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1906 Cadillac K

In 1908 Britain's Royal Auto Club disassembled three Cadillac Model K runabouts similar to this car. They were fresh off the boat from the United States, untouched by the British importer. Their 721 mechanical parts were freely mixed among the three chassis and interspersed with 89 pieces from the importer's spares inventory. The purpose was to test Cadillac's claim that its cars were built to a standard of precision that permitted parts to be replaced without the individual filing, machining and fitting where were then common practice. Reassembled, the three Cadillac’s readily started up, operated correctly and were driven over a 500 mile course without failure. One of them, still under the RAC's control, later won the club's 2000 mile reliability trial. Awarded the RAC's Dewar Trophy for completing "the most meritorious performance or test furthering the interest and advancement of the industry" it established Cadillac as "The Standard of the World," a distinction Cadillac has proudly worn for over a hundred years. This 1906 Cadillac Model K Runabout is an outstanding example of the model and body type that brought Cadillac the accolades of a skeptical British motor industry. Restored in 1976 in black and red with white tires, acetylene headlights, kerosene sidelights, bulb horn and optional top with black leather upholstery, it has been mostly museum-displayed since and retains a high standard of cosmetic and mechanical presentation. Recently mechanically renewed, it runs and drives well and is an appealing example of a watershed moment in automobile history when the car changed from an artisanal construct to an industrial product. A milestone in the automobile's history, it is from Cadillac that Henry Ford learned the techniques that allowed the Model T to reshape the history of the 20th century, and this is an example of the Cadillac that sparked that transformation.


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