- Jan 30, 2007
Future Classic: Cadillac Cimarron
It seems that our Future Classics posts have spurred readers into dreaming up their own nominees. This time around, our Future Classic post was written by Autoblog guest writer Derek Kreindler. We know our choices are often offbeat, but Derek has taken a dive off the deep end. The piece has been edited by Autoblog staff for grammar, spelling and general spunkiness.
Who Killed The Entry Level Caddy? (By Derek Kreindler)
In the history of the automobile, there have been many cars inexplicably authorized for sale: the homely Edsel, firey Pinto, and who could forget the TC by Maserati, synonymous with "unholy alliance"? There is one car, however, that is met with sneers, jeers and other remarks so disparaging they would make a French waiter blush with embarrassment. That car is the Cadillac Cimarron.
In the post-oil crisis era, Detroit released such sexually arousing automobiles as the Chevy Vega, Mustang II, and the Dodge Omni (the official car of 40-year-old males living in their parents' basement and drooling over Princess Leia in Star Wars bikini garb). GM decided the Arms Race of Inadequacy was reaching critical mass. It was decided that Cadillac, in an effort to draw customers from the "yuppie" market, would release its own version of GM's new and exciting J-Car. What began as a noble effort to bring luxury to the bourgeoisie ended as an automotive abortion, sending Cadillac shuffling back to the retirement home, catheter trailing behind.
The year was 1982. Hip-hop was just invading the suburbs, Ghandhi and E.T. were in theaters, and Cadillac roared into effete locales with the brand new "European-inspired" Cimarron. Powered by a carbureted 1.8L 4-cylinder featuring the power and refinement of a two-stroke Toro, enthusiasts longed for something a bit more sophisticated, like the Iron Duke. Inside, the third-rate drive train was complemented by a generous helping of leather(ette), wood (grain imitation trim), and Cadillac badges glued on in place of the more proletarian brands. When equipped with whitewall Uniroyals the car screamed "klassy" louder than Tonya Harding modeling the Sears Activewear catalog.
The Cimarron was not warmly received by the car-buying public. Over the years, a series of upgrades were carried out to make the car more palatable. These consisted of a mild facelift to erase any lingering notions of rental cars, a 2.8L V6, and a so-called "touring suspension" from OEM supplier Jet-Puffed. None of this stopped the car from being total crap, rejected by even the most ostentatious of the new money set. The Cimarron visited Dr. Kevorkian in 1988, six years past due.
The automotive world has since expunged this hack job from its collective memory. When queried about the history and the ultimate fate of the Cimarron, GM reps kindly ask one to never mention its name again, and offer generous healthcare and pension packages to incentivize vacating the premises of the Renaissance Center.
After the Cimmaron was stricken from the record books, GM rounded up nearly all examples in existence and crushed them unceremoniously at its Arizona proving ground. Actually, we have no proof of that, although we have heard the little buggers were prone to catching on fire... or maybe we heard that people were prone to setting them on fire. Either way, the vacant hole left by the Cimarron's demise wasn't filled until the Catera, the Caddy that zigged, arrived in 1997. Then, it wasn't until 2003 that Cadillac actually learned how to produce an entry-level luxury model people wanted to buy with the CTS. Can you imagine that this counts this as one of its kindred ancestors?