1912 Cadillac Torpedo Touring
Chassis no. 42981
Engine no. 67561
286ci L-Head 4-Cylinder Engine
32.4bhp, Twin-Plug Dual-Ignition System
3-Speed Sliding-Gear Transmission
Front Semi-Elliptic Springs, Rear Three-Quarter Elliptic Springs
Rear Mechanical Brakes, Hand and Foot
*Important milestone American motorcar
*First production car with self starter
*Fitted with rare and sporty Torpedo coachwork
*Popular HCCA touring car
*Beautifully restored example
The 1912 Cadillac
The first multi-cylinder Cadillac was their 4-cylinder model introduced in 1905. It was a bit primitive in construction upon its unveiling, but Cadillac knew they had to move on from the single-cylinder motors they had become known for. The 4-cylinder engine was truly refined in 1909 with the introduction of the 30 horsepower Model 30. The Model 30 still bore much of the distinctive engineering from the single-cylinder engine, such as the copper water-jackets and unique carburetor, but the new engine was nevertheless a major step forward. With this new model, Cadillac was able to offer a relatively powerful and good performing car, at an excellent price. This combination made the car popular from the start and still keeps the car popular today on antique car tours.
Each successive year after its introduction saw the Cadillac 4-cylinder model gradually upgraded. The engine's displacement was increased, and the car was more refined throughout. The big innovation for 1912 was the introduction of the self starting system, a first for a production car. This innovation is so central to Cadillac's legacy of being at the forefront of automotive design that it inspired the name for the Cadillac-LaSalle Club's publication The Self-Starter.
Pioneered by legendary automotive engineer Charles Kettering, the idea was put into motion after the death of a good friend of Mr. Kettering, caused by a starting handle injury. Kettering's innovation combined the generator and starter into one unit, and proved highly effective. The partnership between Kettering and Cadillac resulted in a crucially important milestone in automotive history; it may not seem like such big news today, but at the time it revolutionized the ease with which an automobile could be readily operated. These 1912 models were distinguished by a box on the running board, neatly housing the batteries and electrical equipment.
1912 also saw the introduction of a variety of attractive new coachwork designs, such as the sporting open Torpedo Touring version offered here - a sleek and sporty four passenger tourer that took full advantage of the Cadillac's good performance. The Torpedo was able to keep a sporting look while integrating front doors for better weather protection and passenger security.
The Motorcar Offered
This attractive example has been subject to a complete restoration both mechanically and cosmetically. The result is a wonderful machine, evocative of its period, and taken to a level rarely seen on one of these cars. The car has beautiful and correct leather work done by noted upholsterer and early Cadillac expert Loren Birch. The electric self starting system works perfectly and the car starts and runs well. The trademark copper jacketed cylinders are fully polished and are the centerpiece of the finely detailed engine bay. Since restoration the car has received multiple awards at the New Port Concours D'Elegance and was selected to be exhibited at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum as part of their exhibition of landmark American automobiles.
The 1912 Cadillac is an important part of American automotive history and deserves a place in any important historical collection. Known for being exceptional tour cars, the 1912 models with their electric starter are quite user friendly. This a great opportunity to acquire an important Cadillac restored to an exceptionally high level.
- Please note that this vehicle is titled under its engine number and its title is in transit.