Cadillac Motor Division and O’Gara Coachworks delivered a flee, of twenty limousines to the People’s Republic of China on June 28. The sale of the limousines marks the first time that General Motors passenger cars have been imported into China since 1951, and marks Cadillac’s first limousine sale ever to the People’s Republic of China. It is also O’Gara Coachwork’s first involvement in the China market.
Cadillac general manager and General Motors vice president John O. Grettenberger, and Edward F. O’Gara, President of the O’Gara Companies, presented the limousines to Mr. Rong Yiren, chairman and general manager of the China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC) at an official “Cadillac Gold Key Delivery Ceremony” at CITIC’s new headquarters in Beijing.
The twenty limousines include fifteen rear-wheel-drive Fleetwood models converted to purchaser specifications by O’Gara Coachworks at their Simi Valley, CA, plant, and five of Cadillac’s front-wheel-drive Fleetwood Seventy Five limousines. The vehicles will be used for diplomatic service in Beijing Car and Limousine Service Limited, a joint venture between CITIC and the Beijing Taxi Company.
“The debut of Cadillac motor cars in the People’s Republic is an event of both historic and cultural significance,” Mr. Grettenberger told press and special guests at the delivery ceremony. The Cadillac limousine, Mr. Grettenberger said, is employed in diplomatic service around the world and has long serviced as an ambassador on wheels for America’s largest manufacturer of luxury cars.
“That Cadillac limousines should debut in China in two distinct styles is of particular interest,” he noted. “Like the great nation in which they are being introduced, the vehicles presented here today reflect both rich and enduring tradition, as evidenced by the rear-wheel-drive Cadillac limousines, and the most contemporary of attitudes as represented by the technologically advanced front-wheel-drive Seventy Five series limousines. We are proud of the new presence in China of these flagships of your fleet,” he said.
The front-wheel-drive Seventy Five limousine, derived from the ’85 Fleetwood, Mr. Grettenberger said, represents one of the most significant vehicle development achievements in the 83 year history of the Cadillac Motor Car Division.
The new limousine features a transverse-mounted V-8 engine with digital fuel injection, a four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and viscous converter clutch, fully independent MacPherson strut front suspension and full independent rear suspension, and body/frame integral construction. “The new-generation Cadillac limousine delivered here today features significant reductions in exterior dimensions and vehicle mass, but retains the same eight passenger seating as its rear-wheel-drive predecessor,” Mr. Grettenberger said.
The fifteen rear-wheel-drive limousines converted for CITIC by O’Gara Coachworks feature ten-inch color televisions, four-speaker AM/FM cassette stereos, lead crystal decanters and illuminated ice service compartments, glass chauffeur divider windows, and hands-free intercom systems. Five of the units include video recorders.
O’Gara president Edward F. O’Gara informed delivery ceremony guests that the fifteen Cadillac limousines, derived from the rear-wheel-drive Fleetwood Brougham, had been stretched forty-six inches to accommodate the added convenience features and provide additional seating capacity. “It is a privilege to assist in the delivery of Cadillac’s first limousines fleet to China,” he said, “and to see brought to Beijing the dignity and tradition long conferred by these professional motorcars to other capitals around the world.”
In the United States Capitol last year, Grettenberger and O’Gara presented two Cadillac limousines to President Ronald Reagan.
Above: Chairman Mao gazes at a Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy-Five limousine from the wall of Beijing’s Forbidden City. Right: Chinese children were among the admirers of the Cadillac limousines recently delivered to the People’s Republic of China. Above right: O’Gara forty-six inch stretch in front of the Hotel Beijing.
Top: Participants in the delivery ceremony included from left: Edward F. O’Gara, CITIC official, CITIC chairman Rong Yiren, Cadillac general manager John O. Grettenberger, U.S. ambassador Arthur Hummel, CITIC official. Middle: The fleet of twenty limousines in front of O’Gara Coachworks Simi Valley, CA facility. Bottom: O’Gara limousine attracting attention among Chinese.
Right: The Great Wall. Below: Crowds gathered everywhere the limousines were displayed in Beijing.