Henry M. Leland was the guiding genius of the Cadillac Motor Car Company. He was the company’s founder and became the Division’s first general manager when it was purchased by Billy Durant and General Motors in 1909. Religiously devoted to accuracy of machining and quality construction, Leland recognized that in true interchangeability of parts lays the key to a great future automobile industry.
In 1901 Henry Leland had built a single-cylinder engine at his company Leland and Faulconer. The new engine was based on the plans of Oldsmobile founder Ransom E. Olds. With a background in manufacturing fine tools, Leland had a passion for precision engineering. He improved the engine to produce an astonishing 10.3 horsepower instead of 3.7 hp. Olds had no use for this engine, because his cars were simply unable to cope with all the horsepower it generated. As a result, Henry M. Leland and partners founded Cadillac out of the ashes of the Henry Ford Company (formerly Detroit Automobile Company) on August 22, 1902.