Junkyard Find: 1997 Cadillac Catera

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

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.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

More by Murilee Martin

Join the conversation
4 of 73 comments
  • 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.

  • Golden2husky Have to say he did an excellent job on the C7, especially considering the limited budget he was given. I am very happy with my purchase.
  • Marty The problem isn't range; it's lack of electricity in multi-unit building parking. All you need is level 1 - a standard 120v wall socket - and if you're plugged in 10 hours overnight you get 280 miles per week or more. That's enough for most folks but you can use public charging to supplement when needed. Installing conduit circuits and outlets is simple and cheap; no charge stations needed.
  • 2manyvettes Tadge was at the Corvette Corral at the Rolex 24 hour sports car race at the end of January 2023. During the Q&A after his remarks someone stood up and told him "I will never buy an electric Corvette." His response? "I will never sell you an electric Corvette." Take that Fwiw.
  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon