top of page

1911::The Cadillac Thirty Automobile Exhibit in Vancouver, British Columbia

Updated: Feb 19

The automobile exhibit that educated a new era.

1908::The New Cadillac Thirty

"1908::The New Cadillac Thirty"

Clip: Democrat and Chronicle (1908)

Rochester, New York

In 1908, Cadillac ushered in a new era of motor manufacturing with its new Thirty automobile design. It was America's first practical vehicle with a 30-horsepower motor under its hood and maximized passenger comfort. It set the standard for early auto-makers and made headlines with its unique showroom exhibit.

"Historians will date the new era in automobile manufacture from July 1, 1908." - Cadillac Motor Company, 1908

In 1911, when the much-anticipated Cadillac Thirty exhibit arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia, hundreds of motorcar hobbyists and curious onlookers flocked to the Automobile & Cycle Company on Seymour Street to see the car everybody wanted. The car's display kicked up a flurry of chatter when people who had arrived to view the award-winning vehicle found only its chassis on a stand with all four wheels lifted clear off the floor. The car had no body and no fenders. It was an unusual way to display an automobile, but effective.

1911::The Cadillac Thirty Exhibit in Vancouver, British Columbia

"1911::The Cadillac Thirty Exhibit in Vancouver, British Columbia"

Clip: Daily News Advertiser (1911)

Vancouver, British Columbia

It was a stunning display. The chassis lit up with a thousand miniature incandescent lights highlighting the Thirty's 1,001 mechanical parts, all exposed to the viewer. Using an electric motor, the Cadillac attendant set the car's working parts in motion and explained its mechanical operations while it sat stationary on a stand. Its gearbox covered in plate glass revealed the workings of its various speed gears, and a portion of one cylinder had been cut away to show the operation of a piston and how gas was generated in the combustion chamber. It was fascinating. The 1911 Cadillac exhibit excited auto enthusiasts and sparked interest in the minds of the old-fashioned horse-and-carriage riders. In the months after the exhibit, and a little over a decade after Vancouver's first automobile rolled down its city streets, the Automobile & Cycle Company sold almost two hundred Cadillac Thirtys from their lot.

Related Posts

See All


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page