived in Oshawa with two of his executives and a solution to the problem, which could not be resolved earlier in Flint. “It will work” agreed the McLaughlins, and within five minutes after consulting their father, the brothers signed a contract to build the Buick in Canada. Fifteen years was the length of the contract, during which time Durant was to supply Buick motors and McLaughlins would build the rest of the car, including the body. The one hundred cars on which they were working were scrapped, and in 1908, the McLaughlin Car Company produced one hundred and fifty four cars in various models. Meanwhile, Durant had been buying up companies making cars and automobile parts, and on Sept. 16, 1908 he organized a company and General Motors was born. Buick and Oldsmobile motor car companies joined GM in 1908. Durant added the Oakland and Cadillac cars in 1909. In 1911, Durant set up an independent company known as the Chevrolet Motor Car Company. It was his intention to build the Chevrolet in Toronto but changed his mind and offered the opportunity to Sam McLaughlin. The first McLaughlin built Chevrolet rolled off the line in December 1915. In 1918, the final decision was made to sell the McLaughlin business to General Motors. The contract to build Buicks would soon be up and it was not expected that as favorable a contract could be acquired again. Chevrolet in the States was now a part of GM and it would hardly be expected that GM would allow McLaughlin to continue making just one of their models. The only condition under which GM would buy the McLaughlin business was that George and Sam remain and run it. The McLaughlin Carriage Company was sold to a carriage works in Orillia, Ontario in 1915.

McLaughlin Motor Car Company

McLaughlin Motor Car Company

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Saturday 23rd February 1924

93 years ago

Patrick L Hussey, a cofounder of the Cadillac Motor Car Company and founder of the Husey Drop Forging & Manufacturing Company, died in Cleveland, Ohio, US.

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Friday 31st October 1924

93 years ago

The last Marmon Model 34 was produced. Based in Indianapolis, Marmon introduced the model 34 in 1916. It was of advanced design, displaced 5.6 litres and featured overhead valves. Further evidence of the model 34's advance design was its use of aluminium; the cylinder block, transmission housing, differential, fenders and hood were made of aluminium.The company took a model 34 cross-country in 1916 in less than six days, beating the record established by 'Cannon Ball' Baker in a Cadillac by 41 hours. Factory price of the runabout was approximately $3,100.

Marmon Model 34

Marmon Model 34

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Saturday 5th March 1927

90 years ago

The LaSalle was formally introduced and marketed by General Motors' Cadillac division from 1927 through 1940. Alfred P. Sloan developed the concept for LaSalle to fill pricing gaps he perceived in the General Motors product portfolio. As originally developed by Sloan, General Motors' market segmentation strategy placed each of the company's individual automobile marques into specific price points, called the General Motors Companion Make Program. The Chevrolet was designated as the entry level product. Next, (in ascending order), came the Pontiac, Oakland, Viking, Oldsmobile, Marquette, Buick, and ultimately, Cadillac. By the 1920s, certain General Motors products began to shift out of the plan as the products improved and engine advances were made. Under the companion marque stragegy, the gap between the Chevrolet and the Oakland would be filled by a new marque named Pontiac, a quality six-cylinder car designed to sell for the price of a four-cylinder. The wide gap between Oldsmobile and Buick would be filled by two companion marques: Oldsmobile was assigned the up-market V8 engine Viking and Buick was assigned the more compact six-cylinder Marquette. Cadillac, which had seen its base prices soar in the heady 1920s, was assigned the LaSalle as a companion marque to fill the gap that existed between it and Buick. Like Cadillac, the LaSalle brand name was based on that of a French explorer, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.

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Thursday 5th May 1927

90 years ago

The LaSalle was introduced as a companion marque of Cadillac. Using the same platform as the Cadillac, the LaSalle was designed by Harley Earl who saw the new vehicle not as a junior Cadillac, but rather as an agile and stylish vehicle. According to one writer:“Harley J. Earl was an unparalleled automobile designer. He was a dreamer, an artisan, an artist and a genius all tied up in one. He personified the brand’s soul.” The new LaSalle quickly became a trend-setting automobile. It used the Cadillac Ninety Degree V-8 which, coupled with the LaSalle’s smaller size, made it fast. The LaSalle was introduced to the automobile-buying public just prior to the beginning of the Great Depression. During the Great Depression, car sales slowed and a number of manufacturers went out of business. General Motors eliminated its Viking and Marquette brands. Cadillac sales fell, but many loyal Cadillac buyers switched to the LaSalle to save money. By 1935, the LaSalle was more closely related to the Oldsmobile than to the Cadillac. It sold for about $1,000 less than the Cadillac and its primary business mission was to keep the GM luxury car division profitable. However, the LaSalle faced stiff competition from the Packard One-Twenty (introduced in 1935) and from the Lincoln-Zephyr (introduced in 1936). In the Fall of 1939, the 1940 LaSalle was introduced with a full array of body styles, including a convertible. This was to be the last model year for the LaSalle.

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Monday 15th August 1927

90 years ago

Backed by a group of Detroit investors, Eddie Rickenbacker - America's most successful fighter ace in World War I - purchased the Indianapolis Speedway for $700,000. Once the Speedway operations were under control, Rickenbacker looked for additional opportunities for entrepreneurship, including in sales for the Cadillac division of General Motors, and for various aircraft manufacturers and airlines. After the 500-mile (800 km) race in 1941, Rickenbacker closed the Speedway due to World War II. Among other things, holding the race would have been a waste of valuable gasoline and other fuels. In 1945, Rickenbacker sold the racetrack to the businessman Anton Hulman, Jr.

Eddie Rickenbacker

Eddie Rickenbacker

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Tuesday 1st November 1927

90 years ago

Car manufacturer, Eddie Rickenbacker bought the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which he operated for nearly a decade and a half, overseeing many improvements to the facility. Once the Speedway operations were under control, Rickenbacker looked for additional opportunities for entrepreneurship, including in sales for the Cadillac division of General Motors, and for various aircraft manufacturers and airlines. After the 500-mile (800 km) race in 1941, Rickenbacker closed the Speedway due to World War II. In 1945, Rickenbacker sold the racetrack to Anton Hulman, Jr.

Eddie Rickenbacker

Eddie Rickenbacker

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Thursday 14th February 1929

88 years ago

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre took place in Chicago. Al Capone's gang had fitted a Cadillac touring saloon to the specifications of the Chicago Police Department. Under the guidance of Capone's Lieutenant Ray Nitty, the murderers sought out the garage of "Bugs" Moran with the intention of killing him. Fearing the possibility of misidentifying Mr. Moran, the gangsters killed all seven men in the garage.

Aftermath of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

Aftermath of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

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Tuesday 10th December 1929

87 years ago

The Cadillac V-16 was announced to dealers in a letter from division President Lawrence P Fisher.

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Friday 27th December 1929

87 years ago

The Cadillac V-16 (sometimes known as the Cadillac Sixteen) was Cadillac's top-of-the-line car was introduced. All were finished to custom order, and the car was built in very small numbers; only 4076 cars were constructed in the eleven years the model was offered. The majority of these were built in the single year of 1930, before the Great Depression really took hold. This was the first V16 powered car to reach production status in the United States.

Cadillac V-16 Convertible Berline

Cadillac V-16 Convertible Berline

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Saturday 4th January 1930

87 years ago

Cadillac introduced its first V-16-powered car at the New York Auto Show, less than three months after the stock market crash. It was made from two 45-degree V-8s, totalling 452 cubic inches (4.9 litres) and conservatively rated 165-185 horsepower. With it, Cadillac instantly catapulted itself to the head of the luxury class in one brilliant stroke. Until then, only Bugatti had produced a 16-cylinder engine, and it was accomplished by bolting two 8-cylinder inline engines together, which was an innovation that was originally intended for aircraft use. Cadillac’s V-16 was the first true 16-cylinder engine to be built from scratch. Furthermore, Cadillac’s V-16 was the first automotive engine ever to be “styled,” as all of the wiring was hidden and the engine compartment was dressed up with plenty of gleaming, polished aluminum, porcelain, and a pair of beautiful valve covers with brushed aluminum ridged surfaces that featured the Cadillac emblem.

Cadillac V-16

Cadillac V-16

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Tuesday 8th April 1930

87 years ago

The 1,000th Cadillac V16 was producd

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Wednesday 30th July 1930

87 years ago

The Cadillac V-12 was introduced by Division President Lawrence P Fisher.

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Monday 10th November 1930

87 years ago

The Marmon Sixteen debuted at the Chicago Auto Show. Howard Marmon had begun working on the world's first V16 engine in 1927, but was unable to complete the production Sixteen until 1931. By that time, Cadillac had already introduced their V16, designed by ex-Marmon engineer Owen Nacker. Peerless, too, was developing a V16 with help from an ex-Marmon engineer, James Bohannon. The Marmon Sixteen was produced for three years. The engine displaced 8.0 litre (491 in³) and produced 200 hp (149 kW). It was an all-aluminium design with steel cylinder liners and a 45° bank angle.

Marmon Sixteen

Marmon Sixteen

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Thursday 17th December 1931

85 years ago

The 1932 Cadillacs and LaSalles were introduced at the Cadillac National Convention for dealers and sales personnel in Detroit, Michigan.

Fortune Magazine - 1932 Cadillac car advertisement

Fortune Magazine - 1932 Cadillac car advertisement

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Saturday 26th March 1932

85 years ago

Henry Martyn Leland (89), the founder of the two premier US marques, Cadillac and Lincoln, died in Detroit, Michigan. Leland was born in Vermont, the 8th child of New England farmer Leander Barton Leland and his wife Zilpha Tifft Leland. He began his industrial career as an apprentice engineer at Knowles Loom Works in Worcester, Massachusetts. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Leland began work at the U.S. Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. After the war, Leland served as an engineer and mechanic in a series of manufacturing firms in New England. He distinguished himself as a tireless worker and an exacting supervisor only satisfied with his own high standard of quality. Leland was a real New Englander, a Presbyterian stickler with good manners and a titan's work ethic. He moved to Detroit to run a company with his old partner Charles Norton that was to be financed by Detroit lumber mogul Robert Faulconer. After successfully runnning, for a few years, as a supplier of various machine-shop products, Leland and Falconer gained entrance into the automobile industry at the request of Ransom Olds. Olds needed a supplier of transmissions for his Olds Runabouts. Leland wasn't the only major player in the automotive industry to get his start with Olds. Olds also hired the Dodge brothers to manufacture the bodies for his cars. After a successful run supplying Olds transmissions, Leland was asked by the Detroit Automobile Company to appraise their holdings, which they were preparing to liquidate. Leland surprised them by recommending that they hang on to their facilities; he offered to run their car company for them and revealed to them an engine design he had come up with which produced three times the horsepower of Olds' engines. The Cadillac Car Company was born, named after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of Detroit. The first Cadillacs came on the market as low-priced cars, but soon, due to Leland's high standards, the car was marketed as a luxury item. The car company that became a symbol of excess and ostentation in the 1950s began as the product of a puritanical perfectionist. Cadillac distinguished itself further by becoming the first car company to introduce a self-starting mechanism. Charles Kettering invented the system at the urging of Leland, who was said to be distraught over the death of a friend caused when an errant crank-shaft broke the man's arm and jaw. In 1908, William Durant and GM bought the Cadillac Motor Car Company for $4.4 million in cash. Leland continued to run Cadillac, and it became GM's most successful marque. Eventually, Leland and Durant fell out over GM's participation in World War I. Leland had been to Europe just before the war, become convinced that the war was inevitable, and that it would decide the future of Western Civilization. Durant's disinterest in the war cause infuriated Leland so much that he quit. He went on to found Lincoln, which he named after the man he admired most and for whom he had cast his first vote as a 21-year-old, Abraham Lincoln. Leland was never able to escape financial trouble with Lincoln, and he ended up selling the company to Henry Ford. Ford eventually ran Leland out of the business, most likely as a result of some personal jealousy on Ford's part. Nevertheless, Leland was responsible for creating the luxury marques for America's two largest automotive manufacturers.

Henry Leland

Henry Leland

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Wednesday 21st December 1932

84 years ago

The first 1933 Cadillac 452C (V-16) was completed

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Tuesday 11th April 1933

84 years ago

William Ernest Metzger (64), an automotive pioneer and salesman from Detroit, died. He opened one of the first automobile dealerships in the United States, and organized a number of early automobile companies, including both Cadillac Motor Car Co. and E-M-F Motor Car.

