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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

These 16 automotive technologies showcase Cadillac's pioneering spirit | Hagerty Media

With the Lyriq, Cadillac's first EV and the herald of an all-electric lineup, GM is once again trying to restore the reputation of its luxury brand. GM has struggled to revitalize Cadillac for the last two decades, and, amid the hype of an electric revolution, it's easy to overlook the innovations Cadillac has already brought to the auto industry.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/these-16-automotive-technologies-showcase-cadillacs...
68 REPLIES 68
Dave404
Detailer

They need to bring back the V16. I'll buy one.
mchalewj
Pit Crew

I'd settle for a V8, but NOT a Northstar, HT4100, V8-6-4, diesel....
OHCOddball
Intermediate Driver

Northstar engine WAS a good design when it first came out---too bad it was plagued with repair issues as it aged. 4.1 had potential. V8-6-4 was too far ahead of its time---tech wasn't ready. Diesel could have been good if GM had used a clean sheet design. Keep bean counters out of it and things will be fine. It's a luxury brand--don't cut corners.
turbobill
Intermediate Driver

Like a lot of things GM for the last 45 years, they fixed it after it was too late.

The Northstar eventually got fixed, by the time the HT4100 had morphed into the 4.9 it was a good engine and the V8-6-4 (368) was based on the 472 of 1968. Aside from the 8-6-4 stuff, it was a bullet proof engine.

Same for the Olds diesel. Bean counters and head bolts. The injection pump fiasco was Roosa Master who cheaped out on the governor flex rings. Eventually all that was fixed too, but not in time to repair the destroyed reputation.
TG
Advanced Driver

I currently have a 4.5 which is essentially the same engine as the 4.1... 150K miles and no problems. The early aluminum engines required some care that I think a lot of folks didn't keep up on - which I think is part of why the 4.1 and Northstar got a lot of early bad press. The big issue with the 8-6-4 that I heard from a lot of folks that had them is that nobody knew how to work on them. All you had to do was unplug the actuators on the heads and it ran like a standard V8. People will tolerate a lot of technology related headaches on a BMW - but on an American car it is unforgiveable
mchalewj
Pit Crew

...But if you had a Ford 4.6 in your Lincoln, you would expect to get at least 300,000 miles out of the engine. Maybe 400,000 or 500,000 if that 4.6 got the same maintenance required for your finicky aluminum/iron mongrel 4.1, 4.5, or 4.9. If you need to find a GM engine worthy of praise, get familiar with the legendary small block Chevy V8, Buick's indestructible 3.8 V6, and GM's L.T. & L. S. series engines. There are plenty of great GM power trains, but these Cadillac engines I mentioned deserve the same tainted reputation of the Cadillac Cimarron--"NEVER AGAIN!" Car and Driver said that Cadillac product director John Howell kept a picture of a Cimarron on his wall, captioned "Lest we forget"
Stove
New Driver

My 1985 Nissan 200sx (Silvia S12) has factory optional rain sensing wipers, so....
HASCpres2019
Intermediate Driver

I have to question whether the 1966 Cadillac was the first to offer optional heated seats.
I once had a '62 Studebaker Gran Turismo GT Hawk. While driving it rather fast on a winding road, I happened to notice a toggle switch on the dash. I flipped it on. At first nothing noticeable happened, then smoke began pouring out from under my seat ! After a sudden stop, I bailed out of the car. It turned out the car had a heated seat, and years of accumulated dust bunnies on the elements were what was causing the smoke.
espo70
Intermediate Driver

Go Caddy! My god, that 57 Eldorado was beautiful.
OMPguy
Pit Crew

Handsome, and most important, unlike anything else. I recall Mad Magazine once did a photoshop to parody the then-new fad for compact cars. Believe it may have been this model.
cars-are-it
New Driver

Another first for Cadillac was the use of the distributor to handle ignition needs. And that sir was in 1910.
Numberscruncher
Detailer

That V16 is beautiful!
Tinkerah
Technician

Ditto! I little "busy" for me but all the lines are timeless.
markvii1
Intermediate Driver

If I remember correctly Cadillac was the first to release a vehicle with the "Standard" driver layout (Gas pedal on right, brake in the middle, clutch on the left, steering wheel and floor mounted shifter) in the early 1920s. Not exactly an "invention" but definitely one of the most underappreciated advancements made that everyone takes for granted today.

