Yesterday was the anniversary of when the Cadillac Motor Company formally became part of the General Motors family of brands 105 years ago. Cadillac says they have “continually set new standards for automotive design and luxury,” and is detailing the six most notable concept cars in its history which represent this on GM’s Fastlane blog.
The first notable Cadillac concept car was the 1954 El Camino, built for and unveiled at the 1954 Motorama show in New York City. The El Camino was longer and wider than the Chevrolet Corvette and featured fiberglass bodywork and a 230 horsepower V8 engine. The car, with its brushed stainless steel finish, bubble-style roof and complex bodylines, previewed the 1955 Eldorado Brougham concept, which was a precursor to the 1957 Eldorado Brougham production car.
Two years later, Cadillac used the annual General Motors Motorama show once again to unveil its 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Town Car concept. The car was inspired by coach-built limousines and featured an open cockpit for the driver and an enclosed cabin for passengers. Inside it featured leather, gold trim, a stand-alone radio, a telephone for communication with the driver and two glove boxes.
For 1959, Cadillac opted to stray from their usual luxury sedans and introduce a two-seat roadster known as the 1959 Cyclone concept representing the ‘Jet Age’ the country was in at the time. Its short, slender body drew inspiration from the fighter jet aircraft of the time, which Cadillac says is most noticeable in the large tail fins, unique tail lamps and bubble canopy roof. Two nosecones where the headlights would normally be added to the aviation-inspired look, but also housed radar sensors which allowed the car to warn the driver of approaching obstacles or head on collisions.
Years later in 2008, Cadillac would elevate its concept car standards to new heights with the dramatic Sixteen concept. The automaker described the car as “a modern interpretation of everything that made Cadillac the standard of the world,” and drew inspiration from Cadillac’s 16-cylidner luxury cars from the 1930s, such as the Series 90. As a result, it featured a throwback-style butterfly-hinged hood housing a prototype 13.6-liter V16 engine producing as much as 1000 horsepower. The interior was equally as impressive with burl walnut trim, crystal instrument gauges and seats clad in Tuscany leather.
Cadillac unveiled their 2011 Ciel concept at the the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, California. The company says the concept drew upon Cadillac’s legacy of large, expressive luxury automobiles and hinted heavily at the company’s future design language. The exterior featured clean, straight and crisp sheetmetal while the interior had handcrafted two-tone leather trim, nickel accents, and olive wood trim. The car was also forward-looking mechanically, with an efficient twin-turbocharged V6 engine and a hybrid drivetrain.
The Cadillac Elmiraj hardly needs an introduction, as Cadillac has been touring it around to different shows and events since unveiling it at last year’s the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The car picks up where the Ciel left off, continuing the legacy of the large, modern Cadillac while also bringing back to life the idea of a large personal luxury coupe. The concept blends modern design with “engaging performance,” due to its 4.5-liter twin turbocharged V8. Most importantly, the Elmiraj hints heavily at future Cadillac design language and is likely a small preview of what we can expect the full-size, rear wheel drive ‘LTS’ Cadillac sedan to look like.