By on March 11, 2015

14 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Eldorado got downsized for the 1986 model year, as part of GM’s doomed 1980s efforts to beat Mercedes-Benz and BMW (which included such interesting-but-deeply-flawed money-losers-with-vaguely-European-sounding-names as the Cadillac Allanté, Buick Reatta, and Olds Troféo), and of course you could get this car with the tufted-button upholstery and padded roof that made it a Biarritz. Not many of these cars were sold in 1989, so today’s Junkyard Find is another one of those rare-but-not-so-valuable ones.
24 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe price of a base ’89 Eldorado Biarritz with leather seats was $30,240, which comes to about 57 grand in 2015 dollars. A BMW 525i listed at $37,000 and the Mercedes-Benz 280E was $39,200, so any car shopper who felt the Eldorado Biarritz measured up to those two machines was getting a good deal with the Cadillac (though the ’89 Acura Legend LS coupe was a mere $28,377).
05 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSans-serif fonts make cars look more European, right? Right?
18 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe can make fun of these cars now, but the ride on these cushy seats was very comfy.
11 - 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 4.5 liter version of the HT4100 V8 wasn’t quite as sophisticated as the luxury-car powerplants coming from across the oceans in 1989, but at least it wasn’t a Buick V6.


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183 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz...”


  • avatar
    nels0300

    Ewww!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Says the Camry owner.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        BAHAHA

        Nels, 28 don’t got time for no Cadillac negativity.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          @Corey

          Always with the negative waves Moriarty, ALWAYS with the negative waves!

          DW provides all of the Cadillac realism we’ll ever need

          #FailGreatly

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            The bridge’ll be there, and it’ll be a muthabeautiful bridge.

            On the other hand, I’m kinda with him on the eww on this particular era, and I’ve never liked Giant Coupes that didn’t have a star on their hood.

            (For some reason I cannot comprehend, I can tolerate them just fine from Daimler.

            560SEC? Sure! CL55? Awesome!

            Well, not this current generation, but typically…)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            My dealer had an SEC back in the day, oh my did I like that car. Problem was, it was a gas guzzling POS by the time we got it (I think it was an MY86 and this was in 2005.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Two wonderful Kelly’s Heroes references!
            You guys are the best.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        Well, ya got me. I’m not the biggest fan of the looks/interior, but through the process of elimination, I had to get one.

        Didn’t want a CVT, direct injection, rust, VCM, or GM, so here I am with a Camry.

        I will say, I think with the 2GR-FE it has the best powertrain available in the midsize family sedan class.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Don’t get me wrong you made an excellent choice of car for the reasons you cited, its just the Camry styling has been a little yuck to me since XV30. This E-body can’t hold a candle to Camry of the period except in maybe rustproofing and crash test, the 3800 E-body could count rustproofing, crash, and equally durable powertrain (but that’s it).

          • 0 avatar
            nels0300

            I’ve never been a fan of the styling of any generation Camry.

            Have two kids, a wife and a mortgage though, so the left brain dominated this purchase decision. I threw the right brain a bone by getting the V6, and the 14 second @ 100mph 1/4 that comes with it though. ;)

            I really don’t like the 2015 refresh, so if this one was wrecked, I don’t know what I’d get.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            V6? Impressive.

            Many folks opt for the Accord in lieu of Camry, but as you pointed out CVT (unless a manual is in order).

            “I really don’t like the 2015 refresh, so if this one was wrecked, I don’t know what I’d get.”

            I am in the same boat. Nothing *rational* interests me at all in a future purchase, outside of MY12+ Mustang, MY95+ Lexus, or a pickup truck of some variety.

