1953 Cadillac Le Mans
Engine: Cast-Iron 390 c.i. V8 (6.4L)
Front Suspension: double wishbones, coil springs
Rear Suspension: live axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs
Weight: 4405 lbs
Named after the famous 24-hour race in France, the Cadillac Le Mans was designed by Harley Earl and
built by Cadillac in an attempt to satisfy the interest of sports car fanatics around America. Though the
Le Mans never made it into production, many of it’s design elements were carried into a number of
Cadillac and other GM models later in the 50’s and early 60’s.
Under the hood of the Le Mans sits a 250 horsepower Cadillac V8, with mechanical refinements that
include two four-barrel carburetors, redesigned manifolds, high lift valves, and special mufflers.
Sticking to Harley Earl’s mantra of lower and longer cars, the Le Mans measures just 51 inches from the
ground to the top of the windshield, which was nearly eight inches lower than the standard Cadillac
convertible at the time. The concept was Cadillac’s first use of a wraparound windshield, another
element that Cadillac and GM took advantage of later on.
A major innovation found in the interior of the Le Mans are the power operated seats. The seats
automatically slid back as the door opened, allowing the driver and passenger easier access into the car.
The seats also had a ‘memory’ function. A very common piece of equipment today, seats in the Le Mans
would remember the users seat adjustment, and allow the driver or passenger to adjust settings how he
or she pleased.