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1989 Cadillac Solitaire Concept

Cadillac's Solitaire concept car combines sleek aerodynamics and advanced engineering concepts, including a V12 engine, for the ultimate personal luxury automobile. The 1989 Cadillac Solitaire was a two-door version of the 1988 Cadillac Voyage. Its many advanced features are doors with unique hinges that electronically slide the door forward and out for easier access. A single sheet of glass darkens automatically in sunlight and stretches from the cowl to the lock panel. Designed for high-speed travel, the coupe has a drag coefficient of .28.


The 1988 Cadillac Voyage and 1989 Cadillac Solitaire concept car designs shared many traits, but the Solitaire coupe offered unique elements. The Cadillac Solitaire's electrically powered doors, some of the longest in GM's history, demanded an articulated hinge. The Solitaire's doors moved slightly forward as they opened. The keyless entry system could also release the hood or trunk lid.


Seats traveled all the way forward to permit easy entry into the back (unless they happened to be occupied), then returned to the pre-selected position as the door shut. While the Voyage had 20 seat adjustments, the Solitaire added four more. Some comfort-minded folks are never quite satisfied, it seems. Once again, heat and massage were available to soothe chilled or tired muscles. Airbags mounted in the steering wheel, instrument panel, and rear seatbacks were installed for each occupant.


Mirrors disappeared altogether, with only a set of video cameras providing a view of oncoming traffic from the back, seen on a liquid-crystal color video screen inside the car. The lack of stick-out mirrors made a slight difference in aerodynamics and a more significant improvement in the Cadillac Solitaire concept car's flush appearance. Body-colored louvers, front, and rear, created the illusion that the car carried neither headlamps nor tail lamps.


Under the hood of the Cadillac Solitaire, replacing the Voyage's V-8, lurked a dual-overhead-cam, 48-valve V-12 engine with port fuel injection. Developed in conjunction with Lotus, the 6.6-liter powerplant produced 430 horsepower and 470 pounds/feet of torque. Computer-designed tires rode unique 20-inch cast-aluminum wheels.


Prepared to carry four passengers in unheard-of swiftness and ease, the Cadillac Solitaire was called "Cadillac's vision of the ultimate in road-car performance, comfort, convenience, and style." It was created as a test vehicle, not just a showpiece like its predecessor. A look at either of Cadillac's visions evoked a hope that such a day would arrive soon and that cars like these would be available for our enjoyment.


It also appeared in the 1993 movie Demolition Man.


Images: General Motors Corp.; www.shorey.net