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Thursday 4th July 1935

82 years ago

The British Ministry of Transport announced that dipped car headlights would become compulsory. The earliest headlamps were fueled by acetylene or oil, and were introduced in the late 1880s. Acetylene lamps were popular because the flame is resistant to wind and rain. The first electric headlamps were introduced in 1898 on the Columbia Electric Car from the Electric Vehicle Company of Hartford, Connecticut, and were optional. Two factors limited the widespread use of electric headlamps: the short life of filaments in the harsh automotive environment, and the difficulty of producing dynamos small enough, yet powerful enough to produce sufficient current. "Prest-O-Lite" acetylene lights were offered by a number of manufacturers as standard equipment for 1904, and Peerless made electric headlamps standard in 1908. Pockley Automobile Electric Lighting Syndicate based in the UK marketed the world's first electric car lights as a complete set in 1908, which consisted of headlamps, sidelamps and tail lights and were powered by an eight-volt battery. In 1912, Cadillac integrated their vehicle's Delco electrical ignition and lighting system, creating the modern vehicle electrical system. "Dipping" (low beam) headlamps were introduced in 1915 by the Guide Lamp Company, but the 1917 Cadillac system allowed the light to be dipped with a lever inside the car rather than requiring the driver to stop and get out. The 1924 Bilux bulb was the first modern unit, having the light for both low (dipped) and high (main) beams of a headlamp emitting from a single bulb. A similar design was introduced in 1925 by Guide Lamp called the "Duplo". In 1927, the foot-operated dimmer switch or dip switch was introduced and became standard for much of the century. 1933–34 Packards were equipped with tri-beam headlamps, the bulbs having three filaments. From highest to lowest, the beams were called "country passing", "country driving" and "city driving". The 1934 Nash also used a three-beam system, although in this case, the bulbs were conventional two-filament type, and the intermediate beam combined low beam on the driver's side with high beam on the passenger's side, so as to maximise the view of the roadside while minimizing glare toward oncoming traffic. The last vehicle with a foot-operated dimmer switch were the 1991 Ford F-Series and E-Series [Econoline] vans.[citation needed] Fog lamps were new for 1938 Cadillacs,[citation needed] and their 1954 "Autronic Eye" system automated the selection of high and low beams. Directional lighting was introduced in the rare, one-year-only 1935 Tatra 77a, and later popularised by the Citroen DS. This made it possible to turn the light in the direction of travel when the steering wheel was turned, and is now widely adopted technology. The standardised 7-inch (178 mm) round sealed beam headlamp was introduced in 1940, and was soon required (exactly two per car) for all vehicles sold in the United States, freezing usable lighting technology in place until the 1970s, for Americans. Because the law was written to prevent 'bad headlights,' it by design looks backwards and has historically not been able to deal with improved, innovative designs. In 1957, the law changed slightly, permitting Americans to possess vehicles with four 5.75-inch (146 mm) round sealed beam headlamps, and in 1974, these lights were permitted to be rectangular as well. Clear aerodynamic headlight covers were illegal in the U.S. until 1983, so a work-around was used for the U.S. market, the pop-up headlight. Britain, Australia, and some other Commonwealth countries, as well as Japan and Sweden, also made extensive use of 7-inch sealed beams, though they were not mandated as they were in the United States. This headlamp format was not widely accepted in continental Europe, which found replaceable bulbs and variations in the size and shape of headlamps useful in car design. This led to different front-end designs for each side of the Atlantic for decades. Technology moved forward in the rest of the world. The first halogen lamp for vehicle headlamp use, the H1, was introduced in 1962 by a European consortium of bulb and headlamp makers. Shortly thereafter, headlamps using the new light source were introduced in Europe. These were effectively prohibited in the US, where standard-size sealed beam headlamps were mandatory and intensity regulations were low. US lawmakers faced pressure to act, both due to lighting effectiveness and vehicle aerodynamics/fuel savings. High beam peak intensity, capped at 140,000 candela per side of the car in Europe, was limited in the United States to 37,500 candela on each side of the car until 1978, when the limit was raised to 75,000. An increase in high beam intensity to take advantage of the higher allowance could not be achieved without a move to halogen technology,and so sealed beam headlamps with internal halogen burners became available for use on 1979 models in the United States. Halogen sealed beams now dominate the sealed beam market, which has declined steeply since replaceable-bulb headlamps were permitted in 1983. High-intensity discharge (HID) systems were introduced in the early 1990s, first in the BMW 7-series. European and Japanese markets began to prefer HID headlamps, with as much as 50% market share in those markets,[citation needed] but they found slow adoption in North America. 1996's Lincoln Mark VIII was an early American effort at HIDs, and was the only car with DC HIDs. Since U.S. headlight regulations continue to be different from the ECE regulations in effect in the rest of the world, the disputes over technological innovation continue today, including over automatic dimming technology.

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Friday 13th December 1935

81 years ago

Maurice Wolfe (59), President of the Meteor Motor Car Company, manufacturers of funeral cars, died in Ohio. He was a pioneer Cadillac salesman who claimed the first sale of an automobile to an American Indian, and later was designer/manufacturer of the 1907-09 Wolfe, the 1910-13 Wilcox and the 1910-12 Clark.

1909 Meteor Automobile advertisement

1909 Meteor Automobile advertisement

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Saturday 8th February 1936

81 years ago

General Motors (GM) founder William Durant, filed for personal bankruptcy. Economic historian Dana Thomas described Durant as a man "drunk with the gamble of America. He was obsessed with its highest article of faith--that the man who played for the steepest stakes deserved the biggest winnings." GM reflected Durant's ambitious attitude toward risk-taking in its breathtaking expansionist policies, becoming in its founder's words "an empire of cars for every purse and purpose." However, Durant's gambling attitude had its down sides. Over a span of three years Durant purchased Oldsmobile, Oakland (later Cadillac and Pontiac), and attempted to purchase Ford. By 1910, GM was out of cash, and Durant was forced out of control of the company. Durant got back into the big game by starting Chevrolet, and eventually regained control of GM only to lose it a second time. Later in life, Durant attempted to start a bowling center and a supermarket, but met with little success. Durant's trials and tribulations are proof that, even in America's most successful industry, there were those who gambled and lost.

William C Durant

William C Durant

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Wednesday 27th October 1937

80 years ago

The 1938 Cadillac Series 90 was introduced featuring a totally redesigned 135-degree V16.

1938 Cadillac Series 90

1938 Cadillac Series 90

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Monday 26th August 1940

77 years ago

The last LaSalle, manufactured by Cadillac, was built. Alfred P. Sloan developed the LaSalle brand as a companion marque for Cadillac in order to fill pricing gaps he perceived in the General Motors product portfolio. LaSalle vehicles were manufactured by Cadillac, but were priced lower than Cadillac-branded automobiles and were marketed as the second-most prestigious marque in the General Motors portfolio. Like Cadillac, the LaSalle brand name was based on that of a French explorer, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.

Cadillac LaSalle (1938)

Cadillac LaSalle (1938)

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Wednesday 4th February 1942

75 years ago

The last pre-World War II Cadillac was produced.

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Sunday 7th October 1945

72 years ago

The first post-war Cadillac came off the production line.

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Wednesday 17th October 1945

72 years ago

The first post-World War II Cadillac was completed, just 54 days after the last M-54 tank was produced by the company.

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Wednesday 29th May 1946

71 years ago

The first production Kaiser and Frazer automobiles came off the Willow Run line in Michigan, US. The first cars were shipped to dealers on June 22; all were registered as 1947 models. Despite Kaiser and Frazer’s earlier talk of inexpensive small cars, neither model was anything close to a low-priced economy car. The Kaiser Special started at $1,868, nearly $700 more than the cheapest 1947 Chevrolet. The Frazer, meanwhile, started at $2,053, over $100 more than an eight-cylinder Buick Special. Both Kaiser-Frazer products rode well, were reasonably economical, and had nicely trimmed interiors, but they were in no way exceptional. At almost any other time, that would have been disastrous, but Kaiser-Frazer had the good fortune to roll out its new cars close to the beginning of the postwar automotive boom. Unlike depressed, devastated Europe and Japan, American roads were intact and American buyers, flush with unspent wartime earnings, had money to spend. As soon as civilian production resumed in the fall of 1945, customers began snapping up every new car they could get their hands on. Dealers soon had lengthy waiting lists and automotive “scalpers” became common. Kaisers and Frazers might have been ordinary, but they were new and they had four wheels, which was enough for many buyers.n such a seller’s market, it was all Kaiser-Frazer could do to keep up with demand. When Continental couldn’t build engines fast enough, Frazer arranged to lease a plant in Detroit so K-F could build most of the engines itself. Kaiser-Frazer ultimately sold 70,474 Kaisers and 68,775 Frazers in the 1947 model year, giving the company the best market share of any of the American independents. Kaiser-Frazer posted a $19 million profit for 1947 calendar year, offsetting the previous year’s losses.Graham-Paige, however, was still not pulling its weight. Graham was supposed to build a third of all Kaiser-Frazer cars, but ultimately managed fewer than 9,000. Moreover, Graham-Paige still hadn’t been able to meet its contractual obligation to finance one-third of Kaiser-Frazer’s operating expenses. In February 1947, the Graham-Paige board finally decided to sell its remaining automotive assets to Kaiser-Frazer and get out of the passenger car business once and for all. Kaiser-Frazer sales remained robust in 1948 despite even higher prices. Demand was still strong enough that buyers didn’t flinch at the $2,460 price of a new Kaiser Custom model or the even-costlier Frazer Manhattan, which actually listed for $27 more than a Cadillac Series 62 sedan. Total K-F sales for the model year amounted to 91,851 Kaisers and 48,071 Frazers, yielding a $10.4 million net profit. Despite two profitable years, Kaiser-Frazer remained perilously under-capitalized. In January 1948, the company tried to organize another stock offering, underwritten by Allen & Company, First California, and Otis and Company, but the brokers got cold feet and the offering collapsed almost immediately. The main results were a significant drop in Kaiser-Frazer’s share prices and a protracted legal battle between Kaiser-Frazer and Otis and Company’s Cyrus Eaton. Without the expected income from the stock offering, Kaiser-Frazer had to obtain another $20 million loan from Bank of America.

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Tuesday 18th March 1947

70 years ago

William C. Durant, the founder of General Motors (GM), died in New York City at the age of 85. Economic historian Dana Thomas described Durant as a man "drunk with the gamble of America. He was obsessed with its highest article of faith--that the man who played for the steepest stakes deserved the biggest winnings." General Motors reflected Durant's ambitious attitude toward risk-taking in its breathtaking expansionist policies, becoming in its founder's words "an empire of cars for every purse and purpose." But Durant's gambling attitude had its downside. Over a span of three years, Durant purchased Oldsmobile, Oakland (later Cadillac and Pontiac), and attempted to purchase Ford. By 1910, GM was out of cash, and Durant lost his controlling interest in the company. Durant would get back into the game by starting Chevrolet, and he would eventually regain control of GM--only to lose it a second time. Later in life, Durant attempted to start a bowling center and a supermarket; however, these ventures met with little success.

