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20 Influential Concept Cars Cadillac Being Produced

Vukasin HerbezJanuary 24, 2019

Everybody who knows something about the current automotive trends and the industry knows that Cadillac is in trouble. Once the “Standard of the World” and one of the most respected luxury brands around the globe, they have suffered from a decade of mediocre sales and cars, as well as failed chances.

Despite the fact it is still respectable and famous, Cadillac has little time to turn things over. However, most car fans hope the market planners at GM know that, and that the renaissance of the Cadillac brand is just around the corner. The best, most influential models that Cadillac built in its long history spans an incredible 117 years.

However, this list covers something entirely different. These are the Cadillac concepts, prototypes and cars that could be your next car. But, for some reason, they stayed on the margins of car history. So, keep reading to learn about the influential shapes; interesting ideas and models that could save Cadillac from its current situation.

  1. Cadillac La Espada

One of the legendarily lost Motorama concepts was the beautiful Cadillac La Espada they designed as an elegant two-seater roadster. The La Espada featured several interesting and innovative features like a power top, which created curved surface when closed. Also, it had four headlights.

The car was a perfectly functional prototype with a Cadillac V8 engine pumping out 230 HP. And like all other outdated concepts, it was destined for the crusher. However, it looks like it never got there. The story is they sold the car to a private party and they stored it in their garage and rarely drove it. After that, it went to a scrap yard, disappearing shortly afterward.

  1. Cadillac Le Mans

In 1953, Cadillac presented the Le Mans Concept, naming it after the legendary French racing track they raced on in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s. They designed this concept car as a styling exercise. In fact, the design of the car, including its lines and details including its legendary four headlights are still visible on future Cadillac models.

They conceived the car as a roadster with an unusual three-seat configuration. Interestingly, they made it out of fiberglass, just like the first Corvette.

  1. Cadillac El Camino

If the “El Camino” nameplate sounds familiar, you are right. Chevrolet used it for its light pickup model, which they produced from 1959 to 1987. However, Cadillac was the first car company to use it on their 1954 concept vehicle.

The Cadillac El Camino was the prototype of a sports coupe with a low roofline and compact size. The company realized that the Eldorado wasn’t a sports car. They knew they needed something smaller and nimbler to fight their European competitors. Unfortunately, the GM management didn’t approve the project.

  1. Cadillac Die Valkyrie

The ‘50s were times of outlandish designs and crazy concepts. And, even though the GM design department had some wild cars, one of the strangest, most interesting Cadillac prototypes came from Europe. Cadillac named it the Die Valkyrie, presenting it in 1956 on the show circuit, mostly around Europe.

This car was a fully functional model, designed by the famous American designer, Brooks Stevens. However, it was built by the Spohn body shop in Germany. Initially, they aimed the car at wealthy customers who could afford the extreme prices of a coach-built Cadillac manufactured by the highest standards. However, production never started and they only built a few cars, leaving this extraordinary Cadillac in the forgotten corridors of time.

  1. Cadillac La Salle II

The Corvette was an influential car, and not just for General Motors but for the industry in general. Suddenly, all the car companies were presenting their concept of a small sports roadster. So, Cadillac presented the La Salle II concept in 1955 as their vision of a Corvette C1. It had an open top and was light and nicely equipped. However, it had a strange design that was unrelated to any other Cadillac concept or production model.

  1. Cadillac Cyclone

Cadillac introduced many interesting cars during the ‘50s, but the most memorable and influential was the 1959 Cyclone. They built it on a shortened chassis with an advanced independent suspension all around. And, with its 390 V8 engine, the Cyclone was a functional car with a performance much better than the regular models.

Interestingly, they allegedly fitted the Cyclone with radar, mounted on front cones, which they designed to detect vehicles in front and help avoid crashes. And 70 years later, this technology is common in almost all new vehicles, but back in the late ‘50s, it was pure science fiction.

  1. Cadillac Jacqueline

In 1961, the Italian design house, Pininfarina stopped producing special bodies for Cadillac. In fact, they wanted to make another contract with the company. So, to showcase its designers and unique sense of style, Pininfarina decided to produce a show car they based on a Cadillac chassis with running gear.

Cadillac called it the Jacqueline. It was a beautiful luxury coupe with modern and elegant styling, double headlights and a nice silhouette. Interestingly, the Jacqueline didn’t have the chrome or big fins that were in fashion in the early ‘60s. Maybe that’s why Cadillac management didn’t approve further cooperation with Pininfarina.

  1. Cadillac La Salle XP-715

When you see this car, you might think it was a mistake to feature Buick Riviera. But, in fact, this is not Riviera, but Cadillac’s 1961 concept they called the La Salle XP-715. Originally intended to be Cadillac’s luxury coupe, this car was almost finished in the development phase. But that was before the GM bosses decided to give the project to Buick.

The reason was that the Buick division experienced bad sales. So, they needed an interesting model to draw people back into their showrooms. So, the Cadillac La Salle XP-715 became the Buick Riviera, and the rest is history.

  1. Cadillac XP-840 Eldorado

The XP-840 was extreme in its appearance, so everybody knew they would probably never produce it. However, it paved the way for the legendary 1967 Eldorado as well as the future of Cadillac design. But if you look closely, you will see several design elements that Cadillac used in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.

