Cadillac struck out with engines in the early 1980s. The V8-6-4 was a good idea in search of the engine management of the future. Despite a diesel-crazy public after a pair of fuel crises, General Motors had so botched the execution of its V8 diesel program that only recently have diesels from all brands been able to shake the severely damaged reputation. It was into this morass of dissatisfaction that General Motors pushed the HT4100 V8 in an attempt to stem the tide of failure.
The HT4100 was a lighter and smaller clean-sheet design built in a new highly-automated, computer-intensive plant. "When the engine works so well for you, it's no surprise," says this GM video, "we knew it would, and so did the computer." That's a shocking disparity compared to the real world experience of HT4100 owners. "We call it high technology, but we hope you'll call it just another pleasant Cadillac experience." The HT4100 was yet another example of GM's ability to engineer but not execute engine-wise, and it was the third failure for Cadillac within a very short timespan. Pleasant is far from what leaking, failing, iron-head, aluminum-block HT4100s were called.
Check out the video below, and remember that Cadillac's next attempt at atonement and a "pleasant experience" was the Cimarron. It's a good thing there's all this past experience for GM to reflect upon, so that it doesn't launch the 2.5-liter four-cylinder ATS with disastrous results or completely alienate the premium European buyers it seeks. Let's hope they're paying attention in history class.