The Cadillac Automobile Company was formed after Henry Ford left the Henry Ford Company. He, along with his partners, received financial support from William Murphy and Lemuel Bowen. They called in Henry Leland to appraise the remaining plant and equipment to prepare for the liquidation of the company.
However, Leland persuaded them to continue manufacturing automobiles, but this time, using his single-cylinder engine. Thus, a new company was born out of the old one. In 1902, the Cadillac Automobile Company was founded and named after the French Explorer, Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac.
The first batch of Cadillac cars, the Roundabout and Tonneau, were finished and released in October 1902. The automobiles were designed as a two-seater carriage powered by a 10hp single cylinder engine. These automobiles were designed after the Ford Model A. After its release in 1903 during the New York Auto Show, it gathered about 2,000 orders. The public was impressed with the precision and care undertaken during the manufacturing of the Cadillac cars that it cemented the company’s credibility and reliability in manufacturing automobiles.
In 1905, after the continuous success of the Cadillac Automobile Company, it merged with Leland’s Company, the Leland & Faulconer Manufacturing Company. It continued to manufacture luxury cars and led to it being ranked as the number one car in the United States.
By 1906, the company manufactured the first enclosed Cadillac cars. When the company participated in the 1908 interchangeability test in United Kingdom, it received the Dewar Trophy for leading the automobile industry to advancement. In 1909, the company merged with General Motors and ventured to manufacturing institutional vehicles like limousines, hearses, ambulances and even flower cars; all of them created with the same precision and attention to detail given to all Cadillac cars. By 1912, Cadillac cars were incorporated with electrical systems such as lighting, ignition and starting of the engine.
By 1910, the company improved its models by introducing the flathead V8 engine with 70hp, allowing the cars to travel up to 65 miles per hour. Through this, Cadillac was able to acquire the number one position as the fastest car during that time.
By 1917, the United States Army tested the durability and endurance of Cadillac cars. After passing the tests, the company was commissioned to manufacture and supply cars for the army and used during World War I.
In 1927, Cadillac became the first car with an all-steel roof, deviating from the tradition of manufacturing cars with roofs made out of fabric-covered wood.
When the Great Depression struck, the sales and demand for Cadillac cars declined. However, this did not stop the company from manufacturing new models with better designs and innovations. After the Great Depression, sales were multiplied ten times.
In 1951, the company was again commissioned to manufacture the M41 Walker Bulldog, an army tank that was used during Korean and Vietnam wars. The company continued to manufacture and release new models, one of which was first Cadillac convertible. This model, called as Coupe De Ville, became one of the most popular Cadillac cars manufactured.
Cadillac established records for being the first car company to set an annual sales record over 100,000 cars. It was even awarded by the automobile magazine, Motor Trend, as the “Car of the Year”, but Cadillac turned it down.
Through the coming years, Cadillac improved its line of models by revamping the designs, downsizing of models and inclusion of new innovations such as the installation of air conditioning units to the cars. The cars were designed to have cleaner and simpler appearance.
At present, Cadillac is venturing into new possibilities of manufacturing better cars the company is known for. Apart from Sedans, luxury utilities and even racing cars, Cadillac continues to produce new models such as the ELR Coupe, CTS Coupe, CTS-V Coupe, ATS Sedan, CTS Sport Wagon and Escalade.