Classic Driver Marktplatz
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|Cadillac, like Rolls-Royce and Ford, has to be a name known to pretty well every human being on the planet, as opposed to many other makes of car that are familiar to motoring enthusiasts but remain unknown to the wider world. And, further, Cadillac cars have from the start stood for quality, with an undimmed reputation that now comfortably exceeds a century. |
Cadillac's Model `B' was introduced in July of 1904 for the 1905 season, quickly replacing the first model, incidentally known only latterly as the Model `A', and production of which had got under way early in 1903. Gone were the curved dash, paired semi-elliptic front springs, straight tubular front axle and angle iron frame of the Model `A', replaced by a luggage-accommodating boxy `bonnet' and new pressed steel frame and similarly-constructed front axle beam. The front end of the frame now was attached to the axle by a single transverse semi-elliptical leaf spring. Production was interrupted by a major fire at the factory in the spring of 1904, but despite that setback, Cadillac sales for that year still exceeded those of any other US manufacturer. Excellent build quality was accompanied by reliability and an attractive selling price. In view of its highly successful debut, the engine and transmission of the Model `A' was retained with minimal changes.
Messrs Leland & Faulconer adopted the name `Cadillac' from the French explorer who discovered Detroit early in the 18th century for the engines and then cars they manufactured. Originally, the firm had established itself as one of the first precision engineering companies in Detroit, progressing from gear cutting and crankshaft grinding machinery to the manufacture of complete steam engines as well as marine petrol engines. When a commission to design an improved power unit for the `curved dash' Oldsmobile was declined by that firm in 1901, Leland and Faulconer decided to manufacture it themselves and, having recruited two disenchanted Ford backers, went ahead to build a light car not dissimilar to the contemporary Ford - also designated as a Model `A'.
The Leland & Faulconer engine is a horizontally-aligned single cylinder with bore and stroke both measuring 5 inches. The power output claimed for the Model `B' was 8¼hp. The cast iron cylinder features a copper water jacket. Mechanically operated valves were up to the minute, and the Cadillac was fitted with Leland & Faulconer's own design of carburettor. Planetary transmission gives two forward speeds and reverse. There is a disc clutch and single central chain final drive.
This example is claimed but not warranted to carry engine number 4357. It conforms to the appearance and recorded specifications of the Model `B', and is fitted with wooden-panelled rear-entrance tonneau bodywork that has a `let-down' third seat attached to the inside of the rear door, and also has a detachable fringed `surrey' top, taking the Cadillac's overall height up to about 7ft 6 ins.. Bearing evidence of a thorough restoration in relatively recent times, it presents very well indeed, and the leather upholstery is in fine condition.
The dashboard features a KW ignition control for the trembler coil ignition, and a fine Jones brass 0-50mph speedometer, gear driven from the offside front wheel hub. A dashboard plate commemorates entry to the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, dated 1990, and presumably records the entry of this particular car that year. A brass bulb horn delivers `audible warning of approach.' Lighting is by a fine pair of Gray & Davis kerosene front lamps in polished brass, plus a brass Dietz rear lamp. The tyres are 30 x 3ins Firestone high pressure. Wicker picnic or tool baskets are fixed on either side of the tonneau. Cooling is effected by a gilled tube radiator slung below the front frame cross-member.
The engine is located beneath the seat, sharing this space with the McCord oiler box for the engine lubrication equipment and the fuel tank. In the front locker are found the trembler coil and the cooling system header tank. A detachable starting handle fits in an aperture on the offside of the car, and note that cranking is anti-clockwise!
Veteran car enthusiasts today rate the single cylinder Cadillac for precisely the same reasons as those that attracted the eager purchasers of the early days - it is simple, reliable, well made, and relatively powerful, and a good deal of information is available for the model.
Note regarding date the date of manufacture:
In order to allow it to attain its true potential, it is recommended that prior to offering this vehicle on the open market, steps are taken to establish its precise date of manufacture.
1 Dating Advisory Committee, the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain, email@example.com
2 Gary A Hoonsbeen; firstname.lastname@example.org
3 Cadillac Single Cylinder Register (US)
Sold on the 19.12.2012