William C Durant

William C Durant

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Monday 7th April 1947

70 years ago

Henry Ford (83), the man who revolutionised modern transport with his mass produced Model T- died by candlelight during a power-cut caused by floods in Detroit, US. Most of his personal estate, valued at $205 million, was left to the Ford Foundation. While working as an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit, Henry Ford (1863-1947) built his first gasoline-powered horseless carriage, the Quadricycle, in the shed behind his home. In 1903, he established the Ford Motor Company, and five years later the company rolled out the first Model T. In order to meet overwhelming demand for the revolutionary vehicle, Ford introduced revolutionary new mass-production methods, including large production plants, the use of standardized, interchangeable parts and, in 1913, the world’s first moving assembly line for cars. Enormously influential in the industrial world, Ford was also outspoken in the political realm. Ford drew controversy for his pacifist stance during the early years of World War I and earned widespread criticism for his anti-Semitic views and writings. HENRY FORD: EARLY LIFE & ENGINEERING CAREER Born in 1863, Henry Ford was the first surviving son of William and Mary Ford, who owned a prosperous farm in Dearborn, Michigan. At 16, he left home for the nearby city of Detroit, where he found apprentice work as a machinist. He returned to Dearborn and work on the family farm after three years, but continued to operate and service steam engines and work occasional stints in Detroit factories. In 1888, he married Clara Bryant, who had grown up on a nearby farm. In the first several years of their marriage, Ford supported himself and his new wife by running a sawmill. In 1891, he returned with Clara to Detroit, where he was hired as an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company. Rising quickly through the ranks, he was promoted to chief engineer two years later. Around the same time, Clara gave birth to the couple’s only son, Edsel Bryant Ford. On call 24 hours a day for his job at Edison, Ford spent his irregular hours on his efforts to build a gasoline-powered horseless carriage, or automobile. In 1896, he completed what he called the “Quadricycle,” which consisted of a light metal frame fitted with four bicycle wheels and powered by a two-cylinder, four-horsepower gasoline engine. HENRY FORD: BIRTH OF FORD MOTOR COMPANY AND THE MODEL T Determined to improve upon his prototype, Ford sold the Quadricycle in order to continue building other vehicles. He received backing from various investors over the next seven years, some of whom formed the Detroit Automobile Company (later the Henry Ford Company) in 1899. His partners, eager to put a passenger car on the market, grew frustrated with Ford’s constant need to improve, and Ford left his namesake company in 1902. (After his departure, it was reorganized as the Cadillac Motor Car Company.) The following year, Ford established the Ford Motor Company. A month after the Ford Motor Company was established, the first Ford car—the two-cylinder, eight-horsepower Model A—was assembled at a plant on Mack Avenue in Detroit. At the time, only a few cars were assembled per day, and groups of two or three workers built them by hand from parts that were ordered from other companies. Ford was dedicated to the production of an efficient and reliable automobile that would be affordable for everyone; the result was the Model T, which made its debut in October 1908. HENRY FORD: PRODUCTION & LABOR INNOVATIONS The “Tin Lizzie,” as the Model T was known, was an immediate success, and Ford soon had more orders than the company could satisfy. As a result, he put into practice techniques of mass production that would revolutionize American industry, including the use of large production plants; standardized, interchangeable parts; and the moving assembly line. Mass production significantly cut down on the time required to produce an automobile, which allowed costs to stay low. In 1914, Ford also increased the daily wage for an eight-hour day for his workers to $5 (up from $2.34 for nine hours), setting a standard for the industry. Even as production went up, demand for the Tin Lizzie remained high, and by 1918, half of all cars in America were Model Ts. In 1919, Ford named his son Edsel as president of Ford Motor Company, but he retained full control of the company’s operations. After a court battle with his stockholders, led by brothers Horace and John Dodge, Henry Ford bought out all minority stockholders by 1920. In 1927, Ford moved production to a massive industrial complex he had built along the banks of the River Rouge in Dearborn, Michigan. The plant included a glass factory, steel mill, assembly line and all other necessary components of automotive production. That same year, Ford ceased production of the Model T, and introduced the new Model A, which featured better horsepower and brakes, among other improvements. By that time, the company had produced some 15 million Model Ts, and Ford Motor Company was the largest automotive manufacturer in the world. Ford opened plants and operations throughout the world. HENRY FORD: LATER CAREER & CONTROVERSIAL VIEWS The Model A proved to be a relative disappointment, and was outsold by both Chevrolet (made by General Motors) and Plymouth (made by Chrysler); it was discontinued in 1931. In 1932, Ford introduced the first V-8 engine, but by 1936 the company had dropped to number three in sales in the automotive industry. Despite his progressive policies regarding the minimum wage, Ford waged a long battle against unionization of labor, refusing to come to terms with the United Automobile Workers (UAW) even after his competitors did so. In 1937, Ford security staff clashed with UAW organizers in the so-called “Battle of the Overpass,” at the Rouge plant, after which the National Labor Relations Board ordered Ford to stop interfering with union organization. Ford Motor Company signed its first contract with UAW in 1941, but not before Henry Ford considered shutting down the company to avoid it. Ford’s political views earned him widespread criticism over the years, beginning with his campaign against U.S. involvement in World War I. He made a failed bid for a U.S. Senate seat in 1918, narrowly losing in a campaign marked by personal attacks from his opponent. In the Dearborn Independent, a local newspaper he bought in 1918, Ford published a number of anti-Semitic writings that were collected and published as a four volume set called The International Jew. Though he later renounced the writings and sold the paper, he expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and Germany, and in 1938 accepted the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the Nazi regime’s highest medal for a foreigner.

Henry Ford in 1919

Henry Ford in 1919

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Tuesday 3rd February 1948

69 years ago

The first Cadillac with tailfins was produced, heralding the dawn of the tailfin era.Taking inspiration directly from the Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter plane, GM designer Harley Earl redesigned the 1948 Cadillac range to include a small upward detent on the tail panel. The bumper and lights were integrated, in addition to the pot metal bright work that extended from the rocker panels. The bump was only a couple inches tall, but it was several inches more dramatic than the 1947 model year. Tailfins served no functional purpose.By the mid-1950s, the tailfin was in full effect and American automakers in particular were battling to see who could make the tallest and most aggressive dorsal appendages. General Motors increased the size of Cadillac's "tailfeathers" every year throughout the 1950s. In 1959, the model's sales slumped dramatically, sounding the death knell for the tailfin.

Cadillac's hallmark tailfin design is the crowning glory on this 1948 Cadillac Series 61 coupe fastback.

Cadillac's hallmark tailfin design is the crowning glory on this 1948 Cadillac Series 61 coupe fastback.

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Friday 26th November 1948

68 years ago

The first Holden automobile was produced. Holden occupies a special place in Australia’s history as the manufacturer of the first all-Australian car. The Holden name, however, is older than the motor car itself and has been associated with transportation in Australia since the gold boom days of the early 1850s, when it first appeared above James Alexander Holden’s leather and saddlery business in Adelaide, South Australia. By 1885, the Holden & Frost company was repairing and building horse-drawn carriages and coaches. In 1914, it produced its first custom-made car body and by 1924, renamed Holden's Motor Body Builders, it operated one of the world's most advanced production lines and was the exclusive body supplier to General Motors in Australia. Australia’s first large-scale automotive manufacturing facility was formed in 1931 when the companies merged to become General Motors-Holden's Limited. Many other Australian companies owe their development to the pioneering spirit displayed by GM-H in those formative years. During World War II, GM-H was a major industrial force in Australia's defence effort. Between 1939 and 1945, it produced more than 30,000 vehicle bodies for the Australian and United States forces and manufactured a wide range of equipment, including field guns, aircraft, aero and marine engines.In 1948, GM-H completed the challenge of building the nation’s first successfully mass-produced car. Australians took the six cylinder Holden 48-215, later nicknamed the FX, immediately to their hearts, and with the release of the evolutionary FJ model in 1953, the love affair deepened. Holden rode high on the sales charts though the 50s, 60s and 70s, producing a succession of landmark models. It exported its 250,000th vehicle in 1972 and in 1977 celebrated 25 straight years of overall market leadership. The launch of the VB Commodore in 1978 signalled a major change of direction. Plans for a new Family II 4-cylinder engine plant were announced the same year, and in 1982 engine exports reached 250,000 units. In 1985, General Motors-Holdens Limited reorganised into two GM subsidiary companies – Holden’s Motor Company and Holden’s Engine Company (HEC). 1987 saw the creation of United Australian Automotive Industries, controlling company for a Holden-Toyota joint venture, the GM arm of which was called General Motors’ Holdens Automotive (GMHA). The millionth Family II engine was exported in 1988 and Holden continued to demonstrate leadership with the introduction of an exciting range of models incorporating significant design, engineering and safety innovations. The joint venture was dissolved in 1995 and HEC was re-integrated into Holden’s manufacturing operations. Holden was established as the GM Product Engineering Centre for the Asia Pacific region in 1996. GMHA was renamed Holden Ltd in 1998 and the company resumed volume vehicle exports in the same year. Holden closed the millennium by winning total market leadership for the first time in 18 years. A $532 million investment in works for the South Australian vehicle assembly operation began in 2000 and in 2002 Holden set an all-time sales record for an Australian carmaker. The opening in 2003 of a $400 million Global V6 engine plant in Port Melbourne represented GM’s largest single investment in Australia in more than 20 years. In 2005, Holden Ltd integrated into a single business entity with Saab Automobile Australia and opened new corporate headquarters at 191 Salmon Street Port Melbourne. The company name changed to GM Holden Ltd and the Holden’s role in designing and engineering GM cars outside the Australian market was significantly expanded. Vehicle exports of 60,518 set an all-time record. In 2006, the launch of the VE Commodore and WM Statesman and Caprice represented an investment of $1.2 billion - part of a $6.1 billion commitment to General Motors’ Australian operations over the preceding 10 years. 2007 saw the establishment of GM Premium Brands, incorporating HUMMER and Saab, within GM Holden in Port Melbourne, with Cadillac will be joining them in 2008. Today, GM Holden continues to build on its position as the country’s largest automotive manufacturer and employer and the highest private sector spender on research and development. It is an internationally competitive exporter of vehicles, engines and automotive expertise. As a member of the world’s largest car company, General Motors, GM Holden holds global responsibilities for rear-wheel-drive engineering development and vehicle design for future programs outside Australia. Since 1948, GM Holden has notched up close to 8 million vehicle sales. In managing the country’s largest automotive export program, Holden has also sent more than 792,000 vehicles around the world in five decades and more than four million export engines in 26 years. Major GM Holden operating facilities are located at Fishermans Bend (technical centre, administration and engine manufacturing plants), Dandenong (spare parts operation) and Lang Lang (automotive proving ground) in Victoria; as well as Elizabeth (vehicle manufacturing plant) in South Australia.

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Sunday 10th July 1949

68 years ago

The second race of the inaugural NASCAR Strictly Stock season was held at the Daytona Beach Road Course (Florida, US). Gober Sosebee won the pole. Sosebee led the first 34 laps and was passed by Red Byron of Atlanta with six laps remaining. Byron won the 166-mile NASCAR Strictly Stock race on the sands of the 4.15-mile Daytona Beach and Road Course. There were on 21 of the 28 starters running at the finish. Byron won the caution free race with an average speed of 80.883 mph. Louise Smith, one of three female drivers to start the race flipped early on, but with the help of spectators, uprighted her Ford and continued on to a 20th-place finish. The other female racers entered, Sara Christian in a Ford finished 18th and Ethel Mobely in a Cadillac finished 11th. Pre-race favorites Curtis Turner, Bob Flock and Glenn Dunnaway all DNF'd. This race took two hours, three minutes and 13 seconds to complete 40 laps. The lead was swapped twice by Sosebee and Byron.

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Friday 16th December 1949

67 years ago

The first Saab automobile, the '92' was produced. The design was very aerodynamic for its time, with a drag coefficient (cx or cw)) of 0.30. The entire body was stamped out of one piece of sheet metal and then cut to accommodate doors and windows. Full-scale production started December 12, 1949, based on the prototype Ursaab. All of them were of the Deluxe version. A standard version was advertised, but nobody was interested in buying it so no standard versions were produced. The engine was a transversely mounted, water-cooled two-cylinder, two-stroke 764 cc, 25 hp (19 kW) thermosiphon engine based on a DKW design, giving a top speed of 105 kilometres per hour (65 mph). The transmission had three gears, the first unsynchronised. In order to overcome the problems of oil starvation during overrun (engine braking) for the two-stroke engine, a freewheel device was fitted. The suspension was by torsion bars. All early Saab 92s were painted in a dark green colour similar to British racing green. According to some sources,[who?] Saab had a surplus of green paint from wartime production of airplanes. Saab's rally history already started two weeks after the 92 was released, when Saab's head engineer Rolf Mellde entered the Swedish Rally and came second in his class. Only 700 1950 models were made. In 1951, the German VDO instruments were replaced by American Stewart-Warner components. In 1952 Greta Molander won the 'Coupe des Dames' of the Monte Carlo Rally in a 92, tuned to 35 hp (26 kW). In 1953, the 92B arrived with a much larger rear window and larger luggage space (with an opening lid). It was now available in grey, blue-grey, black and green. In 1954 the Saab 92 got the new Solex 32BI carburetor and a new ignition coil giving 28 hp (21 kW). The US headlights were replaced with Hella units. Another novelty was that a textile roof (semi-cab or cabrio coach) was offered as an option. The colour maroon was also introduced this year. In 1955, it acquired an electric fuel pump and square tail lights installed in the rear fenders. The colours were grey, maroon and a new color, moss green. The English aviation test pilot 'Bob' Moore, who had helped to develop the Saab Tunnan (J29) jet aircraft, brought a 1955 Saab 92B back to England, when he returned, later to become the first managing director of Saab GB Ltd. This was reputedly the first-ever Saab car imported to the UK. The Saab 93 was introduced in December 1955, but both the 92B and 93 were produced at the same time, for a while. The last 92 was assembled in late 1956–early 1957. Two new colours, grey-green and beige, were available. A total of 20,128 Saab 92s were made. The Saab 92 appears on a Swedish postage stamp. When General Motors in 2008 made a list of their top ten cars, the Saab 92 came in first followed by the Pontiac GTO (1964), the Chevrolet Corvette (1953), the EV1 (1996), the Opel Olympia (1936), the LaSalle (1927), the Chevrolet Bel Air (1955), the Cadillac V16 (1930), the Cadillac Model 30 (1910) and the Cadillac (1912) Spyker Cars, the Dutch maker of supercars, bought Saab in February 2010 from General Motors Co. In May 2010, Spyker's CEO Victor Muller stated the firm was planning a new small car, tear-drop shaped and inspired by the Saab 92 model.

