For all the success Cadillac has enjoyed in recent years — reviving itself from a purveyor of slightly nicer Buicks into a credible challenger of German luxury makes — there's always been something missing from its showrooms. As good as its new smaller cars are, the most famous Cadillacs dominated the road, from the V-16s of the '30s to the last gasps of the '70s road yachts. Cadillac execs never say such cars are gone forever, but neither do they vow to revive their dinosaurs.
Today, Cadillac revealed the Elmiraj concept, a 500-hp coupe that harkens back to the past while offering, once again, a suggestion that the era of a full-grown Caddy could return — maybe.
Named for the design inspiration of a 1967 Eldorado, the 205-inch-long Elmiraj forsakes the hybrid/electric infatuation of recent concepts for the brute force of a twin-turbo, 4.5-liter V-8 engine turning the rear wheels, as God and Henry Leland intended. The style further smoothes and lengthens the lines seen on cars like the new CTS and XTS, with a few showy touches like chromed hood vents, but few impractical ones.
Inside there's the usual designer studio compilation of exotic materials and shapes, but here again the Elmiraj doesn't resort to unobtanium-filled trims or gadgetry that only exists as a concept. The most innovative touch comes from the rear seats; rather than lengthen the doors to football-field distances as the Eldorados of yore, the seats in the Elmiraj automatically move forward when given a passenger assignment, then slide back once the doors close.
There are a few other hints that the Elmiraj has more of a production possibility than last year's Ciel convertible. The Elmiraj wears what Cadillac calls a draft version of its new logo (where'd they get that idea?) and, more importantly, was built on a chassis from "an ongoing Cadillac vehicle development project slated for future production." Nothing's real in the auto industry until the car rolls off the assembly line, but if General Motors has a way to update the Eldorado for the 21st century and give the only true American luxury car brand a flagship car, what's stopping it?