Monday, November 18, 2013

Some Memorable Cadillac Concept Cars

Over the years, Cadillac has displayed many concept/dream/show cars, some more interesting, prophetic or better designed than others.

Its latest effort is called the "Elmiraj," a take on "El Mirage," a name associated with the southwestern United States by way of towns, dry lakes, car racing and such.  It was first displayed at this year's Concours d'Élégance event at Pebble Beach, apparently to strongly positive reviews.  The consensus seems to be that it is one of those concept cars whose main purpose is to indicate near-term styling features for production cars, which might account for the interest by the automotive press.  If that is indeed the case, it will be the production cars and not the concept version that will prove to be memorable in the future.

Cadillac Elmiraj - 2013

The Cadillac Internet page dealing with the Elmiraj is here, but is skimpy as of the time I'm writing this post.  A Google search turns up a number of early reactions, and one providing some useful background information is this piece from The New York Times.

Although it's not on the Web as this post is being drafted, Robert Cumberford has a design evaluation in the November issue of Automobile Magazine that is, as usual, worthy of consideration. Cumberford and I agree that the name "Elmiraj" is far too cute for its own good.  We also agree that the vertical hot air outlet aft of the front wheel opening is an unnecessary styling cliché, already seen far too often on Land Rovers, Jaguars and other makes.  Otherwise, Cumberford has few complaints regarding the Elmiraj's design and again I generally concur.  The important matter is, should there indeed be a production Cadillac with Elmiraj styling elements, the design quality of that product.

For some reason -- perhaps because of its black paint -- the Elmiraj brings to my mind two other Cadillac concept cars that I rather liked:


Cadillac Voyager - 1988
First revealed 25 years ago, the Voyager was from the era of General Motors' decline.  A whiff of the design appeared in mid-1990s Fleetwoods and Sedans de Villes, but the car might be best known for its appearance as a car of the future in the 1993 Sylvester Stallone movie "Demolition Man."  I don't care for the skirted front wheel openings, but otherwise the design nicely counterpoises the curved top and more squared-off lower body.

Cadillac Sixteen - 2003
The Sixteen is one Cadillac concept that I would have loved to have seen enter production.  I actually viewed it at a Pebble Beach Concours d'Élégance and was not bothered at all by its flamboyance and exaggerated proportions (that long hood is fabulous!).  I never could have afforded one, but dream cars are dream fodder, aren't they?


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