Newport Convertible engineering was first US coach builder which designed, engineered and distributed Cadillac Escalade Convertible.
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Newport Convertible engineering was first US coach builder which designed, engineered and distributed Cadillac STS Convertible.
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Cadillac is an American luxury vehicle marque owned by General Motors (GM). Cadillac currently sells vehicles in 37 countries, with its primary market being North America. In 2010, Cadillac’s U.S. sales rose by 35% from the year prior, to 146,925. Globally, Cadillac’s next largest market is China, where the SRX model is its largest seller.
Cadillac is currently the second oldest American automobile manufacturer behind fellow GM marque Buick and is among the oldest automobile brands in the world. Depending on how one chooses to measure, Cadillac is arguably older than Buick. Cadillac was founded in 1902 by Henry Leland, a master mechanic and entrepreneur, who named the company after his ancestor, Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, the founder of the city of Detroit. The company’s crest is based on a coat of arms that Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac had created at the time of his marriage in Quebec in 1687. General Motors purchased the company in 1909 and within six years, Cadillac had laid the foundation for the modern mass production of automobiles by demonstrating the complete interchangeability of its precision parts while simultaneously establishing itself as America’s premier luxury car. Cadillac introduced technological advances, including full electrical systems, the clashless manual transmission and the steel roof. The brand developed three engines, one of which (the V8 engine) set the standard for the American automotive industry. Cadillac is the first American car to win the prestigious Dewar Trophy from the Royal Automobile Club of England, having successfully demonstrated the interchangeability of its component parts during a reliability test in 1908; this spawned the firm’s slogan “Standard of the World.” It won that trophy a second time, in 1912, for incorporating electric starting and lighting in a production automobile.
Cadillac was formed from the remnants of the Henry Ford Company when Henry Ford departed along with several of his key partners and the company was dissolved. With the intent of liquidating the firm’s assets, 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 before selling them.
Instead, Leland persuaded them to continue the automobile business using Leland’s proven single-cylinder engine. The company after Henry Ford left needed a new name, and on 22 August 1902 the company reformed as the Cadillac Automobile Company. Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing and the Cadillac Automobile Company merged in 1905.
The Cadillac automobile was named after the 17th-century French explorer Antoine Laumet de la Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac, who founded Detroit in 1701.
Contributions to the automotive industry
From its earliest years Cadillac aimed for precision engineering and stylish luxury finish, causing its cars to be ranked amongst the finest in the US. Utilization of interchangeable parts was an important innovation in 1908. Cadillac was the first volume manufacturer of a fully enclosed cab in 1910, and in 1912 was first to incorporate an electrical system enabling starting, ignition, and lighting.
In 1915 it introduced a 90-degree flathead V8 engine with 70 horsepower (52 kW) at 2400 rpm and 180 pound-feet (240 N·m) of torque, allowing its cars to attain 65 miles per hour. This was faster than most roads could accommodate at this time. Cadillac pioneered the dual-plane V8 crankshaft in 1918. In 1928 Cadillac introduced the first clashless Synchro-Mesh manual transmission, utilizing constant mesh gears. In 1930 Cadillac implemented the first V-16 engine, with a 45-degree overhead valve, 452 cubic inches, and 165 horsepower (123 kW), one of the most powerful and quietest engines in the United States. The development and introduction of the V8, V16 and V-12 helped to make Cadillac the “Standard of the World.”
A later model of the V8 engine, known as the overhead valve, set the standard for the entire American automotive industry in 1949.
Cadillac introduced designer-styled bodywork (as opposed to auto-engineered) in 1927. It installed shatter-resistant glass in 1926. Cadillac also introduced the ‘turret top,’ the first all-steel roof on a passenger car. Previously, car roofs were constructed of fabric-covered wood.
Tailfins were added to body shape in 1948. In 1953, the “Autronic Eye” was introduced. This feature would automatically dim the high-beam headlamps for the safety of oncoming motorists. The Eldorado Brougham of 1957 offered a ‘memory seat’ function, allowing seat positions to be saved and recalled for different drivers. The first fully automatic heater/air conditioning system was introduced in 1964, allowing the driver to set a desired temperature to be maintained by ‘climate control’. From the late 1960s, Cadillac offered a fiber-optic warning system to alert the driver to failed light bulbs. Driver airbags were offered on some Cadillac models from 1974 to 1976.
In 1998, when Cadillac began creating a new design language for its models called “art and science,” graphic designer Anne-Marie LaVerge-Webb of GM’s corporate and brand identity group was called on to rethink the Cadillac emblem. The new design theme aimed to combine suggestions of high technology and elegance through faceted shapes” inspired by the stealth fighter and by gemstones. LaVerge-Webb, a graduate of CCS in Detroit had come from an ad agency. She reviewed the history of the Cadillac emblem, which had appeared in many variations over the years.
