July 29: General Motors buys Cadillac on this date in 1909

July 29, 2014

Cadillac, founded in 1902 and named after the French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe Cadillac (who founded the city of Detroit in 1701), was purchased by General Motors on this date in 1909 for $4.5 million.

Henry Leland took the role of leader at Cadillac in 1904, with his son Wilfred by his side. By 1909, William C. Durant brought in Buick and Oldsmobile to form the baseline for the General Motors Corporation he founded the previous year. He then managed to convince Wilfred Leland that Cadillac should join the fold in return for $4.5 million in GM stock. Once the deal was done, the Lelands were retained in their management positions, overseeing automotive production.

Some 105 years later, Cadillac remains GM's luxury bulwark — one with a new leader, Johan de Nysschen, poached earlier this month from Nissan's Infiniti brand, and now charged with making Cadillac as relevant in cities like Shanghai and Abu Dhabi as it is in Detroit. Here's what the past sounds like today: