2013 Cadillac Elmiraj conceptAn exhibition of confidence

Some say tomayto, others say tomahto. In this instance Cadillac says Elmiraj, but I’d rather say Eldorado.

Apart from Escalade, Cadillac’s portfolio currently consists of product christened with dispassionate three-letter acronyms. That’s unfortunate since the same historical bin designers have successfully been drawing from for inspiration, also contains a trove of former Cadillac appellations; the least of which is not Eldorado.

While Cadillac has pretty faithfully assigned word-names to their concepts, it’s hard to say if any production model descended from Elmiraj can escape the cipher squad. I’m hoping for a resurrection of the aforementioned legend, but Elmiraj would do.

Even though Cadillac’s spelling of Elmiraj is a neologism, a made up word, it retained the pronunciation of its namesake.

El Mirage Lake Bed

Elmiraj was coined as tribute to the famed dry lake bed, El Mirage, in California’s Mojave Desert. The intent certainly wasn’t to conjure images of a vast dried-up expanse, rather high-speed time trials hosted at the lake bed for over 50 years.

2013 Cadillac Elmiraj concept profile left

Fitting since the Elmiraj is powered by a 4.5-liter twin turbocharged V8, delivering an estimated 500 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels.

According to Cadillac, “The engine takes the baseline technology from the new Cadillac Twin Turbo V6 featured in the upcoming 420-hp 2014 CTS Vsport edition, and expands it to the classic performance format of a V8 engine.”

2013 Cadillac Elmiraj concept front leftWhat’s underneath this concept might be as developmentally significant as the engine and design since it “is constructed with chassis and structural elements of an ongoing Cadillac vehicle development project slated for future production.”

By the way, don’t mind the guy that appears to be ‘mad dogging’ me in some of the shots. He was actually nice and showed up with another three or four others to do some work on the car part way through my photography session. Anything but talkative, one of them told me they were a part of the in-house team that hand-built the concept, in Michigan.

I didn’t take their reluctance to chat personally; their dedication to the issue at hand was resolute, almost paternal. Rather admirable.

A funny thing happened when our persistent natures intersected though. Initially, I had the floor to myself, with no people around the Elmiraj to mar my shots. That changed when this group showed up.

2013 Cadillac Elmiraj concept interior right 2013 Cadillac Elmiraj concept interior right

After sulking briefly, I decided it might be interesting to photograph their activities. I did sense a little resistance to my efforts but they tolerated me, I suppose like paparazzi. Hey, I hadn’t been asked to stop… that is, not yet.

About the time I’d deemed their work too lackluster to document, one of them headed toward the trunk and it appeared he would be opening it.

2013 Cadillac Elmiraj concept rear“There! Now there’s a shot!” I thought to myself. I rushed into position with the camera to my eye as he ever-so-slowly started raising the lid.

I patiently waited, poised, but the trunk wasn’t opened. Eventually, I lowered the lens. Suddenly he started to raise the lid again. Up went my camera, and down went the lid. This played out a couple more times before it occurred to me that I was influencing the cycle.

Spurred on by determination, I decided to lull the guy into thinking I’d given up by appearing to make adjustments to the camera.

The lid started to lift again… and, again, so did my camera. As my twitchy trigger finger hovered anxiously over the shutter button, a voice came from behind, “Would you mind not photographing this, please?” It was one of the craftsmen.

The man’s words weren’t technically a demand but his humble politeness was nevertheless disarming. Still consumed with curiosity, I spontaneously countered, “Okay, so long as I can watch.”

He chuckled, “sure.”

Well, the trunk contained no fusion reactor, no inter-dimensional warp capacitor and not even a set of secret plans for upcoming Cadillac product. No, it was just a trunk. Albeit a trunk fitted tightly with electronic panels, switches and wires.

Their resistance to my open-trunk photography, I was told, was due to its finish (or, rather, a lack of). I thought it looked quite presentable. But its creators, no doubt, prefer the near-production allure not be diminished by the exposure of any unpolished clockworks.





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