[ last update: 04.10.2014 ]

The (new) Cadillac Database©

Photo Pages


Return to The (New) Cadillac Database© Index Page
or go back to the Cadillac photo index page to pick another year


Unless otherwise specified all photos and illustrations are from Yann Saunders'
collection of Cadillac photos, advertisements and product catalogs,
reproduced courtesy of the Cadillac Motor Car Division and the Cadillac-LaSalle Club



14_v8.jpg (9150 bytes)    15v8eng.jpg (7305 bytes)
Left: experimental V8 engine being tested, late in 1914
Right: this surviving 1915 V-8 Cadillac engine powers the
landaulet coupe of CLC member,  Dick Shappy of RI



The big news for 1915 was the introduction of the first production automobile powered by a V-8 motor. Introduced in September 1914, it was the object of a  7-page article by L.V. Spencer in "The Automobile", Vol. XXXI, #12 for Thursday, September 17, 1914. The title: "Eight-Cylinder Motor for 1915 - Cadillac Introduces French Motor Design - V-Type Adopted Gives Steady Torque". Much of the information in the article was taken from Cadillac's own advance leaflet entitled "The Eight Cylinder Cadillac (Type 51)".  This new "matchless mode of motoring" was said  to have been developed by the Cadillac Company for American motorists.  Previously, such luxury had been "reserved to only a few privileged persons in the Old World (at an almost prohibitive price)" [reference is made here to the bespoke, French  8-cylinder De Dion Bouton automobile].

The V-8 engine was developed by France's renowned auto maker, Count De Dion Bouton, so although it came as a distinct innovation in a stock American car, the principle was not a new one. Cadillac's new V-8 engine was actually shorter and 60 lbs lighter than the four-cylinder motor that preceded it.  Its high torque allowed speeds from 2½ to 55-60mph to be achieved in high gear.  Quick acceleration was another benefit of the new 314 cubic inch motor rated at 31.25HP (SAE); dynamometer tests produced 70HP at 2,400 rpm. Other features of the new power plant include thermostatic control of the coolant temperature, forced-feed lubrication through a gear pump at the front of the motor, a gearbox attached to the motor rather than mounted amidships, as before, and a floating rear axle with worm bevel gears replacing the former straight bevels.

A major change for 1915 was moving the steering position to the left side of the car.  Also the wheel base was increased by another 2 inches to 122".  As to styling, there were few changes, as will be seen by comparing the new models with those of 1914.  Nonetheless, two new body styles were introduced:   a "Salon" or phaeton style for 4 passengers and a "Berlin" type of fully enclosed limousine, the latter at the very top of the range.

Enclosed bodies were becoming increasingly popular with  buyers; the world was moving gradually from gasoline powered open carriages to the "automobile" we know today.  In 1915, production of these closed body types exceeded that of any other high grade auto maker in the world.  With the exception of the coupe, all body panels, window frames and roof were stamped from aluminum.   Yes, we could use that construction medium in our cars today!


15AlyWoodBody.JPG (57391 bytes)
Under construction, the sedan for 5 passengers;
aluminum over a jointed and braced hardwood frame




15BodyShop.JPG (102229 bytes)


15BodyShop2.JPG (122230 bytes)
Cadillac aluminum bodies under construction and assembly;
in the foreground, immediately above, the luxurious limousine body type



The sales brochure for 1915 asserts  that "...as the Cadillac softly speeds along under the almost magic influence of this new power-principle, the sensation is as unique as though you had never motored before".  In the opinion of the copy writer it is "useless to try to depict in words, thrills which you have never felt or to portray a degree of ease which you have never experienced". The final stroke of this 1915 copy writing hype is nigh orgasmic: "As you sink into the soft, yielding cushions, you become enraptured in that delightful sensation of floating through space.  You revel in exceptional relaxation and ease, oblivious to the wonderful mechanism which gives you motion".  Wow! 

It may be boldly asserted that motoring times and mores have changed indeed! Compare the preceding "poetry" with the cold, bland copy prepared for the 2002 Escalade EXT: "The Escalade EXT is unmistakably a Cadillac with its sheer, chiseled forms and bold styling ... with its large, comfortable, safe, secure and versatile cab environment".

The artist's drawings below are from two factory brochures of the year, one on the enclosed car models, the other on the full line (excepting the "Berlin" limousine).

