Having established a reputation for the precision manufacture of high-quality motor cars and leading the industry with its innovative electric starting and lighting systems in 1912, Cadillac pushed the technical envelope further in 1915 with the first mass-produced V8 engine. Designed by D. McCall White, a Scottish-born engineer, the new L-head engine used two cast-iron blocks with integral heads, mounted on a common crankcase of aluminum and copper alloy. With the cylinder banks placed directly opposite each other, the engine also employed Cadillac founder Henry Leland’s preferred fork-and-blade connecting rods.
The first left-hand drive Cadillac, the Type 51 of 1915, had a chassis similar to the prior four-cylinder models, with a platform-type, leaf-sprung rear suspension. From 1915 to 1918, the V8 engine was carefully refined with a manifold redesign and lighter pistons, while the chassis was successively strengthened and lengthened. For 1918, detachable cylinder heads were also adopted and the transmission was redesigned as well.
Cadillac’s 1922 models were designated Type 61 and were available in 12 body styles on a single 132-inch wheelbase. Although little changed from the Type 59 and 60 models of 1920 and 1921, the new Type 61 did feature a higher radiator and raised hood shoulders, as well as an aluminum hood. The Type 61 also benefited from a lowered center of gravity, but maintained the same ground clearance as before by using smaller diameter wheels. Cadillac continued to distinguish itself from its competitors with other refinements including a windscreen wiper fitted as standard and, an interesting innovation, a rear-view mirror.
The Type 61 was introduced in September 1921 and remained in production through the 1923 model year, with production totals of about 41,000 units of which today’s car is a very uncommon version known as the Suburban.
The Suburban was a remarkably practical design, aimed mainly at family use to accommodate passengers and luggage, and in fact the ‘Suburban’ designation has survived into modern times. This rare and basically sound specimen is in remarkably original condition throughout and interested clients should consult Coys staff regarding recent renovation work that it has undergone, and its current operational status.