Cadillac Le Mans

Last updated
Cadillac Le Mans
Overview
Manufacturer Cadillac (General Motors)
Productionnone
Model years 1953
Assembly Clark Street Assembly, Detroit
Body and chassis
Class Luxury roadster
Body style 2-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Related Cadillac Series 62 Cadillac Eldorado convertible
Powertrain
Engine 331 cu in (5.4 l) V8 engine
Dimensions
Length196 in (4,978 mm)

The Cadillac Le Mans was a concept car designed by Harley Earl and developed by Cadillac. It was named for the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France, in which Cadillac competed in 1950. Displayed at the 1953 General Motors Motorama in New York City, the design was a low-profile (51 inches (1,300 mm) to the windshield frame),[ clarification needed ] two-seat, fiberglass-bodied roadster. This concept showcased Cadillac's first wrap-around windshield. It was powered by a 250 hp (186 kW) version of Cadillac's 331 cu in (5,420 cc) V8 engine, a power output not realized in production Cadillacs until 1955. The overall length of the Le Mans was 196 in (4,978 mm). Though four prototypes were built, the model never went into production.

Harley Earl American designer

Harley J. Earl was an American automotive designer and business executive. He was the initial designated head of design at General Motors, later becoming vice president, the first top executive ever appointed in design of a major corporation in American history. He was an industrial designer and a pioneer of modern transportation design. A coachbuilder by trade, Earl pioneered the use of freeform sketching and hand sculpted clay models as automotive design techniques. He subsequently introduced the "concept car" as both a tool for the design process and a clever marketing device.

Cadillac Division of the U.S.-based General Motors

Cadillac is a division of the American automobile manufacturer General Motors (GM) that designs and builds luxury vehicles. Its major markets are the United States, Canada, and China. Cadillac vehicles are distributed in 34 additional markets worldwide. Cadillac automobiles are at the top of the luxury field within the United States. In 2017, Cadillac's U.S. sales were 156,440 vehicles and its global sales were 356,467 vehicles.

24 Hours of Le Mans Sports car race held in France

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world's oldest active sports car race in endurance racing, held annually since 1923 near the town of Le Mans, France. It is considered one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world and has been called the "Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency". The event represents one leg of the Triple Crown of Motorsport; other events being the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix. Unlike fixed distance races where the winner is determined by minimum time, the 24-Hours of Le Mans awards a win to the car that covers the greatest distance in 24 hours.

Contents

Fate of the vehicles

Of the four Cadillac Le Mans cars, the fate of three is known. One car, which was customized by George Barris, was acquired by Harry Karl, a wealthy shoe manufacturer who gave it to his wife, Marie "The Body" MacDonald. Another was sold to a Cadillac dealer in Beverly Hills, California. The George Barris custom was destroyed in a fire in 1985, while another one is currently displayed in the Cadillac Historical Collection in Warren, Michigan. [1] The revised car with quad headlights is in possession of the GM Heritage Center.

Custom car Passenger vehicle that has been substantially altered in its appearance

A custom car is a passenger vehicle that has been either substantially altered to improve its performance, often by altering or replacing the engine and transmission; made into a personal "styling" statement, using paint work and aftermarket accessories to make the car look unlike any car as delivered from the factory; or some combination of both. A desire among some automotive enthusiasts in the United States is to push "styling and performance a step beyond the showroom floor - to truly craft an automobile of one's own." A custom car in British according to Collins English Dictionary is built to the buyer's own specifications.

George Barris (auto customizer) Auto customizer

George Barris was an American designer and builder of many famous Hollywood custom cars, most notably the Munster Koach and 1966 Batmobile.

Marie McDonald Actress, singer

Marie McDonald was an American singer and actress known as "The Body Beautiful" and later nicknamed "The Body".

The fourth Cadillac Le Mans was displayed at the Oil Progress Exhibition at Will Rogers Field in Oklahoma City in 1953, along with two other show cars from the 1953 Motorama exhibition (the Wildcat I and the Starfire). After that, this car went on exhibit at Greenhouse-Moore Cadillac Chevrolet in Oklahoma City during the first week of November. The vehicle went missing on November 8, 1953 and has not been seen since that time. [2] Numerous investigators and auto enthusiasts have tried to find the missing Le Mans, but so far their efforts have yielded no results. [3]

Will Rogers World Airport airport in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States

Will Rogers World Airport, a.k.a.Will Rogers Airport or simply Will Rogers, is an American passenger airport in Oklahoma City located about 6 miles (8 km) Southwest of downtown Oklahoma City. It is a civil-military airport on 8,081 acres of land. Although the official IATA and ICAO airport codes for Will Rogers World Airport are OKC and KOKC, it is common practice to refer to it as "WRWA" or "Will Rogers".

Oklahoma City Capital of Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, often shortened to OKC, is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 27th among United States cities in population. The population grew following the 2010 Census, with the population estimated to have increased to 649,021 as of July 2018. The Oklahoma City metropolitan area had a population of 1,396,445, and the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,469,124 residents, making it Oklahoma's largest municipality and metropolitan area by population.

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A concept car is a car made to showcase new styling and/or new technology. They are often shown at motor shows to gauge customer reaction to new and radical designs which may or may not be mass-produced. General Motors designer Harley Earl is generally credited with inventing the concept car, and did much to popularize it through its traveling Motorama shows of the 1950s.

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References

  1. Wallace Wyss (2013-07-17). "The mystery of the missing 1953 Cadillac Le Mans concept". Lifestyle. Detroit: Autoweek . Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  2. Bill Wilson (2014-04-06). "The Cadillac Le Mans: A Concept Car Shrouded in Mystery". Bold Ride. Bold Ride LLC. Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-04-06.