The Cadillac Sixteen created a huge, huge stir around the world after its reveal in early 2003. This was shortly after the Rolls-Royce Phantom had been reborn in its ultra-long and cab-backward style, and the world was even more gaga for the Sixteen. Cadillac trotted the car around the world at least thrice to attend every major auto show you could ever name.
Fashion and lifestyle agazines wrote about it. Famous photographers snapped it in famous places.
All this love came out of left field, to be honest. No one in the $100,000-plus luxury car market of 2003 would ever, ***ever*** consider buying or owning a Cadillac. They were garbage cars for trashy people.
But the Ciel showed a new way for the brand. This rear-drive, mid-engine V12 supercar or hypercar was amazing and set a style template that is still influencing Cadillac road cars.
Cadillac and GM liked the Ciel’s reception. But was it a step too far? After all, Cadillac was a luxury car brand with geriatric owners owning the 80/20 rule for Caddy. The rule usually says in B-school that 80-percent of your profit comes from 20-percent of your customers.
In Cadillac’s case, 80/20 might as well have been their average buyer age, and max brand lifetime with cars like the DTS and Eldorado Touring Coupe on the lots.
So the Sixteen was a brave leap.
Would it have sold?
Sure, perhaps a few hundred cars a year. After all, exclusive cars should be rare and special. But low-volume was not (and arguably is not) in the GM playbook.
So the Sixteen was just a cool idea, a super-fabulous limousine to show the brand still had its balls and style intact. Proportions rules the cay on this one. Ultra-swept windshield, ultra-low roof, frameless suicide doors. Cabin looked roomy, thanks to a deep-set rear seat almost in the trunk. Almost no luggage space to speak of. Pure fantasy.
2003 Cadillac Sixteen