1959 Cadillac Cyclone
Engine: Cast-Iron 389 C.I. V8 (6.4L)
Horsepower: 350 @ 4800 RPM
Torque: 424 ft/lbs @ 3100 RPM
Transmission: Three-speed manual
Front Suspension : Standard Cadillac air suspension
Rear Suspension: Swing axles, trailing arms
Weight: 4630 lbs.
Introduced in 1959, the Cadillac Cyclone prototype was engineered to act as a ‘laboratory on wheels.’
Numerous design and engineering advancements were implemented into the functions of the car, in
order to show the world what the future of driving might look like.
Many functions from then current Cadillac models were used in the Cyclone. Powered by Cadillac’s
standard 325 horsepower V8, with advancements including a belt driven system to power the power
steering pump, air compressor and the rest of the auxiliary units.
The large black nose cones which project forward from the front of the car act as proximity sensors.
These are used to electronically alert the driver with an audible signal and also a warning light, in the
case of an automobile or any other object the car approaches. Now standard equipment on many
vehicles today, this was an innovation 60 years ago.
The one piece clear canopy was coated from within with vaporized silver, to protect passengers from UV
rays, and was created to provide the driver with 360 degree views of their surroundings from inside the
Cyclone. A two-way communication system was included for the driver and passenger to speak to
people outside of the Cyclone when the canopy was in use. The canopy is hinged at the rear end, and
disappears automatically within the rear of the car if the driver chooses to drive without it.
Many of the design elements stemmed from America’s fascination with space travel and the
technologies associated with the space ships of the time. With a touch of a button, doors opened in a
sliding motion to the back of the vehicle. Attached to ball bearings, the doors gave easy access for
entrance into the Cyclone, and paid homage to space technology of the time.
Though the Cyclone was not created to become a production car, many advancements and design cues
shown in the Cyclone were used later in other Cadillac and GM models.