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Also in the 50's Cadillac began developing power steering, which helped the automaker take third, tenth, and eleventh places at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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After Cadillac's stunning "victories" power steering quickly became the new standard of the industry. Small but meaningful innovations filled the 's for Cadillac. In , the company made front seatbelts standard in their vehicles, which lead to the eventual passing of a federal law requiring front seatbelts in all vehicles just one year later. Then, in , Cadillac brought to market automatically controlled headlamps and redefines luxury with Comfort Control, the industry's first thermostatically controlled heating, venting, and air-conditioning system.

Over the next few years, Cadillac introduced variable-ratio power steering, electric seat warmers, and stereo radio.

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While the 's were fairly quiet, with only some smaller, luxury items being introduced, Cadillac started out with a major bang. Cadillac opened the decade by unveiling the horsepower, 8. With its completely redesigned axle this model boasted the highest torque capacity of any passenger car available at the time. Closing out the decade, Cadillac brought to market the Seville which used onboard microprocessors in its digital display.

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This started the era of the computerized automobile. Throughout the 's Cadillac laid low, working on some new technologies that would come to market in the early parts of the 's.

The first feature to debut was an electronic traction control system on front-wheel drive vehicles. Cadillac began offering this as a standard feature on the Cadillac Allante.


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Two years later, in , the company developed a feature that allowed the engine to run for up to 50 miles without coolant, and a unique induction system for near-perfect fuel distribution. The Seville Touring Sedan of that year would become known as the "Cadillac of the Year" thanks to features such as an all electronically controlled Powertrain, traction control, anti-lock brakes and speed-sensitive suspension.

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Cadillac was founded in by Henry Leland, who named the company after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, who happens to be the founder of Detroit. Just 6 short years later Cadillac brought the idea of interchangeable parts to the automotive industry and laid the ground work for modern mass production of automobiles.

After earning such high praise Cadillac adopted the slogan "Standard of the World. In , Cadillac became the first company to offer a passenger car with a fully enclosed cabin, a major change from the vehicles of the time.


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Two years after that, in , the company released the Model Thirty, the car with no crank, which was the first production car to feature an electronic self-starter, ignition, and lighting. Since Cadillac had been named for the famed French explorer, what could be more logical than to honor another French explorer with the new car, and so the LaSalle was born. Lawrence P. Fisher, president of Cadillac Motors Division and one of the famed Fisher brothers of Fisher Body fame, felt that the new make should have a more dashing and youthful image than the staid Cadillac, which meant that it would have to be far more stylish.

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In those days, the only bodies that were styled were those built by custom coach builders. Standard factory bodies were designed by engineers. Fisher was aware that Don Lee, Cadillac's California distributor, was turning out superb custom coaches at his Los Angeles facility using a talented young stylist named Harley Earl. Fisher was sufficiently impressed that he hired the young stylist as a consultant to design the first LaSalle. In the process, he changed the course of the entire industry with regard to styling and marketing strategy. The LaSalle is recognized as the first mass production car to be consciously designed in the modern sense.

With its dashing looks, fine performance, and adroit pricing, LaSalle was enthusiastically received, and it was largely because of this that Sloan hired Harley Earl full-time. By , the companion car concept had all but disappeared. Buick had dropped the Marquette, Oldsmobile had dropped the Viking, and the Oakland name was dropped in favor of Pontiac. It was generally accepted that Cadillac would drop the LaSalle for This really bothered Harley Earl because the phenomenon had been his baby.

He asked his design staff for new and fresh ideas for the LaSalle that might reverse this decision.

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Earl gave the go-ahead to make clay models and then ordered a sample body made. Everyone liked the design and in less than five minutes, the GM executives reversed their decision to discontinue the LaSalle.

LaSalle had been revived and remained on the scene for six more model years. Rounded rear windows were all part of the smooth integrated design. In the opinion of many, it was the most beautiful and refined LaSalle produced.

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