Cadillac celevrates Dewar centenary

Cadillac owners celebrate 1908 ‘mechanical standardisation’ feat 50 vintage Cadillacs gathered from across the brand’s history Dewar Trophy makes rare appearance

The Brooklands Museum in Surrey hosted a celebration of Cadillac’s first Dewar Trophy win 100 years ago.  Guests mingled among 50 Cadillacs from across the brand’s 106-year history that lined up side-by-side with the recently launched 2009 Cadillac CTS on Sunday 21 September.

Highlights from the day – organised by the Cadillac Club of Great Britain – included an 8.2-litre 1976 Eldorado Convertible, a 1965 Calais, numerous Coupe De Villes from the 1950’s and 60’s, a 1941 Series 75 once used by General MacArthur, and a 1904 model that currently resides at the Brooklands Museum.

Brooklands was the very spot where Cadillac won its first Dewar Trophy in 1908, a prize established three years earlier for the advancement in the automotive industry. Englishman Fred Bennett persuaded the Royal Automobile Club to oversee an unprecedented ‘mechanical standardisation’ test.  Three identical Model K Cadillacs were dismantled, their parts mixed up and the cars reassembled under strict regulations.  Each car then ran without fault for 500 miles around the Brooklands track, stunning the watching media. With the award went the judges’ citation: “Standard of the World”, a phrase coined by Cadillac to this day.

Paul Moss of the Cadillac Owners Club of Great Britain, the event organiser, said: “The day exceeded expectations, with the Cadillacs in attendance spanning 104 years of the brand’s history.  It’s touching to see the dedication and passion so many fans of Cadillac invest in their treasured cars and many even adopted period attire that matched the age of their cars.

“We were delighted to welcome representatives of Cadillac, who brought with them the very latest Cadillac models, the Royal Automobile Club, who allowed the Dewar a rare sortie from its headquarters, and especially Julian Bennett, Fred Bennett’s grandson.”

The Dewar Trophy was conceived by the Royal Automobile Club in 1904 to promote technical progress in the automotive field.  The award is held in as high regard today as it was in the earliest years of the 20th century, with recent winners including the JCB Dieselmax world diesel land speed record breaker.

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