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Sunday 15th January 1950

67 years ago

General Motors opened its "Mid-Century Motorama'' at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, featuring the Cadillac Debutante convertible with leopard skin upholstery and gold plated interior hardware.

1950 GM Motorama in New York City

1950 GM Motorama in New York City

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Sunday 29th January 1950

67 years ago

D McCall White (69), designer of the first Cadillac V-8, whose long career also included stints with Daimler, Napier, and Crossley in his native Great Britain and Nash, Lafayette and Tucker in the US, died in Hartford, Connecticut, US.

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Thursday 16th November 1950

67 years ago

Cadillac achieved six figure model year production for the first time – the 100,000th 1950 Cadillac was a Fleetwood Sixty Special Sedan.

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Saturday 17th February 1951

66 years ago

The US government banned the production of white side walled tires because of the Korean War effort. Wide whitewall tires reached their zenith in popularity by the early-1950s. The 1957 production version of the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham was fitted with whitewalls that were reduced to a 1" wide stripe floating on the tire sidewall with a black area between this stripe and the wheel rim. The whitewall stripe width began to diminish as an attempt to reduce the perceived height of the wheel/tire. During the decade, increasingly lower vehicle heights were in vogue. During the 1950s, Fender skirts also covered up white wall tires. Wide whitewalls generally fell out of favour in the U.S. by the 1962 model year. The single-sided whitewall remained a desirable option through the 1970s, becoming a hallmark of "traditional luxury". Radial tires made by Vogue Tyre featured a narrow whitewall with a thin gold stripe line toward the edge of the tire. They were most often fitted to luxury cars. Although wide whitewalls are virtually nonexistent as a factory option on modern automobiles, they are still manufactured in original bias-ply or radial form by specialty outlets. The last car available in the United Kingdom with whitewall tires was the Kia Pride.

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Friday 25th January 1952

65 years ago

General Motors unveiled the Autronic Eye, the first automatic headlight-dimming system. When the phototube, mounted on the dashboard, detected approaching headlights, it automatically switched the car’s beams to low until the other lane was clear. It was offered on Oldsmobile and Cadillac cars. Unfortunately minute light fluctuations caused the automatic headlights to flicker erratically. By 1959, General Motors had solved the problem with a new gadget: ‘With a twist of the dial Autronic Eye lets you control the automatic dimming of your lights.’ Thus the driver could manually control an automatic device designed to eliminate the need for manual control!

Oldsmobile GM Autronic-Eye Headlight (1956)

Oldsmobile GM Autronic-Eye Headlight (1956)

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Sunday 20th April 1952

65 years ago

Taking the lead when Gober Sosebee's Cadillac broke a spindle with 7 laps to go, Bill Blair won the 100 mile NASCAR Grand National race on the 1 mile dirt Lakewood Speedway, Georgia, US. Ed Samples was 2nd to give Olds 88s a 1-2 finish. Roscoe Thompson replaced the injured Fonty Flock in the Frank Christian Olds. Fonty, hoping to keep from losing more points to Lee Petty, decided he'd try to drive at the last minute. Since he'd already turned his car over to Thompson, Flock scrambled into a back-up Christian Olds & drove as long as he could. Shortly, Fonty was relieved by Jack Smith. Smith drove to 7th, earning 152 points, but Flock only received 58 of those since NASCAR points in driver change situations at the time were based on percentage of laps driven.

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Thursday 3rd July 1952

65 years ago

The last Crosley automobile was produced at their Marion factory in Indiana, US. Incorporated in 1939, Crosley Motors began assembling mini-cars in Richmond Indiana. The first Crosley was a two-door convertible. It weighed less than 1,000 pounds and sold for $250. In the beginning, his idea was for these small cars to be sold in department stores that also sold his radios and refrigerators: since the car was only 48 inches wide, it could be moved through a standard commercial store door. While there were some stores, such as Macy’s in New York, that displayed Crosley automobiles next to the Crosley refrigerators, the idea of selling cars in department stores did not really catch on. According to some reports, Mrs. Averell Harriman was the first Macy’s customer to buy a Crosley. The Crosley dealer network developed primarily as extensions of filling stations and automobile repair shops. In 1941, Crosley brought out some new body styles: both two- and four-door convertibles, a station wagon, a panel truck, a pickup, and a convertible sedan (this featured windows for the rear seat passengers). There was also the Parkway Delivery (a mini-panel truck with no roof over the front seat) and Covered Wagon (a convertible pickup truck with a removable back seat). With the top in place, the Covered Wagon functioned as a car and with the top down and the rear seat removed it became a ¼ ton pickup truck. A record-setting gas mileage run was made by Cannonball Baker in a Crosley Covered Wagon. He drove from Cincinnati to Los Angeles, then back through New Orleans, Jacksonville, and New York. The trip covered 6,517 miles and the Crosley averaged more than 50 miles per gallon. The Crosleys came equipped with a speedometer (60 mph maximum), ammeter, oil pressure gauge, and a hand-cranked windshield wiper. The windows slid open for ventilation and for signaling. In the summer, many Crosley owners simply removed the windows. The glove compartment was large enough for a pair of gloves, but little more. Prices for the 1941 models ranged from $315 for the 915 pound two-passenger convertible to $470 for the four-passenger station wagon which weighed 1160 pounds. At this time, the Cadillac Fleetwood sold for $2,195 and the Lincoln Continental convertible sold for $2,700. World War II brought gasoline rationing to the United States. With good gas mileage—50 mpg—the Crosley became an attractive vehicle. However, the war ended the production of all civilian automobiles in the United States, including the Crosley. Less than 6,000 prewar Crosleys were built. Following the war, Crosley car production resumed in 1946 with the new, larger, and aerodynamic CC model. At this time the public was car-hungry and ready to buy anything with an engine and four wheels. Initially, suppliers couldn’t provide nameplates for the cars and so Crosley had the name painted three inches high in red on the front and rear bumpers. The first post-war Crosleys were available only in grey with red seats. The speedometer now went to 70 mph and the glove compartment had been enlarged so that it could hold two pairs of gloves. In 1948, Crosley introduced the term “Sport Utility” with an open model based on a wagon. In 1948, Crosley introduced the first real postwar sports car in America: the HotShot. It sold for less than $1,000 and featured coil springs on the rear wheels and disc brakes on all four wheels. In 1950, Crosley brought out the Farm-O-Road model which was a small utility vehicle. The Farm-O-Road was designed: “To do big jobs on small farms, and smaller jobs on big farms.” The vehicle looked like a small Jeep and was intended for rural customers who wanted a vehicle for doing chores around the farm and which could take them into town as well. The base price was $795 and options included dual rear wheels, a pickup bed which could come with a hydraulic dump, power take-off on both front and rear, a rear seat, a top, and side window curtains. Attachments included such items as a 10-inch plow, a sickle bar mower, and a three-gang reel mower. Crosley’s best year was 1948 when 24,871 cars were sold. Sales began to slip in 1949. By 1951 production was down to 300 cars per month and in 1952 only 1,522 Crosley’s were sold at which time production stopped. There were plans to merge Crosley with Nash, but when Nash merged with Hudson that merger did not happen.

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Wednesday 11th February 1953

64 years ago

Production prototypes of the Kaiser Darrin - “The Sports Car The World Has Been Awaiting” - went on display. Powered by a 90 hp 2.6 litre 6 cylinder engine, the Kaiser-Darrin was created to compete with Chevrolet's Corvette. Styled by Howard 'Dutch' Darrin, who had also designed for Packard and Studebaker, the Kaiser-Darrin had a fiberglass body with a three-position top and sliding doors that disappeared into the front fenders when opened. It cost ($3668) more than a Cadillac 62 or Lincoln Capri but was fully equipped: overdrive 3-speed manual transmission, tachometer, windwings, electric wipers, whitewall tyres, and more. In 1954, the model's only year of production, only 435 cars were built in addition to an estimated six pre-production prototypes

Kaiser Darrin

Kaiser Darrin

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Thursday 25th June 1953

64 years ago

A full-sized clay model of the proposed Lincoln Continental Mark II was completed. The Continental Mark II was a personal luxury car produced by the Continental Division of the Ford Motor Company in 1956 and 1957. Many aficionados of the automobile consider the Continental Mark II one of the classics of the postwar period. In its production, most of the car was hand-built to an exacting standard, including the application of multiple coats of paint, hand sanding, double lacquering, and polishing to perfection. The Mark II sold for around $10,000 or the equivalent of a new Rolls-Royce or two regular Cadillacs (at least until the $13,074 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham out-priced it in 1957). In spite of this, Ford estimated they still lost over a thousand dollars per car on the 3,000 that were built, some with factory-installed air conditioning. Initially, Ford accepted losses on the Mark II in return for the prestige with which it endowed its entire product line; but after going public, tolerance for such losses fell. Famous owners included Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, the Shah of Iran, and a cross section of the richest people in America.

Lincoln Continental Mark II

Lincoln Continental Mark II

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Friday 18th September 1953

64 years ago

The Veteran Car Club of Great Britain staged a reenactment of the 1903 Thousand Miles Trial - Frederick Stanley Bennett and his Cadillac were the only original contestant and car to particpate

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Thursday 24th December 1953

63 years ago

The first prototype Lincoln Continental Mark II was completed. The new Continental was not intended to be the largest or most powerful automobile; rather, the most luxurious and elegant American car available, designed to recapture the spirit of the great classics of the prewar period—with prices to match. The Mark II's inspiration was the celebrated V12-poweredLincoln Continental of the 1940s, among the most notable cars of that War-interrupted decade. The Mark II sold for around $10,000,[6] the equivalent of a new Rolls-Royce or twoCadillacs (at least until the $13,074 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham out-priced it in 1957). In spite of this, Ford estimated they still lost over a thousand dollars per car[7] on the 3,000 that were built.

Lincoln Continental Mark II

Lincoln Continental Mark II

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Tuesday 4th May 1954

63 years ago

The General Motors Board of Directors authorised the development of an ultra-luxury car, the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, under the direction of stylist Ed Glowacke and engineer Fred Arnold. The Eldorado Brougham was a hand-built, limited car derived from the Park Avenue and Orleans show cars of 1953-54. It featured the first appearance of quad headlights and totally unique trim. The exterior ornamentation included wide, ribbed lower rear quarter beauty panels extending along the rocker sills and rectangularly sculptured side body "cove" highlighted with five horizontal windsplits on the rear doors. Tail styling treatments followed the Eldorado pattern. This four-door hardtop with rear-hinged rear doors was an ultra-luxury car that cost an astonishing $13,074 — twice the price of any other 1957 Eldorado and more than the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud of the same year. It featured a stainless steel roof, self leveling air suspension, the first automatic two-position "memory" power seats, a dual four-barrel V-8, low-profile tires with thin white-walls, automatic trunk opener, cruise control, high-pressure cooling system, polarized sun visors, electric antenna, automatic-release parking brake, electric door locks, dual heating system, silver magnetized glovebox, drink tumblers, cigarette and tissue dispensers, lipstick and cologne, ladies' compact with powder puff, mirror and matching leather notebook, comb and mirror, Arpège atomizer with Lanvin perfume, automatic starter with restart function, Autronic Eye, drum-type electric clock, power windows, forged aluminum wheels and air conditioning.[8] Buyers of Broughams had a choice of 44 full-leather interior and trim combinations and could select such items as Mouton, Karakul or lambskin carpeting. There were serious difficulties with the air suspension, which proved troublesome in practice. Some owners found it cheaper to have it and replaced with conventional coil springs. The 1957 Eldorado Brougham joined the Sixty Special and the Series 75 as the only Cadillac models with Fleetwood bodies although Fleetwood script or crests did not appear anywhere on the exterior of the car,[12][13] and so this would also mark the first time in 20 years that that a Fleetwood-bodied car was paired with the Brougham name.[1][2][14] The 1957-58 Eldorado Brougham also marked the return of the Cadillac Series 70, if only briefly. Only 400 Eldorado Broughams were sold in 1957.

1956 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Concept

1956 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Concept

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Saturday 6th November 1954

63 years ago

Construction of the Cadillac Park Avenue show car began – the car, with modifications, was later produced as the ultra-luxury Eldorado Brougham.

