Gear: The History of Cadillac

Lifestyle Sunday 18/September/2016 19:57 PM
By: Times News Service
Gear: The History of Cadillac

A Storied Past that Inspires An Even Bolder Future
Since its founding in 1902, Cadillac has left a permanent mark on the automotive industry, crafting an enduring, a century-long legacy dotted with industry firsts. Today, Cadillac — a name synonymous with luxury, performance and boldness — has global growth ambitions, driven by an expanding product portfolio that features dramatic designs and cutting-edge technologies. Here is a timeline of Cadillac’s evolution — one deeply rooted in bold innovative optimism and punctuated by worldwide accomplishments:

Since its inception, the Cadillac brand, under the custodianship of master mechanic Henry Leland consistently set standards in the automotive industry. This persistent drive towards innovation and, more significantly, precision led to Cadillac’s recognition as a technological showcase.

In 1908, six years after Cadillac was founded, Leland laid the foundation for modern mass productions of automobiles by demonstrating the complete interchangeability of its precision parts. As a result, Cadillac was the first American car to win the prestigious Dewar Trophy from the Royal Automobile Club of London. This recognition prompted the adoption of the slogan “Standard of World.”

Two years later, Cadillac debuted the Model Thirty, the “car with no crank” — the first production car to feature an electric self-starter, ignition and lighting. This innovation brought the Dewar Trophy yet again to Cadillac’s tally, made starting a car safer and more reliable,and opened up the driving experience to women.

In 1915,Cadillac conceived another industry first that still survives to this day, the debut of the first
mass-produced car with a V-typed, water-cooled, eight-cylinder (V8) engine.

In the mid-1920s, Cadillac pioneered the use of lacquer paint and offered customers more than 500 colour combinations to choose from. In 1926, Cadillac recruited Harley J. Earl, the first American car designer. In 1927, Earl designed the LaSalle convertible coupe, the first car conceived by a stylist instead of an engineer.

In the 1930s, Cadillac’s approach to innovation began to combine both mechanical prowess and trend-setting styling. It introduced the world’s first V-type 16-cylinder engine in a passenger car, which became one of the first iconic vehicles in Cadillac’s history. A V-12 version followed, providing an alternative between the signature V8 and the V16. By mid-decade, Cadillac was manufacturing over 68 body styles meeting the desire of anyone who wished to enter the world of luxury. In the post-war era, Cadillac designer Harley J. Earl introduced the tail fin inspired by the aerodynamics of some of the war’s most iconic fighter planes. Cadillac Tail Fins reach their peak at the end of the 60s, with each Tail Fin height defining a decade of Cadillacs.

1950s and 60s:
In the 1950s, Cadillac became the first manufacturer to provide standard power steering on its entire fleet of automobiles. The brand also pioneered a string of safety innovations. Cadillac continued to make technological and stylistic strides in the 1960s, mainly in safety and passenger comfort. Self-adjusting brakes were adopted at the beginning of the decade. In 1963, Cadillac made front seat belts available, which were made standard by law the following year. Then, in 1964, the brand introduced automatically-controlled headlamps and redefined luxury with comfort control, the world’s first thermostatically-regulated heating, venting, and air-conditioning system. Over the next few years, variable-ratio power steering, electric seat warmers, and stereo radio were introduced in rapid succession.

Cadillac inaugurated the 1970s by unveiling the 400 HP, 8.2L engine Eldorado. The mid-1970s also witnessed the introduction of air cushion restraints (now called airbags) for passenger safety and catalytic converters to lower emissions. Then in 1975, Cadillac became the first US car manufacturer to provide electronically fuel-injected engines. This was followed by the 1978 Seville, which ushered the era of the computerised automobile with an onboard microprocessor in its digital display.

1980s and 90s:
Cadillac faced the dynamism of the eighties head-on with the dramatic Seville Elegante, which ushered the use of integrated microprocessors to control ignition, fuel injection and vehicle diagnostics. The 1990s followed thereafter with many more innovations and segment firsts — most notably in 1992 with the Northstar V8 engine which introduced 16 patented advancements. Cadillac closed the 1990s with the Escalade — arguably one of the strongest symbols of contemporary pop culture — and the introduction of the art and science concept with the CTS. Another important Cadillac innovation from the 90s was magnetic ride control on the DTS as well as the first use of LED exterior lighting on the DTS taillights.

Aside from the proliferation of Cadillac technology into the mainstream, Cadillac celebrated its 100th anniversary with its commitment to push the boundaries of design and engineering for the next 100 years. The millennium began with the award-winning Cien Concept followed in 2003 with the all-new and bold Cadillac Touring Sedan (CTS), a seminal model that laid the foundations for Cadillac’s design renaissance. The decade progressed with many more Cadillac firsts, including the introduction of V-Series; adrenaline-fuelled high performance variants designed to take on the growing Halo super sedans and coupes; and hybrid and electrical models such as the Escalade Hybrid and ELR Electric Range Extended Vehicle.

In 2012, Cadillac was at the dawn of its 11th decade of existence, and ready to progress to the second chapter of its renaissance, expanding its reach into more product segments of the modern luxury markets. In the following years, Cadillac unleashed a salvo of all-new products: the ATS, ATS Coupe, CTS, all-new Escalade and XTS. These vehicles incorporated some of the industry’s most innovative solutions to performance, design, safety and connectivity.

In 2015, Cadillac unveiled its next generation of luxury, performance and prestige vehicles — a lineup that reinforced the brand’s unabated commitment to building a product portfolio with expressive designs, industry breakthroughs, and unparalleled comfort and technological features. Models include the 2017 CT6, 2017 XT5, 2016 ATS and ATS-Coupe, 2016 ATS-V Sedan and Coupe, 2016 Escalade Platinum, 2016 CTS, and 2016 CTS-V. Today, innovation continues to permeate all aspects of the brand’s designs.
The first-ever XT5 is equipped with Cadillac’s latest production systems in the areas of connectivity and safety. The 2017 CT6 and XT5 Platinum’s groundbreaking new streaming video mirror improves field of vision by an estimated 300 per cent, or roughly four times greater than a standard rearview mirror. In addition, the XT5 Platinum comes packed with a revolutionary 360-degree camera view around the vehicle, displayed on the Cadillac CUE screen — which helps reduce blind spots around the vehicle during manoeuvring.
The XT5 also features a visionary lighting system: The front and rear headlamps on the XT5 dramatically frame the vehicle’s powerful edges. As the car turns, available LED headlamps with cornering lamps illuminate the driver’s path of travel. In 2015, Bose announced its most advanced and highest-performing automotive sound system — the Bose Panaray system — designed exclusively for the Cadillac CT6 sedan.
The first-of-its-kind Bose Panaray system, which comes standard on the 2017 Cadillac CT6, reproduces music with more clarity, precision and deep bass than any system preceding it. Based on this timeline, Cadillac’s incredible milestones throughout the years suggest that the brand’s evolution is a tale of innovation and reinvention. Most importantly, they indicate that the best of Cadillac is yet to come.