Even when it was first begun in 1902, Cadillac was a car line known for luxury. Even though the earliest model was nearly identical to the Ford Model T, the brand soon garnered a reputation of having some of the most well-built and luxurious cars on the market. After it was purchased by General Motors in 1909, it was steered toward being that company’s top of the line automobile offering.
For much of its first seven decades Cadillac was always at or near the top of all luxury cars, especially those made in the United States. While the 1950s, 60s and into the early 70s saw a staggering growth in the size of this car as wheelbases stretched to ridiculous lengths, the power plants that accompanied them didn’t evolve as well. Add to that the numerous new regulations that swamped the auto industry on the heels of the 70s oil crisis and Cadillac saw its performance, and its sales, drop.
Through the 1970s and 80s these cars were big, bulky and slow. Seeing themselves as the luxury line in the GM stable they couldn’t easily downsize the way a Chevrolet or Pontiac could; though to a slight degree they tried.
The cars of this era were still large and heavy but bore the added burden of new clean air emissions regulations that, for a while at least, all but killed the American muscle car. Still, Cadillac’s reputation and name recognition managed to draw in more than a few buyers. Among them was my father who, during this time, had become a true blue Cadillac man. This would change in the 1990s when he began driving Mercedes but during this time when I was first getting my driver’s license (which came in 1972), he was a Caddy man.
Yes, I had my own cars during this time: a VW Beetle and a Ford Maverick. But when it came time to take a girl to homecoming or prom guess which car I got to drive. That’s right, the Caddy. For that reason (no, nothing ever happened in the back seat or even front seat of my dad’s car) I still harbor a fondness in my heart for these series of Cadillacs.
The cars pictured here were plucked from some car shows from last summer and reflect the trend that many of this era Caddy is becoming a collector car. So keep your eyes out and hopefully you’ll see a few at shows near you.