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The Globe and Mail

In pictures: The first Cadillacs at Le Mans

In the summer of 1950, a foursome of wealthy Americans turned up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a pair of Cadillacs: Le Monstre and the Petit Pataud.

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One of the Caddys brought to Le Mans: a “special” so bizarrely bodied, it was promptly dubbed “Le Monstre.”

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A “Fordillac,” which not surprisingly was a Ford powered by a Cadillac V-8, was stripped of its bodywork, which was replaced with a lightweight aluminum open body designed with the aid of a couple of Grumman Aircraft aerodynamicists and laid up over a tubular framework.

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The other car, a stock Coupe de Ville whose ungainly appearance inspired a French auto-writer’s nickname “Petit Pataud,” perhaps inspired by thoughts of land yachts and clumsy puppies.

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The standard coupe was also fitted with stiffer springs and its engine topped off by a pair of two-barrel carbs. Additional race-prep included prying off the hubcaps and removing the back seat.

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This past weekend, the team’s cars, still proudly known by their tongue-in-cheek noms de circuit, returned to France as part of an homage to U.S. efforts at Le Circuit de la Sarthe. Click the link below to read the full story.

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