Cadillac Park Avenue show car - 1954

Cadillac Park Avenue show car - 1954

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Wednesday 19th January 1955

62 years ago

The Cadillac Eldorado Brougham ‘dream car’ was first revealed in New York, to an exclusive audience of 5,100 people at 4 p.m. The general public only got to see the car the next day in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria, as the centrepiece of the General Motors Motorama. This car was the direct predecessor of the ultra-expensive, limited-production version built in 1957 and 1958. A pillarless four-door hardtop with centre-opening doors and swivelling driver seat, the experimental 1955 model incorporated some of the basic styling elements from the 1954 Park Avenue concept vehicle, including large front wheel cutouts, a notched rear roofline and forward-swept tail fins.

Cadillac Eldorado Brougham (1957)

Cadillac Eldorado Brougham (1957)

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Thursday 20th January 1955

62 years ago

General Motor’s Motorama Show opened in New York where the Buick Wildcat III, Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad, Cadillac LaSalle II roadster and sedan, and Cadillac Eldorado Brougham were exhibited

One of the many attractions of the 1955 GM Motorama was this 1955 Oldsmobile 88 Delta. The two-tone blue dream car featured a blue-tinted, brushed aluminum ..

One of the many attractions of the 1955 GM Motorama was this 1955 Oldsmobile 88 Delta. The two-tone blue dream car featured a blue-tinted, brushed aluminum ..

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Sunday 23rd October 1955

62 years ago

The 1956 Cadillac Sedan DeVile and Eldorado Seville coupe were introduced.

1956 Cadillac Sedan DeVile

1956 Cadillac Sedan DeVile

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Thursday 19th January 1956

61 years ago

The New York City Motorama opened. Featured cars included Buick Centurion, General Motors Firebird II, the Oldsmobile Golden Rocket, Pontiac Club de Mer, Cadillac Eldorado Brougham and Eldorado Brougham town car. Fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 will recognize the 1956 show as the Motorama featured in the short film Design for Dreaming. Over 2.2 million visitors attended Motorama.

Oldsmobile Golden Rocket - at 1956 Motorama

Oldsmobile Golden Rocket - at 1956 Motorama

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Monday 25th June 1956

61 years ago

The last Packard--the classic American luxury car with the famously enigmatic slogan "Ask the Man Who Owns One"--rolled off the Detroit production line. Mechanical engineer James Ward Packard and his brother, William Dowd Packard, built their first automobile, a buggy-type vehicle with a single cylinder engine, in Warren, Ohio in 1899. The Packard Motor Car Company earned fame early on for a four-cylinder aluminum speedster called the “Gray Wolf,” released in 1904. It became one of the first American racing cars to be available for sale to the general public. With the 1916 release of the Twin Six, with its revolutionary V-12 engine, Packard established itself as the country’s leading luxury-car manufacturer. World War I saw Packard convert to war production earlier than most companies, and the Twin Six was adapted into the Liberty Aircraft engine, by far the most important single output of America’s wartime industry. Packards had large, square bodies that suggested an elegant solidity, and the company was renowned for its hand-finished attention to detail. In the 1930s, however, the superior resources of General Motors and the success of its V-16 engine pushed Cadillac past Packard as the premier luxury car in America. Packard diversified by producing a smaller, more affordable model, the One Twenty, which increased the company’s sales. The coming of World War II halted consumer car production in the United States. In the postwar years, Packard struggled as Cadillac maintained a firm hold on the luxury car market and the media saddled the lumbering Packard with names like “bathtub” or “pregnant elephant.” With sales dwindling by the 1950s, Packard merged with the much larger Studebaker Corporation in the hope of cutting its production costs. The new Packard-Studebaker became the fourth largest manufacturer of cars in the nation. Studebaker was struggling as well, however, and eventually dropped all its own big cars as well as the Packard. In 1956, Packard-Studebaker’s then-president, James Nance, made the decision to suspend Packard’s manufacturing operations in Detroit. Though the company would continue to manufacture cars in South Bend, Indiana, until 1958, the final model produced on June 25, 1956, is considered the last true Packard.

1955 Packard Clipper

1955 Packard Clipper

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Friday 21st December 1956

60 years ago

Carl B Parsons, Swedish-born Chief Body Engineer for Mitchell, Nash, Cadillac and Studebaker, who is credited with designing the first closed sedan passenger car body (for a 1910 Marmon), died aged 72.

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Sunday 17th March 1957

60 years ago

The Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, a four-door hardtop sedan designed by Ed Glowacke and based on the Orleans and Park Avenue show cars, was introduced. It was designed in 1954 as Cadillac’s dream car for the General Motors Motorama of 1955. From the beginning, the Brougham was a pace-setting vehicle with styling and engineering features destined to be incorporated into lesser cars in future years. Two years of concentrated testing and development went into the Brougham helping designers in their continuous search for a better way to build the best automobile. Cadillac engineers came up with a special body for the Brougham alone. It was built by Fisher Body’s Fleetwood plant, builders of all Cadillac bodies. Among the outstanding engineering features which exemplify the extensive study that went into the makeup of the Brougham are air suspension, a four headlamp system and a tubular center X-frame. The use of air springs marks the first time that such a system had been used on an automobile. The system provides an individual air spring unit at each wheel. Air is supplied to the spring units through leveling valves so that the car remains level with varying loads and road conditions, thus contributing to the Brougham’s appearance as well as assuring consistently easy handling and smooth riding quality. The interior of the Brougham is luxurious to a high degree with some 45 choices of trim and color combinations available during ordering. Carpeting was available in either mouton, a specially processed lamb skin, or high-pile nylon Karakul. There is a special heating system with both front and rear compartment outlets. The under-seat heaters for the rear can be operated individually by the passengers. To complete the year-round comfort, each Brougham contains a front-mounted Cadillac air conditioner. Steering, braking and window controls (including ventipanes) are power operated on the Brougham. Each feature of the Brougham — as the car itself — was designed to improve comfort, safety and convenience for the driver and passengers. The inquiring minds of Cadillac engineers and designers came up with the finest car possible in 1957.

Cadillac Eldorado Brougham

Cadillac Eldorado Brougham

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Wednesday 8th May 1957

60 years ago

The 2,996th and final Lincoln Continental Mark II was produced. The Mark II sold for $10,400, the equivalent of a new Rolls-Royce or two Cadillacs (at least until the $13,074 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham out-priced it in 1957). In spite of this, Ford estimated they still lost over a thousand dollars per car on the 3,000 that were built. About 1,300 were sold in the last quarter of 1955 after the car's October debut at the Paris Motor Show; another 1,300 or so in 1956; and 444 in 1957, some with factory-installed air conditioning. Initially, Ford accepted losses on the Mark II in return for the prestige with which it endowed its entire product line; but after going public, tolerance for such losses fell. Famous owners included Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, the Shah of Iran, and a cross section of the richest men in America. Taylor's car was a gift from Warner Bros. studio, and was painted a custom color to match her distinctive eyes.The car was featured in the 1956 film High Society, starring Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Louis Armstrong.

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Thursday 31st October 1957

60 years ago

The Chevrolet Impala was introduced as top of the line Bel Air hardtops and convertibles. From the windshield pillar rearward, the 1958 Bel Air Impala differed structurally from the lower-priced Chevrolet models. Hardtops had a slightly shorter greenhouse and longer rear deck. The wheelbase of the Impala was longer than the lower priced models, although the overall length was identical. Interiors held a two-spoke steering wheel and color-keyed door panels with brushed aluminum trim. No other series included a convertible. The 1958 models were longer, lower, and wider than its predecessors.[8] The tailfins of the 1957 were replaced by deeply sculptured rear fenders. Impalas had three taillights each side, while lesser models had two and wagons just one. Crossed-flag insignias were attached above the side moldings, as well as bright rocker moldings and dummy rear-fender scoops. 1958 was the first year of dual headlamps. For 1958, GM was promoting their fiftieth year of production, and introduced anniversary models for each brand; Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Chevrolet.[9] The 1958 models shared a common appearance on the top models for each brand; Cadillac Eldorado Seville, Buick Roadmaster Riviera, Oldsmobile Holiday 88, Pontiac Bonneville Catalina, and the all-new Chevrolet Bel-Air Impala. The standard perimeter-type frame was abandoned, replaced by a unit with rails laid out in the form of an elongated "X." Chevrolet claimed that the new frame offered increased torsional rigidity and allowed for a lower placement of the passenger compartment. This was a transitional step between traditional construction and the later fully unitized body/chassis, the body structure was strengthened in the rocker panels and firewall.[10] However, this frame was not as effective in protecting the interior structure in a side impact crash, as a traditional perimeter frame. A coil spring suspension replaced the previous year's rear leaf springs, and an air ride system was optional. A 283 cu in (4,640 cc) engine was the standard V8, with ratings that ranged from 185 to 290 horsepower. A "W" block (not to be confused with the big-block) 348 cu in (5,700 cc) Turbo-Thrust V8 was optional, producing 250 hp (190 kW), 280 hp (210 kW), or 315 hp (235 kW). The Ramjet fuel injection was available as an option for the Turbo-Fire 283 V8, not popular in 1958. A total of 55,989 Impala convertibles and 125,480 coupes were built representing 15 percent of Chevrolet production. The 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala helped Chevrolet regain the number one production spot in this recession year

1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala

1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala

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Friday 7th February 1958

59 years ago

The 2,000,000th Cadillac was produced, a Sedan DeVille that was met at the end of the assembly line by Division General Manager James M Roche and Joe Malachinski, a Cadillac employee since 1903.

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Tuesday 19th August 1958

59 years ago

Production of the Packard, the classic American luxury car with the famously enigmatic slogan “Ask the Man Who Owns One” came to a halt. Studebaker-Packard attributed the decision to lagging luxury car sales, but many Packard fans were disgruntled by the decision, which came shortly after Packard's acquisition of Studebaker. Many wondered why Packard, with its reputation for high-quality cars and knowledgeable management, would buy the debt-ridden Studebaker Company. Studebaker management assumed the company reins after the merger, not Packard. Mechanical engineer James Ward Packard and his brother, William Dowd Packard, built their first automobile, a buggy-type vehicle with a single cylinder engine, in Warren, Ohio in 1899. The Packard Motor Car Company earned fame early on for a four-cylinder aluminum speedster called the “Gray Wolf,” released in 1904. It became one of the first American racing cars to be available for sale to the general public. With the 1916 release of the Twin Six, with its revolutionary V-12 engine, Packard established itself as the country’s leading luxury-car manufacturer. World War I saw Packard convert to war production earlier than most companies, and the Twin Six was adapted into the Liberty Aircraft engine, by far the most important single output of America’s wartime industry. Packards had large, square bodies that suggested an elegant solidity, and the company was renowned for its hand-finished attention to detail. In the 1930s, however, the superior resources of General Motors and the success of its V-16 engine pushed Cadillac past Packard as the premier luxury car in America. Packard diversified by producing a smaller, more affordable model, the One Twenty, which increased the company’s sales. The coming of World War II halted consumer car production in the United States. In the postwar years, Packard struggled as Cadillac maintained a firm hold on the luxury car market and the media saddled the lumbering Packard with names like “bathtub” or “pregnant elephant.”

1955 Packard Caribbean convertible.

1955 Packard Caribbean convertible.

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Saturday 17th January 1959

58 years ago

A number of firsts marked the opening of the 51st Chicago Auto Show, including Toyota's inaugural Chicago appearance and introductions of the Rambler American, the Pontiac Wide-Track Bonneville and the Renault Caravelle (promoted by entertainer Sammy Davis Jr). Cadillac reached their pinnacle of chrome dazzle and soaring tailfins, Lincoln offered consumers six varieties of their Continental Mark IV, including a convertible and rare formal-roofed Town Car and limousine. Meanwhile, Studebaker launched the compact Lark, available in a variety of body styles, including a hardtop coupe and a convertible, with either a six-cylinder or V8 engine, setting the pace for a series of small cars from other American manufacturers.

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Thursday 1st October 1959

58 years ago

General Motors stylists began developing the XP-727, a clay mock-up that would evolve into the front wheel drive 1967 Cadillac Eldorado sport coupe.

