Cadillac built a V-8 with insane oil-pump-powered wipers

Automotive technology had come a long way by 1958, but vacuum-powered accessories were still the norm. Using a port on the intake manifold delivered vacuum pressure, but it varied wildly with engine speed and throttle position. Trying to drive fast and use windshield wipers often left the wipers struggling to, well, wipe.

It’s a confusing thing really, because electric windshield wipers were patented in 1917. With an easy solution, I stand confused on why automakers chose to utilize vacuum to power the rubber blade that swipes water and grime from view.

In the hunt for a better way, Cadillac went full overcomplicated. I was researching a story on multiple carburetor setups and found a Hot Rod article about rebuilding a 1958 Eldorado 365-cubic-inch V-8, which—in addition to its short-stroke with big-bore and optional trio of Rochester carburetors—featured an oil pump that pulled double duty.  

A vacuum pump was cast into the oil pump. This meant the vacuum pump pulled a consistent pressure rather than the sporadic raw of the manifold port systems. Cadillac designed the crankshaft driven pump to pull 20 inches of vacuum at 3600 rpm, allowing the wiper to run a constant speed. The vane-type pump is housed in the oil pan and has hardline connections through a passageway in the block casting.

You learn something new every day.

1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham front 3/4
1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Mecum
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