2013 Cadillac Elmiraj Concept
Another of the car’s interesting highlights is its interpretation of Cadillac’s logo. The Elmiraj wears a modified crest, sans wreath and crown.
It was last updated in 1999 and has morphed almost 40 times since the company’s 1902 inception.
While I think it’s potentially detrimental, in a marketing sense, to frequently reinvent the company’s logo (consider the longevity of Mercedes’ and BMW’s logos), there is something nostalgic about generations of Cadillacs wearing badging unique to their periods.
In Cadillac’s words, “The Cadillac Crest appears in a conceptual form, streamlined and tailored to the car’s overall design. This design idea for a revised crest reflects the fact that Cadillac’s unmistakable symbol has evolved dozens of times through history to mark new eras or design achievements.”
Something else that breaks from Cadillac norms is the grille. The egg crate pattern has become almost as ubiquitous with the brand as its vertical lighting elements. Although, Cadillac’s V-Series grilles do use a metallic mesh, similar in appearance. Even though the Elmiraj’s zig-zag pattern grille is quite complex up close, it didn’t strike me as overly busy or distracting.
(Truth be told, while inspecting the front end my buddy, that traveled to the show with me, touched the grille. I shot a parental-type look at him expressing “you’re not supposed to do that!”… that’s when a louder voice in my head cut in and said, “hey, wait a minute, now he touched it and I didn’t.” So I touched it. There is something fulfilling about making physical contact with an artifact as special as the Elmiraj.)
I happen to be a fan of a particular design feature that Cadillac has applied to the hood of the Elmiraj, and Ciel which came before it. The metallic-lined gap which extends from under the grille, up the hood and back along the beltline provides a visual suggestion that the engine compartment is separate and set in place, between the fenders, like a keystone. I’d love to see the feature applied to a production model.
Serving as a backdrop to the centerpiece was a roughly ten-foot-high collage of Elmiraj development sketches and photographs. Some of the same sketches were distributed electronically as part of the press release, but there are others on that wall that I have not yet seen anywhere else.
Of special note are two sketches in which the car we see here, as the Elmiraj, is labeled Vitesse. I was unable to find any historical significance between Cadillac and the word vitesse; however, in French, it means “speed”.
The picture above would seem to indicate that at least some level of consideration to a convertible was given but, I must say, I’m glad this was a fixed-roof concept.
After Ciel, designing sumptuous large convertibles seems child’s play for Cadillac. Now, the Elmiraj demonstrates they can also design a grand coupe as gorgeous as (or more so than) any of their foreign rivals.
As if flowing in the wind on an oceangoing vessel, the sail panels arch to meet the backlight where, together, they form a raised decklid. The use of metalwork is restrained but effectively so.
The Elmiraj is amazingly photogenic with nary an unflattering angle. Unlike many modern designs that result in near undefinable surface areas, the Elmiraj has positively vertical and horizontal panels, creased at the ends like satin stretched taut over a frame.
With all my fawning over the exterior, one might think the interior was unremarkable. Not so.
According to Cadillac, “Backlit titanium trim curves from the cowl to the doors, dividing the rich upper camel leather from the wood trim. Cadillac Studio craftsmen handpicked fallen Brazilian Rosewood.” To ensure “perfect control of the grain flow,” the wood was cut into three-dimensional pieces.
“The car’s instrumentation features an analog tachometer and speedometer that are transparent. Directly behind the analog gauges sits a wide screen, high resolution display which projects driver information and the output of a front-mounted camera. A 10-inch touchscreen for navigation and connectivity can be concealed inside the instrument panel when not in use.”
The rear of the car’s cabin provides seating for two. That is, two lucky individuals. Each seat even includes “a valet feature to ease entry and exit.” When activated, the front bucket seat will slide ten inches forward. The rear bucket seat will slide four inches forward to meet the passenger. Once seated, the seat slides him or her back into position. The rear bucket seats also recline for additional comfort.
It was a thrill to be close to this car. Real close. In fact, so close I could smell the leather, see the wood’s grain and even read the labels on the buttons. I considered it a major privilege to be allowed on the platform.
This development of this beautiful machine’s interior and exterior was led by designers at General Motors’ advanced design studio in North Hollywood, California, under the direction of Frank Saucedo.
On the following two pages, I’ve included some more of my shots of the Elmiraj from Pebble Beach in addition to those provided in the press release by GM.
Continue to page 3, below.