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Tuesday 10th May 1960

57 years ago

Erwin George "Cannonball" Baker (78), a motorcycle and automobile racing driver and organizer in the first half of the 20th century, died of a heart attack at Community Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. Baker set 143 driving records from the 1910s through the 1930s. His first was set in 1914, riding coast to coast on an Indian motorcycle in 11 days. He normally rode to sponsor manufacturers, guaranteeing them "no record, no money". In 1915, Baker drove from Los Angeles to New York City in 11 days, 7 hours and fifteen minutes in a Stutz Bearcat, and the following year drove a Cadillac 8 roadster from Los Angeles to Times Square in seven days, eleven hours and fifty-two minutes while accompanied by an Indianapolis newspaper reporter. In 1924 he made his first midwinter transcontinental run in a stock Gardner sedan at a time of 4 days, 14 hours and 15 minutes. He was so impressed by the car, that he purchased one thereafter. In 1926 he drove a loaded two-ton truck from New York to San Francisco in a record five days, seventeen hours and thirty minutes, and in 1928, he beat the 20th Century Limited train from New York to Chicago. Also in 1928, he competed in the Mount Washington Hillclimb Auto Race, and set a record time of 14:49.6 seconds, driving a Franklin. His best-remembered drive was a 1933 New York City to Los Angeles trek in a Graham-Paige model 57 Blue Streak 8, setting a 53.5 hour record that stood for nearly 40 years. This drive inspired the later Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, better known as the "Cannonball Run", which itself inspired at least five movies and a television series. In 1941, he drove a new Crosley Covered Wagon across the nation in a troublefree 6,517-mile (10,488 km) run to prove the economy and reliability characteristics of Crosley automobiles. Other record and near-record transcontinental trips were made in Model T Fords, Chrysler Imperials, Marmons, Falcon-Knights and Columbia Tigers, among others.

Cannonball Baker

Cannonball Baker

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Thursday 14th October 1965

52 years ago

The 1966 Cadillac model range were introduced.

Cadillac brochure (1966)

Cadillac brochure (1966)

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Sunday 28th August 1966

51 years ago

The first British Drag Racing Championship began. This meeting saw the use of handicapped starts for the first time and in the dragster division final Tony Gane hung on to a 2.1 second advantage in his 500cc Rudge engined Wicked Lady, to beat Les Turners blown 1500cc dragster. One of Tonys crew members was a teenager by the name of Dennis Priddle. In the Dragster divisions Allan Herridge took his Cadillac powered rail to a new B class speed record of 129.37. Tony Densham set a new Class E E.T. record of 12.672 in 'The Worden' and J. Fisher set a new F class speed record of 96.58mph in his BMC powered machine. D. Farrell set a new B class Competition Altered E.T. record of 12.980 seconds. In the Sports & GT section G. Tyack took his Cobra to a new E.T. record of 12.750 in the C class. Modified Production saw four new records set. A. Wemyss set a new class B speed record of 107.64 in his Dodge, E. Ellis took his Ford to a new D class E.T. record of 15.617 and B. Harvey took his lotus Cortina to set both ends of the E class record at 16.692/81.97. Production saw J. Watcher set a new B class E.T. record of 14.376 followed by a new speed record of 95.84, while R. Duffell took his Volvo to a new E class speed record of 66.84.

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Monday 11th December 1967

49 years ago

The Lincoln Continental Mark III was previewed by the press. The Mark III was created when Lee Iacocca, president of Ford Motor Company at the time, directed Design Vice President, Gene Bordinat, to "put a Rolls Royce grille on a Thunderbird". Introduced in April 1968 as an early 1969 model, the model was a remarkable commercial success because it combined the high unit revenue of a luxury model with the low development costs and fixed cost - amortizing utility of platform-sharing, in a car that was appealing enough to buyers that many units were sold. Iacocca said, "We brought out the Mark III in April 1968, and in its very first year it outsold the Cadillac Eldorado, which had been our long-range goal. For the next five years [Marks III and IV] we had a field day, in part because the car had been developed on the cheap. We did the whole thing for $30 million, a bargain-basement price, because we were able to use existing parts and designs." Iacocca explained that this transformed the Lincoln-Mercury Division from losing money on every luxury car (via low unit sales on high fixed costs) to a profit centre that in its best year of the series earned Ford almost $1 billion profit from Lincoln alone, making the new Mark series as big a success as any he ever had in his career.

Lincoln Continental Mark III

Lincoln Continental Mark III

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Monday 10th June 1968

49 years ago

The 3,000,000th post-World War II Cadillac was produced, a gold DeVille convertible.

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Saturday 12th June 1971

46 years ago

The last Lincoln Continental Mark III was produced. The 1969 Mark III was created when Lee Iacocca, president of Ford Motor Company at the time, directed Design Vice President, Gene Bordinat, to "put a Rolls Royce grille on a Thunderbird" in September 1965. The Mark III was based on the fourth generation Lincoln Continental (1961-1969) and the four-door fifth generation Thunderbird introduced for 1967. With the Thunderbird "dying in the marketplace" Iacocca wanted to put the company's development investment to better use by expanding its platform over several models. The Mark III was intended to compete head-to-head with the top of the domestic personal luxury car market, Cadillac's heavily redesigned front wheel drive Eldorado. This placed it above the second tier premium personal luxury cars such as the Ford Thunderbird, Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile Toronado. As the Eldorado was built upon the Toronado frame, the Mark III's was based off the Thunderbird's. While the side-rail frame was identical to the Thunderbird's, the Mark III bore almost 300 lb (140 kg) more bodywork. Power was adequate from Lincoln's Ford 385 engine-based 460 cu in (7.5 l) 365 bhp (272 kW) V8. Introduced in April 1968 as an early 1969 model, the model was a remarkable commercial success because it combined the high unit revenue of a luxury model with the low development costs and fixed cost–amortizing utility of platform-sharing, in a car that was appealing enough to buyers that many units were sold. Iacocca said, "We brought out the Mark III in April 1968, and in its very first year it outsold the Cadillac Eldorado, which had been our long-range goal. For the next five years [Marks III and IV] we had a field day, in part because the car had been developed on the cheap. We did the whole thing for $30 million, a bargain-basement price, because we were able to use existing parts and designs." Iacocca explained that this transformed the Lincoln-Mercury Division from losing money on every luxury car (via low unit sales on high fixed costs) to a profit center, making the new Mark series as big a success as any he ever had in his career—a remarkable statement from an executive who led the programs for the original Ford Mustang and the Chrysler minivan family. Iacocca explained of the Mark series, "The Mark is [in 1984] Ford's biggest moneymaker, just as Cadillac is for General Motors. It's the Alfred Sloan theory: you have to have something for everybody [...] you always need a poor man's car [...] but then you need upscale cars, too, because you never know when the blue-collar guy is going to be laid off. It seems that in the United States the one thing you can count on is that even during a depression, the rich get richer. So you always have to have some goodies for them." The 1969 Continental Mark III was a spiritual successor of the limited-production, ultra-luxurious Continental Mark II produced by a short-lived Continental division of Ford Motor Company between in 1956 and 1957. The new Mark III was actually not the first model to use the designation, which had been used on a 1958-1960 Continental Mark III. Large and extremely extravagant even for its time, it did not sell as well as the iconic "tail-fin" Cadillacs it competed against. The new Mark III was built at the enlarged facility at the Wixom, Michigan assembly plant, home to subsequent generations of the model. In style, the Mark III was squarer and more upright than the Thunderbird, highlighted by an unashamedly rip-off Rolls-Royce style grill flanked by hidden headlights, with an ersatz Mark II spare tire bulge on on the rear.

Lincoln Continental Mark III brochure

Lincoln Continental Mark III brochure

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Wednesday 17th November 1971

46 years ago

The inaugural 2,900 mile Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, from the Red Ball Garage in New York City to the Portofino Inn in Redondo Beach, California was won by Dan Gurney and Brock Yates in a Ferrari Daytona coupe. Gurney, the "retired" veteran of international racing, and Yates, a senior editor of Car & Driver magazine, covered the distance in 35 hours and 54 minutes. They were only 53 minutes faster than the second-place finisher, a Chevrolet Sportsvan entered by Briggs Chevrolet-Ferrari, South Ambory, New Jersey for the three co-founders of the Polish Racing Drivers of American, Tony Adamowicz, Oscar Koveleski and Brad Niemcek. The PRDA team covered the distance in 36 hours and 47 minutes.In fact, less than two hours separated the five fastest finishers, even through the event was run through rain, snow, sleet and got at various points long the routes the teams travelled.The Cannonball Baker event conceived by Yates as a whimsical gesture of defiance of the regimen of contemporary traffic laws was run without accident or injury, but the law did takes its toll.Four of the eight teams received a total of 12 speeding tickets along the route. The most remarkable among them was a citation given to Gurney in Arizona for allegedly doing 135mph in a 70mph zone. But the leading ticket-takers were the third-place finishers. Larry Opert, Ron Herisko and Nate Pritzker of Cambridge, Massachusetts, received six tickets, talked themselves out of a seventh and narrowly escaped jail for allegedly stealing gasoline at one point in their journey to California in a 1971 Cadillac - in a time of 36 hours and 56 minutes. Koveleski, a director of the Motor Racing Safety Society, pointed out that the RPDA went ticket-free "because we endeavored to remain within the speed limit at all times." The PRDA van was equipped to run the distance without a fuel stop, having started from Manhattan at 12:11am on November 15th with 298 gallons of Gulf No-Nox on board. But the team was forced to stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico to take on 78 additional gallons of fuel. The fourth place finishers were runners-up in ticket-taking. Tom Marebut, Randy Waters and Becky Poston of Little Rock, Arkansas received four speeding tickets during the course of their 37-hour 45-minute trip.

1st Cannonball run

1st Cannonball run

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Wednesday 27th June 1973

44 years ago

The 5,000,000th Cadillac was produced, a blue Sedan DeVille.

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Saturday 22nd February 1975

42 years ago

Debuts at Chicago Auto Show included the AMC Pacer, the Triumph TR7, and the Mercedes-Benz 450 SE. US-made convertibles were on the way out in the mid-Seventies, and Chicagoans prepared to bid farewell. A displayed Cadillac Eldorado was one of just five domestically-built ragtops on the market for 1975, all from General Motors.

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Wednesday 21st April 1976

41 years ago

A Cadillac convertible, the ‘last’ American-made soft-top car, rolled off the assembly line at GM’s Cadillac production facility in Detroit, ending a tradition that began in 1916. However, just a few years later, Chrysler Corporation, under chairman Lee Iacocca, began production once again of soft-top cars. Then Ford brought back the convertible Mustang and GM responded with the convertible Pontiac Sunbird and a new, smaller Cadillac version.

"Last" American Made Convertible

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Friday 15th April 1977

40 years ago

The Lincoln Versailles, a luxury-compact was introduced as a competitor of the Cadillac Seville during the grand opening ceremonies for the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, US. Essentially a rebadged Ford Granada, the Versailles took the bland sedan and added a new grill, trunk and paint finishings. Along with the Mercury Monarch, the fraternal triplets shared a 135hp V8 capable of pushing the car from zero to 60 mph in around twelve seconds.The one element the Versailles kept true to its royal namesake was its paint. The Versailles was the first car to offer a factory standard clear-coat paint job, and almost every Versailles was given a "dual shade" (two-tone) paint job, an 80 dollar option. With flashy, long-lasting paint, the Versailles would later become the perfect drug dealer's car. Lincoln wisely anticipated this, and proudly displayed in its 1977 press release that for only 416 dollars, the Versailles' front seats were capable of reclining to a position now known as the "Gangster Lean." But while it proved to be a great used car (for drug dealers), the Versailles ended up being too similar to the much-cheaper Monarch and Granada. Lincoln sold less than 5000 in 1980, and decided to discontinue the car.

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Monday 5th December 1977

39 years ago

The Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon were introduced on this day in 1977. These were the first mass produced front wheel drive cars from Chrysler Corporation and among the first from any American automaker. Along with the introduction of the K-Cars platform, these little vehicles are often given much credit to bring Chrysler back to life after losing millions of dollars per year prior to hiring Lee Iaccoca as president. Previous front wheel drive cars include the Cord 810 and Cadillac ElDorado.

Plymouth Horizon .

Plymouth Horizon .

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Saturday 23rd February 1980

37 years ago

Over 700 vehicles went on display at the 1980 Chicago Auto Show. GM promoted its compact X-cars, led by the Chevrolet Citation, while Datsun showed its 10th anniversary 280ZX, and Ford offered its Fiesta GTK, billed as the "station wagon of the future." Specialty cars shown were the Berlina coupe, the Guanci SJS-1, the Arntz Cobra, the Clenet, a 1920's-style Creighton, the Commuter Electric, the Lectric Leopard, the Cabriolet Cadillac and the Excalibur Series V Phaeton.

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Wednesday 26th August 1981

36 years ago

General Motors launched the Vauxhall Cavalier Mk 2, available for the first time with front-wheel drive and as a hatchback. On its launch, it offered class-leading levels of fuel economy and performance which had previously been unthinkable for this sector of car. Sales began towards the end of September. This model was part of GM's family of compact "J-cars", along with the Ascona, the Australian Holden Camira, the Brazilian Chevrolet Monza, the Japanese Isuzu Aska, and the North American Chevrolet Cavalier, Pontiac Sunbird, Buick Skyhawk, Oldsmobile Firenza, and Cadillac Cimarron. In the UK, the new Cavalier was a huge success and challenged the supremacy of the Ford Cortina as the company car of choice. By 1982, Ford and Vauxhall had an effective two-horse race at the top of this sector on the British market, as sales of the Talbot Alpine (previously a Chrysler until Peugeot took over the European operations of Chrysler) had tailed off by 1981, while British Leyland was winding down production of the Austin Ambassador hatchback and Morris Ital saloon and estate in preparation for the launch of all-new car (which would be sold as the Austin Montego) by 1984. Cavalier sales topped 100,000 in 1982, compared to less than 40,000 the previous year.

