Junkyard Find: 1988 Cadillac Coupe De Ville GT

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1988 cadillac coupe de ville gt

By the late 1980s, the Coupe de Ville had become a not-so-imposing front-wheel-drive machine, sharing the C-body platform used by the Buick Park Avenue and Olds 98. GM had squeezed much of the remaining value out of the Cadillac name by that point, and the average age of the World War II vets who aspired to Cadillac ownership had crept up to close to 70. We don’t really notice these cars today, though quite a few are still on the road, but this one caught my eye because it is a very rare GT version.

As we can see in the 1988 ad above, GM was desperate to woo some younger buyers to the marque. As the 1980s ground on, conspicuous greed became increasingly fashionable, so the marketers imagined that successful American 30-somethings would drive to the polo championship in shiny new Coupe de Villes instead of those damn German cars. Hey, if they want something European, there’s always the Allanté!

These things weren’t bad to drive, but they just didn’t radiate luxury the way their predecessors did. It took Cadillac a long time to come back from the dark days of, say, 1972 until the Escalade Era.

I didn’t see any Landau emblems, but the padded vinyl landau roof is in full effect.

Cadillac never made a factory Coupe de Ville GT, of course; this one boasts some enhancements added by what I assume was its final owner.

The pinstripe decals on the marker lights were likely applied by the same owner.

The HT4100 V8 engine gets a bad rap, but the half-dozen or so we’ve seen in 24 Hours of LeMons racing have been very reliable. Perhaps the problem with this engine on the street is the lack of cornering G forces to massage the engine oil properly.

I may have to go back and buy these crypto-opera interior lights for my van.

170,125 miles on the clock, which was pretty good for a late-80s GM product.

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  • RatherhaveaBuick RatherhaveaBuick on Feb 01, 2013

    The 80s weren't a good time for Caddys. I love the early 80s Devilles, Broughams and Eldos but the engines were supposedly really unreliable. I think this generation Deville is one of the worst Caddys, as it looks like a slightly shorter version of a Park Avenue of the same vintage, which, due to some design elements, was a much easier car on the eyes. These Devilles look shortened and stubby because of GM's whole downsizing effort at the time. Same with 86 Eldorado restyling. At least the 98s and Electras of those years seemed proportional. Cadillac fixed it with the 89-93 Devilles though, as those are much nicer looking. Broughams will always be the best of that time period though.

  • And003 And003 on Feb 18, 2013

    I could see this Caddy getting a V-Series restomod treatment, perhaps something along the lines of what Jay Leno did to his 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado.

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