GM’s flagship Cadillac division has produced some noteworthy dream cars and experimentals over the years. Lest we forget, here’s a quick look back at some of the more unusual examples.
For this little feature, we didn’t select the most famous or significant Cadillac show cars and concepts. Instead, we chose a handful of the more interesting and unusual examples, figuring they’re worthy of study, too. Maybe you have a favorite here.
The swimming pool at the swank Key Biscayne Hotel in Florida was a favorite location for show car photography in the Harley Earl era at GM. Shown here is the 1954 Cadillac Espada, a two-seat fiberglass convertible with a disappearing top. The flamboyant tailfins foreshadow the 1956 Eldorado production car.
The second exciting dream car in Cadillac’s GM Motorama exhibit for 1954 was the El Camino, a close-coupled two-passenger coupe with a roof panel of brushed stainless steel. Note the red, white, and blue GM logo on the rear quarter panel. While the El Camino had no production future as a Cadillac, the name lived on in Chevrolet’s passenger-car pickup offered in 1959-1960 and 1964-1987.
The 1972 LaSalle/Seville reportedly was one of two parallel design tracks from the Cadillac Advanced Studio in the development of the production 1975 Seville. There was a slopeback (shown here) and a notchback, with the notchback winning out in private focus group showings. However, elements of the slopeback theme found their way to the next-gen Seville in 1980. The daylight showing between the front wheels suggests this is a fiberglass glider, a pushmobile.
The almost impossibly low silhouette of the 1970 Cadillac NART by Zagato was achieved by borrowing the complete engine and drivetrain module from a front-drive Eldorado and mounting it behind the driver to propel the rear wheels. Luigi Chinetti Jr. of NART (North American Racing Team) is credited for the design, which was executed by the Zagato coach house of Milan.
Based on the Cadillac SRX platform, the 2005 Villa by Bertone (above and below) must be one of the wildest concepts to ever wear a Cadillac badge. Four enormous swing-up hatches of clear plastic provide access to a luxurious cabin loaded with comfort and convenience features. A giant 23-inch video screen in the center of the dash supplies all the driver and entertainment into. Unfortunately, Gruppo Bertone of Turin closed its doors for the final time in 2014.