The first Cadillac automobile was completed on October 17, 1902. Powered by a 10-horsepower, single-cylinder engine and costing $750, the car sold out at its introduction during the 1903 New York Automobile Show. The first Cadillac engine used mechanically actuated overhead valves and a square bore-stroke ratio. Steering was by a rack-and-pinion gear. An early innovation was the use of special split-core fasteners, which locked a nut on its thread with no need for lock washers.
Although the Cadillac arms were not registered as a trademark until 1906, they were in use as early as September 1902. The original emblem, which featured a seven-piked coronet garlanded with a laurel wreath, was closely based on the registered design, with merlettes slanting down to the left and a wreath composed of tulip-shape flowerets arching up to a seven-point crown. Cadillac attorney Newell S. Wright filed for the trademark application on August 18, 1905, and the registered trademark - number 54,931 - was granted on August 7, 1906.
President and general manager of Cadillac, Henry M. Leland, imported the first set of Johansson gauges (Jo-blocks) from Sweden to facilitate the manufacture of precise automobile components with standardized dimensions.
Cadillac became the first American automaker to win Great Britain's prestigious Dewar Trophy, given to the manufacturer making the year's most significant automotive advancement. This happened after a demonstration during which three randomly selected Cadillacs were disassembled, their parts scrambled, and reassembled using only simple hand tools. An immediate 500-mile demonstration run proved the ready interchangeability of each car's 721 standardized component parts. Soon after, Cadillac adopted the slogan, "Standard of the World."
Gradually the emblem's design changed to a more graphic visual pattern. The slogan was added upon Cadillac's receipt of the Dewar Trophy, in recognition for achievements in the standardization of parts.
Cadillac introduced closed bodywork - called a limousine - as a standard catalog offering. Also in 1910, a Delco coil and breaker-point ignition system was first offered as a major improvement in reliability over magneto ignition.
Cadillac was the first company to adopt a sophisticated Delco electrical system to handle self-starting, ignition and lighting functions. The Royal Automobile Club of Great Britain awarded Cadillac the Dewar Trophy for the second time, making it the first car company to win the award twice.
Cadillac unveiled the first mass-produced V8 engine. One significant innovation with the 70-horsepower, 314-cubic-inch (5.1 liter) L-head design was the thermostatic control of cooling-water circulation. The engine, multi-plate clutch and gearbox were combined in one bolted-together assembly. The United States War Department purchased over 2,000 standard Cadillac V8 models for use in Europe during World War I.
From 1916 to 1918, Cadillac used a badge that incorporated the tulip-bulb wreath from the original trademark with nine points on the crown.
The crown reverted to seven points and joined the crest in 1920. This crest remained through 1925.
Cadillac began controlling the engine's fuel mixture thermostatically. Except for choke operation during starting, the driver was relieved of all carburetor adjustments.
A fundamental advancement in the design of V8 automobile engines was the incorporation of a fully counter-weighted two-plane crankshaft. All primary and secondary forces were balanced to vastly improve the smoothness of V8s in Cadillac automobiles. The introduction of lacquer paint reduced manufacturing time and improved the finish of car bodies.
Cadillac introduced a smaller, more maneuverable, sporty "companion car" - the LaSalle. It was the first U.S. car to be designed by a stylist, Harley Earl.
Security Plate safety glass, double-acting Delco shock absorbers, and chrome-plated trim items were introduced for all models. Cadillac eliminated gear clash during shifting by the introduction of a new "Synchro-Mesh Silent-Shift" transmission. Bronze-on-steel cones matched speeds during shifting to facilitate the smooth meshing of gears.
Cadillac introduced the world's first V16 engine for passenger-car use. This engine featured overhead valves with hydraulic lash adjusters, twin carburetors, dual exhaust, and a beautifully finished exterior design. It delivered 160 horsepower from 452 cubic inches (7.4 liter). A V12 derivative introduced later in the same model year produced 135 horsepower from 368 cubic inches (6.0 liter).
To better match the more streamlined styling of the new Cadillacs, designers used the same elements for the V8, V12 and V16 and gave them wings. The new design remained unchanged on all radiators through the 1935 models, though in 1934 the crest became detachable.
