Cadillac Model A Runabout with Tonneau 1903

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Model A Runabout with Tonneau 1903





The first Cadillac automobiles were built in the last quarter, 1902; they were 2-seater "horseless carriages" powered by a reliable and sturdy 10HP (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. This early "letter model" naming system was used from late 1902 (often considered 1903s) to 1908.

All single-cylinder Cadillacs share many parts in common. In fact, the Models E, F, K, M, S, and T are essentially the same vehicle with different bodies.

The Models A, B, C, E, and F shared a single-cylinder 98.2 in³ (1.6 L) engine rated from 6.5 to around 9HP (7 kW) depending on model. The cylinder was horizontal, pointing rearward, and was cast from iron with a copper water jacket. Bore and stroke were square at 5 in (127 mm).

The engine employed a patented variable-lift intake valve licensed from Alanson P. Brush. The restrictions of this design led the company to develop their own four-cylinder engine for the later Models D, L, G, and H.

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. It was bolted on the chassis and could be lifted without removing 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 was a sloping curved dashboard. 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)

Sold for: 190400 USD
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