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Nicola Bulgari adds last Cadillac DTS to collection

The Cadillac DTS, first introduced in 2006, saw its short history end this week when the last one rolled off the line at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant. But this sedan is no orphan as it has found a home in the prestigious collection of Nicola Bulgari.

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Bulgari, an avid car collector and vice chairman of the Bulgari luxury goods firm, knows his cars because he selected the Cadillac DTS for his collection because of the Northstar V-8 engine under its hood. “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.”

My first exposure to the smooth potency of the Northstar V8 came in 2006 at a GM media day in Westchester County, N.Y. The DTS I piloted had no trouble keeping up on straightaways with Corvettes. Sure they lost me in the turns with superior handling but they had little if any advantage over me otherwise.

Here's the rest of the announcement from Cadillac about Bulgari and his purchase:

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.”

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