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Today is Cadillac Day

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stu allen photo

August 21st is Cadillac Day, marking the production of the first Cadillac on this day in 1902.  Cadillac was acquired by General Motors in 1909, but struggled in it’s early years.

According to, Cadillac was founded out of the ruins of automotive pioneer Henry Ford’s second failed company.

When the shareholders of the defunct Henry Ford company called in Detroit machinist Henry Leland to assess the company’s assets for their planned sale, Leyland convinced them to stay in business.

Leyland’s idea was to combine Ford’s latest chassis with a single-cylinder engine developed by Oldsmobile, and the Cadillac (named after the founder of the city of Detroit) was born.  The first Caddy was priced at $850 (a whopping sum of money in the early 1900’s).

In 1909, William C. Durant bought the company from Leyland for $4.5 million in General Motors stock.  Durant kept Leyland on, and gave him full responsibility for automotive production.

Three years later, Cadillac introduced the world’s first electric self starter, developed by Charles F. Kettering, it’s pioneering V-8 engine was installed in all Cadillac models in 1915.

Cadillac was the first company to provide power steering and automatic windshield wipers as standard equipment for all vehicles.

Cadillac continues to innovate and provide great luxury vehicles.  Henry Ford may be better known in automotive history, but Henry Leyland took Ford’s failure and turned it into a lasting success.

People still use “Cadillac” as an adjective for describing something that is top notch.

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