The Cadillac brand is one of the oldest automotive icons on the market today, and for good reason. For over 100 years, the Cadillac badge has adorned some of the most uniquely and elegantly designed luxury cars ever created. It’s hard to argue that point after looking through Cadillac’s archives of past creations. As a case in point, here are a few historical facts about Cadillac that you may not know:
WHAT’S IN A NAME
The city that came to be known as Detroit was originally named Ville d’Etroit by a French army officer, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. When the carmaker’s founder, Henry M. Leland, was searching for a name for his new company, Detroit’s founder seemed the logical choice. The rest is automotive history.
2. CURING THE CRANKS
Most people think the phrase “road rage” is the first psychological term associated with driving. But back in the days when drivers had to turn a giant crank to start their cars, the term “cranky” was coined to describe the bad moods those cranks caused. In 1912, Cadillac introduced the first electric starter on their Model 30 cars, much to the delight of every driver since.
3. THE LIFESAVER
Leland’s motive for ordering his engineers to start working on an electric starter came after one of his friends, Byron T. Carter, was killed while attempting to start a stranded friend’s Cadillac. The car backfired causing the crank to violently spin around and crack his skull. He died several weeks later which caused Leland to reportedly proclaim, “I won’t have Cadillacs hurting people that way.”
4. FILL ‘ER UP
The 1922 Type 59c came standard with a self-powered air compressor which allowed drivers to fill up the tires anywhere at any time. The suspension could also be adjusted between “comfort” or “performance”.
5. STRONGER THAN A SPEEDING BULLET
Al Capone was well known for owning Cadillacs for many reasons. One of his more famous Caddys was a custom designed 1928 armored sedan like the one pictured above. The sedan was impounded by the U.S. Treasury department after Capone was captured.
On December 8th, President Roosevelt rode to the senate chambers in Capone’s Caddy to deliver his “day of infamy” speech following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. When asked where he got the car, the President replied, “I hope Mr. Capone doesn’t mind.”
This is just the tip of the Cadillac history iceberg. Of course, when you’ve been around for 100+ years, you’ll have plenty of stories to tell and you’ll be hearing more of them from your friends at Ron Carter Cadillac.