BY CODY FACTEAU
Some of you may be wondering why I would choose to do a story on the 1916 Cadillac Type 53. I like cars that stand out, do something special or somehow go above and beyond others of the same era. The 1916 Cadillac Type 53 is that type of car.
The first Cadillac was built in 1902 and the car went into production during 1903. It was powered by a single-cylinder engine and the moderately priced early Cadillac's quickly earned a reputation for exceptional quality and reliability. Keep in mind that in 1902, cars were still a relatively a new concept and not known for anything near dependable or reliable.
In 1908, Cadillac became 'The Standard of the World' when it was awarded the Dewar Trophy in England in recognition of the precision standards used to manufacture its cars. The first four Cadillac's were built that same year.
In 1909, Cadillac was acquired by the newly formed General Motors organization. The first electric self-starter was developed by inventor Charles F. Kittering and appeared on the 1912 Cadillac Model 30. Cadillac took a giant step toward becoming one of America's greatest automobiles when in 1915 it introduced the 314-cubic-inch V8 engine. It was the first truly mass-produced V8 in the world.
Despite all these astounding achievements, the car never became very popular, and in 1916 only 18,004 were made. But it did establish a truly great automobile standard and set the pace for all cars built today. So, are you still wondering why I chose the 1916 Cadillac Type 53? This was the first car to use the same control layout as modern automobiles -- with the gear lever and hand brake in the middle of the front two seats, a key started ignition, and three pedals for the clutch, brake and throttle in the modern order on the floor. This Cadillac was driven by a 77 horse power V8 engine and the Type 53 was in production for one year and one year only, 1916.
The 1916 Cadillac Type 53 ... a car whose engineered design still stands today! What else could do that but a Cadillac?
Cody Facteau is a 16-year old homeschooler from East Burke. He enjoys anything to do with cars, particularly the Classics. He loves Le Mans racing, his favorite TV shows are Gearz with Stacey David & Top Gear (BBC), and hobbies are Legos, PlayStation and Xbox 360. Career goals? What else, cars!