Monday, March 10, 2008

Pimp my Model K

March 5th marked the 100th anniversary of an obscure, yet significant, day in Cadillac history. Phil Patton of The New York Times looks back at the important journey made by three Model K Caddys:

The cars were first driven 25 miles from London to the Brooklands racetrack, where each one was taken apart inside a brick shed. Three piles of parts — some 720 parts per car — were jumbled together. Then they were reassembled from the resulting shuffle and driven another 500 miles.

This was only possible because the Cadillacs were made from interchangeable parts — a first in the auto industry and an important step leading to the development of the modern assembly line.

The idea of building automobiles with interchangeable parts is usually associated with the Ford Model T — celebrating its 100th anniversary later this year — and the assembly lines used to build it. But it took several years before the Model T could be put together on a line and without fitting files and other tweaks. Before the assembly line made sense, parts had to be machined with enough precision they could be easily swapped one for another.

Those Model K's are a far cry the Cadillac's we have come to know and love, like Snoop Dogg's 1974 Snoop Deville, celebrated on Ridin' Dirty, a blog out of Detroit dedicated to hip hop rides.

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