MATTMERICA
Instructor

This article failed to mention the auto industry first of naming overly priced pieces of GMC leftovers as vehicles with names like C5V-TVQ4 and the way in which caddy dumped its HQ in the car capital of the World and jumped ship to NY where the entire thing almost went under. Them it spent billions to move back to where they left.....Well played, caddy.
BMD4800
Instructor

Right around the time the Gov of New York deeply insulted half the folks, GM takes their brand most often purchased by that Demographic to New York, and the second most popular brand to China.
dd1
Intermediate Driver

Nice historical article. Cadillac is as much a part of U.S. history as any other American icon. My understanding of the cylinder deactivation system is that it was a fundamental failure. According to YouTube star Scotty Kilmer (yes, I'm a big Scotty Kilmer disciple:), the best thing to do is disable the system if you own one of these types of deactivation engines. The car will run much more efficiently and extend the life of the engine. I've never actually owned a vehicle with this type of engine so I have no personal experience with it myself.
Tinkerah
Technician

I knew someone who had one, he complained about it whenever the subject came up.
BMD4800
Instructor

Disable it because it wasn’t a large efficiency gain and reduce possible failure points.

Not because Scotty said to do it...
cestor01
Pit Crew

Nash was the first to have Automatic Climate Control. It did this first in 1939 with only the heating system. Then added a/c in 1954.
Utopia1
Detailer

In regards to the '92 STS being the first car to use LED lighting, I'm not sure that's actually true. An early adopter? Sure. But the 1990 Honda Accord EX had an optional rear spoiler that used LED's for the third brake light and the '92 Lexus SC400 which launched in mid-'91 had an LED third brake light as well. And there may be others that I'm missing.
Fairlane500
New Driver

1994-97 Thunderbirds had LED taillights. Not brake lights, just the running lights across the deck lid.
Mxfrank
New Driver

You've overlooked an important one: Cadillac was the first to use a water-side thermostat, beginning with the 1914 V8:

https://www.coolcatcorp.com/thermostats/Bypass%20Systems.html#Bypass%20History

Reinhold_Weege
Advanced Driver

Chrysler offered a factory alarm in '73, so that one is a tie at best.
jwinn55
New Driver

My '72 Corvette didn't really have an alarm system?
mikem350
Pit Crew

For 1968 Corvette, a factory installed anti-theft alarm system was available as an option, but less than 400 cars were so equipped.
petersalt
Intermediate Driver

Agreed.
AND the ~1990 corvette had inflatable bladders in the seats
to adjust to the occupants and disappate road fatigue.
jwinn55
New Driver

In 1972 the key activated anti-theft alarm system became standard equipment. They all had the faux "trunk lock" located between the taillights. (One bright note, they were still equipped with removable rear glass. 🙂)

hyperv6
Technician

Cadillac was the leader in the world in many areas with many things starting with the standardization of parts and fasteners. Imagine if all cars had parts that could not interchange?

They led for year and then while they still added tech to the cars like the 8-6-4, HUD and Magna Ride it was applied to cars that just no longer were class leading. Many were based on Chevy models and had fit and finish that was no better. They lost their mojo and their image and have fought to get it back since.

But I see hope. The new Escalade that just came out has fit and finish that is class leading. Something that could not be said for years. The interior is as good or better than the Germans. It has a dash that they farmed out to LG to not only build but design and to use OLED to a degree no one else has used it to.

Now lets look forward. The new Lyriq is coming first with market leading EV tech with a second and third gen tech coming soon after. Imagine if they get the fit and finish right with the interior right. Based on the Escalade they appear to be on track to do that. Let's face it the Tesla styling is grown old and the interior was never exactly a thrill to begin with.