Vauxhall Cavalier Mk 2

Vauxhall Cavalier Mk 2

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Thursday 29th April 1982

35 years ago

Henry Ford II sold the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, US. Conceived by Henry Ford II and financed primarily by the Ford Motor Company, the Renaissance Center became the world's largest private development with an anticipated 1971 cost of $500 million. The project was intended to revitalize the economy of Detroit. In its first year of operation it generated over $1 billion in economic growth for the downtown. In 1970, Ford Motor Company Chairman Henry Ford II teamed up with other business leaders to form Detroit Renaissance, a private non-profit development organization, which he headed in order to stimulate building activity in the city. The group announced the first phase of construction in 1971. In addition, Detroit Renaissance contributed to a variety of other projects within the downtown area in the ensuing decades. Henry Ford II sold the concept of the RenCen to the City and community leaders. Detroit Mayor Roman Gribbs touted the project as a complete rebuilding from bridge to bridge, referring to the area between the Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit to Windsor, Ontario and the MacArthur Bridge, which connects the city with Belle Isle Park. The city within a city arose. The first phase of Renaissance Center opened on July 1, 1976. Principal architect John Portman was also the architect for the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel and the Peachtree Center in Atlanta, Georgia; the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, California; and the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, California. For phase I, the facade of the first five towers was covered with 2,000,000 square feet (186,000 m2) of glass, and used about 400,000 cubic yards (310,000 m3) of concrete. This did not include the additional glass used for the atriums. Phase I of the Renaissance Center cost $337 million to construct, employing 7,000 workers. In 1977, the central hotel tower of the Renaissance Center opened as the Detroit Plaza Hotel, managed by Western International Hotels, to become the world's tallest all-hotel skyscraper surpassing its architectural twin, the Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta. The hotel was later renamed The Westin Hotel Renaissance Center Detroit. In 1986, it was surpassed in height by The Westin Stamford in Singapore. Since 1986, the Renaissance Center's central tower has held the distinction as the tallest all-hotel skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere.Other phases that included residences, additional office and retail space were never constructed. On April 15, 1977, Henry Ford II and Detroit mayor Coleman Young unveiled a plaque commemorating the private investors whose funds made the project possible and, later that evening, 650 business and society leaders attended a benefit celebrating the Renaissance Center's formal dedication. The money raised from the $300-per-couple tickets went to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. When it opened, the cylindrical central tower was originally the flagship of Westin Hotels. The top three floors of the hotel hosted an upscale restaurant, The Summit, that rotated to allow a 360 degree view.[10] The shopping center in the podium originally housed high-end boutiques, but now contains a greater complement of restaurants in the retail mix. In 1980, Detroit hosted the Republican National Convention and presidential nominee Ronald Reagan and former President Gerald Ford both stayed at the Renaissance Center while in attendance. Metro Detroit expanded upon the city within a city concept with the nearby 2,200,000 square feet (200,000 m2) Southfield Town Center office complex with its five inter-connected golden skyscrapers constructed from 1975 to 1989. In the ensuing years, the Renaissance Center would face competition from the growing suburban office market. In 1987, the elevated Detroit People Mover transit line, after many years of construction, began operation with a stop at the Renaissance Center. Initially, Ford Motor Company occupied a large block of space. In 1996, General Motors purchased the complex and moved its world headquarters to the Renaissance Center downtown from what is now the historic Cadillac Place state office complex in the New Center district, northwest of downtown.[20] Before the acquisition, Sibley's Shoes had its headquarters in the center. Architects' initial design for the Renaissance Center focused on creating secure interior spaces, while its design later expanded and improved to connect with the exterior spaces and waterfront through a reconfigured interior, open glass entryways, and a Wintergarden. By 2004, GM completed an extensive $500 million renovation of the Renaissance Center. This included a $100 million makeover for the hotel. Among GM's first actions was to remove the concrete berms facing Jefferson Avenue. The renovation includes a lighted glass walkway which encircles the interior mezzanine for ease of navigation, while the addition of the Wintergarden provides riverfront access and a view of Canada. A covered skyway over Jefferson Avenue connects to the Millender Center, Courtyard by Marriott - Downtown Detroit, and Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. The Renaissance Center is owned by General Motors. The hotel in the central tower is now managed by the Marriott hotel chain and is called the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. The 1,298-room hotel is one of the largest operated by Marriott. The rooftop restaurant (which no longer revolves) received a $10 million renovation and is operated by The Epicurean Groups's Coach Insignia. It serves Coach wines, a product of the Fisher family whose legacy includes Fisher Body, a name which is part of GM history. The Renaissance Center's renovation provides for the prospect of continued development and restorations throughout the city. Architectural critics have touted the city's architecture as among America's finest. In July 2010, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan announced plans to lease 435,245 square feet (40,435.6 m2) of Tower 500 and Tower 600 and relocate 3,000 of its employees from its building in Southfield, Michigan. In January 2015, General Motors announced its intent to renovate much of the complex, including GM World and the street-level exterior, to make it more inviting as a destination for visitors to Detroit.

Renaissance Center, Detroit, US

Renaissance Center, Detroit, US

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Monday 18th October 1982

35 years ago

The British government closed the DeLorean factory in Northern Ireland. John DeLorean founded the DeLorean Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan on October 24, 1975. He was already well known in the automobile industry as a capable engineer, business innovator, and youngest person to become a General Motors (GM) executive. Investment capital came primarily in the form of business loans from the Bank of America and from the formation of partnerships and private investment from select parties, including The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson and entertainers Roy Clark and Sammy Davis, Jr.. Money was also gained later through a dealer investment program in which those dealerships offering DeLorean's cars for sale were made shareholders in the company. DeLorean also sought lucrative incentives from various government and economic organizations to pay for constructing the company's automobile manufacturing facilities. To gain these, he looked to build his first factory in a country or area where unemployment was particularly high. One candidate was Ireland, although the country's then Minister for Industry and Commerce, Desmond O'Malley, decided not to support the project. A deal in Puerto Rico was about to be agreed when DeLorean took up a last-minute offer from Northern Ireland's Industrial Development Board. Besides taking some early seed capital from Hollywood stars Sammy Davis Jr. and Johnny Carson, DeLorean Motor Company relied on the British government for about $120 million of its $200 million startup costs according to the newspaper The Times. The British government was very keen to create jobs in Northern Ireland to reduce sectarian violence by reducing unemployment. As part of this offer, DeLorean was apparently under the impression that the British government would provide his company with Export Credit financing. This would provide a loan of 80% of the wholesale cost of the vehicles (US$20,000) upon completion and delivery for shipping. In October 1978, construction of the six-building, 660,000 ft² (61,000 m²) manufacturing plant began in Northern Ireland and was designed and managed by Brodie and Hawthorn Architects based in Belfast and constructed in 16 months by Farrans McLaughlin & Harvey. Officially known as DMCL (DeLorean Motor Cars, Ltd.), the facility was located in Dunmurry, a suburb of Belfast. It was situated on an interface between two communities with differing political outlooks: republican Twinbrook and unionist Dunmurry. Unit production was scheduled to begin in 1979, but engineering delays and budget overruns caused the assembly lines to start only in early 1981. Workers at the factory were generally inexperienced; many never had jobs before joining DMC. This may have contributed to the reported quality issues attributed to the early production vehicles and the subsequent establishment of Quality Assurance Centers (QAC) located at various delivery locations. QACs were set up in California, New Jersey and Michigan where some of the quality issues were to be addressed and resolved before delivery to dealerships. Some of the issues related to the fitting of body panels, higher-output alternators, and gullwing door adjustments. The combined efforts of quality assurance improvements at the factory and the post-production quality assurance done at the QACs were generally successful, although workmanship complaints would still occasionally arise; the 1981 DeLoreans were delivered with a 12-month, 12,000 mi (19,000 km) warranty. By 1982, improvements in components and the more experienced workforce meant that production quality was vastly improved. Disputes between dealerships and customers arose later because many dealerships refused to do warranty work because they were not reimbursed. Reception by the car-buying public and automotive magazines was mixed. Although the early vehicles had impressive waiting lists of anxious consumers, the MSRP sticker price of $25,000 ($68,000 in 2015 dollars)[6] was cost-prohibitive for the majority of the market — especially for what many considered to be an under-powered and impractical plaything. "It's not a barn burner," observed Road & Track, "(with) a 0-60 mph time of 10.5 seconds. Frankly, that's not quick for a sports/GT car in this price category." The stainless steel body panels were an attractive design concept and impervious to corrosion, but in practice the sheen surface tended to show fingerprints. It also meant that the car could not be easily painted; every factory original DeLorean looked virtually identical. Some dealerships painted their cars on delivery to help make theirs more distinctive. DMC was testing the use of translucent paint to help provide different color options on the cars while also allowing the stainless steel grain to show through, but no cars were sold with factory painted body panels. The only factory option initially available was an automatic transmission. A grey interior was offered later in 1981 as an alternative to the standard black interior. Several accessories including pinstriping and luggage racks helped provide further individuality. In 1981, it was reported there were plans to have made a 4-door version of the car (perhaps on a longer wheelbase) for 1983. It was to have been of stainless steel, and with gullwing doors. The car gained even more attention after it was featured in the popular 1985, 1989, and 1990 films in the Back to the Future movie trilogy. The car still attracts attention, as the film remains popular and the car plays such a pivotal role in the film. The car gained a considerable amount of attention in 2015, specifically October 21, 2015. The characters Marty McFly and Emmett Brown traveled into the future in Back to the Future Part II and ended up in 2015 on October 21. On the real October 21, 2015, the movie was celebrated all over the United States, and some other countries, and the date became known as "Back to the Future Day." The lack of demand, cost overruns, and unfavorable exchange rates began to take their toll on DMC's cash flow in late 1981. The company had estimated its break-even point to be between 10,000 and 12,000 units, but sales were only around 6,000. In response to the income shortfall, a restructuring plan was devised where a new "DeLorean Motors Holding Company" would be formed, which in turn would have become corporate parent to DMC and each of its subsidiaries: DeLorean Motor Cars Limited (manufacturer), DeLorean Motor Cars of America (distributor in the U.S.) and DeLorean Research Partnership (a research and development company). In January 1982, due to United States Securities and Exchange Commission questions about the company's viability, the company was forced to cancel the stock issue for the holding company that DeLorean had hoped would raise about $27 million. John DeLorean then lobbied the British government for aid, but was refused unless he was able to find a matching amount from other investors. What followed is a matter of debate between the British government, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, DeLorean, his investors, and the US court system. At some point in 1982, John DeLorean became the target of an FBI sting operation designed to arrest drug traffickers. He was arrested in October 1982 and charged with conspiring to smuggle $24 million worth of cocaine into the US. The key element of evidence for the prosecution was a videotape showing DeLorean discussing the drugs deal with undercover FBI agents Benedict (Ben) Tisa and West, although DeLorean's attorney Howard Weitzman successfully demonstrated to the court that he was coerced into participation in the deal by the agents who initially approached him as legitimate investors. He was acquitted of all charges, but his reputation was forever tarnished. After his trial and subsequent acquittal, DeLorean quipped, "Would you buy a used car from me?" In the end, sufficient funds could not be raised to keep the company alive. DMC went bankrupt in 1982, taking with it 2,500 jobs and over $100 million in investments. The British government attempted to revive some usable remnants of the manufacturing facility without success, and the Dunmurry factory was closed. DeLorean himself retired in New Jersey, and the dream with which he had mesmerized Britain's Labour government, of industry rising out of the ashes of Northern Ireland's sectarian conflict, was shattered. He claimed that the DMCL was deliberately closed for political reasons, and at the time of closing was a solidly viable company with millions of dollars in the bank and two years of dealer orders on the books. Approximately 9,000 cars were made between January 1981 and December 1982, although actual production figures are unclear and estimates differ. Some of the cars manufactured in 1982, but not shipped to the states (as the US arm of DMC had no money to 'buy' the cars from the factory in Northern Ireland), with 15XXX and 16XXX Vehicle Identification Numbers are actually 1982 models that were given later VINs, dated 1983, by Consolidated International (now known as Big Lots), a company that had a buyback program with DMC and had bought out the remaining unsold cars and also the inventory of unused parts left in the factory after the bankruptcy. A large number of the original cars are still on the road after over 30 years; most estimates put it at 6,500 cars surviving out of just over 9,000 built. There is an active enthusiast community around the cars, with strong owners' clubs. A number of businesses were set up after the demise of DMC to provide parts and service, and most of those are still in existence. In particular, DMC[5] (based in Humble, Texas), operates under entirely new ownership and with no direct ties to the original DeLorean Motor Company. It purchased the parts surplus from Consolidated International and offers many aftermarket parts solutions to replace exhausted stock. Many aftermarket improvements have been offered over time to address some of the flaws in the original production cars, and to improve performance. A common opinion of the car is that in stock form it is somewhat underpowered, and a variety of solutions have been implemented, from complete engine swaps (either to a larger PRV engine, or to completely different engines such as the Cadillac Northstar engine), turbocharger kits (single or twin-turbo), down to simpler solutions such as improved exhausts and other normal engine tuning work. Although he was cleared of all drug trafficking charges, DeLorean still had to battle many legal cases (stemming from the company's bankruptcy) well into the 1990s. He declared bankruptcy in September, 1999, and was evicted from his 434 acres (1.76 km2) New Jersey estate in March 2000. He died of stroke complications at 80 years of age on March 19, 2005. In August, 2007, it emerged that due to demand for the DeLorean DMC-12, DMCH would start selling refurbished cars.Businessman Stephen Wynne has purchased all the remaining parts for the car and builds them in Houston.[9] Currently, a DeLorean can be assembled from the ground up using a combination of new, original and reproduction parts for US$57,500 and still carry a 1980s title, while unrestored but good condition vehicles run from about US$25,000 upwards.