The designers, she said, reviewed dozens of emblems from grilles and trunks throughout Cadillac history, including rare items in a special collection kept in a drawer in the design studio in Warren. “The big question was whether the change would be evolutionary or revolutionary,” she said. She describes the choice as evolutionary, but it seems more dramatic than that.
The original Cadillac logo is based on the family crest of the man for whom the company was named, the Gascon officer and minor aristocrat who founded Detroit in 1701 — Antoine de La Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac. His coat of arms, like many family coats of arms, appears to have been concocted and borrowed from a more noble neighbor. This may be appropriate for a car that has often appealed to the self-made man — if the not the nouveau riche hustler.
For the new logo, however, there was a need to match a new body theme. Cadillac’s top designers and Wayne Cherry, head of all GM design, were involved. “Wayne wanted to be sure the logo looked like an essential part of the grille, not something tacked on,” LaVerge-Webb said. The new look of the cars was to be high tech, a “milled from solid metal” look. The group decided on a major changes to the traditional crest and wreath emblem. The new “Wreath & Crest” logo was unveiled at the 1999 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where collectors and designers assemble to appreciate collector cars. The shield wore the colors from Cadillac tradition: red, silver and blue, black and gold on a platinum background, aimed to suggest high technology. But the pearl-topped crown was gone as were the merlettes or ducks from the coat of arms of the original nobleman. The wreath was to be faceted, too, its leaves reinterpreted in a mechanical form.
The result suggested a Mondrian.
The “merlettes” or ducks had been used in an infamous ad campaign for the small Cadillac Catera, billed as “the Cadillac that zigs instead of zags.” One duck was seen swimming in the direction opposite the others. But on the new logo the merlettes were gone; many saw the ducks as collateral casualties of the failure of the Catera.
“We wanted to make it less fussy, more technical. The look we were aiming for was the milled out of a single billet of aluminum. The ducks felt fussy,” she said. Furthering the high tech theme, the typeface for model designations is a hand drawn and modified version of Serpentine.
Removing the crown was also read by some as a quiet abandonment of Cadillac’s long time proud motto, “The standard of the world,” a claim no longer supported by sales, quality or customer satisfaction ratings. Beyond the hundreds of drawings for the new logo, considerations of materials and manufacturing took over. Even a few pennies of cost figure in acceptance of logo designs as in all parts of the auto industry, where costs are multiplied over millions of cars. The physical logos and other graphics are tested extensively over two years for endurance to heat, cold, and salt damage.
Stereolithography is used to produce models for visual testing for size: proportion of the logo to body shape and position is critical. Logo sizes and shapes vary according the vehicle of course: the current Escalade SUV and truck wears the largest Cadillac logo ever. It is known internally as “the Frisbee.” Cadillac recently introduced the high performance CTS-V model, with a Corvette engine. It is the first of a new “V” line whose logo squeezes and angles the colors of the basic crest so they suggest a racing flag and attaches them to a V evoking V shaped engines. The V is tilted as if with speed. The logo for V-Series models employs the same basic elements. But according to Kip Wasenko, design director, GM Performance Division, who oversaw the design of the V-Series logo. “While its colors are meant to depict the ‘luxury’ side of Cadillac, its vertical orientation and its forward-leaning angle to the right are both meant to depict motion and performance.”
1903 Cadillac Model A
1908 Cadillac Model S
Their first car was completed in October 1902, the 10 hp (7 kW) Cadillac. It was practically identical to the 1903 Ford Model A. Many sources say the first car rolled out of the factory on 17 October; in the book Henry Leland – Master of Precision, the date is 20 October; another reliable source shows car number 3 to have been built on 16 October. In any case, the new Cadillac was shown at the New York Auto Show the following January, where it impressed the crowds enough to gather over 2,000 firm orders. The Cadillac’s biggest selling point was precision manufacturing, and therefore, reliability; it was simply a better-made vehicle than its competitors. Cadillac participated in an interchangeability test in the United Kingdom 1908, when it was awarded the Dewar Trophy for the most important advancement of the year in the automobile industry.
Cadillac was purchased by the General Motors (GM) conglomerate in 1909. Cadillac became General Motors’ prestige division, devoted to the production of large luxury vehicles. The Cadillac line was also GM’s default marque for “commercial chassis” institutional vehicles, such as limousines, ambulances, hearses and funeral home flower cars, the last three of which were custom-built by aftermarket manufacturers. Cadillac does not produce any such vehicles in their factory.
