A Brief History Of Cadillac



1902: Henry M. Leland founds Cadillac

1903: First Cadillac models debut at the NY Auto Show

1907: Henry M. Leland imports first set of Johansson gauges from Sweden to facilitate manufacture of precision components with standardized dimensions

1908: Cadillac earns its "Standard of the World" moniker after winning the Dewar Trophy for demonstrating the full interchangeability of three different cars' 721 standardized component parts

1909: General Motors acquires Cadillac



1910: Cadillac introduces closed-body design ("limousine") as standard catalog offering

1912: Sophisticated new Charles Kettering-designed Delco electrical system introduced. Electric self-starting made possible; makes automobile operation more accessible to women and eliminates crank starter. Cadillac wins second Dewar Trophy for electric self-starting innovation; first automaker to receive this accolade twice

1915: Cadillac introduces the first mass-produced V8 engine. U.S. War Department purchases over 2,000 Cadillac V8 models for use in Europe during WWI



1922: Thermostatic fuel-mixture control relieves driver of all carburetor adjustments other than choke operation during starting.

1924: Counter-weighted two-plane crankshaft introduced; vastly improves smoothness of Cadillac V8 engines. Lacquer paint introduced; improves finish and reduces manufacturing time.

1926: Cadillac offers 500 colour and upholstery combinations

1927: Cadillac introduces the downsized, sporty LaSalle "companion car" - the first American automobile to be designed by a stylist - Harley Earl. General Motors hires Harley Earl to run the newly formed Art & Colour Section, known today as GM Design.

1929: Security Plate safety glass, double-acting Delco shocks and chrome-plated trim introduced for all Cadillac models. Synchro-Mesh Silent-Shift transmission introduced, which eliminated gear clash during shifting.



1930: Cadillac introduces the world's first production car with a V16 engine (7.4L, 160 HP). Cadillac V12 engine (6.0L, 135 HP) derived from the V16 arrives the same year. Cadillac "Goddess" hood ornament introduced.

1938: Cadillac relocates shifter to steering column, allowing three-abreast front seating. All-new V16 for a small number of luxury models (7.1L, 185 HP). Cadillac "Sunshine Roof" becomes the first sunroof available in America.



1941: Introduction of four-speed Hydra-Matic fully automatic transmission

1943-1945: No new Cadillac models; Cadillac manufacturing capacity becomes a crucial part of the American war effort, most famously for the M24 Chaffee light tank for the U.S. Army

1946: Cadillac passenger cars go back on sale; these were face-lifted 1942 models

1948: First all-new, fully redesigned postwar Cadillac models arrive. Industry's first curved windshield introduced by Cadillac and other GM brands. '48 Cadillac models were the first vehicles to wear tail fins (the fins themselves were initially inspired by tail rudders on the P-38 Lighting fighter plane).

1949: Cadillac introduces modern overhead-valve V8 featuring high compression, short stroke and lightweight construction; This 331-cubic-inch (5.4L) V8 made 160 HP as the 1950s "horsepower wars" were about to kick off. Cadillac introduces the two-door hardtop body style with the Coupe de Ville.



1950: The 1950 24 Hours of Le Mans race saw the entry of two Cadillac Series 61 racers: one was a production model fitted with a racing engine; the other was nicknamed "Le Monstre" for its wild, aerodynamic appearance that was completely unlike that of any other postwar Cadillac.

1954: "Autronic Eye" automatically dimming headlamps introduced. One-touch windshield washer/wiper system introduced. Padded instrument panel introduced.

1957: Iconic, ultra-luxe Eldorado Brougham introduced.
Hand build
Every conceivable luxury feature was standard equipment
Only 400 cars built this year
Introduced quad headlamp system
Brushed stainless roof
Power memory seat
Automatic door locks
Aluminum wheels and low-profile tires
Air suspension
Foot-operated parking brake that automatically released when car was placed in gear

1959: Ride quality improves with introduction of low-pressure, freon-filled shock absorbers. Eldorado Biarritz becomes one of the most instantly recognizable, defining designs of the decade, and a lasting icon of the "tailfins" era.