Are we going to see a new rise of Cadillac to the level it should be. I for the first time in many years believe they may accomplish what they need to do. I never could say that as the Cadillacs that really mattered were built before my time.

Yes we got excited for the N star but failed head gaskets and the lack of quality killed it. The Chevy engines run well but you are paying near $100K for a car with a pick up truck engine? The STS was a beautiful car but FWD? Same with the sports car attempts as they were nice but not great and were lacking Cadillac in their DNA.

I was very skeptical but today I believe they may just pull it off.

BMD4800
Instructor

Pickup truck engine?

There is significantly more R&D dollars in that pickup truck engine than any Caddy engine. Runs better too.
hyperv6
Technician

Sorry it is the same  Corporate engine. It runs the same as the trucks and if supercharged like the Camaro. 

When buying a Cadillac you should get something more. 

turbobill
Intermediate Driver

And of course GM did it again.......killed the Blackwing.
elldorado2000
Intermediate Driver

Hard to find stories about the success of electric vehicles so far. Did you hear about this one? GM's new electric division took it electric truck to a Baja race and had to drop out after 40 miles because the battery ran out of juice? https://www.thedrive.com/news/40237/lordstown-motors-endurance-race-truck-called-it-quits-after-40-m...
I just saw a story where in another Formula 1 race, cars didn't finish because the batteries ran down. But surprise, that story is incredibly hard to find. There is nothing wrong with electric cars, but the battery tech is just not there. Until it is half as big and goes twice as far, electric vehicles are extremely expensive go to work type vehicles. Be careful who you vote for.
hyperv6
Technician

FYI the Lordstown truck is not a GM division. GM only sold them the plant. They are a small company that was banking on the postal service contract that went to Oshkosh and odds are they will be out of business in a a short while. 

 

As for the F1??? How many engines blow up and they fail to finish too? 

 

The truth is the who you vote for is over. The MFGs have found they can do electric with enough range and faster charging to be ready to go to it by 2035. GM already is working on the third gen battery that will  go farther, charge faster and be at $60 kWh from the $100 that many said it would never surpass. 10 years ago it was $1100 kWh. 

 

Automakers are not out to save the planet. They have found they can MFG a wider diverse group of cars at a lower price with less parts and no emission or CAFE to meet. It is all about making money and keeping cost and prices down. ICE is only going to get more expensive to produce to meet emission. The average price of a vehicle is nearing $40K now and people just can't go higher. But with EV they will be able to keep prices in check and still increase profits. 

 

If you look at the list of MFGs making the change it is pretty substantial. Honda just the other day.

 

OldRoad
Instructor

Your answer to the F1 engines blowing up? Not very often. These are ultra high revving electronically phased precision engines. Very few if any blow up. Entrees that fail to finish don't fail because of drive train failures. They DNF due to suspension and steering damage as a result of collisions during racing. As for your EV batteries charging at a faster rate and going further? Sounds like the EV version of a deep cycle battery. Deep cycle batteries do the same thing but do not last very long so we'll see.
OldRoad
Instructor

State run media will never broadcast EV failures and for obvious reasons. Keeping the lies believable are job 1.
hyperv6
Technician

Here is something Cadillac used in Marketing. Read it.

