Cadillac Automobile Company was founded by Henry Leland in 1902. In 1903, the first production Cadillac was an instant success, and in 1909, Cadillac became General Motors' prestige brand and a leading innovator. Cadillac introduced fully-enclosed bodies in 1910, the first reliable electric starter in 1912, and a powerful V8 engine in 1915. These and other innovations in the 1920s, including a better-balanced V8 engine, a synchromesh transmission, and safety glass, enhanced Cadillac's reputation. In 1930, Cadillac introduced luxurious V16- and V12-powered models. During WWII, Cadillac V8s and transmissions powered American tanks. After the war, Cadillac combined technical innovations and styling, introducing a trendsetting overhead-valve V8 and tail fins. A British Allard powered by the Cadillac V8 finished third at Le Mans in 1950, and a stock Cadillac coupe finished 10th, proving how potent the new engine was. Over the years, Cadillacs grew larger and more flamboyant, but in 1992 Cadillac introduced the twin-cam Northstar V8, renewing an emphasis on performance. In 2000, Cadillac returned to Le Mans with its prototype racer, the LMP02, which it also campaigned in the American Le Mans Series. In 2004, Cadillac added the XLR to its lineup, followed by the XLR-V in 2005. In 2009, Cadillac introduced the 556 horsepower CTS-V, the fastest V8 production sedan in the world.

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