Cadillac Service Repair Manuals

In 1908, Cadillac fielded five models:

Prior to 1908 automobiles were made one at a time as required. Pistons, cylinder walls and bearings were ground and shaped to meet the high tolerances needed. The idea of interchangeable parts was considered both undesirable and impractical. Frederick Stanley Bennett, a British importer of Cadillac cars, urged the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) to hold an interchangeabiliy test. The RAC was convinced that the demonstration would prove that standardization of parts was impossible. Even though it seemed unlikely, the winning maker would be awarded the Dewar Trophy.

The Dewar Trophy had been established in 1904 to encourage technical progress.

On February 29, 1908, the RAC selected three of the eight Cadillacs that were shipped to England. These three cars were driven twenty-three miles across London to the new Brooklands motordrome at Weybridge and then run around the track for ten laps reaching a total odometer reading of fifty miles.

The cars were driven to a garage and locked up for the weekend. From Monday to Wednesday they dismantled every possible component. The frames were stacked up and the 721 parts from each car was piled on the floor. Then the parts were mixed up so that it was impossible to identify the parts that had come from a particular vehicle. Some essential engine parts were removed from the pile and locked up by the RAC so that Bennett had to supply those parts from his parts supply.

On Thursday the mechanics began assembling the cars. No filing or reshaping of parts was allowed. The first car was ready on Friday. It was filled with oil, gasoline, and water as required. The ignition was turned on, the crank was turned, and on the first pull the engine started and ran smoothly.

The other two cars were finished on March 10th and they started also. The three cars were driven on a 500 mile ride at full throttle to prove the validity of interchangeability.


1908 Cadillac Notes

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