To clear the floor and facilitate comfortable three-abreast seating in the front seat, Cadillac relocated the gear shift to the steering column. Cadillac also introduced an all new 16-cylinder design for a limited number of luxury models. This 431-cubic-inch (7.1 liter) L-head engine used twin carburetors, water pumps and distributors to generate 185 horsepower. Cadillac offered the first sunroofs available in America.
Cadillac introduced a fully automatic transmission consisting of a fluid coupling, four forward speeds, and a hydraulic "brain" one-year after Oldsmobile pioneered this innovation in its 1940 models.
With the postwar Cadillacs came new emblem designs, which evolved to the basic "V" and crest design. The 1947 emblem is one of the first postwar badges to incorporate the "V" with the crest, although it had been used in the past in V8 emblems.
The industry's first curved windshields were introduced by Cadillac and other GM models. This also marked the first use of the Harley Earl-designed tail fin.
Cadillac initiated the '50s-era horsepower war with the introduction of a modern overhead-valve V8 rated at 160 horsepower. The 331-cubic-inch (5.4 liter) engine featured high compression, a short stroke and lightweight construction. The first Cadillac Coupe de Ville introduced the two-door hardtop body style.
Three safety innovations by Cadillac were an "autronic eye" which automatically dimmed the headlamps, a one-touch system for washing and wiping the windshield, and a padded instrument panel cover.
With the 1956 models, the Cadillac badge began a trend to a long, low and wide shape, probably to emphasize the pattern of advertising in this period, which lauded these attributes extensively. The Cadillac crest continued this trend through 1959 until the crown at the top almost vanished. The crest was at its broadest in 1960.
Cadillac's ultra-luxurious Eldorado Brougham introduced the quad headlamp system, a brushed stainless-steel roof panel, a power seat with memory, automatic door locks, "wide oval" (low profile) tires, forged-aluminum wheels and air suspension. One feature common with mainstream Cadillac models was a foot-operated parking brake that automatically released when the transmission was shifted into gear.
Low-pressure freon-filled shock absorbers improved Cadillac's ride quality.
Self-adjusting brakes were adopted.
This next generation wreath and crest emblem graced Cadillac products - with minimal changes - from 1963-1999.
Comfort control was introduced by Cadillac to provide customers with the auto industry's first thermostatically regulated heating, ventilating and air conditioning system. A Twilight Sentinel automatically turned headlamps on at dusk and off at sunrise. Front seat belts became standard Cadillac equipment.
The introduction of Delco Superlift rear shock absorbers provided automatic load-leveling capability. A tilt and telescoping steering wheel adjustment was also added to Cadillac models.
Variable-ratio power steering permitted quick parking maneuvers with a slower ratio for more stable highway control. Electric seat warmers and a stereo radio were added as optional equipment.
With the U.S. industry's first closed cooling system, engine coolant lost as a result of momentary overheating was automatically captured and returned to the radiator.
Computerized anti-lock rear brakes were introduced as optional equipment.
Along with Buick and Oldsmobile, Cadillac pioneered the use of an air cushion restraint (airbag) system to protect the driver in the event of a frontal collision.
Cadillac was the first U.S. manufacturer to use electronic fuel injection.
Digital electronics were programmed by Cadillac to operate a Seville trip computer. Two years later, integrated circuits took command of fuel injection, ignition and vehicle diagnostics.
Cadillac introduced America's first transverse-V8, front-wheel-drive automobile. Another advanced feature in the new DeVille line was a viscous-damped, torque-converter clutch.
A multiplex wiring arrangement was introduced on the Cadillac Allanté to control exterior lighting.
Allanté became the first front-wheel-drive vehicle with electronic traction control. The system controlled wheelspin by adjusting application of the individual front brakes, then by reducing engine power by cutting off fuel to individual cylinders.
The Northstar engine was introduced as the first step in what eventually became the Northstar System. The 4.6-liter, 32-valve V8 was first installed in the Allanté and became available in other front-wheel-drive Cadillacs a year later.