1960: Cadillac adopts self-adjusting brakes

1964: Comfort Control is the industry's first thermostatically regulated HVAC system. Twilight Sentinel automatically activates headlamps at dusk and shuts them down at sunrise. Front seat belts become standard equipment in Cadillac models.

1965: Cadillac models get tilt and telescoping steering-wheel adjustment. Delco Superlift rear shock absorbers give Cadillac models automatic load-leveling capability

1966: Variable-ratio power steering makes parking easier while also granting better stability at speed. Electric seat heaters and stereo radio become optional equipment.

1967: New Fleetwood Eldorado hardtop debuts; iconic design, front-wheel drive.

1969: U.S. auto industry's first closed cooling system.



1971: Computerized rear antilock brakes introduced as optional equipment.

1974: Pioneering use of air-cushion restraint (airbag) to protect driver in the event of a frontal collision (Cadillac joined Buick and Oldsmobile in incorporating this technology).

1975: Cadillac is the first U.S. automaker to employ electronic fuel injection

1978: The Cadillac Seville uses digital electronics to operate in-dash trip computer.



1985: America's first transverse-mounted V8, front-wheel-drive automobile DeVille lineup receives advanced viscous-damped, torque converter clutch

1987: Pininfarina-designed Cadillac Allente roadster is introduced: Bodies shipped to America from Italy; Final assembly in the USA. Allante features introduction of multiplex wiring to control exterior lighting.



1990: Allente becomes first front-wheel-drive vehicle with electronic traction control

1992: The 4.6L 32-valve Cadillac Northstar V8 engine is introduced in the Allente

1993: Introduction of Road Sensing Suspension (RSS) and speed-sensitive steering as part Allente's Northstar System

1995: Integrated Chassis Control System (ICCS) becomes part of the features compromising the Northstar System

1996: Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension (CVRSS) debuts, offering infinite range of damping settings. Magnasteer speed-sensitive steering system debuts

1997: OnStar is introduced as an option on all Cadillac models. StabiliTrak introduced on Cadillac Seville, Eldorado and DeVille.

1998: First automotive application of adaptive seating debuts on Seville STS Cadillac Escalade debuts as a 1999 model

1999: Massaging lumbar seat introduced on certain DeVille, Seville and Eldorado models



2000: Cadillac DeVille becomes the first production car to offer Night Vision. Cadillac makes a remarkable return to racing with a radical new prototype racer: the Cadillac Northstar LMP. It's motivated by a race-prepared 4.0L Northstar Twin Turbo V8 engine.

2002: Escalade cements itself as a cultural touchstone referenced in pop music, film, TV and other forms of entertainment

2004: Cadillac launches the V-Series with the CTS-V sedan, integrating world-class high-performance capabilities with Cadillac's cutting-edge design, innovation and technology. Cadillac returns to the racetrack with the first-generation CTS-V and quickly finds success, winning SCCA World Challenge Manufacturer and Driver Championships

2009: V-Series continues to evolve with the introduction of the iconic, supercharged, second-generation CTS-V



2012-2015: Cadillac enjoys continued success on the racetrack, scoring two Pirelli World Challenge Manufacturer Championships and three Driver Championships with the CTS-V. Coupe, and two more Pirelli World Challenge Driver Championships with its successor, the ATS-V.

2017: Cadillac introduce Super Cruise, the industry's first truly hands-free driver assistance technology for compatible roads.
Cadillac Racing introduces the DPI-VR. Racecar and returns to endurance racing, winning its debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytime - the first of four consecutive victories at the storied race.



2022: The Cadillac V-Series enters a new chapter with the debut of the CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing models - the highest-performing, most track-capable V-Series models yet.
V-Series expands to include an SUV for the first time with the debut of the astonishing Escalade-V.
Cadillac shift to a fully electrified lineup begins with the launch of LYRIQ, Cadillac's first all-electric vehicle.
CELESTIQ Show Car debuts, previewing Cadillac's upcoming ultra-luxury flagship that is informed by 120 years of design and technological innovation.