1903 Cadillac Model A story and photo album

1903 Cadillac Model A story and photo album

1903 was the first year for Cadillac. William Murphy and Lemuel Bowen founded the Cadillac Automobile Company, and their cars featured engines built by Henry Leland. Rejected by Ransom Olds, the engine was called 'The Little Hercules,' and was a one-cylinder, 10-hosrepower unit. The car is equipped with a two-speed planetary transmission

There were three Model A Cadillac's brought to the 1903 New York Auto Show. All were sold. This example is serial number 13, one of the three at the show. It was sold to Mr. Homas, owner of the Thomas Winery in Cucamonga, California. According to factory records, this car was the 6th to be invoiced and the 3rd to be shipped.

The original family retained this car until February of 1973 when it was sold to Patrick Herman. In 1985, the car was treated to a restoration.

This car is the oldest known surviving Cadillac in existence. It was offered for sale at the 2007 Bonhams Important Sale of Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia at the Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club and sold for $300,000 plus Premium and tax.

Henry Leland started the Cadillac Automobile Company in 1902 after resigning as one of the initial investors of Henry Ford's new Ford Motor Company. By late 1902, Henry Leland had built his own automobile which he would aptly name after the French explorer who discovered the city of Detroit - Le Mothe Cadillac.

1903 was the first full year of production for the new Cadillac. It was powered by an eight-horsepower, single-cylinder engine which sat in a metal frame below the front seat. The engine was coupled to a planetary style transmission with two forward speeds and reverse, driving the rear axle by a chain. The body of the new Cadillac was a single seat roadster which could be modified into a touring car with the addition of the optional rear tonneau seat which attached to the rear of the roadster body. The bodies were produced by outside supplier companies and, ironically, when the new Fords would appear in late 1903, they would look virtually identical to the Cadillacs.

Sales of the new Cadillac were quite successful and Leland would continue producing the single cylinder models until 1908 when Cadillac became part of the new General Motors Co. Leland would stay with GM for only a few years. In 1920 Leland started a new automobile company called Lincoln. Ironically, Leland's Lincoln Company would be bought by Henry Ford in 1922

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