  • avatar

    Very nice car. I really like this for what it is. I also like good examples of simple modernism too. These things aren´t exclusive and I am sorry that today there is so much less diversity in the market. That´s the outcone of so many people insisting on sneering at deviations from the norm – impressive – that Mercedes and BMW created.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Sorry but I do like that blue tufted ‘leather’ seating. And check out how well it has held up.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I also miss the comfy seats of back then. Like traveling in your sofa but not all that great in a car that can corner hard.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yep makes me want to steal those seats and make chairs out of em. Looks like it just some heavy duty leather treatment away from beauty.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Old peoples backs must work differently from mine. Or more likely, most people have never actually had a car with decent seats. Because while this sort of thing feels great on the test drive around town, after 3-4hrs the back pain will become unbearable. In almost anything German, Swedish, or French you will be fine all day, even if it feels like a park bench on the test drive. The French actually managed to make SOFT seats that were all-day supportive as well.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Provided, of course, that the French car in question could actually run all day, let alone until the driver reached his or her destination, which was definitely an iffy proposition during the time when this Eldorado was built.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @geeber

          Funny, I owned 6 (3 504s, 3 505s) Peugeots of roughly the era of this Cadillac, and none of them ever got towed for any reason. Several of them made 1000+ mile round trips to DC with no issues ever. 3 of them are still on the road too that I know of. 2 definitely are not, not sure of the last one, wouldn’t surprise me if it is though, it was a 504D. Tinworm got the two that I know were scrapped, not mechanical issues, they ran like tops when scrapped.

          How many French cars have YOU owned, exactly?

          • 0 avatar
            honda_lawn_art

            You owned 6 Peugeots? I’ve never even seen 6 Peugeots.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            If you had lived in Portland, Maine in the ’80s to early ’00s you would have seen that many on a daily basis, at a minimum. Not uncommon cars here at all really. Little Maine actually had three dealers through the ’80s, probably the most per capita in the country. But this is European car country in general.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I just talked about Portland, Maine last night at dinner. An insurance representative said he was surprised how courteous people there were to pedestrians. He noted cars stopped on the main road right downtown so he and his kids could cross safely.

            That town is also a hub for disability insurance.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @CoreyDL

            That’s because if you don’t stop for pedestrians, you have a sporting chance of getting a $200+ ticket for it. And Portland cops are generally pretty bored, so they are happy for something to do.

            Yes, there are a couple big disability insurers here, UNUM/Provident being the really big one. Tourism is the #1 industry though – hence the pedestrian thing. We know where our bread is buttered, even if we actually wish they would just leave their money and go home!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Portland, ME sounds like an ok place!

        • 0 avatar
          CaddyDaddy

          +1

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        Well, my wife’s 2008 Mercedes ML550 had seats that must have been designed by the Marquis De Sade (well, he was European!). I’ve owned over 50 cars in my lifetime (American, European, and Asian), and I never had one with seats that made you slouch, like this ML’s did. Good riddance. We now own a Grand Cherokee with seats that seem like something out of Herman Miller in comparison. Yes, there are some European makes that do feature some outstanding seats in their vehicles, but that does not automatically mean you get that from all of of them. And don’t get me started on their wretched imitation leather.

        I actually sold Cadillacs of this vintage. Those seats weren’t bad at all, when you realized what they were built for – a boulevard cruiser. Had they been made for a BMW M3 (or, say, a Camaro or Corvette), then they absolutely would have been inadequate. But for that Cadillac’s intended demographic, they worked.

        • 0 avatar
          cimarron typeR

          I bought a used 08 ML350,specifically for the comfort of the seats haha. Everyone’s built a lil different.

          • 0 avatar
            Roberto Esponja

            My wife’s ML550 had the cheap MB-Tex seats. M0ron dealer ordered the vehicle loaded up but chose not to upgrade the interior, go figure. Are your ML350’s seats the real leather ones? They may be better configured.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Beat me to it about the seats. Big couch cushiony looking things that impress on a test drive… no thanks, I’d rather stick with Volvo seats of the same vintage.

        When people say that such-and-such seats were comfortable for a long drive, I wonder what constitutes a “long” drive? Because Volvo’s seats were comfortable for 12-18 hour drives. JMHO.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    All that Cadillac faux-luxury and styling cliche’ stuffed into one little car all topped off with a cheesy blue plastic dash. Pretty easy to understand what happened to Cadillac

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I don’t see anything wrong with this , did they sell well or not ? .

    Cadillac is a funny thing ~ either you ‘ get ‘ it or not .

