The green Cadillac Runabout Roadster from 1909

The green Cadillac Roadster from 1909, four cylinders, 10 HP, max. speed 100 km/h

Cadillac’s first automobiles, the Runabout and Tonneau, were completed in October 1902. They were two-seat horseless carriages powered by a 10 hp (7 kW) single-cylinder engine. They were practically identical to the 1903 Ford Model A.

Many sources say the first car rolled out of the factory on October 17; in the book Henry Leland—Master of Precision, the date is October 20; another reliable source shows car number three to have been built on October 16.

Cadillac displayed the new vehicles at the New York Auto Show in January 1903, where the vehicles impressed the crowds enough to gather over 2,000 firm orders. Cadillac’s biggest selling point was precision manufacturing, and therefore, reliability; a Cadillac was simply a better-made vehicle than its competitors.

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