Classic Cadillac cars are very popular choices for restoration. The Cadillac name is synonymous with luxury in the United States. These cars represented the height of design, comfort and workmanship among mass-produced American cars.
The Closed Body
The first Cadillac, the Osceoloa, only had one car made, but it was hugely influential. This car was the first closed-body car, and it inspired other auto makers to make their own closed-body cars. Prior to the Osceola, cars like the Ford Model T had open sides and sometimes open roofs, making them unpleasant to use in anything but fair weather.
A couple of the first mass-produced Cadillac models for sale included the Model A and the "30." These two models made the Cadillac brand name such a success that GM bought the company out in 1909.
The 1903 Model A Runabout had one cylinder and a meager 10 horsepower, which was still impressive at the time. The Runabout could reach a top speed of 30 mph. The 1912 "30" model was the first vehicle to offer an electric-start ignition, giving birth to the Delco line of vehicle electronics.
Luxury on the Homefront
Some of the most popular Cadillac models include the Coupe de Ville and Fleetwood El Dorado manufactured after Word War II. These cars were staples in Hollywood and upscale neighborhoods. The 1960s brought a new era of Cadillac, with tailfins and aircraft-inspired designs disappearing in favor of square edges and vertical taillights.
Cadillac continued its trend of innovation. In the 1950s, Cadillac was the first to offer power steering on every vehicle it made. Many of their innovations were more about style and comfort than performance, however. The Fleetwood Sixty Special offered fold-down writing tables, footrests and a tilt-telescoping steering wheel.
Big Cars Fade
The gas crunch of the 1970s forced Cadillac to make smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. Cadillac lost the notoriety it had in the 50s, when its Coupe de Ville and Fleetwood El Dorado were must-have toys for the world's elite. Although it remained an aspirational brand in the United States, Cadillac found itself losing ground in the 1980s to European imports, including Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. These cars offered luxurious interiors as well as performance and advanced safety systems.