Unless you can get a peek under the hood, the only way to distinguish a 1915 Cadillac from those of 1914 is to look at the side lights, mounted close to the windshield.  In 1914 they were relatively large whereas, in 1915 the size of the housing and lens diminished considerably.

Additional information on the 1915 models and the related sales literature may be found  in The (New) Cadillac Database© sections entitled "Descriptions and Specifications of Cadillac Cars 1913- 1921",  "Cadillac and La Salle Sales Literature 1915 - 1919"and "Dream Cars of 1902 - 1919".

Further recommended reading includes:

The "Standard Catalog of Cadillac, 1903-2000" edited by James T. Lenzke, © 2000, published by Krause Publications, Inc., 700 E. State Street, Iola, WI 54990 [ISBN #0-87341-925-1, Library of Congress #91-61301].


The 1915 Model Range


15rdstr.jpg (5956 bytes)  

15rdstf.jpg (7163 bytes)    15rdstg.jpg (8160 bytes)
The roadster for 4 passengers:  $1975
The fine survivor, above, was for sale on the Internet in 2001




 15salon.jpg (5793 bytes)    15saloni.jpg (6862 bytes)
The new, "Salon" style for 4 passengers: $1975
There is only a single door on each side of the car, with entrance between the front and rear seats; the  passage between

the front seats gives access to the driver's or front passenger's seat ...for those not agile enough to clamber over the side!




15trg7p.jpg (5944 bytes)
The open touring car for 7 passengers remained
the most popular Cadillac body style: $1975

15foldwl.jpg (6691 bytes)     15trgstb.jpg (4716 bytes)     15trgsta.jpg (6650 bytes)
Left: wide doors and folding steering wheel facilitate entry and egress to the front compartment
Center and right: the auxiliary folding seats, that tuck away when not in use

15CADTR4.JPG (10819 bytes)     15CADTR3.JPG (12874 bytes)     15cadtrg.jpg (7357 bytes)
These were taken circa 1915

15CADTR2.JPG (11181 bytes)     15trg2.JPG (7680 bytes)    

Four survivors - I reckon the at top, right is a custom job;
this red tourer resides in Australia




15LandCp1.JPG (78978 bytes)    15LandCpOpen.JPG (39379 bytes)

15LandCp.JPG (48344 bytes)
The landaulet coupe with folding quarters over the rear seat: $2500,
One of these was fully restored by my friend

and CLC member, Dick Shappy of RI




15Sdn5p.JPG (119183 bytes)

15SdnInt.JPG (41923 bytes)    15SdnInt2.JPG (80763 bytes)       
The sedan for 5 passengers: $2800
Once again doors access the central part of the car, between the front and rear seats



15Lim.jpg (109933 bytes)

 15LimInt.JPG (88981 bytes)    15LimInt2.JPG (44007 bytes) 


    15LimInt3.JPG (62205 bytes)    15LimInt4.JPG (71464 bytes)
The standard, open-front limousine for 7 passengers: $3450




15berlin.jpg (5487 bytes)
The new, fully-enclosed "Berlin"-type limousine:  $3600



Mechanical Details


15v8motr.jpg (6042 bytes)    15v8side.jpg (9276 bytes)
The new V-8 engine (left) and mounted in the new 122" wb chassis (right)

15v8frt.jpg (6623 bytes)    15chass.jpg (8447 bytes)    15v8rr.jpg (8601 bytes)
The 1915 Cadillac chassis (center) with front and rear views of the engine (left and right)

15clutch.jpg (6423 bytes)    15bevlgr.jpg (6994 bytes)
Broken up view of 1915 Cadillac clutch and transmission (left)
Timken roller bearing rear axle with worm bevel gears (right)

15rraxl.jpg (5978 bytes)
Transverse rear suspension and shackles



15ORIPH4.JPG (7220 bytes)

15ORIPH.JPG (12617 bytes)

15ORIPH5.JPG (3903 bytes)
This "Aotomobile Training School", on the corner of 11th and Locust
streets [in Philadelphia, PA, Kansas City, KS, or St. Louis, MO???]
provided training on one of the first 1915 Cadillac touring cars,
as seen in these old photos found on the Internet in March, 2003




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or go back to the Cadillac photo index page to pick another year


© 1996, Yann Saunders and the Cadillac-LaSalle Club. Inc.
[ Background image:  the new V8 engine, looking forward from the controls ]