Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance:

Cadillac Escala – More Vaporware from Cadillac?


Escala Continues Series of Outstanding Cadillac Concepts  Concept cars push design limits to determine if the buying public is ready.  Over the past few years, Cadillac has teased the car community with three outstanding concept cars.  The Ciel was a 4-door convertible with suicide doors first shown in 2011.  The Elmiraj was a stunning coupe shown at Pebble Beach in 2013.  The Escala was a highlight of the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance in 2016.

The Ciel and Elmiraj were to be precursors of future Cadillacs.  Then the Cadillac CT6 sedan was launched and we learned these distinctive concept cars were just vaporware after all.  Concept cars often over-promise the future and production cars under-deliver.  This year’s Escala may not be produced, but some of its design cues may find their way into future Cadillacs.

Cadillac Escala FV ForbesEscala is a Glimpse of Future Cadillacs  With Johan de Nysschen leading Cadillac there may be a better than even chance that Cadillac will actually launch a flagship.  If the Escala were produced as it was shown the car would be worthy of Cadillac’s old “Standard of the World” tagline.  It could be the car that would return Cadillac to its heyday.   Like the Ciel and Elmiraj, the Escala may be nothing more than a design exercise.

de Nysschen, however, added this note of caution to the Escala’s press release.  “Depending on the development of the market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing product plan.”  Interpret this to mean that the Escala is not a go program yet.

CADILLAC ESCALA R34 VehicleVoiceThe front end style uses Cadillac’s distinctive vertical light pipe driving lights.  Narrow OLED headlamps flank a sinister looking blacked out grille with a sporty three-dimensional texture.  The headlamps and grille are highlighted by a bright surround that is mimicked in the rear styling.  The bodyside is relatively unadorned with subtle rearward front fender and forward quarter panel character lines meeting around the B-Pillar.  The very fast roofline hides a rear hatch with a generous rear opening ala Audi A7.  The liftover, however, looks a bit daunting.  The bright bordered boomerang-shaped taillamps are connected by a horizontal bright strip atop the rear fascia.  There are large bright dual exhausts to complete the ornamentation of the rear end.

To give an idea of the size of the Escala, it is about 6-inches longer than today’s Cadillac CT6 sedan.  Six-inches may not seem like a lot, but the Escala (probably CT8 if it is ever produced) looks much more substantial than CT6.

Cadillac Escala Interior VehicleVoiceDriver Interface – OLED Screens  The interior of the Escala is very tastefully done with upscale materials and three OLED panels for the telematics/infotainment systems.  The interior is trimmed in light grey to maximize the sense of spaciousness.  The OLED panels sweep across the instrument panel and maximize the display of information for the driver.

Cadillac Dealers Need More Crossovers  Johan deNysschen is less-than-definite about whether Escala will be produced.  In fact, there are rumblings that de Nysschen’s ambitious product plans have been scaled well back.  So the existence of the Escala is very iffy.   We can be somewhat confident that some of the design cues on the car – like the front and rear designs – may be seen on a future Cadillac model.  Frankly, Cadillac would be well-served to add a couple of hot-selling crossover SUVs to its lineup first. The flagship would be nice, but the crossovers would move the metal.

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2013 Concours of Elegance – London September 2013


Concours of Elegance Poster

What better time to visit London than early September when the weather can be anything.  The Owners’ Day of the Concours of Elegance (yes, Concours OF Elegance – it is England, after all) was held on a blisteringly hot day.  Blazing sunshine.  Temperatures near 90-degrees.  The owners and their ladies or gents were hard put to keep a dry upper lip.  This was a three day event and the weather was different on each day.  Following the hot, hot, hot Thursday, it rained on Friday.  Not downpours exactly, but enough to keep the car polishers busy keeping the 60 or so vehicles as pristine as possible.  Saturday was the public day and the weather dried and was overcast.  The cooler weather made the public day better without the blazing heat of the Owners’ Day.

Luckily or unluckily, AutoPacific attended the Owners’ Day reserved for Owners, guests, Owners’ Day Ticket Holders and Media.  Luckily, because we could attend.  Unluckily, because it was so, soooooo HOT.

Having just been to the Pebble Beach Coucours de Elegance in August, the contrast was striking.  Pebble is so over the top that it overwhelms the senses.  The St. James Coucours of Elegance is much less flamboyant, much less overwhelming, but still provides an opportunity to view outstanding vehicles and have a chat with their owners.

It was a day of Royalty.  The owners were first feted at Buckingham Palace and then drove their cars down The Mall to Marlborough House located in St. James where the cars were displayed in the back garden.  The royal patron was HRH Prince Michael of Kent.  The vehicles on display varied widely from old Rolls-Royces to a modern Bentley GTZ Zagato custom coupe.  Here are a few examples:

Hard to get an angle on this American 1934 Duesenberg Model J Willoughby Sedan Limousine

Hard to get an angle on this American 1934 Duesenberg Model J Willoughby Sedan Limousine

1930 Stutz SV16 Weyman Monte Carlo - a famed American marque

1930 Stutz SV16 Weyman Monte Carlo – a famed American marque

1939 Bugatti Type 57C Voll & Ruhrbeck Roadster

1939 Bugatti Type 57C Voll & Ruhrbeck Roadster

1925 Hispano-Suiza Boulogne

1925 Hispano-Suiza Boulogne

1928 Bugatti Type 35B - unrestored beauty

1928 Bugatti Type 35B – unrestored beauty

Bentley GTZ Zagato Custom Coupe - a late entry

Bentley GTZ Zagato Custom Coupe – a late entry

Bentley GTZ Zagato - note the Roofline and Rear Styling

Bentley GTZ Zagato – note the Roofline and Rear Styling

1937 Horch 853 Voll & Ruhrbech Sport Cabriolet, 1936 Mercedes 500K Streamline Roadster in background

1937 Horch 853 Voll & Ruhrbech Sport Cabriolet, 1936 Mercedes 500K Streamline Roadster in background

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