DeLorean DMC-12

DeLorean DMC-12

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Thursday 31st October 1985

32 years ago

Some of the conspicuous exhibits at the 26th Tokyo Motor Show included the Porsche 959, BMW M3, Benz 190E 2.3-16, a concept car Citroen Eole, and Saab 900 Turbo 16 EV-1 equipped with 60 solar cells for starting the motor. The lineup of European superstar cars was really spectacular. GM displayed a Cadillac with the steering wheel on the right for the Japanese market, which kicked off its full-scale export strategy for Japan.

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Saturday 7th February 1987

30 years ago

As they did every year, crowds lined up early to get in to the 1987 Chicago Auto Show. Although their primary objective was to get a glimpse of the latest models, the fortunate few were able to see sports legends Walter Payton and Michael Jordan up close. Cadillac had a fresh idea in 1987, turning out the two-passenger Allante convertible as a rival to the Mercedes-Benz 560SL. Riding a shortened Eldorado chassis, it had bodywork designed and built by Pininfarina in Italy. Among Buick's contribution were a series of performance cars based on the old rear-drive Regal coupe. In addition to the Grand National, the limited-edition Buick GNX went on sale in 1987, built by ASC Inc., with a $30,000 price tag. Only 500 were produced

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Monday 12th September 1988

29 years ago

William L. Mitchell (76), an important General Motors designer from the late 1930s to the late 1970s, died. He succeeded Harley Earl as Vice President for Styling in the late 1950s. He was particularly identified with the Chevrolet Corvette and the Buick Riviera, although most agree his best accomplishment was the 1967 Cadillac Eldorado.

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Thursday 4th January 1990

27 years ago

The Lincoln Town Car was named Car of the Year by the US magazine, Motor Trend. It was the first luxury sedan to win that title in 38 years and was marketed by the Lincoln division of the American automaker Ford Motor Company from 1981 to 2011. Deriving its name from a style of limousine, "Town Car" translated in French is the term "Sedan de Ville" (the Cadillac rival to the Lincoln Continental from the 1950s to the 1990s). The Town Car nameplate first appeared as a sub-model of the Continental in 1959, later becoming a trim line during the 1970s. For 1981, the Lincoln Town Car became a distinct product, taking the place of the previous Continental in the Lincoln model line. Produced in three separate generations, the Lincoln Town Car was based solely on the rear-wheel drive Ford Panther platform, sharing its chassis and mechanical components with the Mercury Grand Marquis and the Ford (LTD) Crown Victoria. With the exception of two-door sedans sold in 1980-81, the Town Car was produced in a single four-door body style. Following the 1996 discontinuation of the Cadillac Fleetwood, the Town Car became the longest (though not the heaviest) mass-produced sedan assembled in the Western Hemisphere until 2003. Within Ford Motor Company, the Lincoln Town Car marked the introduction of several significant features and technologies, including fuel-injected engines, 4-speed overdrive automatic transmissions, keyless entry, and overhead-cam V8 engines. Marketed primarily in the United States and Canada, the Town Car saw exports worldwide. From 1980 to 2007, the Lincoln Town Car was assembled at Wixom Assembly, at Wixom, Michigan, alongside the Lincoln Continental, Mark Series, and Lincoln LS. Following the closure of Wixom Assembly, production of the Town Car was moved to St. Thomas Assembly in Southwold, Ontario, Canada, alongside the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis. In 2011, production of all three Panther-platform vehicles ended as the St. Thomas facility ended production in September 2011.

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Friday 18th May 1990

27 years ago

Orion films released Cadillac Man, starring Robin Williams. The movie follows a day in the life of Joey O'Brien (Williams), a shameless used-car salesman with a weakness for women.

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Tuesday 14th May 1991

26 years ago

General Motors ended production of the Buick Reatta, a two-seater sports car that had been introduced in 1988. As Buick's first two-seater and its first convertible since the 1985 Riviera, the Reatta was manufactured in a highly specialized assembly program at the Reatta Craft Centre (later known as the Lansing Craft Centre) in Lansing, Michigan—achieving production of over 21,000 units in four years. The presence of the Chevrolet Corvette, Pontiac Fiero and Cadillac Allante at the time of the Reatta's introduction meant that with the exception of Oldsmobile, all of GM's passenger-car divisions offered two-seaters during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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Saturday 6th February 1993

24 years ago

The 1993 Chicago Motor Show opened to the public. Almost two years before an Oldsmobile Aurora would go on sale, a concept sedan by that name debuted at the show. A Cadillac Aurora concept was "a vision of an international high performance sedan." Audi exhibited its sleek new Cabriolet, based on the Series 90 platform, to be introduced as a 1994 model. Auto show visitors also got to see a prototype of the reworked Toyota Supra, which went on sale in summer 1993, much more costly than before, with a turbocharged engine available. Cevrolet gave Chicago a hint of the fore coming 1994 S-10 extended cab pickup truck with its Highlander concept. Painted in chartreuse and purple, the two-tone exterior featured custom removable roll bar, a sliding driver side second door, rollbar with driving lights, and a tool compartment on the left side of the bed. Power train consisted of a 4.6-liter V-6 with an automatic transmission.

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Thursday 15th July 1993

24 years ago

The last Cadillac Allante was produced.

Cadillac Allante

Cadillac Allante

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Saturday 5th February 1994

23 years ago

At the 1994 Chicago Auto Show, Buick used a product presentation theatre to promote the new 1995 Riviera. Ford teased visitors with its Profile concept, said to suggest the coming-soon Contour. Lincoln's Contempra concept foretold the 1995 Continental. As their names suggest, the Dodge Venom and Chrysler Espresso concepts could hardly have been more different. Official debuts in Chicago included the Toyota Avalon, Mercury Mystique, Pontiac Firebird convertible, 1995 Chevrolet Blazer, and 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse/Eagle Talon. The 1994 Cadillac Northstar engine was guaranteed not to require a tuneup for the first 100,000 miles!

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Wednesday 27th November 1996

20 years ago

The last Cadillac Fleetwood was produced in Arlington, Texas – this car marked the discontinuation of the rear wheel drive Cadillac and the name of the once independent custom coachbuilder.

Cadillac Fleetwood (1996)

Cadillac Fleetwood (1996)

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Tuesday 20th May 1997

20 years ago

Irish rock band U2 caused traffic chaos in Kansas City, Missouri after they paid for traffic control to close down five lanes so they could shoot the video for ‘Last Night on Earth’. Apart from causing major traffic jams, a passing Cadillac crashed into a plate glass window while trying to avoid a cameraman.

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Tuesday 9th September 1997

20 years ago

The fifth generation Cadillac Seville celebrated its world premier at the IAA Frankfurt. It was the first time in its 95 year history that Cadillac organised a new model debut outside the US.

Cadillac Seville (5th generation)

Cadillac Seville (5th generation)

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Friday 9th February 2001

16 years ago

Automotive concept vehicles exhibited at the 100th Chicago Auto Show included the Buick Bengal convertible, Ford Forty Nine dream car, Cadillac Vizon crossover, Jeep Willys, Chevy Borrego and Hyundai HCD6 Roadster.

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Friday 23rd January 2004

13 years ago

International glamour and fashion photographer Helmut Newton (83) was leaving the Chateau Marmont hotel at speed when he lost control of his Cadillac SRX and ploughed into a nearby wall on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. He died in the crash. Newton was a "prolific, widely imitated fashion photographer whose provocative, erotically charged black-and-white photos were a mainstay of Vogue and other publications."

Portrait of Helmut Newton from his gravesite, by his wife Alice Springs.

Portrait of Helmut Newton from his gravesite, by his wife Alice Springs.

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Tuesday 1st March 2005

12 years ago

The Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe was unveiled at the 75th Salon de L’Automobile in Geneva. It heralded new generations of Jaguar sports cars and sports saloons, as Jaguar Chairman and CEO, Joe Greenwell, explains: "The Advanced Lightweight Coupe represents the very essence of Jaguar, its heart and soul. If you want to know what lies ahead for us, what direction we will take - this is Jaguar’s answer." Created by Jaguar’s advanced design team under Design Director Ian Callum, this high-performance show car was indicative of more than just the company’s evolving design direction; the Advanced Lightweight Coupe was a rallying call for a company whose reputation was founded on beautiful, dynamic sports cars. Combining stunning design with advanced lightweight construction technologies, the Advanced Lightweight Coupe represented true sporting luxury in an exciting, high performance package. The Cadillac BLS show car, built at the loss-making Saab factory in Sweden previewed the brand’s dynamic new entry model for 2006, while the fastest car ever offered by Corvette and General Motors, the Corvette Z06, made its European debut. The fun and funky Citroen C1 city car and the Citroen C6 also made their world debut.

Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe

Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe

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Wednesday 13th September 2006

11 years ago

A pink 1961 Cadillac once owned by Elvis Presley was sold at auction for £21,000 in Derbyshire. The 20ft long 8-litre Coupe de Ville was bought new by the rock-and-roll legend but was later purchased by a Yorkshire collector. The Cadillac, which was white with a pink roof and pink and white upholstery, had travelled 76,099 miles. It was originally valued at between £15,000 and £18,000.

Elvis Presley's pink Cadillac

Elvis Presley's pink Cadillac

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Sunday 18th January 2009

8 years ago

This date marked the final day of a weeklong auction in which auto giant General Motors (GM) sold off historic cars from its Heritage Collection. GM sold around 200 vehicles at the Scottsdale, Arizona auction, including a 1996 Buick Blackhawk concept car for $522,500, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 COPO Coupe for $319,000 and a 1959 Chevrolet Corvette convertible for $220,000. Other items included a 1998 Cadillac Brougham, which was built for the pope. (That vehicle was blessed by the pope but never used because of safety issues; it sold for more than $57,000.) Most were preproduction, development, concept or prototype cars. The vehicles came from GM's Heritage Center, an 81,000 square foot facility in Sterling, Michigan, that housed hundreds of cars and trucks from GM's past, along with documents chronicling the company's history and other artifacts and "automobilia." Rumours spread that the financially troubled GM was selling off its entire fleet of historic vehicles, but that was not the case.

General Motors Heritage Collection

General Motors Heritage Collection

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Sunday 13th January 2013

4 years ago

General Motors unveiled its latest model of the Corvette Stingray (7th generation) on the eve of the Detroit motor show. The next day GM’s Cadillac ATS sedan took the show’s top prize.

Corvette Stingray (7th generation)

Corvette Stingray (7th generation)

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Saturday 8th February 2014

3 years ago

One of the most popular exhibits at the opening of the Chicago Auto Show was the new Bugatti Veyron 16.4, a 21st-century, mid-engined super sports car that generated a whopping 1,001 horsepower and $1,487,640 price tag. In voting conducted over the 10-day public run of the show, the Bugatti Veyron was voted “Vehicle I’d most like in my driveway.” Showgoers selected the 2015 Ford Mustang as the “Best All-New Production Vehicle," and the Cadillac Elmirjah hardtop " Best Concept Vehicle."

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