    I don’t but I don’t think they’re bad , just not to my needs & wants .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I agree, Nate and I do “get” Cadillac, but this was the time that Cadillac stopped “getting” Cadillac and the people who “got” Cadillac stopped buying them

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The E-bodies suffered tremendously from the downsizing for MY86 in terms of sales (60% from MY85 to 86). The reasoning was:

        “News reports later indicated that GM had been led astray by a consultant’s prediction that gasoline would be at $3 per gallon in the U.S. by 1986, and that small luxury cars would be in demand. In fact, gasoline prices were less than half that. With a sales drop of 60%, seldom has any model experienced a more precipitous fall. Production was only about a fifth of what it had been just two years earlier.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_Eldorado

        The same predictions were made at Iaccoca’s Chrysler, which is one of the reasons the K-car got turned into a semi-luxury ride in the form of New Yorker for I think MY84. In 1980/81, the Detroit soothsayers were predicting permanently high gasoline prices, which is partially one of the reasons GM went bats**t crazy and dropped a FWD intended 4100 into its D-body boats in MY82 (CAFE being the other primary reason). I honestly don’t know why Ford continued on with what were essentially pre-Iranian crisis type models, perhaps it had money issues and could not afford to re-engineer its lineup in time.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Everything you say is true, but how come BMW and MB can build a small car that still feels every bit as luxurious as their big cars, but Cadillac couldn’t?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            GM never understood the “small car” and still doesn’t IMO since Opel and Daewoo to a lesser extent engineer all of the current crop of small cars. Given their size at the time, GM wanted to take its existing medium/large platforms and make them a bit smaller instead of actually engineering a true small luxury car, hence the new E-body. Saturn was their only serious attempt and I think they got about 80% of what the small car was supposed to be, but in the end it was a boondoggle in terms of costs to sales. The other thing you have to remember at the time was by 1990 SUVs were becoming en vogue which is probably were much of the attention internally went as opposed to new/better platforms to compete with zee Germans. E-body was a half-assed attempt to “be German” using I think a reworked C-platform, as was the later Northstar and Touring packages (although Ironically the Cadillac E-body became larger for MY92).

            Ford never understood the small car either (Tempo anyone?) essentially turning to Mazda and then its European operations for its small cars (eventually doing well with Focus after the Contour/Mystique disaster and a lackluster Escort). Chrysler got it with K-car, seems to have remembered with Neon, but then said frack it and used a shared Mitsu platform and now uses an Alfa for its small car offerings.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “GM never understood the “small car” and still doesn’t IMO”

            Exactly! GM has been building cars for close to a 100 years, it’s about time they “understood” how

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Whatever GM R&D is left in North America probably never will and doesn’t have too since they kept Opel. I’m sure I am in the minority but I always liked GM’s North American designed/influenced platforms dated as they may have been. I look at GM’s car line now and I see foreign cars. Why am I buying GM new/used when I could buy a Euro/Asian style/derived car from a better mfg?

          • 0 avatar

            Yeah, I’ve driven Mercedes and BMWs of similar vintage to this Cadillac and I’d take the Caddy any day of the week. Say what you want about road feel, but I’d rather have power mirrors.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @flybrian

            I agree, but our opinions don’t count because we aren’t normal.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @28-cars

            Opel and Daewoo are GM just as much as Chevy and Cadillac are GM. So I fail to see how you can say that GM doesn’t understand small cars – they just got smart enough to let the right folks in the company do the work. They make some pretty nice ones these days. The certainly made garbage many years ago though.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @krhodes1

            There is a difference between a “Detroit” school of design thinking and an international one. GM eventually leaned on its foreign divisions for small car design which is wise as you point out but the product produced is very similar to the import competition. This is great when you like the import competition, but when you don’t well…

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @28-cars-later

            The relative sales figures would seem to indicate that most Americans preferred the imported small car aesthetic over the American one. I doubt very many people walked into a Toyota dealer in the ’80s, bought a Corolla, and said to the salesman that they wished it had tufted velour upholstery and a vinyl half-roof. And some cheap plastic chrome and more fake bark than a forest. Maybe in Nebraska or Detroit or somewhere like that. Though the Japanese would sell you something like that in the 70s! The decade that taste forgot.

