Cadillac Celebrates 100 Years Of The V8 Engine11
Cadillac is celebrating an important milestone in 2014 after it became the first manufacturer to mass produce V8-powered automobiles exactly 100 years ago in 1914. Cadillac’s first V8, the 314 CI ‘L-Head’ engine, found its way under the hood of all Cadillac models for the 1915 model year and sparked America’s long-standing love affair with the V8 engine.
The first V8 Cadillac was the Type 51, which thanks to the 90 degree L-Head V8, made a robust 70 horsepower in 1915. The engine was designed by Scottish-born engineer D. McCall White, who was hired by Cadillac founder Henry Leland due to his vast experience at German automotive brand Daimler and British automobile and aircraft engine manufacturer Napier. The public responded to the engine positively, which saw a 38.5-percent sales increase during its second year on the market.
By the time 1916 rolled around, Cadillac had increased the power on the L-Head V8 by 10 percent. It had now greatly surpassed the power of the six-cylidner Packard Model 38, which cost nearly twice as much as the Type 51 at the time. By 1917, the United States had entered World War I, and Cadillac seven-passenger vehicles powered by the L-Head V8 were chosen by the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps as the standard officers’ car.
Cadillac may no longer have its very own brand-specific V8, but it still relies heavily on V8 power to move its vehicles. Its current flagship, the 2015 Escalade SUV, continues the legacy of the V8-powered seven-seater Cadillacs which served in the war almost 100 years ago thanks to its 420 horsepower 6.2-liter V8. It is also working on a version of the 650 horsepower LT4 V8 from the 2015 Corvette Z06 to stuff under the hood of the next-generation CTS-V performance sedan. If only L-Head engineer D. McCall White could see what his hard work transpired into over the last 100 years.
- Sweepstakes Of The Month: Win a 2023 Corvette Z06 Convertible. Details here.
“Cadillac may no longer have its very own brand-specific V8, but it still relies heavily on V8 power to move its vehicles”.
Um, with only 1-2 vehicles in Cadillac’s current lineup that offers a V-8 option, this comes off as a bit of an overstatement. Don’t you think? It’s quite interesting realizing how Cadillac was the first to mass produce the V-8 engine, now 100 years later, they don’t offer a single brand specific V-8, or engine for that matter; the twin turbo V-6 is it I guess, but it’s just a modified version of the one-size-fits-all NA 3.6 GM has in the stable.
“Its current flagship, the 2015 Escalade SUV, continues the legacy of the V8-powered seven-seater Cadillacs which served in the war almost 100 years ago thanks to its 420 horsepower 6.2-liter V8. It is also working on a version of the 650 horsepower LT4 V8 from the 2015 Corvette Z06 to stuff under the hood of the next-generation CTS-V performance sedan.”
This shows why Cadillac needs to start developing their own exclusive line of engine options. These types of innovations are what draws customers to Mercedes, BMW and Audi. I know that over time, if the market starts to favor Cadillac, we can expect better options to come. But until then, Cadillac will always be second rate in comparison to the top-tier luxury brands.
No vehicle with a small block Chevy is second rate.
They are when they’re intended purpose is to provide competition to the luxury elite like Mercedes Benz AMG , BMW M-Series and Audi S-Series!!! All of which develop their own EXCLUSIVE powertrains that have proven to be more refined than that of the Small Block V-8. Sure they’re capable of sustaining much power but the design is quite old and can’t match the refinement of what the Germans offer.
“Sure they’re capable of sustaining much power but the design is quite old ”
What? Mk2 LT blocks came just over a year ago. It’s hardly old.
I hope you’re not indirectly suggesting that the new LT shares anything with the original Chevy small block; an engine that has been out of production for over a decade AND was superseded by the Mk1 LT, the Mk1 LS, and the Mk2 LS prior to the present day GM small block.
“This shows why Cadillac needs to start developing their own exclusive line of engine options”
“But until then, Cadillac will always be second rate in comparison to the top-tier luxury brands.”
I highly doubt the MAJORITY of people who buy Mercedes or bmw are doing it because of engine options. its all about perception for the masses. the masses aren’t too knowledgeable about specs other than gas mileage
I kind of see what your saying, the way BMW motors deliver power feels like their suspension, SUPPLE (and to me intoxicating), these are the best words I can think of to describe it (maybe it has to do with how they set up the gas pedal, a little stiff).
BUT I still find myself fantasizing of swapping the 2.8L I-6 in my E39 for the LT1 that’s in the ’14 Stingray,
It’d have more than twice the power (hp & tq),
It’d be as efficient if not better
and it’d be more reliable,
I’d gladly trade that BMW motor “refined” feel for all these PROS.
So when I see that the Escalade has a 6.2 Chevy motor, I can’t think of a better motor to put in it, especially not a more complicated but “refined” one.
While the Chevy based engine is more than enough engine for their needs as is the 3.6 and neither engine does any harm.
Now with that said it does hurt Cadillac to not be able to better promote their engine technology advancements as does Audi, BMW and Benz. While on paper it makes little difference if both say 650 HP but from a marketing stand point it leaves them in a little bind compared to the others. In this class many people buy for image and technology even if they do not understand it.
While most here understand the Chevy based engine is great to many they just think of it as the engine in the wife’s Tahoe and not a technology leading product. Blind yes but you have to pump up the image to make them buy at times.
Now Cadillac so far looks like they may be doing as I have suggested would be a good idea and that is to take these engines and do their own versions of them. So far we have seen it in the 3.6 TT. I would like to see them take the new LT based engine and make it their own with s special version. Also they really need to address the 2.0 Turbo and do a 325 HP version or some kind of higher output for the ATS as while the Eco Turbo was leading at one time the game for Turbo 4 cylinders has reached the point were you need to be over 300 HP to be leading. Even VW is looking at a 400 HP GTI limited edition so Cadillac needs to do something that is not already being done at other GM divisions.
Engines at GM are like platforms While a Camaro and CTS will share the same platform they both are vastly different in many degrees. The same needs to be done on the engines too as far as I see it. If you want to charge a bigger price you need to do better in all areas including the engine as a engine much like that is found in a Malibu or Pick Up make one think twice before paying $75K or more.
I would let Cadillac take the lead on the engine in some areas as they can do more refinement and investment that can filter down to the other engines in time. It will leverage the cost out over the more expensive cars first and then to the rest.
Once Cadillac has a new version let Chevy have the last version.
This is what will make a world of difference in the coming Camaro. The Alpha with the investment by Cadillac from the start will spawn a Camaro that will be re fined to a degree we have never seen in a Camaro. The same with the engines.
I think GM discovered when they did the XTS and then the Impala they found the benefits of trickle down investment. The Impala is a better car than it would have been if it had beaten the Cadillac out. I can see the same in the engines too.
Also lose the engine covers and dress the engine up to where the owner would be proud to show it off. Just look at the engine in a V6 Fiero and see how Pontiac took the 2.8 and used their own intake and dressed the engine in Aluminum in red powder coat and stainless steel bolts. It looks unlike any other GM engine we have seen in years.
I guess with engines I think GM has done a good job on design but need to better in presentation and marketing.
Just look at the Ecoboot at Ford. It is not all that much better than a V8 and is more expensive but the marketing has convinced many Ford came out with the first DI turbo engine. The truth is GM had it years before and Audi even before that. But Ford has done wonders with marketing. Cadillac has traded out marketing people plans yearly anymore.
So while the engines they have now are great they do need to work on making them their own and presenting them to the public as something more than just a LT engine.
Pretty much sums up my sentiments. The lack of marketing proves their inferiority vs German engineering.
All it proves is they have less hardware to market and that GM has not really collectively gotten their act together with Cadillac marketing.
This segment is more about marketing and image than any other and GM needs to get it together. This making the owner feel like his is bigger, faster better no matter if it really is or not.
If you provide a premium car at a premium price you must provide a premium image and experience.
We all could get buy in our daily lives with a Spark if the truth is told. We must market the things we offer and sell the public on why they need the Cadillac image and experience for the higher price.
What Cadillac going to do for them for $75K?
Bring back the Northstar!
Are you Crazy.
The N star would never pass muster in todays market with its many issues with the head gaskets and related problems.
While it may have seamed like a good engine back then it pails compared to todays engines.
I have just had to deal with sever N stars with failed head gasket. The only way to fix them is to pull the engine and put in head studs. One was on a Aurora with only 40,000 miles.