fine caddy

fine caddy

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    skor

    The true classic Cadillacs were all pre-war cars.  

    Cadillac was originally founded as the Henry Ford Automobile Company — yes, you read that correctly. Ford had a falling out with his partners, and the company was dissolved. Ford went on to form the Ford Motor Company. One of Ford’s ex-partners, William Murphy, brought in engineer Henry Leyland to liquidate the tooling and machinery from the now defunct Henry Ford Automobile Company. Leyland convinced Murphy to continue with the manufacture of motor cars — upscale luxury cars. The new company was named the Cadillac Automobile Company.

    Leyland was a good engineer, but not a very good businessman. After running into financial difficulties, Leyland sold Cadillac to GM. Cadillac became GM’s flagship division. The cars that were built before WWII were semi-hand built. The chassis — frames, engines, suspension, etc. — were built on assembly lines. The bodies were, more often than not, custom hand-built affairs. Everything on those pre-war Cadillacs was top quality, the cars were produced with V8, V12 and V16 engines. In terms of quality and engineering, they were as good as Rolls Royce, and just as expensive.

    Before the Great Depression, GM restricted sales of Cadillacs to “quality customers”. The cars were shown by appointment only. Blacks, Jews and Italians were discouraged from entering Cadillac showrooms. With the arrival of the Great Depression, and fear of a Bolshevik style revolution in the US, many old money families wisely decided to avoid “in your face” conspicuous consumption. By the early 1930’s Cadillac sales were in the toilet, and GM management was on the verge of eliminating the Cadillac Division, when Cadillac Division president Nicholas Dreystadt suggested that the car be taken “down market”. From that point on, Cadillacs were constructed entirely on assembly lines — most of the custom options were eliminated. The quality construction and design that had been the hallmark of Cadillac was replaced with gaudy styling gimmicks. These “new Cadillacs” were then deliberately marketed to a “nouveau riche” clientele — black sports stars, Sicilian trash carting kings, Jewish retail store owners, and the like — precisely the people Cadillac originally did not want to be associate with.

    The new marketing strategy worked like a charm. GM made billions in profit selling blinged-out Chevy’s to newly “rich” post-war dim-wits who were convinced that their garishly designed, sleds were “high-class”. Meanwhile the old money had moved on to European cars.


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