In the USA, the Cadillac luxury car brand is special. Founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1902, it is one of the oldest and most prestigious car brands in the USA and the world. The Cadillac brand is also said to be synonymous with the “American dream. Also, except for former President George H.W. Bush, all the US presidents who have been in office since 1983 have been driven in Cadillac presidential state cars. Al Capone’s large 1928 Cadillac sedan was actually the first presidential bulletproof limo because President Franklin D. Roosevelt used it in 1941 when he delivered his famous “Day of Infamy” speech to Congress in Washington DC.
Henry M. Leland established the Cadillac Automobile Company in August 1902, a few months after he had been summoned to appraise the remnants of the Henry Ford Company. Henry Ford, the founder of the Henry Ford Company, had fallen out with his investors, Lemuel Bowen and William Murphy, and had left the company he founded. Bowel and Murphy then reached out to Leland, who was the president of Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Co. He was a highly experienced engineer who had a knack for precision. Bowen and Murphy summoned him to help appraise and then liquidate the assets of the Henry Ford Company. However, Leland saw potential in the remnants of the defunct company, and so he asked the two investors to reconsider the liquidation. He suggested building a new car and equipping it with a single-cylinder engine that he had developed for Oldsmobile. Bowen and Murphy liked the idea and gave Leland their support. Shortly after that, Leland re-purposed the Henry Ford Company for the building of the new cars and subsequently established the Cadillac Automobile Company. Antoine de la Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, the French explorer who founded the city of Detroit in 1701, inspired the name ‘Cadillac’. Besides taking the Frenchman’s name, the Cadillac Automobile Company also drew inspiration for the company logo from his coat of arms.
Cadillac vehicles have pioneered many automotive innovations that have become standard features in many of today’s vehicles. For example, in 1906, Cadillac became the first car manufacturer to mass-produce a car with a fully enclosed cabin; the car was the 4-cylinder Model H coupe. Cadillac also introduced the world to electric starters in 1912 when it debuted its first electric starter on the Model 30. Also, in its pursuit of smooth operation and high performance, Cadillac also developed the first V-type, water-cooled eight-cylinder engine in 1915. This engine included an industry-first, thermostatically controlled cooling system, a feature all other car manufacturers soon adopted. Cadillac also delivered the first introduced Synchro-Mesh manual transmission in 1928.
Besides pioneering ground-breaking innovations, Cadillac has also always endeavored to deliver vehicles that are a cut above the rest in terms of refinement. Thanks to Leland’s dedication to precision, all the early Cadillac vehicles exhibited superior exterior and interior craftsmanship. Many of them also featured premium quality materials like genuine wood trim, genuine hand-stitched leather upholstery, and sueded microfiber fabrics. This culture of luxury and excellence in build quality has been maintained over the years.
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