In July 1917, the United States Army needed a dependable staff car and chose the Cadillac Type 55 Touring Model after exhaustive tests on the Mexican border. 2,350 of the cars were supplied for use in France by officers of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. General Motors of Canada built Cadillac 1923 to 1936 and saved it from A. P. Sloan from his wanting to stop the build. Pre-World War II Cadillacs were well-built, powerful, mass-produced luxury cars aimed at an upper class market. In the 1930s, Cadillac added cars with V12 and V16 engines to their range, many of which were fitted with custom coach-built bodies;. these engines were remarkable at the time for their ability to deliver a combination of high power, silky smoothness and quietness.
In 1926, Cadillac recruited automobile stylist Harley Earl in a one-time consulting capacity, but his employment lasted considerably longer: by 1928, Earl was the head of the new Art and Color division and he would ultimately work for GM until he retired, over 30 years later. The first car he designed was the LaSalle, a new, smaller “companion marque” car, named after another French explorer, René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. That marque remained in production until 1940.
The Great Depression
1931 Cadillac Phaeton
1940 Cadillac 90 Town Car
The Great Depression sapped the auto industry generally, with the luxury market declining more steeply; between 1928–1933, Cadillac sales had declined by 84%, to 6,736 vehicles. Exacerbating sales performance for the Cadillac brand was a policy, reflective of the times, which discouraged sales to African Americans. Nick Dreystadt, mechanic and national head of Cadillac service, urged a committee – set up to decide whether the Cadillac brand would live on – to revoke that policy. After the policy was eliminated, brand sales increased by 70% in 1934 – and Dreystadt was promoted to lead the entire Cadillac Division.
By 1940, Cadillac sales had risen tenfold compared to 1934. In 1936, Dreystadt released the Series 60 as Cadillac’s entry into the mid-priced vehicle market. It was replaced by the Series 61 in 1939, but a popular model that was derived from it, the Sixty Special, continued through 1993. Another factor helped boost Cadillac growth over the next few years: a revolution in assembly line technology. In 1934, Henry F. Phillips introduced the Phillips screw and driver to the market. He entered into talks with General Motors and convinced the Cadillac group that his new screws would speed assembly times and therefore increase profits. Cadillac was the first automaker to use the Phillips technology in 1937, which was widely adopted in 1940. For the first time in many years all cars built by the company shared the same basic engine and drivetrain in 1941.
Postwar Cadillacs, incorporating the ideas of General Motors styling chief Harley J. Earl, innovated many of the styling features that came to be synonymous with the classic (late-1940s and 1950s) American automobile, including tailfins, wraparound windshields, and extensive exterior and interior bright-work (chrome and polished stainless steel). Fledgling automotive magazine Motor Trend awarded its first “Car of the Year” to Cadillac in 1949; the company turned it down. On 25 November 1949, Cadillac produced its one millionth car, a 1950 Coupe de Ville. It also set a record for annual production of over 100,000 cars, a record it repeated in 1950 and 1951. Cadillac’s first tailfins, inspired by the twin rudders of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, appeared in 1948; the 1959 Cadillac, designed by Peter Hodak, was the epitome of the tailfin craze, with the most recognizable tailfins of any production automobile. From 1960 thru 1964, the fins decreased in size each year and disappeared with the 1965 model year (except for the 1965 series 75 chassis which was a carry over from 1964). The Cadillac tailfin did serve one practical purpose, however. From the inception of the fin up to the 1958 model year, the driver’s (left) side fin housed the gasoline filler neck under the taillight assembly. To fill the car with fuel, the taillight had to be released and pivoted upward to access the gas cap. This eliminated the unsightly gas filler door from the side of the vehicle, providing a smoother, cleaner appearance.
The use of extensive bright-work on the exterior and interior also decreased each year after 1959. By the 1966 model year, even the rear bumpers ceased to be all chrome – large portions were painted, including the headlight bezels.
Cadillac’s other distinctive styling attribute was its front-bumper designs which became known as Dagmar bumpers or simply Dagmars. What had started out after the war as an artillery shell shaped bumper guard became an increasingly important part of Cadillac’s complicated front grille and bumper assembly. As the 1950s wore on, the element was placed higher in the front-end design, negating their purpose as bumper guards. They also became more pronounced and were likened to the bosom of 1950s television personality Dagmar. In 1957 the bumpers gained black rubber tips which only heightened the relationship between the styling element and a stylized, exaggerated bumper design. For 1958 the element was toned down and then was completely absent from the 1959 models.
In 1966, Cadillac would mark up its best annual sales yet, over 192,000 units (142,190 of them de Villes), an increase of more than 60%. This was exceeded in 1968, when Cadillac topped 200,000 units for the first time.
The launch of the front-wheel drive Eldorado in 1967 as a personal luxury coupe, with its simple, elegant design – a far cry from the tail-fin and chrome excesses of the 1950s – gave Cadillac a direct competitor for the Lincoln and Imperial, and in 1970, Cadillac sales topped Chrysler’s for the first time. The new 472 cu in (7.7 l) engine that debuted in the 1968 model year, designed for an ultimate capacity potential of 600 cu in (9.8 l), was increased to 500 cu in (8.2 l) for the 1970 Eldorado. It was adopted across the model range beginning in 1975.
