As futuristic as the 1988 Cadillac Voyage concept car design was, fans of 1950s cars could detect more than one styling element in the Voyage skin that harked back to that era.
The tightly-knit tapered-side grille, for one, could have been mounted on a Caddy of earlier vintage without creating a stir. The black exterior paint and the sheer size of the Cadillac Voyage concept car majestically conveyed Cadillac"s reputation for bulk and strength.
Matching (removable) front and rear fender skirts had never been seen on regulation Caddies, of course, but almost looked like they might have been. Taking advantage of contemporary technology, the front skirts were designed to move outward automatically when the car had to turn abruptly. They weren"t stuck on just for show, but to help create an amazingly low drag coefficient (only 0.28) for such a large vehicle.
Voyage"s upper greenhouse, from the base of the windshield all the way to the bottom of the tail lamps, was a single, continuous sheet of tinted glass -- that"s visibility! High-intensity tail lamps and turn signal indicators weren"t plain old bulbs, but then-modern-day Light Emitting Diodes. Forming a continuous strip, the rear lamps were hidden under glass; only the rear-vision video camera was visible, sending views from the back to a screen in the driver"s compartment.
High-visibility automatic flashers replaced customary reflectors, to be sure oncoming traffic would see the Cadillac Voyage if it were parked at roadside during the night. After all, even a 200-mph electronically-controlled machine might break down now and then.
Windshield wipers were tucked away beneath a cover at the windshield base, rising on an elevator when needed. Both inside and outside mirrors were created to dim automatically to protect the driver from glare as bright lights approached.
Getting into the car required no keys or locks; only the knowledge of a code for the keyless entry system. Pick the right one and the doors would open, front windows slid down a couple of inches, and seat and steering column moved aside to allow graceful entry. Back windows also tilted outward.
Shut the door to the Cadillac Voyage concept car and the seat would shift into correct position for the driver who happened to be filling its cushion -- having memorized three different settings. And if that position wasn"t quite right, more than 20 pneumatic and mechanical adjustments allowed all the refinements anyone could possibly want. Mirrors adjusted themselves, too, for each driver who"d requested a setting.
The 1988 Cadillac Voyage concept car development by no means ignored the big sedan"s luxurious cabin. The same attention was lavished on the interrior of the 1989 Cadillac Solitaire concept car, too.
For example, once inside the Voyage, cold wintry mornings could quickly be forgotten as the pre-heated seats emitted their warmth to back and backside. And if that weren"t enough, a little massage was available to get the blood going before the day got underway; or get rid of those annoying "pins and needles" feelings during a long drive. Business calls could be handled without even touching the built-in phone, since it recognized the driver"s voice and dialed numbers automatically.
Unfamiliar with where you"re going? Not a problem. The ETAK navigation system was ready to display a present location and destination within a map on a color video screen, even picking out the best route to follow.
Created under the direction of Vice President Charles M. Jordan, the Cadillac Voyage concept car was more than a mere styling exercise from the General Motors Design Staff. It was created as a working prototype that could hold four passengers. Cadillac chief John O. Grettenberger called it "a rolling laboratory designed to evaluate future Cadillac vehicle concepts." An electronic 4-speed transmission delivered power to all four wheels.
If a four-door concept car for the future attracted so many enthusiastic gapers, why not a similarly stimulating two-door coupe? Thus arrived the Cadillac Solitaire concept car, which toured the 1989 show circuit. Both its electronic/mechanical features and form evolved from the prior Voyage. Shifting to a deep maroon color scheme helped disguise the fact that the grille, the front and rear movable skirts, and a host of other details were little more than carryovers.
An expansive dome of tinted, safety net glass stretched from the Cadillac Solitaire"s windshield base to the rear passenger area, intended to provide not only superior visibility but the feeling of a convertible.
The windshield darkened automatically as soon as the bright sun came out, while the dome was controlled by the driver to block out a portion of the sun"s rays. That way, the interior could stay cooler on hot, sunny days, and use the sun"s warmth to keep the interior warm on cold days.