The first year Cadillac produced the Model K was 1906. The carmaker had four models in mind for the year: two single-cylinder models, K and M; and two four-cylinders, L and H.
The K and M models differed only in wheelbase, with the M two inches longer.
Cadillac introduced the Model K in January, the chassis nearly identical to those manufactured in 1905. The company had made some changes, however: The spark control was now located on the steering column, and the oiler had a mechanical feed from a cam on the hub of the flywheel. All 1906 single-cylinder passenger car bodies were now the Victoria style. Cars circa 1906 can be identified by a long muffler and severe slope to the nose of the front fenders.
The Single Life
Cadillac introduced a four-cylinder model in 1905. Still, the single-cylinder cars were popular enough to remain in production through 1908.
Setting the ‘Standard’
In 1908, a team of three Model K Cadillacs excelled in the Dewar competition in England. The competing automobiles were disassembled, and their parts scrambled and reassembled to test the vehicles’ engineering. The result? The Model K was put back together with ease. The Model K earned the car company the Dewar Trophy, recognition of the automobile’s precision manufacturing and ease of assembly. The Dewar Trophy was the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for automobiles. Winning the award also resulted in the slogan “The Standard of the World.”
Henry M. Leland, a co-founder of Cadillac, is famous for the phrase, “There is a right way and a wrong way to do something. Hunt for the right way and then go ahead.” As evidenced by the 1908 Dewar competition, Cadillac had certainly found the right way.
1906 Cadillac Model K Specs:
- 98.2 cubic inch, single-cylinder engine
- 10 hp
- Two-speed planetary transmission
- Two-wheel mechanical brakes contracting on inboard drums
- 22-inch wooden wheels
- Length: 9 feet 2 inches
- Weight: approximately 1,100 pounds
- One of 3,559 produced
- Originally priced at $750
- Valued at $21,366 today