Cadillac Seeks Celebrity Status for Latest Concept


Detroit Free Press

When Clint East­wood and the Cadil­lac Elmi­raj con­cept appeared together at a Cal­i­for­nia coun­try club recently, it said vol­umes for both “Dirty Harry” and the upcom­ing lux­ury coupe.

Find out why GM decided to bring these two celebri­ties together.

Clint East­wood knows how to make Cadillac’s day.

He showed up at the coun­try club next to his hill­top estate to take a walka­round on the Elmi­raj Con­cept, a lux­ury “grand coupe” that, like the aging East­wood, is a bit of a mid­cen­tury throwback.

East­wood paced around the car as a bevy of Gen­eral Motors offi­cials, and design chief Ed Wel­burn, gath­ered around him. He made small talk, talk­ing about the turkeys and other wildlife on in the hills, as he came to admire a car that is aimed at being true to the Cadil­lac name. It’s a larger per­sonal car.

The name is meant to evoke, ever so slightly, the Eldo­rado name from the 1960s. But this one is a big rear-wheel drive coupe pow­ered by a 500-horsepower, 4.5-liter V8 engine. It incor­po­rates both the old and new.

The new means a clean exte­rior, devoid of badg­ing and other clut­ter. The car is meant to look lean and taut, yet regal enough to be con­sid­ered a tour­ing, rather than sport, coupe. Even though it has two doors, the car has a unique sys­tem of mov­ing the rear seats for­ward in a way to make it eas­ier for back seat pas­sen­gers to climb aboard.

The old means that just like last year’s full-size Ciel con­cept con­vert­ible, Cadil­lac isn’t run­ning from its big-car past. It’s ready to embrace it. Just so any­one doesn’t miss the mes­sage, it incor­po­rates some touches meant to remind every­one of its her­itage. The front seats, for instance, are based on 1960s Eames chairs.

“We wanted to make a state­ment — the sec­ond chap­ter of lux­ury,” says Clay Dean, exec­u­tive direc­tor of advanced design. Cadil­lac stands for “large Amer­i­can lux­ury” and the brand, which has been on a sales roll lately, won’t apol­o­gize for it. “There has to be a core essence of what made us great.”