The Cadillac has long been the epitome of an American car: large, powerful, luxurious, and expensive. However, Cadillac started with a small vehicle created by master machinist and inventor Henry Martyn Leland using his 98.2 cubic inch single-cylinder Leland & Faulconer engine that Oldsmobile rejected on the grounds of retooling costs. While folklore usually touts Henry Ford as the de-facto “father” of mass production, Mr. Leland had been a champion of standardized manufacturing since his days with Colt Firearms in the 1860s. In fact, Cadillac was created from the remnants of the failed Henry Ford Company – a fact that Henry never forgot.
For the new Cadillac car, chain drive and a two-speed planetary transmission drove the rear wheels, while a foot pedal activated the brakes fitted to the inboard ends of the half-axles. It was available as a two-seat runabout or a four-passenger rear entrance tonneau. First produced in 1903, the runabout was priced at $750, and Cadillac quickly earned a growing customer base.
Now referred to as the Model A, the first production Cadillac was continued in 1904 and incorporated only modest changes. In 1904, Cadillac launched its new Model D, featuring the now-conventional automotive layout with a front-mounted, 30-horsepower, four-cylinder engine on a 100-inch-wheelbase chassis. Despite this novel offering, demand for Cadillac’s original single-cylinder models continued.
To keep up with the times, the single-cylinder Model E, a two-passenger runabout, and Model F, offered as a four-passenger, side-entrance tourer or delivery vehicle, adopted an “engine hood” in the style of the latest front-engine cars, even though the actual engine was still under the seat, just as it had been since the single-cylinder Cadillac made its debut. Something that was unchanged from the earliest models was Cadillac’s reliability in trials, hill climbs, and regular use by the American car importer to Britain, Frederick Stanley Bennett.
One advantage Cadillacs had over virtually all other automobiles of the day was precision engineering, which allowed the complete interchangeability of all parts from one similar model to another. In 1908, just three years after this Model F Four-Passenger Tourer was built, three brand new single-cylinder Cadillac Model K Runabouts were randomly selected and dismantled down to the last nut and bolt under the scrutiny of Royal Automobile Club observers in the UK. The mechanics were restricted to basic hand tools, and the parts from the three cars were intermingled. Additional components were removed and replaced with new spares. When the three Model K’s were reassembled, they all started quickly and covered 500 miles at full throttle on the new Brooklands racetrack. The proof of the Cadillac’s parts interchangeability became front page news at a time when parts of most car manufacturers could not be interchanged between similar examples. Cadillac was subsequently awarded the Dewar Trophy for Outstanding Technical Achievement in the Automotive Industry, which led to adopting” Standard of the World” as the company’s slogan.
This lovely Model F is a high-quality older restoration that was delivered new to the Cadillac showroom in New York City on October 18, 1905 and according to a copy of its original Cadillac order record it was specified in the same shade of Green it wears today. Contrasting cream painted coachlines adorn the body, along with the cream-colored chassis and beige top to complete the look. A set of black cycle fenders terminate in a much-appreciated set of functional mudguards, while a set of 12-spoke artillery wheels with hand-painted red detailing are wrapped in period-correct grey Firestone tires. Highly polished brass adornments are plentiful, including cowl lamps and body trim, all playing brilliantly against the green and cream livery. The canvas top features a front storm shield and protects an interior upholstered in button-tufted black leather.
On the technical side, this Model F differs from the Dewar Trophy-winning Cadillacs by having a two-inch longer chassis to accommodate the Tourer body instead of the runabout coachwork used by the Dewar cars. The 9 horsepower, 98.2 cubic inch single-cylinder horizontal engine is essentially the same specification as the award-winning Model Ks. This car has remained in excellent mechanical order since its restoration, with the same attention to detail paid beneath the surface.
This charming four-passenger side-entrance tourer is a wonderful example of Cadillac’s famous Model F. It will be an ideal car for a wide variety of events and tours organized by the Horseless Carriage Club of America, providing the kind of joyful motoring that only an early horseless carriage can bring, and based on Bennett’s experience of more than 115 years ago, it should also prove extremely reliable.
Offers welcome and trades considered
Stock number 7623
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