Cadillac celebrates its first Dewar Trophy centenary



On September 21st, an important feat of Cadillac's history will be remembered in the UK. One hundred years ago, the American marque won the Dewar Trophy after Englishman Fred Bennett persuaded the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) to oversee an unprecedented 'mechanical standardisation' test.

Back then, Henry Leland, co-founder of the Cadillac Motor Car Company and general manager, claimed he had achieved the auto industry's highest standards for precision and interchangeability of parts. With Bennett's help, three identical 1907 Model K Cadillacs were dismantled, their parts mixed up and the cars reassembled under RAC strict regulations between February 29 to March 13, 1908. Then, each car ran without fault for 500 miles around the Brooklands track in Surrey, stunning the watching people. With the award went the judges' citation: "Standard of the World", a phrase coined by Cadillac to this day.

Les trois Cadillac modèle M 1907 en pièces, prêtes à être ré-assemblées.

Time to celebrate!
To celebrate this anniversary, fans and owners of the marque will congregate on at the Brooklands Museum on September 21st, in the UK, where over 40 vintage Cadillacs will be displayed. Those classics will be joined by the latest generation of Cadillacs currently sold in Europe.

According to Paul Moss of the Cadillac Owners Club of Great Britain, the event organizer, "Representatives of Cadillac and the Royal Automobile Club will be attending along with Julian Bennett, Fred Bennett's grandson. To top it all, the Royal Automobile Club will be supplying the Dewar Trophy itself." In the 103-year history of the Dewar, the trophy has very seldom left the RAC's premises in Pall Mall.

The Trophy's origins
The Dewar Trophy was created by the RAC in 1905 to reward outstanding technical achievement in the automotive world. The trophy itself, a 57-cm-high silver cup, was donated by Sir Thomas R. Dewar (1864-1930), a successful Scottish whisky distiller and member of parliament of the United Kingdom.

The RAC has presented this award on about 40 occasions only since then. Apart from Cadillac who won it twice (a second time in 1913, for the introduction of electric starter and electric lighting as standard equipment), other winners include Rolls-Royce, Jaguar and Dunlop, and finally Ricardo PLC winning in 2005 for its work in the development of the Bugatti Veyron dual-clutch transmission.

The most recent winner was JCB Dieselmax, for achieving an average speed of 563.418 km/h on August 23rd, 2006, with its diesel-engined supercar.