            My Grandmother would have LOVED this little Caddy. She sure loved that pimpmobile ’85 Olds 98 Regency Brougham they had until the day she stopped driving. But she is of a very different era.

            If you are anywhere near my age (IIRC you are actually a lot younger than me) and actually desire one of these faux-luxury barges, I have to think you are a little bit weird. But I can respect that, you like what you like. There is such a thing as kitschy-cool and ironic. It’s just not a modern business case. Heck I think the Germans are getting a little too blingy in the cabin these days. Waaaay too many silver highlights in the M235i. I would much prefer basic German matte black. And I may well do just that to my car. Miracles can be wrought with a little Plastidip and patience.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @khrhodes

            I am a bit weird old boy, but as much as I prefer the overall exterior aesthetic of these I do prefer a semi-modern interior. If I could get this Eldo in terms of powerplant, size, aesthetic, and overall proportion in something modern I’d be a happy camper (and no the “CTS” coupe doesn’t come close). Regarding whatever the Germans are doing today, you have more experience with their newer product than I do and are the better judge, I can assure you.

            I’m going on a limb here, but I think people bought to so called small car in this period simply because Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, and to a lesser extend Nissan, were building better cars than Detroit for the most part, not because they were “small”. Detroit could do some things right but by and large their offerings were lacking compared to the competition, so Gen X went for the competition. The rest is history.

          • 0 avatar

            A small car is what you buy when you can’t afford a big car. This is Detroit. We don’t have carbon, weight, size or displacement classes…

            Cars by the pound.

            Silly euros have engine taxes, tiny parking spaces…

            Murica ! FYeah !

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          Ford wasn’t far ahead of Chrysler in financial difficulties around 1980. They managed to scrape together enough cash to develop the Thunderbird, Ranger, and Taurus. Everything else was warmed-over late ’70s models, reskinned Mazdas, or captive imports.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            @ Lie2Me :

            I’m lucky (?) in that I grew up in the time of 1940’s & 1950’s Caddies being just good , cheap used cars .

            I spent much time in the early 1960’s riding in battered old ’51 ~ ’56 Caddy Limos , the long ones , most had divider windows and jump seats , ex Funeral Cars with those glorious massive chrome grilles and ” Dagmars ” out front .
            .
            I also love the style of the ” Sedanettes ” (Fast Back Coupe) from the late 1940’s but they had FleatHead engines and I really do not cotton to Fleaheads , not even ‘A’ Model Fords .
            .
            One of my dream cars would be a ’51 Coupe in powder blue…. Hydromatic Drive naturally , the AC in the trunk with those clear plastic tubes coming out the package tray…
            .
            Please define ‘ normal ‘ ’cause I am not yet convinced that’s what I aspire to be .

            -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Who said anything about “normal”? Normal sucks, don’t do it

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            @bumpy ii — You’re right about the financial difficulties, but wrong about the product. In ’80 the Panther platform was one year old, and the Fox was two — with the Thunderbird and Mustang both derived from the Fairmont. Escort was an all new platform in ’80 and formed the basis for Tempo in ’84.

            By 1984 they didn’t have a single passenger car running on a platform older than six years. Their only captive imports in the ’80s were the Merkurs, and they didn’t have anything Mazda-derived from the Ranger introduction to the Tracer in ’87.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            I was thinking in terms of development timelines: financial distress in 1980-82 would affect products coming out in 1984-87 or so. Ford did clean house in the late ’70s, and I was thinking the Thunderbird was its own platform for some reason.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    It’s almost unbelievable that shortly after this car, Toyota went from making tin cans to introducing the LS/SC 400. Compared to this Cadillac, the LS/SC may as well have been engineered and produced by some advanced alien species.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree, but park an immaculate ’92 SDV next to a ’92 LS400 and see which one gets more appreciative looks. Maybe I bought to heavily into the What-Upwardly-Mobile-White-People-Do motiff of the ‘Cadillac Style’ ads, but damnit if I don’t want one.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        Well, looks are subjective, and I do like the looks of a 92 SDV and the LS400.

        Looks aside, I appreciate the LS400 much more because it’s such an amazing story. It is a very noteworthy piece of automotive history.

