In 1914, war broke out in Europe. The United States struggled with the idea of joining WWI, but in 1918 the country sent the American Expeditionary Force to Europe to fight alongside the Entente Powers.
The Cadillac Type 57 seven-passenger touring car was chosen by the United States military as the official car for officers. They were powered by the L-head V-8 that Cadillac had first introduced in the Type 51. The 317 cubic-inch engine produced 75 horsepower.
This example arrived in France even before the American fighting men, in August of 1917, and due to the patriotic commitment of its original owner, it stayed well after the troops had left. It is the only original 'Great War' survivor in existence - it sports a bullet hole near the hood that it may have received during the Second Battle of the Marne.
After the war ended in November 1918, the car spent 18 years in the United States Army before its purchase in 1936 by Maj. M.C. Bradley, a collector of military vehicles.
The current owner discovered and acquired the car in 2005. HVA
The HVA is a 360,000 member national organization focused on preserving and celebrating America's automotive heritage.
In July 2014, the HVA announced the 1918 Cadillac Type 57 (U.S. 1257X) as the first military automobile to be recorded under the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Heritage Documentation. The documentation will be part of the HVA's National Historic Vehicle Register and the Historic American Engineering Record that is archived in the Library of Congress. The HVA and U.S. Dept. of the Interior are working together to document other historically significant automobiles.
The Cadillac marque quickly earned a reputation for innovative and refined automobiles. Their electric starter and lighting introduced in 1912 revolutionized the industry and made gasoline-powered cars the popular choice over the alternative battery or steam powered cars. In 1915, they introduced another equally impressive innovation, the first mass-produced V8 engine. It was designed by Scottish-born engineer, D. McCall White, and given an L-head design with two cast-iron blocks with integral heads, mounted on an aluminum-copper alloy crankcase. Fork-and-blade connecting rods were used as the banks of cylinders were positioned directly opposite each other.
In the years to come, the engine was continually improved and refined. One of the earlier updates was a manifold redesign and lighter pistons. The chassis, which first featured a left-hand drive configuration in 1915 with the Type 51, also saw improvements. It grew in length and strength during the 1915-1918 period. The tire pump was eventually moved from the engine to the transmission in 1916 and in 1918, detachable cylinder heads were fitted. The transmission was also given a redesign.
The Cadillac Type 57 was introduced for the 1918 model year. They were offered in ten body styles and could be mounted on two wheelbase sizes. Production of the Type 57 ran from August of 1917 through December 1919 with total production exceeding 45,000 cars.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008