  1. Cadillac NART Zagato

Back in the late ‘60s, the first sign of tightening emission laws threatened import sports cars, especially those exotics like the Ferrari. So, Luigi Chinetti, an exclusive Ferrari importer for the North American market realized his domestic customers would look for alternatives if foreign cars didn’t meet emission regulations.

So, he made a plan to build exotic cars with domestic components. And because Cadillac had just introduced the mighty 400 HP V8 with 500 CID, Chinetti bought the Eldorado with that engine. He sent it to the famous Zagato design house in Italy.

In Italy, they turned the Eldorado into a two-seater sports coupe with new styling, mounting the engine behind the passengers. Thy abandone the front wheel drive, so the car was now a rear wheel drive coupe. Unfortunately, due to production delays and GM’s lack of interest for such venture, they only made one Cadillac NART Zagato.

  1. Cadillac La Scala

In the early ‘70s, Cadillac was on top of the world. They had the biggest engine in the industry, a 500 CID V8, and one of the longest cars the world ever has seen. However, the dark clouds were on the horizon with tightening government regulations and the oil crisis.

The Cadillac designers realized they had to do something, so they introduced the La Scala concept. This coupe had a smaller design, more elegant lines and looked beautiful, but was every inch a true Cadillac. Unfortunately, GM didn’t approve the project.

  1. Cadillac La Salle

Over the years, they used the La Salle name on several Cadillac concepts. But one of the most interesting was the 1972 La Salle, a model that showcased the Cadillac future design language. Built on a smaller, more elegant platform than typical Cadillacs of the early ‘70s, the La Salle was the concept of the 1976 Seville, the first downsized Cadillac model. The characteristic slant back design of the rear end appeared later on the production model.

  1. Cadillac Voyage

The first Cadillac crisis was in the late ‘80s when the division was no longer able to fight their European competitors. They wanted to remain the dominant luxury brand on the American market. The solution was to introduce new models and new designs to be ready for the ‘90s.

The Cadillac Voyage was an important concept since it introduced a new design to a wide audience. In fact, it showcased the lines and details that would characterize the brand in the last decade of the 20th century.

  1. Cadillac Imaj

Cadillac wasn’t happy with the way the things were in the late ‘90s. Apart from their European customers; there was a new threat in the form of the Lexus. So, they came up with the Imaj concept to present the automotive public with a new design language. It was characterized by sharp lines, angular shapes and a wedge profile. And this concept proved influential since it was the predecessor of almost every Cadillac from 2000 onwards.

  1. Cadillac Cien

When they first presented the Cadillac Cien in 2002, the automotive world was stunned. This concept of a super sports car with a mid-engine layout, aggressive design and brutal stance was something nobody thought Cadillac could do. However, Cadillac proved them wrong with this fantastic car.

Cadillac built the Cien to mark the 100th anniversary of the company in 2002. It featured a 7.5-liter V12 Northstar motor with 750 HP and was allegedly a fully functional prototype. Unfortunately, GM never saw the potential of this Cadillac that could beat a Ferrari so this beautiful car remained a dream.

  1. Cadillac Sixteen

Each one of the concept cars featured on this list has survived the test of time. They have proven themselves, and not only as showstoppers but as influential pieces of modern art. However, in the case of Cadillac’s Sixteen Concept car, most people think GM should put this car into a museum of modern art. In fact, they should be exhibit it as one of the most elegant creations of the early 21st century.

Cadillac unveiled the Sixteen Concept in 2003 as a super luxury sedan with a V16 engine under the butterfly-opening hood. The car was thoroughly modern yet felt classic and more in sync with those legendary Cadillacs of the ‘20s and ‘30s than with most contemporary models. The initial response was so good that Cadillac considered going into full-scale production, but unfortunately, nothing happened.

  1. Cadillac Ciel

Cadillac presented the Ciel in 2011 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and it was the star of the show. The word, “Ciel” means “sky” in French and this luxury convertible was exactly what the Cadillac brand stood for. And that is prestige, elegance, high class and uniqueness. The concept promoted a new design language.

Also, it showed Cadillac’s intention to become the world’s leading luxury brand again.This concept car gets its power from a twin turbo V6 delivering 425 HP. But sadly, there are no plans for production.

  1. Cadillac Elmiraj

The 2013 Elmiraj concept is possibly the most beautiful car the Cadillac design studio has ever produced. This luxury coupe with elegant lines and perfect proportions comes with a twin-turbo V8 that pumps out a whopping 500 HP.

The Elmiraj was the star of every show that Cadillac entered. In fact, the public is constantly asking them when this coupe will be available. But although the initial reports stated GM will produce the Elmiraj, nothing has happened yet.

  1. Cadillac Escala

Once again, in 2016, Cadillac presented a concept that showcased a new design and a new look for the brand. And again, people were amazed by the exterior, design, appearance and style. However, it looks like this car will see daylight in some form since Cadillac will probably produce the Escala as a regular model someday. Interestingly, the Escala gets its power from a 4.2-liter twin turbo V8 with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

  1. Cadillac EV Concept

The latest in a long line of Cadillac concepts is the EV concept from the 2019 North American Car Show in Detroit. This car is a future, all-electric SUV model that could replace the Escalade SUV. It looks like Cadillac as part of GM is preparing for the all-electric future with a new design and new technology.

These are 20 of the coolest concept cars Cadillac has ever made. If you’re a Cadillac fan, you probably picked your favorite. Hopefully, it is available for purchase, but if not, sadly, you’ll only see it in your dreams.

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