Cadillac is one of the oldest luxury automobile brands in the world. It
takes its name from the French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, who founded Fort Pontchart
rain du Détroit which later became the city of Detroit.
Cadillac was formed in 1902 from the remnants of the Henry Ford Company (predecessor to Ford Motor Company). After a dispute between Henry Ford and his investors, Ford left the company along with several of his key partners. Trying to salvage their investment, the lingering shareholders of the Henry Ford Company brought in Henry Leland, a notable American businessman skilled in machining, invention, engineering, and automotive entrepreneurship. They asked Leland to help liquidate the remaining assets, but instead Leland convinced them to persist in car production. Under Leland's leadership, they established the Cadillac Automobile Company on August 22, 1902. The original Henry Ford Company facility, located at Cass Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Detroit, was repurposed as Cadillac's first production site.
Driven by a fierce rivalry with Henry Ford, Leland manufactured 2,500 cars in the inaugural year, a remarkable achievement for the era. On July 29, 1909, Cadillac was purchased by General Motors. In 1912, Cadillac was the first automobile manufacturer to incorporate an electrical system enabling starting, ignition, and lighting. By 1915, Cadillac set an industry benchmark by being the pioneer in mass-producing the V8 engine. This advancement underscored the brand's prowess in forward-thinking engineering. In a bid to outdo the Packard V-12, in 1930 Cadillac unveiled the groundbreaking V-16 engine.
Cadillac's tailfins, which debuted in the late 1940s, reached their pinnacle in the late 1950s, becoming an iconic representation of American automotive design. In 1967, the brand introduced the front-wheel-drive Eldorado, marking a significant advancement in automotive design.
Cadillac vehicles, often hailed as the quintessence of the classic American car look, stand out for their distinctive style and design. These elegant machines possess a charm that's unparalleled in the modern automotive era. I wonder if, half a century from now, enthusiasts will view today's cars with the same reverence?
Note: in 1917 Leland left GM after a management dispute over use of the Cadillac production facility to produce wartime material. Leland formed a new company and was awarded a $10,000,000 wartime contract to build the V12 Liberty aircraft engine. After the war, he reorganized the company to form the Lincoln Motor Company. The V8 engine used in the first Lincoln automobiles is said to be influenced by the Liberty engine's design.