1989 Cadillac Solitaire

Show and go- Cadillac's newest concept car, Solitaire, combines sleek aerodynamics and advanced engineering concepts, including a V12 engine, for the ultimate personal luxury automobile. The 1989 Cadillac Solitaire was essentially a two-door version of the 1988 Cadillac Voyage. Among its many advanced features are doors equipped with unique hinges that electronically slide the door forward and out for easier access. A single sheet of glass that darkens automatically in sunlight 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 design 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 the use of 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 happen to be occupied, that is) then return to the pre-selected position as the door shuts. While the Voyage had 20 seat adjustments, the Solitaire added four more. Some comfort-minded folks are never quite satisfied, it seems. Once again, both 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 completely, 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. Lack of stick-out mirrors made a slight difference in aerodynamics and a bigger 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 to serve 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.

Also, it appeared in the 1993 movie, Demolition Man.

Source: GM; auto.howstuffworks.com

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