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Cadillac Model A

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Wikipedia: Cadillac Runabout and Tonneau

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A car produced by Cadillac.  Introduced on October 17, 1902, 3 were produced for the 1902 model year, and 2,497 were produced for the 1903 model year.


The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Automotive Industries (magazine) page on 25 May 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The first Cadillac automobiles were the 1903 Model built in the last quarter, 1902. These were 2-seater "horseless carriages" powered by a reliable and sturdy 10 hp (7 kW) single-cylinder engine developed by Henry Martyn Leland and built by Leland and Faulconer Manufacturing Company of Detroit, of which Henry Leland was founder, vice-president and general manager.

Reformed as the Cadillac Automobile Company in August 1902, it began manufacturing the runabouts and named them "Cadillac" after the city's founder Antoine Laumet, the self-styled Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac at the re-purposed Detroit Assembly. The 1904 Model B was a refinement of the 1903 and while still a mid-engined, one cylinder automobile, it now had an extended front and transverse front suspension. With the introduction of the Model B, the 1903 style became known as the Model A . Both the Model A and B were available as a two passenger runabout or four passenger rear tonneau. Catalogs also show a light delivery.

The one cylinder Cadillac continued to be offered through 1908 in the runabout, tonneau or delivery bodies under a variety of Model designations which are delineated below.

Three cars were completed in time for the New York Auto Show staged in January, 1903. All three cars were sold at the show and by mid-week orders had been taken for 2,286 further units, each one requiring a deposit of $10.

Throughout 1903, 2,497 units were built. Production began in March 1903 and output totalled 1,895 units from March 1903 to March 1904. The 2-seater runabout cost $750; an optional rear entrance detachable tonneau cost $100 and doubled the occupant capacity. The entire body was bolted to the chassis and could be lifted without removing or disconnecting any plumbing or wiring.

Cadillacs of 1903 sometimes are identified erroneously as the Model A; in fact, they were known simply as the "Cadillac Runabout" and the "Cadillac Tonneau". When a new Cadillac was introduced in 1904, it was designated the "Model B"; meanwhile, production of the earlier runabout and tonneau models continued through a second year. Only at that time did Cadillac began to designate them as Model A cars to distinguish them from the new, 1904 models.

The front of the car had a sloping, curved, false hood and radiator. The car was advertised as having 6 1⁄2 horsepower (4.8 kW). Power was transmitted the rear wheels by chain-drive through a planetary transmission. Pedal operated brakes on rear axles were supplemented by engaging reverse gear. The 22-inch wood wheels had 12 spokes and the car's wheelbase was 72 in (1,800 mm).


The Cadillac earned a reputation for reliability, ease and economy of maintenance and for being a car with a remarkable ability for climbing and pulling. In 1903, F. S. Bennett, Cadillac's importer into the UK, entered the car in the Sunrising Hill Climb, where it was the only single-cylinder car to finish, and in the 1,000 Miles Reliability Trial, where it came fourth in its price class in overall points but first in its class in points scored for reliability.

Production continued into 1904 but with an 8 1⁄4 horsepower (6.2 kW) engine. A pressure-fed multiple oiler was added.


Famous GM Cars Famous GM Cars
CADILLAC Model A, 1902. One cylinder, 5 x 5 inches. Wheelbase 76 inches. Price of the two-passenger runabout was $850 including patent leather fenders. The brass lamps, bulb horn, and picnic basket cost extra. So did the rear-entrance tonneau, which converted the runabout to the touring car shown here.
View Famous GM Cars Cadillac Model A - 9.8MB


Vehicle Type2 passenger runabout/4 passenger with Tonneau
Price$750 - $850
Engine1-cylinder "Little Hercules"
Engine Displacement92.8 cu. in.
Horsepower10 @ 900 rpm
Transmission2-speed w/reverse, planetary gears
BrakesRear axle w/foot pedal and parking lever
Weight1,350 lbs.


Type & Item #NameDetails
Collector Card - Cadillac Collection 31903 Model A


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