We’ll admit to being impressed by unrestored and original muscle cars, dating back (in some cases) nearly 50 years. That’s why Jay Leno’s unrestored and original 1918 Cadillac Type 57 Victoria is even more amazing, as its in nearly pristine condition for its nine-plus decades of motoring.
Despite 94 years of regular use, the car wears its original paint and sports the very same interior installed at the factory. Even the engine, which Leno estimates has seen 135,000 miles of use, has never been apart for major work. Given the complexity of modern cars, such a lifespan is all but unthinkable today.
The secret to preserving a car like Leno’s 1918 Cadillac is two-fold: first, keep it garaged to protect it from the elements, then be sure to adhere religiously to any and all manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance.
In the case of a 1918 Cadillac, that list is extensive and includes points such as “oil the wooden wheels to keep them from shrinking.” In terms of lubrication alone, the car has dozens of points that require monthly service, adding to the tasks required every 125 miles of use.
In other words, early car buyers also got a hobby with their automotive investment, unless they were wealthy enough to farm those chores out to a local dealer or mechanic.
Leno likens the 1918 Cadillac Type 57 to the CTS-V of today. It was among the first to get V-8 power, and its 70 horsepower would have been as impressive in 1918 as the CTS-V’s 556 horsepower is today. Even the price is comparable, with $4,000 in 1918 equating to roughly $61,276 today.
One parallel we can’t imagine between the two cars is longevity. If a 2013 Cadillac CTS-V did survive, in original condition, until the year 2107, we seriously doubt it would fire up on the first try, assuming you could find a gasoline equivalent to run it on in the first place.