Tag Archive: general motors


In 1890, Henry Martyn Leland (1843 – 1932) along with Robert A Faulconer and Charles Norton founded the Leland, Faulconer and Norton company and was involved in the manufacture of precision machinery and measuring equipment. After the exit of Charles Norton in 1894 , the company name changed to Leland and Faulconer Manufacturing company.
In 1901 , L&F manufacturing company was one of the major supplier of  engines and transmissions to Oldsmobile plant for the curved dash Oldsmobile car.
In 1902 , the Henry Ford Company was dissolved and Henry Leland was called in to assess the worth of the machinery so that they can be disposed off. Henry Leland, instead,  convinced them to continue in the automobile manufacturing business and renamed the company as Cadillac Automobile Company. The name Cadillac was from the 17th century French explorer, Antoine Laumet de La Mothe , Sieur de Cadillac who founded the city of Detroit.
Leland fitted his single cylinder engine on to the chassis left over by Henry Ford and the first Cadillac was rolled out in 1902. The car resembled Ford Model A in every respect except the engine.

A 1902 Cadillac –

Cadillac quickly gained acceptance due to its reliability and precision build. A 1903 Cadillac

In 1905 , L&F Company was merged and the company was renamed as Cadillac Motor Car Company. In 1909, William Durant integrated Cadillac Motor Car Company in to the General Motor Company, along with Buick Motor Company and many other smaller automobile companies. Cadillac became a separate brand in General Motors.
Cadillac was pioneer in interchangeability of parts which laid the foundation for  mass production in the automobile industry.
Cadillac was known for many innovations , the well known being the introduction of electric starters in 1911. The introduction of the electric starter single handedly killed the burgeoning EV market of those times.  A 1911 Cadillac Model 30 with electric starter –
Some of the major innovations being safety glass(1915), multi-colour body paints(1925), Synhcromesh transmissions(1928)  to name a few.

Some of the most famous models were – La Salle , Sixty Special and CTS

A 1928 La Salle

A 1939 Sixty Special

A 2013 CTS

Cadillac Logo –

The 1906 logo with 7-point crown and Cadillac ducks

Current Logo –

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David Dunbar Buick (1865 – 1924), Scottish by origin, was interested in developing internal combustion engines for boats and later for automobiles. In  1899, he founded the Buick Auto Vim and Power Company to design and manufacture engines. In 1902, the company was in financial trouble forcing David Buick to take help from the Briscoe brothers – Frank and Benjamin Briscoe leading to the formation of Buick Manufacturing Company in 1902.

Seeing not much progress towards manufacturing , the Briscoe brothers sold off their holdings to James Whiting of  Flint Wagon Works and a new company Buick Motor Company was formed in 1903. David Buick along with Chief Engineer Walter Lorenzo Marr were credited with developing the first Over-head valve engine as against the side valve engines of that era.

The first production car Buick Model B was seen in 1904 –

In 1904, James Whiting brought in William Crapo Durant to manage the business at the Buick Motor Company. Being a top notch salesman as well as businessman , the Buick Motor Company flourished under the leadership of William Durant.

 A 1907 Buick Model G

In 1908 , William Durant thought about bringing most of the major automobile manufacturers under one company and attempted to integrate Ford Motor Company , Olds Motor Works, Maxwell -Briscoe Motor Company  and REO, He almost succeeded in creating a company named International Motors but for Ford and REO walking out in the last moment. In spite of Ford & REO walking out, William Durant created  General Motors Company with Buick Motor Company , Old Motor Works, Cadillac Motor Company and a plethora of small automobile companies and component suppliers. Thus was born General Motors out of Buick Motor Company. Later Buick became a brand of General Motors and survives till date.

In the early 30s , the ancestral coat of arms of its founder , David Buick,  was introduced in to the logo of Buick. In the early 60s the “Trishield” logo appeared, to depict the 3 major Buick cars of that time – the LeSabre, Invicta and the Electra

A 1960 LeSabre

A 1959 Electra

A 1961 Invicta

Buick was well know for Engines and exterior styling. One of the famous engine design was popularly known as the “Nailhead” engine . Nailhead engine was a V8 engine with vertical overhead valves, resulting in a long stem and a small valve head. A “Nailhead” V8 Engine –

On Exterior styling , Buick brought in many new concepts including the Waterfall front grille, Sweepspear side chrome trims, VentiPort on the fenders, delta tail fins etc.

Buick brand still survives – one of the latest model, a 2013 Buick LaCrosse

The Buick Logo –

Adam Opel (1837 – 1895), a German,  founded the company Opel Nahmaschinen to manufacture sewing machines in 1862. In 1886, he expanded in to the manufacture of Bi-cycles. At his death in 1895, Opel was the market leader in both sewing machines and Bi-cycles.

After Adam Opel’s death , his sons Fritz Opel and Wilhelm Opel decided to design and manufacture Automobiles. In 1899 , they teamed up with Friedrich Lutzmann to develop a Motor car and the Patentmotorwagen “Systeme Lutzmann” was born.

The design of the Patentmotorwagen was outdated and only 65 units were made before stopping manufacture.

In 1901 , the Opel brothers entered in to a licensing agreement with Automobiles Darracq to manufacture and sell Darracq cars – Opel body on a Darracq chasis, under the brand Opel-Darracq. A 1902 Opel -Darracq –

Opel – Darracq partnership continued till 1906, by which time Opel started developing and manufacturing their own engines and car. Opel-Darracq partnership was dissolved in 1907.

In 1909, Opel introduced their small car – Opel 4/8 PS. This car came to be known as the “Doctor’s Car” as it was very useful and easy to use for physicians making house calls. It was one of the first cars to have Opel insignia in the radiator.

In 1924 , Opel introduced a cheaper 2-seater car called Opel Laubfrosch – meaning tree frog. The name tree frog due to its protruding headlamps, boat-like rear and green paint. The car was manufactured in the first  mass production facility of Opel  in Germany. There was an unsuccessful claim by Citroen on the originality of the design this car.

In 1928, Opel was acquired by General Motors and became subsidiary of General Motors covering the European market. Opel went on to manufacture many well known models – Opel Kapitan, Opel Olympia, Opel Kadett etc. A 1936 Opel Olympia which was released to commemorate the Berlin Olympics –

During the war, Opel made trucks, the famous being the Opel Blitz – German for lightning. The lightning symbol forms a part of Opel’s logo today. A Opel Blitz truck –

The evolution of  Opel Logo –

The first logo with initials A and O – 1862

The Opel “eye” logo which was used till about 1935

The Opel logo during the wars – airship inside an “O” depicting German Engineering.

The current Opel logo from 2010 onwards –