Cadillac Le Mans
|Cadillac Le Mans|
|Manufacturer||Cadillac (General Motors)|
|Assembly||Clark Street Assembly, Detroit|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door convertible|
|Related||Cadillac Series 62 Cadillac Eldorado convertible|
|Engine||331 cu in (5.4 l) V8 engine|
|Length||196 in (4,978 mm)|
The Cadillac Le Mans was a concept car designed by Harley Earl and developed by Cadillac. It was named for the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France, in which Cadillac competed in 1950. Displayed at the 1953 General Motors Motorama in New York City, the design was a low-profile (51 inches (1,300 mm) to the windshield frame), two-seat, fiberglass-bodied roadster. This concept showcased Cadillac's first wrap-around windshield. It was powered by a 250 hp (186 kW) version of Cadillac's 331 cubic-inch V8 engine, a power output not realized in production Cadillacs until 1955. The overall length of the Le Mans was 196 in (4,978 mm). Though four prototypes were built, the model never went into production, and it would be nearly 50 years before Cadillac developed another vehicle with a similar design concept, the Cadillac XLR.
Fate of the vehicles
Of the four Cadillac Le Mans cars, the fate of three is known. One car, which was customized by George Barris, was acquired by Harry Karl, a wealthy shoe manufacturer who gave it to his wife, Marie "The Body" MacDonald. Another was sold to a Cadillac dealer in Beverly Hills, California. The George Barris custom was destroyed in a fire in 1985, while another one is currently displayed in the Cadillac Historical Collection in Warren, Michigan. The revised car with quad headlights is in possession of the GM Heritage Center.
The fourth Cadillac Le Mans was displayed at the Oil Progress Exhibition at Will Rogers Field in Oklahoma City in 1953, along with two other show cars from the 1953 Motorama exhibition (the Wildcat I and the Starfire). After that, this car went on exhibit at Greenhouse-Moore Cadillac Chevrolet in Oklahoma City during the first week of November. The vehicle went missing on November 8, 1953 and has not been seen since that time. Numerous investigators and auto enthusiasts have tried to find the missing Le Mans, but so far their efforts have yielded no results.
- Wallace Wyss (2013-07-17). "The mystery of the missing 1953 Cadillac Le Mans concept". Lifestyle. Detroit: Autoweek. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- Bill Wilson (2014-04-06). "The Cadillac Le Mans: A Concept Car Shrouded in Mystery". Bold Ride. Bold Ride LLC. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
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