Cadillac Goddess returns for a new era

The 2024 Cadillac Celestiq EV flagship is a step into the future for luxury brand General Motors, but it also revives a piece of the past in the form of the Cadillac Goddess mascot.

A relic from the days when hood ornaments were all the rage, the Cadillac Goddess appeared on the hoods of various models from 1930 through 1956, and made a brief comeback on the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. It is no longer used as a hood ornament (that would be likely not good for aerodynamics, although the issue hasn’t stopped Rolls-Royce from using one) but the same female figure appears on the Celestiq.

You’ll find the goddess in a trim piece on the Celeste’s front quarter panel, in the infotainment controller on the center console, on a plaque on the driver’s side door sill, and in the charging port, where an illuminated image of the mascot indicates the car is charging.

Cadillac goddess

Cadillac goddess

The front quarter panel is machined from billet aluminum and encloses a cast glass goddess. The infotainment controller also features a glass centerpiece with an image of the goddess surrounded by an aluminum dial that rotates independently of the goddess to ensure the image always stays upright.

Automobile mascots came into vogue in the late 1920s and early 1930s when the invention of instrument cluster temperature gauges made room for hood ornaments on radiators where temperature gauges had previously been mounted.

The original Cadillac Goddess was designed between 1928 and 1929 by William N. Schnell of Ternstedt Manufacturing Company, a GM subsidiary responsible for the automaker’s gloss finishes. It was initially used in conjunction with another mascot, the Heron, but the latter only lasted a few years.

2024 Cadillac Celestiq

2024 Cadillac Celestiq

The goddess first appeared on the flagship Cadillac V-16. Its use was extended to the entire product line after a 1933 redesign by Chris J. Klein and John R. Morgan, also of Ternstedt Manufacturing.

Cadillac redesigned the Goddess again in 1941, but use of this version was interrupted by World War II. Further updates came in the 1950s under the supervision of legendary GM design chief Harley Earl, but the Goddess was retired at the end of the decade. Cadillac began planning to bring it back in 2016 as part of a new design direction heralded by the Escala concept, which debuted at Pebble Beach that year.

A revised version of the Goddess, inspired by the 1933 design, is used exclusively on the Celestiq to reflect the exclusivity of the large electric hatchback. Slated to go on sale in 2024, the Celestiq will start well north of $300,000 and will be hand-built to some extent, allowing for a high level of personalization. It’ll still pack plenty of tech, though, including a 55-inch dash-wide digital display and GM’s Ultra Cruise driver assistance system.