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CONCEPT CAR, CADILLAC LA ESPADA

    The 230 horsepower, overhead valve V-8, fiberglass bodied, two-seat Cadillac convertible concept car was Cadillac’s 1954 stab at "What will cars be like in the future?" The La Espada (named for the sword) was one of a number of concept cars to travel with the Parade of Progress. The La Espada had a wheelbase of 115 inches, a body 200.6 inches long, 51.7 inches high and 79.9 inches wide. It sported a recessed cellular grille air intake in the front, which was guarded by massive and sweeping front bumpers. The bumpers were capped with resilient white vinyl to cushion shocks and prevent scuffing of the chrome. Ribbed aluminum on the fender sides were slotted to admit air for the air conditioning system.
   

    On the "gadget" side, it had dual headlights controlled with an Autronic Eye. Below the trunk compartment in the rear of the car was a special compartment that housed the spare tire. It was accessed by removing a bright chrome trimmed door, which also served as a bumperette and license plate mount. The gas cap was located behind the left rear tail fin which swung forward for access.
    The experimental sports convertible has a 115-inch wheelbase, 200.6 –inch overall length and is powered by a 230-horsepower Cadillac V-8 engine.

_____________________

The following is from Parader Jim Tolley (submitted 2/18/05) with his recollection of the LaEspada:

    I remember was the Cadillac La Espada. My first Parade of Progress lecturing experience involved this car. It arrived on the show site, somewhere in New York state, maybe Buffalo, on the day of the Opening Night Preview Performance in that city. The script for the lecturer to use was in the glove compartment when it arrived. None of us had seen the car or the script before or knew what the car was.
    As a lecturer trainee, I was helping to set up exhibits when my boss tapped me on the shoulder, told me to go back to the hotel with the script, memorize it, and return in time for the first preview show that night. It was to be my Parade of Progress "debut."
    The concept cars were set up on the site next to Old Scout. When people left the tent show, they were directed to Old Scout. After, Tony Gagliardi, dressed in cap, gauntlets, and ankle-length duster, cranked up Old Scout and gave his performance, he directed the crowd to the concept car and, in this case, it was me.
    It was a big crowd; I had never lectured before; but, fortunately, I knew more about the car than anyone else there. I remembered enough of the script to get through the show.
    The Cadillac La Espada had two chrome protuberances on the front bumper. I actually laughed when I saw them. People referred to the car as Marilyn Monroe.
    I also recall that it was a "pushmobile." It had no engine, and we had to push it into place.

1954 OLDSMOBILE F-88

Picture taken in Ottawa, Ontario in August of 1955.

1954 BUICK WILDCAT II

Picture taken in Ottawa, Ontario in August of 1955.

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