Road Sensing Suspension (RSS) and speed-sensitive steering were introduced as part of the Northstar System for the Allanté. RSS used a high-speed computer that determined damping requirements once a millisecond, to give a soft ride under normal circumstances, switching to firm as needed to control individual wheel and body motions. Speed-sensitive steering provided increased steering feel at highway speeds while giving easy parking and maneuverability around town.
An Integrated Chassis Control System (ICCS) was added to the Northstar System. This system shared sensor inputs for the Road Sensing Suspension, Bosch ASR5 antilock braking system and traction control, providing improved ride and handling with better braking control.
Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension (CVRSS) and Magnasteer debuted. An evolution of road sensing suspension, CVRSS provides an infinite range of damping settings, from boulevard soft to race car firm. Magnasteer is a speed-sensitive steering system that provides just the right amount of steering assist for a wide range of driving conditions.
OnStar, a revolutionary communication service, was introduced in the U.S. as an option on all front-wheel-drive Cadillac models. OnStar combines Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, cellular telephone communications and a 24-hour, 365 days a year Customer Assistance Center in an integrated system. OnStar can assist the driver in an emergency situation, provide navigation help, unlock car doors by remote control and provide a range of useful concierge services. Also in 1997, StabiliTrak was introduced on Seville, Eldorado and DeVille, providing more secure handling during cornering and emergency maneuvers. Two directional sensors - a yaw rate sensor and lateral acceleration sensor - work with the car's suspension, steering, anti-lock brake system and traction control system to determine what the driver intends to do. If the car doesn't respond as expected, the StabiliTrak computer sends commands to the car's traction control and brakes to help keep the car on the intended course.
The first automotive application of adaptive seating debuted on the Seville STS. A network of 10 air cells is located in the seat cushion, seat back and side supports. Pressure is measured in each cell and then adjusted for optimum comfort and support for each individual driver.
The massaging lumbar seat was introduced as an option on DeVille d'Elegance, DeVille Concours, Seville STS and Eldorado Touring Coupe. The unique massaging system is built into the world-class powered lumbar system. A single tap on the power lumbar switch produces a continuous roller motion that can be interrupted or repeated at any time during the drive.
Cadillac adopted a new emblem, representing the first wholesale change in 27 years. The current wreath and crest is a sharper, sleeker version of its predecessor. It has been streamlined and simplified to incorporate crisp angles that illustrate Cadillac's bold design philosophy and commitment to technological innovations.
Night Vision, the first automotive application of infrared technology used by military forces during the Persian Gulf War, debuted on the completely redesigned and reengineered DeVille. Night Vision can help improve driving safety by enhancing the driver's ability to detect potentially dangerous situations beyond the range of the headlamps, and by helping drivers see beyond the headlamp glare from oncoming vehicles. The DeVille also featured Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist, which uses an array of four ultrasonic sensors to assist the driver in rear parking maneuvers; a CD-based navigation system, and StabiliTrak 2.0, which added active steering effort compensation and side-slip-rate control as the next evolution of Cadillac's world-class stability-control system.
Cadillac became the first automaker in the world to offer XM Satellite Radio as a factory-installed option on DeVilles and Sevilles. A revolutionary new band of radio, XM capitalizes on direct satellite-to-receiver broadcasting technology to provide listeners with up to 100 channels of music, news, and entertainment available coast-to-coast with digital-quality sound. Also in 2002, Seville received the MagneRide system, a magnetic-fluid-based variable damping system that provides superior handling, control and ride quality on the roughest road surfaces. Cadillac also introduced the Escalade EXT, with its innovative Midgate that allows the vehicle to function as either a luxury SUV or hardworking pickup.
The all-new CTS represents the first 100 percent application of Cadillac's "art and science" approach - bold, breakthrough designs coupled with innovative technologies. Its chiseled, lean body with sheer forms, sharp edges and crisp intersecting lines represents the type of design flair Cadillac showcased on its 1999 Evoq concept car.
VIP Code for Message Board Registration
(Please hit the "Back" Button of the Browser to return to the Registration page)