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Top 10 Cadillac Classics
It is impossible to talk about luxury cars without mentioning the Cadillac. Being one of the oldest automobile brands in the world, the Cadillac is associated with affluence, style and reliability. Pop culture and celebrities have popularised Cadillac as a brand, and its innovativeness and reliability cannot be questioned.
Although it is now produced under the General Motors banner, the origins of Cadillac date way back in 1902 from the remnants of the Henry Ford company. Eng. Henry Leland and two financial backers of the Ford company, William Murphy and Lemuel Bowen partnered to form the auto company naming the brand after the founding father of Detroit City, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. In fact, the Cadillac crest logo was derived from the Detroit coat of arms.
From the onset Cadillac established itself as a premier luxury carmaker in the US market and by the time General Motors acquired the company in 1909, it was already a popular brand.
Indeed Cadillac has been a pioneer of several innovations in the automobile industry. It set the foundations for modern day mass production of cars and introduced full electrical systems as well as steel roofs. In addition, Cadillac also developed three engines, the most notable one being the V8 that would later raise the standards for the US automotive industry.
In 1908, Cadillac demonstrated to the world the interchangeability of its component parts during a reliability test and became the first American vehicle to win the prestigious Dewar Trophy in the UK. This birthed Cadillac’s slogan “Standard of the World” and in 1912 it won the trophy again for installing an electric starting and lighting system in a production car. We examine the top 7 Cadillacs that have influenced the automotive industry.
1998-present Cadillac Escalade
The Cadillac Escalade defined the luxury SUV market as it was the pioneer of all luxury SUVs. Even though the first generation Escalade was a great milestone for Cadillac, it somewhat lacked its own personality and a bore strong semblance to the GMC Yukon Denali. This has changed over the years with great modifications that have defined the luxury SUV market segment in the process. Every generation of the Escalade has created a unique identity that makes it stand apart from competitors such as Ford’s Lincoln. In the second and third generation, Cadillac effectively upstaged Lincoln’s Blackwood from the top by producing the sport utility trucks under the Escalade EXT trim level. This was later followed by the production of the Escalade ESV. Cadillac’s consistent improvement on the Escalade is undeniable and is the reason behind the fame and popularity that this luxury SUV has gained amongst both celebrities and affluent society.
1937 Cadillac Phaeton 5859
Unquestionably stylish, the Cadillac Phaeton 5859 was designed from blueprints drawn-up by the famous car designer, John Hampshire. Released during the Great Depression era, this custom-made beauty was way ahead of its time and despite being a great car, it was too expensive for most people. Its classic beauty and style were later replicated in Cadillac’s concept cars in 2010 and this reveals just how ageless this car is. The Phaeton 5859 once sold for $962,500 at an auction.
1941 Series 62 Convertible
As a brand, Cadillac is no stranger to celebrities and this is mainly attributed to the Series 62 Convertible, which was a favorite with movie stars. During the mid 1900s, most celebrities including Jean Harlow and Howard Hughes, as well as the infamous Al Capone owned this convertible. It was famous for its huge size and bold features that gave it a celebrity status in Hollywood. Current prices for the Series 62 Convertible are $50,000 upwards.
2002-present Cadillac CTS
When General Motors produced the Cadillac CTS for the first time in 2002, it used the unique design that had first been seen on its concept car, the Cadillac Evoq. The latest model amongst the Cadillacs is the CTS-V which was the sports version and notably the best of all CTS models. The luxury CTS-V comes in the form of a sedan, coupe and wagon for the second generation and a standard sedan for the third generation. Its beautiful design and excellent performance have placed it amongst the most favorite of Cadillacs.
1959 Eldorado Biarritz
Monstrous tail fins and a streamlined profile covered in chrome is what the bold but beautiful 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz is all about. This car was famous for its over-the-top design that was clearly for a chosen few. So bold was this car that Cadillac labelled it “the new standard of the world in splendor”, producing only 1320 of them. Today, the rare Eldorado Biarritz is not an easy find but an auction sold one for $176,000.
The 2011 Cadillac Ciel
The 2011 Cadillac Ciel is not short of luxury and good looks. This concept car was modelled after the Phaeton 5859 and remains one of the most stunning Cadillacs of all times. This elegant 4-door convertible has a twin turbocharged V6 engine delivering 425hp. Its interior also takes amenities to the next level with unique features such as luxe seats and a rear armrest equipped with an aromatherapy system. A floating center console coupled with innovative hidden storage will leave every driver wishing that this concept comes to life soon.
1961 Series 67 Park Avenue
The 67 Park Avenue is a pompous ride that is big on luxury. With the bold tail fins, the chrome and grilles, it is hard to miss this luxury car and the wealthy elite used it a lot in the 60s to announce their presence. Today is no different and, the Series 67 Park Avenue is still a major hit in classic auto shows. Some auctions have sold this car at $20,000 but those in mint condition can go for a much higher price.
1957 Coupe DeVille
General Motors took a decade to change the De Ville from an upgraded level trim to distinct series model. The decision paid off and after the premier series in 1949, Cadillac continued to explore designs and technical innovation. This helped in improving the model. The 1957 coupe DeVille, for instance underwent many changes including the highly popular pillarless hardtop which, was a first in the industry. Its great performance on the road, as well as a smooth drive, endeared it amongst celebrities such as Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell and Bruce Springsteen. Later on this model would be completely revamped to create the 20ft long, attention grabbing 2-door 1975 coupe DeVille.
World Thorium Fuel Concept
The 2009 World Thorium Fuel Concept is undoubtedly Cadillac’s greatest creation yet. This jaw dropping car has not been seen anywhere in the automotive industry. From its mind-blowing style to the technology involved, Cadillac clearly intended to set itself apart with this car. That said, this magnificent concept has not made it to the road yet and may not be driven any time soon because of one main reason: the World Thorium Fuel Concept car is expected to be powered by laser technology and this idea will take time and work to bring to reality.
The Beast/ Presidential State Vehicle
This list would be incomplete without the US Presidential State Car, popularly known as the Beast in it. Since 1993, the President of the United States of America has been riding in a Cadillac limo that was modelled after the GMC Topkick medium duty truck. Powered Vortec 8.1 litre V engine, this bullet-proof car is heavily armoured with base models coming with two shotguns, rocket propelled grenades, a tear gas cannon, oxygen tanks and two pints of blood in the blood group of the incumbent. Despite the customisation, Cadillac still retains its design and class in the luxury car.