GM “Firsts” 1915 cadillac

1915 Cadillac Limo

Despite its current precarious financial troubles, GM had a long history of innovation and technological “firsts.” Here are but a few of General Motors’ achievements.

 general motors firsts

  • First V-8 Engine (1914, a 70 horsepower engine for the Cadillac)
  • First room air conditioner (remember to thank Frigidaire, then a GM subsidiary, who came up with the brilliant device in 1929)
  • First barrier impact and rollover tests (1934).
  • First concept car, the legendary Buick Y Job in 1938.
  • First fully automatic transmission (the Hydra-Matic in 1939).
  • First to put turn signals as standard-equipments on its cars (1939)
  • First mechanical heart pump (1952, built for Dr. Forest Dodrill by the GM Research Laboratory. The story is fascinating.)
  • First company to make $1 billion a year (in 1955)
  • First hydrogen fuel cell car (the 1966 Electrovan). After the project was scrapped because it was cost prohibitive, GM tried to give the Electrovan to the Smithsonian Institute. They refused the vehicle because they’d never heard of fuel cells before …
  • First Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) in 1972.
  • First Electronic Fuel Injection (1979)

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