Junkyard Find: 1997 Cadillac Catera

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1997 cadillac catera

After not seeing a single Catera on the street for several years, I ran into this ’98 Catera in a Denver wrecking yard over the winter. That’s the last time I’ll see one of those, I thought, but then a 24 Hours of LeMons team raced a Catera in South Carolina (as the ill-advised result of all my demands for a LeMons Catera). That Cadillac failed spectacularly, of course… and now here’s another Catera in a Denver junkyard!

The only remnant of the “Caddy That Zigs” campaign that survives today is the simplified Cadillac emblem. You know, because kids these days don’t have the attention span to take in a really complex emblem— they just like the ducks!

I prefer the version of Ziggy the Duck that was painted on the hood of the Team Douchebags That Zig race car.

This Catera made it to 139,347 miles, which comes to nearly 10,000 miles per year of life.

Because Broncos fans hate the Raiders, the Raider Nation decals on this no-doubt-imported-from-California Cadillac have been scratched out.

Where did GM find this leather that looks and feels so much like thick vinyl?

Car writers back in the late 1990s really wanted to like this car, but it just wasn’t happening. Opel products (other than the Chevette) have just never done well in North America.

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  • And003 And003 on Nov 13, 2012

    Years ago, I came across an article in a GM Performance magazine about someone who owned a Catera powered by a Corvette V8. The installation wasn't easy, but it worked. I wonder ... why didn't GM think of that?

    • See 1 previous
    • SomewhereDownUnder SomewhereDownUnder on Nov 22, 2012

      @doctor olds Every generation of Holden Commodore has been avaliable with a V8.

  • Laserwizard Laserwizard on Feb 18, 2016

    Ugh. Cadihack Crapterra. Nuff said.

  • 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.