Low points, and recovery
The 1970s saw vehicles memorable for their dimensions. The 1972 Fleetwood was some 1.7 in (43 mm) longer in wheelbase and 4 in (100 mm) overall, compared to the 1960 Series 75 Fleetwood; the entry-level 1972 Calais was 2.4 in (61.0 mm) longer than the equivalent 1960 Series 62, on the same wheelbase. Growth in weight and standard equipment demanded increases in engine displacement before the downsizing era set in later in the decade. Performance waned after peaking at 400 hp (298 kW) (gross) and 550 pound-feet (750 N·m) of torque in the first year and further declined in 1971 and later years due to reductions in compression ratios necessitated by the advent of low-octane unleaded fuel and increasingly stringent emission requirements. Despite record sales in 1973 and again in the late 1970s, Cadillac suffered from the malaise that set in the American auto industry in the late 1970s through to the late 1980s. This came from a slow response to government mandates for improved safety and lowered emissions and the high fuel prices of the time when foreign firms were making rapid improvements in all these areas.
The Art and Science Era
Cadillac has resisted the trend towards producing “retro” models such as the revived Ford Thunderbird or the VW New Beetle. It has instead pressed ahead with a new design philosophy for the 21st century called “art and science” which it says “incorporates sharp, sheer forms and crisp edges – a form vocabulary that expresses bold, high-technology design and invokes the technology used to design it.” This new design language spread from the original CTS across the line all the way up to the XLR roadster. Cadillac’s model line-up mostly includes rear- and all-wheel-drive sedans, roadsters, crossovers and SUVs. The only exceptions were the front-wheel drive Cadillac BLS (which was not sold in North America) and the Cadillac DTS, neither of which are still in production. Many of these actively compete with respected high-end luxury cars produced by German and Japanese manufacturers. The flagship of these efforts is the second-generation CTS-V, which is a direct competitor to the vaunted BMW M5.(http://www.roadandtrack.com/tests/comparison/2009-cadillac-cts-v-vs.-2008-bmw-m5-smg) An automatic version of the CTS-V lapped the Nürburgring in 7:59.32, at the time a record for production sedans.
Despite Cadillac’s re-invention, little work has been done with the Cadillac brand towards the end of the decade due to GM’s bankruptcy. A range topper based on the Cadillac Sixteen had been cancelled along with the Northstar engine replacement. With the STS and DTS scheduled to end production, Cadillac would be left without a proper range topper. A small RWD sedan was in the works but reports suggested it would move to the Epsilon II platform and position below the CTS range. However, Cadillac did commence with the second generation SRX in 2009. The SRX is now based on the Theta Premium platform and is offered in either FWD or AWD.
Reports suggested the Escalade would move the Lambda platform in 2014 but it has since been revealed the Escalade will continue on its body-on-frame architecture with a redesign in 2013. A Lambda-based Cadillac will join the line to complement the next Escalade, which could possibly cost more than the current model. Cadillac showcased the XTS Platinum concept in 2010 and announced intentions to build the FWD/AWD sedan on the Super Epsilon platform. Also, in late 2009, GM announced the upcoming 3-Series competitor, the ATS, will go into production on the RWD/AWD Alpha platform in 2013. Reports have surfaced that GM had green lighted not only a Zeta based 7-Series competitor, but another Zeta based full-size based on the Sixteen concept. The reports suggest the latter will carry a price tag of as much as $125,000 and will be positioned as Cadillac’s halo. It has also been revealed the next CTS, scheduled for 2013, will move to a long-wheelbase version of the upcoming Alpha platform. It is expected to grow in size and price and lose its coupe and wagon options. With that said, this would leave Cadillac with a full range of vehicles by the mid 2010’s.
In art and sculpture
Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture in Amarillo, Texas. It was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez, and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm. The art installation consists of older running Cadillac automobiles that were originally installed during 1974, and were either used or junk. It represents a number of evolutions of the car line (most notably the introduction and discontinuation of the defining feature of early Cadillacs, the tail fin) from 1949 to 1963, that are half-buried, nose-first in the ground at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. The piece is a statement about the paradoxical simultaneous American fascinations with both a “sense of place” – and roadside attractions, such as The Ranch itself – and the mobility and freedom of the automobile.
A tribute to the Cadillac Ranch was featured in the Walt Disney and Pixar film Cars. The fictional town of Radiator Springs sits at the edge of an area referenced on a map as the “Cadillac Range”, and throughout the movie, rock formations shaped like the upended cars can be seen as a horizon backdrop.