Junkyard Find: 1983 Cadillac Cimarron D'Oro

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1983 cadillac cimarron doro

The very first car in my Down On The Street series was a Cadillac Cimarron d’Oro. That was 2007, and I didn’t see another Cimarron d’Oro until last weekend, when I spotted this car in an Oakland self-service wrecking yard.

A lot of folks will tell you that the Cimarron destroyed Cadillac’s prestige image, damage that took until this century to repair. Ate Up With Motor‘s Aaron Severson thinks the ’76 Seville was what torpedoed Cadillac, and I’m on board with those who believe that Cadillac’s pursuit of big sales numbers in the late 1960s and early 1970s— plus simple demographics as the Baby Boomers started buying smaller cars around that time— was the root of the problem. Anyway, the Cimarron was emblematic of a long downward spiral by GM’s luxury division, and the d’Oro package (with its gold emblems and grille) really does an excellent job of highlighting the fact that this car is a very, very thinly disguised Chevy Cavalier.

“The smaller dream.” Cadillac buyers didn’t want to dream small!

This isn’t the Iron Duke engine, which would have been too rough even for the Cadillac of Diminished Expectations, but it is the nearly-as-miserable Opel-designed 122 pushrod engine. Later Cimarrons could be had with the 2.8 liter (pushrod) V6.

Symphony Sound!

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  • MadHungarian MadHungarian on Sep 06, 2012

    One thing I never understood was why the Cimarron was based on the Cavalier and not on the Skyhawk/Firenza. Sure, the differences were minor, but people had accepted for a long time Cadillacs being closely related to a Buick or Olds (Electra/DeVille, Toronado/Eldorado). The Olds/Buick instrument panel, in the fully kitted out version with a full set of gauges in four round dials, was a lot more BMW-esque than the Cavalier dash. That, and the V6 option should have been available from the get-go. Would this have made the Cimarron a great car? No, of course not, but it would at least have created some impression that GM was trying.

  • 84Cressida 84Cressida on Sep 07, 2012

    I've seen just two of these in my life. The first was well over 5 years ago, and the 2nd was a few months ago. I laughed hysterically each time, just because it is one the worst cars to have ever disgraced these roads. The Cavaliers were junk enough, this thing took it to a new level. The execs behind this car hopefully live in shame.

  • MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
  • MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
  • Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
  • AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
  • Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.