        This is a vehicle from a manufacturer with comparatively VERY humble beginnings that radically raised the bar and put the entire automotive world on notice. The idea that Toyota could take on the Germans and wipe the floor with Cadillac and Lincoln was ludicrous and yet the LS400 WAS the “Standard of Excellence” that Cadillac wishes it was.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Depends on the neighborhood.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      The LS400 would seem less like an alien species to you if you examined the missing link: the Toyota Cressida. It was mid-sized, RWD, very cushy and solidly built. The LS was definitely three steps beyond it, but they could have come from the same maker other than the LS’s cleaner ersatz-Benz interior styling and neon gauges.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    O.M.G. Its got the E&G grille, the standard half roof, AND the gold package! Mmmmmmm. Words can’t describe how delicious this is despite being a bloated E-body with the dash layout I don’t like and the numerous GM issues of the time (the overall fuel system can be finicky). This is the car I drove in an alternate universe for high school and college.

    FTR I have a passenger bucket seat which looks identical to this as a chair in my bedroom (although it came from a MY89 Seville).

    “wasn’t quite as sophisticated as the luxury-car powerplants coming from across the oceans in 1989, but at least it wasn’t a Buick V6”

    I wish it was the Buick 3800, it would still be on the road and probably in my driveway (not that the 4.5 was a slouch but 3800 > 4.5/4.9).

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I had an ’86 Riviera with the 3800. The car fell apart around that engine, So, no you probably wouldn’t have one sitting in your driveway

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I had several Cadillacs of this period (inc an ’85 FWD C-body Coupe de Ville and an ’86 E-body Seville) and build quality was at least “m’eh” on all of them (electrics and motors were another story). I once purchased an ’89 Deville 4.5 parts car with 180 on the clock which had been running prior to transmission removal (dealer needed a trans real quick for a much cleaner car).

        I wouldn’t be surprised if MY86 overall had numerous issues though, traditional GM tends to frack up the first model year to year and half.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The upgraded 3800 didn’t exist until 1988. Before that it was just the Buick 3.8.

        And I have an ’89 Buick in the driveway right now which somehow has fewer issues then my 2014 Charger.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Those E&G grilles just say ghetto trash to me. Never liked em, they’re too chunky for the car.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Not feeling the love for the 3800. My folks Olds with that engine was a turd from day one. Never ran right, no power, lousy mileage. It never actually broke down, but that is not exactly a high standard…

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I can’t speak to your experience but given the competition of the time I can’t think of too many V6 motors better than the Series I 3800 (even at 165hp). Toyota’s VZ motors, and maybe Honda’s C series V6 family (but those seemed to guzzle gas IIRC). Chrysler didn’t have one in the 80s and then when they did it wasn’t as good (SOHC 3 litre family), Ford’s 3.8 was garbage and even when the Duratec 3.0 came out, the 3800 was still better. The Germans mostly ran inline six engines which weren’t as fuel efficient and Volvo, whose PRV V6 wasn’t anything to write home about, used mostly B23x I4s in the period.

        • 0 avatar
          dtremit

          The Ford 3.8 was a fine engine until you hit the self-destruct sequence at 100,000 miles. Minor drawback, that. Still, they got a lot out of it, particularly with the later split port versions.

          The obvious counterexample is the SHO V6, but that doesn’t really count.

          • 0 avatar
            Exfordtech

            3.8l Ford was a headgasket eating disaster. Killed the Taurus and Windstar. The split port versions incorporated multi layer steel head gaskets that fixed the issue but far too late to remedy the damage.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “My folks Olds with that engine was a turd from day one.”

        What year was their Oldsmobile?

        I’m sure they weren’t all perfect but if you have access to any automotive publications made between about ’88 and ’92 you can read that the 3800 was about the ONLY highly-regarded thing about American cars at the time (save the ZR1).

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’m wondering if his was a 3300, which used the same block but wasn’t the same motor (used in Olds Eighty Eight, Buick Lesabre, and other FWD A-bodies)

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I don’t think that the 3300 ever went into an H-body. It was only used in A and N bodies and if anything is even TOUGHER than the LN3.

