The Cadillac brand has a rich history, but it can be traced back to a mechanic and entrepreneur by the name of Henry Leland who is credited with starting the company under the Cadillac name in 1902.
First Cars and Partnerships
Formed by the remnants of the Henry Ford Motor Company, as a dispute between Ford and his investors forced a shut down. Lemuel Bowen and William Murphy (Ford’s Financial Bankers) were told they had to call in an engineer to prepare for the liquidation of the company’s assets.
That engineer was Henry Leland, who thought it was useless to let go of the company and persuaded Bowen and Murphy to continue producing vehicles using his single-cylinder engine. The engine was tested and proved to be working, which earned Bowen and Murphy’s trust and gave rise to the Cadillac Automobile Company,named after a famous French explorer — Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.
Cadillac would go on to be part of a larger entity, the General Motors company, then run by William Crapo Durant — who paid $4.5 million for Leland’s company to merge with GM. From that point on, there was no looking back, although it would be without Leyland, who left the company in 1917.