Since today in American history will be about the choice between two old white men, I thought I’d talk today about one of my favorite old white men who gave car enthusiasts the choice between two marquees (let’s just call the Chrysler Imperial the Libertarian Party of luxury automobiles).
Henry M. Leland (February 16, 1843 – March 26, 1932) was in the right places at the right times to be a father of both Cadillac and Lincoln. Think of the cards he must get the third Sunday in June!
When the Henry Ford Company board of directors were dismantling the company, Leland talked them into reorganizing the assets into a new company, which would be, of course, Cadillac!
In July, 1909, Leland sold Cadillac to General Motors, but an ongoing personality clash with GM founder William C. Durant had Leland departing the conglomerate after WWI. Don’t worry, I’m sure he still had a lot of the $4.5 million he got for Cadillac in his pocket. That’s just over $128 million in today’s dollars.
In 1917, Leland founded the Lincoln Motor Company. His first big contract was building V-12 airplane engines for the U.S. military. In 1922, Henry Ford’s new-ish Ford Motor Company bought-out Lincoln for $8 million. This might be almost twice what Leland got for Cadillac, but it’s only half of what the Lincoln Motor Company was estimated to be valued.
Forced into retirement at this point, Henry Leland dabbled in local Detroit politics.
So, whether your vote is for Cadillac, or Lincoln, or both as I know many collectors have one or more of each, you have the same old white man to thank for them. Show your appreciation and just vote!