Clint Eastwood makes Cadillac's day

7:38 AM, Aug 16, 2013   |    comments
Actor/Director/Producer Clint Eastwood gets a tour of the Cadillac Elmiraj Concept from General Motors Vice President Global Design Ed Welburn. far right
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CARMEL, Calif. -- Clint Eastwood knows how to make Cadillac's day.

He showed up at the country club next to his hilltop estate here to take a walkaround on the Elmiraj Concept, a luxury "grand coupe" that, like the aging Eastwood, is a bit of a mid-century throwback.

Eastwood paced around the car as a bevy of General Motors officials, and design chief Ed Welburn, gathered around him. He made small talk, talking about the turkeys and other wildlife on in the hills, as he came to admire a car that is aimed at being true to the Cadillac name. It's a larger personal car.

The name is meant to evoke, ever so slightly, the Eldorado name from the 1960s. But this one is a big rear-wheel drive coupe powered by a 500-horsepower, 4.5-liter V-8 engine. It incorporates both the old and new.

The new means a clean exterior, devoid of badging and other clutter. The car is meant to look lean and taut, yet regal enough to be considered a touring, rather than sport, coupe. Even though it has two doors, the car has a unique system of moving the rear seats forward in a way to make it easier for back seat passengers to climb aboard.

The old means that just like last year's full-size Ciel concept convertible, Cadillac isn't running from its big-car past. It's ready to embrace it. Just so anyone doesn't miss the message, it incorporates some touches meant to remind everyone of its heritage. The front seats, for instance, are based on 1960s Eames chairs.

"We wanted to make a statement -- the second chapter of luxury," says Clay Dean, executive director of advanced design. Cadillac stands for "large American luxury" and the brand, which has been on a sales roll lately, won't apologize for it. "There has to be a core essence of what made us great."

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