The Cadillac name carries weight. Today, our brand is recognized for great models like the 2020 Cadillac Escalade, but the history of Cadillac is both long and interesting. Brown and Wood Cadillac has uncovered a few interesting tidbits about Cadillac’s history, unearthing them for our Winterville, NC customers and beyond.
1. The first bulletproof presidential limo was a Cadillac – owned by Al Capone
Al Capone had a 1928 Cadillac sedan outfitted with heavy armor. After being jailed for tax evasion, the US Treasury Department impounded the model.
Ten years later, the night the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the government was scrambling to find bulletproof transport for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who needed to get to Capitol Hill to give his somber “Day of Infamy” speech before Congress. After his team commandeered the vehicle, Roosevelt quipped “I hope Mr. Capone doesn’t mind.”
2. The founder of our luxury car brand apprenticed under another American legend…
Henry M. Leland, the founder of Cadillac, was born with engineering in his heart. After apprenticing under Samuel Colt, maker of the Colt line of firearms including the famous Colt .45, he honed his edge for precision craftsmanship and went to found Cadillac, beginning our luxury brand’s legacy with the Cadillac Runabout and Cadillac Tonneau.
3. He also used to modify Oldsmobile engines for fun.
Along the way, Leland developed a hobby souping-up Oldsmobile engines. He once took a single-cylinder engine that produced 3.7 horsepower (that’s not a typo: compare that to today’s models to see how far we’ve come) and tripled its output to 10.3 horsepower. When he offered this new engine to the owner of Oldsmobile, Leland was rejected because the engine he created was too powerful for Oldsmobile’s chassis at the time.
To learn more about the history of Cadillac, come talk to our Cadillac dealers serving Greenville, NC. While you’re here, we’ll be happy to set you up with a test drive.