Penalty Of Leadership
In every field of human endeavour, he that is first must perpetually live in the white light of publicity. Whether the leadership be vested in a man or in a manufactured product, emulation and envy are ever at work. In art, in literature, in music, in industry, the reward and the punishment are always the same. The reward is widespread recognition; the punishment, fierce denial and detraction. When a man’s work becomes a standard for the whole world, it also becomes a target for the shafts of the envious few. If his work be mediocre, he will be left severely alone – if he achieves a masterpiece, it will set a million tongues a-wagging. Jealousy does not protrude its forked tongue at the artist who produces a commonplace painting. Whatsoever you write, or paint, or play, or sing, or build, no one will strive to surpass or to slander you unless your work be stamped with the seal of genius. Long, long after a great work or a good work has been done, those who are disappointed or envious, continue to cry out that it cannot be done. Spiteful little voices in the domain of art were raised against our own Whistler as a mountback, long after the big world had acclaimed him its greatest artistic genius. Multitudes flocked to Bayreuth to worship at the musical shrine of Wagner, while the little group of those whom he had dethroned and displaced argued angrily that he was no musician at all. The little world continued to protest that Fulton could never build a steamboat, while the big world flocked to the river banks to see his boat steam by. The leader is assailed because he is a leader, and the effort to equal him is merely added proof of that leadership. Failing to equal or to excel, the follower seeks to depreciate and to destroy – but only confirms once more the superiority of that which he strives to supplant. There is nothing new in this. It is as old as the world and as old as human passions – envy, fear, greed, ambition, and the desire to surpass. And it all avails nothing. If the leader truly leads, he remains – the leader. Master-poet, master-painter, master-workman, each in his turn is assailed, and each holds his laurels through the ages. That which is good or great makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamor of denial. That which deserves to live – lives. “

This was Cadillac's response to Packard in a Saturday Evening Post ad from 1915. I believe they finally haver this mind set back. These words though a little old still say what they need to say if you want to be the best.
BMD4800
Instructor

Packard was an exceptional vehicle, especially for an independent.
petersalt
Intermediate Driver

I'm absolutely NOT enthusiastic about EVs. In fact, I'll wait and nurse my stable of IC cars/trucks for a decade or so of performance & economics proof by EVs before buying one. AND before I DO pop for an EV main transport, I'll know that it can take my family on a 400-500 mi. road trip in ONE hot, summer day without inconvenient recharging or curtailment of air-conditioning for range extension.


Cornbinder
Intermediate Driver

Packard actually had a selective ride control a year earlier - albeit with only two settings. It was also the focus of one of Packard's only secret recalls, as it's genteel clientele felt the label on the control knob, IN HARD - OUT SOFT, was too risque. Most were changed out with, and subsequent production was, RIDE CONTROL.
adam43
New Driver

Golfer Sam Snead was riding through the backwoods of West Virginia in his new Cadillac when he stopped at a little store to fill up. When he went to pay and took his money out of his pocket a few golf tees came out along with his money. The man at the store asked what they were. Sam replied he
rested his balls on them when he was driving. The man at the store said "what will Cadillac think of next" .
6speed
New Driver

Corvette offered an alarm in 1968, and the alarm became standard in 1972.
Iso_Grifo
Advanced Driver

There's nothing pioneering in submitting to government mandated standards, based on the political fantasy whims of the day. In fact it's in direct, stark contrast to the truly innovative excellence and market-driven advancements of synchromesh, automatic climate control, and magneride.

This article is both a celebration of past greatness and a tragedy.
87z24bob
New Driver

My 1996 Chevy Astro had an LED rear high mount brake light so cadillac wasn't the first in that department.
Tinkerah
Technician

Auto dimming headlights? Where did those go?? Around here my retinas are constantly being seared by the oncoming and my mirrors.
PartTimeSquid-R
New Driver

My grandfather had a pair of Sedan DeVille's...a '62 and a '63, kind of a his and hers sort of thing (though my grandmother never learned to drive, but I digress).

The '62 had the electric eye, which would have been nice in theory, but it never worked.

My 2020 Escape has auto headlights, which turns them on with the wipers, when it gets dark enough and if I don't disable it through the computer, will activate the high beams when there are no cars. It actually works pretty well.

These days I think it should be a federally mandated retrofit for all cars...if anything to account for the almost daily occurrences of maroons who won't turn their headlights on after dark, refuse to turn their high beams off even in the day time and for some reason won't turn their lights on when its raining (a common occurrence amongst white/silver cars, and any Toyota product).
BMD4800
Instructor

Both of my 63 Buicks have the auto dimming eye. It is disabled on both of them too.

I remember asking about it on the ‘61 Invicta and was told it didn’t work properly from day 1.
Billthecat707
Detailer

That's because LED's, HID's are brighter ,whiter light. Toyota's are particularly irritating.
NightRanger
Intermediate Driver