Nicola Bulgari buys the very last Cadillac DTS

Its the end of an era for Cadillac. The DTS, a front-wheel drive full size luxury sedan that traces its roots back to the 1990s, is still one of Cadillac’s top sellers. Released in 2006, the DTS followed the popular Deville, a hit with wealthy baby boomers. The DTS winds down production this summer at GM’s Hamtramck plant, also home of the Chevy Volt, with the final DTS going to Italian designer and American car collector Nicola Bulgari.

Cadillac fans may recall his name from the Bulgari gauges found in the Cadillac XLR convertible:

GM’s press release (below) mentions that the DTS is the top-selling car in its class, beating the Mercedes S-class, Lexus LS, and BMW 7-series in sales volume. Of course, the DTS has a lower transaction price, bolstered by rental fleet, livery, and government sales. It also lacks the technological sophistication of its rivals, perhaps a good thing as the DTS serves as an example of tasteful comfort and style, a common sight in the driveways of many upper middle class professionals.

The DTS corrects most of the Seville and Deville’s reliability issues while retaining the refinement and sophistication necessary to call it a Cadillac. As a future replacement for my 2001 Seville, its a strong contender.

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From General Motors:

Italian luxury goods executive buys last DTS from Detroit-Hamtramck

DETROIT — Nicola Bulgari, an avid car collector and vice chairman of the Bulgari luxury goods firm, prefers not to dwell on the sheer number of automobiles in his car collection.

“Is it important?” Bulgari asked. “Is it the number or the quality that matters? It’s the quality.”

Bulgari buys each car for a reason, not just to expand his collection. So when he heard Cadillac was ending production of the DTS luxury sedan, Bulgari knew he wanted the last one off the line.

Introduced for the 2006 model year, the DTS is a significant automobile, primarily because of the Northstar V-8 engine under its hood, Bulgari said. The last DTS, made this week at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, is now headed for Bulgari’s collection.

“I like the DTS because it’s a great sedan,” Bulgari said. “It’s the last of an era. I thought it would be wonderful to own the last Northstar in a DTS. It’s one of the best engines ever designed – reliable and a performer.”

For decades, the DTS and its predecessor, the DeVille, have anchored Cadillac’s spot in the large luxury car market. Last year, the DTS outsold all other large luxury cars in the United States, topping the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series, Lexus LS430 and Lincoln Town Car. A version of the DTS also served as the U.S. president’s limousine until 2009, when it was replaced by a new Cadillac presidential limousine.

The last DTS will join an illustrious line of automobiles in Bulgari’s collection, which he houses at facilities in Rome and Allentown, Pa. The grandson of a silversmith who opened a jewelry shop in Rome in 1884, Nicola Bulgari has helped the company grow into a global network of 293 stores selling high-end jewelry, watches, leather goods, perfumes and fashion accessories.

Bulgari developed his passion for automobiles, particularly American automobiles, as a child growing up in post-World War II Italy. He remembers seeing U.S. soldiers and dignitaries driving all makes and models of American automobiles through the streets of Rome. His collection includes every GM model made in 1941, the year he was born.

“It’s something that goes back a long time,” Bulgari said. “It started when I was 5 or 6 years old. It cultivated an incredible passion that has grown and gotten more sophisticated as I’ve come to understand the history better.”

When he was 25, Bulgari bought his first Cadillac – a 1938 Cadillac V-16 Town Car. With its smooth, powerful engine, the Cadillac V-16 is considered by most experts as one of the finest automobiles of all time. Bulgari has sold his V-16 but said he would add another to his collection if he found the right one.

“It was quite an experience to drive that car because the quality was second to none,” Bulgari said. “The suspension design, the power, the engine… Everything was built with extraordinary quality.”

Bulgari’s collection includes plenty of other Cadillacs and LaSalles, a companion brand for Cadillac from 1927 to 1940. His collection of classic cars includes:
1932 Cadillac 355B V-12 Fleetwood Limousine
1934 Cadillac Model 355B Series 20 Sedan
1934 LaSalle Coupe
1940 LaSalle Convertible Coupe
1940 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Sedan
1941 Cadillac Series 61 Sedanette
1947 Cadillac Model 7533 Limousine
1949 Cadillac Model 7533 Limousine
1949 Cadillac Convertible Coupe
1954 Cadillac Series 54-62 Fleetwood Sedan
1970 Cadillac Coupe DeVille

The 1947 and 1949 limousines were used by the Vatican as part of the Pope’s motorcade. In addition to the classic cars, Bulgari is a fan of contemporary Cadillacs. He owns a 2007 Cadillac BLS Sedan and 2009 Cadillac BLS Wagon, both part of a short-lived nameplate for the European market.

Bulgari also owns a 2009 XLR-V Coupe equipped with a special Bulgari speedometer, a 2010 CTS Wagon and 2009 CTS-V Sedan.

“Of the three, the Sedan, Coupe and Wagon, the Wagon stands out in front of all the competition,” Bulgari said. “It makes the competition look ludicrous.”

The CTS-V Sedan is among the best cars in the world for providing both function and performance, Bulgari said. Italian sports cars are nice, he said, but they aren’t practical The CTS-V Sedan, Wagon and Coupe all feature a 556-horsepower supercharged V-8 and a Magnetic Ride Control suspension system that can read and react to the road 1,000 times a second. They also have back seats.

“I have news for you with a V,” Bulgari said. “I want to see some Ferrari or Lamborghini on the road and I will give him a lesson. They’ll never expect it.”

Bulgari said he looks forward to driving the DTS. He likes to drive his cars, not just put them away as museum pieces. He’s also looking forward to future automobiles from Cadillac. A long-time buyer of GM vehicles and friend of Ed Welburn, GM’s vice president of Global Design, Bulgari closely follows the company’s products.

Although timing has not been determined, Cadillac plans to add a car larger than the CTS. Cadillac showed an XTS Platinum Concept car at the 2010 North American International Auto Show, providing an indication of the brand’s direction.

“I’ve seen the XTS Concept,” Bulgari said. “I know it’s superior. The DTS was a great sedan for its time, but it’s a different world, a new period. It’s time for something different.”

4 Responses to Nicola Bulgari buys the very last Cadillac DTS

  1. Ian says:

    Bvlgari clock face is also standard in the 2002-2006 Cadillac Escalade.

    And by the way, if the XLR-V has that Bvlgari gauge surround, it only reinforces my feeling that it will be the next vehicle if the Escalade is ever replaced.

  2. Jan Baron says:

    Is there a way to contact Mr. Bulgari on the last of the 2002 Eldorado? I currently own this vehicle and wonder if he would be interested in buying it? He was going to own it awhile ago but for some reason the deal fell through. It currently has been stored and has 4,000 miles on it. It’s 1595 out of 1596.
    Thank you.

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