            The H/C-bodies did offer a 3.0L Buick V6 and super rare 4.3L Olds diesel before the LN3 dropped.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            It’s a shame the 3300 wasn’t used in more cars. It would have been nice in the W body Cutlass Supreme, which I think only had the 3.1 60V6 or the 3.4 DOHC 60V6 as options. Of course, a 3800 fits perfectly so you can have a supercharged 3800 Cutlass Supreme convertible if you want one.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I think you’re right ajla, I must have my models mixed up.

            Maybe he had the 3.0L then, which I think was also offered in the N-body Somerset.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          An ’85. 98 Regency Brougham. An epic turd of a car in pretty much every way other than the fact that it did actually start and go every day. If there had been a lemon law back then it surely would have been bought back for the shuddering and shaking issues, it was in to the dealer a dozen times during the warranty period, then they just lived with it.

  • avatar
    Curt in WPG

    A friend’s parents had one of these and I agree – these were the most comfortable seats I have ever seen in a car. Would be the perfect vehicle for a long road trip.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    This was essentially a Seville coupe, right?

  • avatar

    What is cheesy about navy blue? It´s a conservative colour. I think we need to address the knee-jerk use of terms to describe style we don´t personally like. The end result of all this is that car interiors are incredibly uniform.

  • avatar
    Exfordtech

    I had an ’86 Riviera. I also had an ’86 LeSabre. Riviera was a great driving car, the 3.8 V6 was as reliable as anything, the CRT worked flawlessly, even provided significant on board diagnostic capability (it worked much like a modern day scan tool for all connected modules). Replaced a steering rack and a fuel pump, and only normal maintenance otherwise. LeSabre was a true six passenger vehicle, gobs of interior room and good gas mileage as well. I think it’s a shame those downsized FWD GM products were underappreciated.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      My Riviera was in the shop every week for something, even the headliner fell down after only two years, but I agree, I never had a problem with the engine or CRT

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      That generation of GM H-bodies are some of the most long-lived cars I can think of or have ever worked on. They really got them right. Most of the ones I cut my teeth on as a mechanic were replaced because they either rotted out or were plain out of fashion. Many, many examples with 200-300k miles that drove themselves to the scrapper.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    As much as I loathe GM, I really think these were sized right and were styled nicely. The fact they didn’t catch on does not lessen the overall intent here. Perhaps lower gas prices did not help them as gas was 99 cents a gallon in 89. I test drove a 92 Riv that is pretty much the same as this Eldo. It was tight, quick and had lots of room. What turned me off? Not the 100K miles on the clock, the fact that EVERYTHING was either leaking or was starting to leak.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      From 1990-1993, the Riv and Toronado had a newer body style, while the 92+ Eldorado did it’s own thing and got modernized, effectively killing off the other two. The Toronado for good, and the Riv died a couple years until it got huge in 95.

      • 0 avatar
        Halftruth

        You are correct. Those 92 Eldo’s were nice. I dug ’em.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        It seems that the ’95 Riv was a two-door Park Avenue, and the ’95 Aurora was the four-door successor to the Toronado.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’ve read it was meant as a Ninety Eight successor but you may be correct.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            The Aurora was originally designed as a successor to the Toronado. As Oldsmobile tried to become GM’s alternative to the imports, and abandoned its long-running model names, it became the replacement for both the Toronado and Ninety-Eight.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Oldsmobile tried to become GM’s alternative to the imports”

            I think this was also Saturn’s intention.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            AFAICT, the Aurora was a Toronado replacement in that it was Olds’s sportiest vehicle and built on the same platform as the Buick Riviera (a tradition dating back to 1966), and also a 98 replacement (and eventual 88 replacement) in that it was the full-size car. Olds was also GM’s hopeful competitor against the new Japanese luxury brands, while Saturn was meant to compete with Toyota and Honda. Both were unsuccessful.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Ahh the Biarritz. Tufted luxury with Oldsmobile sans serif – makes sense! I always thought these were alright, though I would avoid the 4.5 in favor of a later 4.9. Never liked the satchel pockets on the back, they’re so out of place. They got rid of them for the STS version though, and added more wood slabs.

    http://autosofinterest.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/1988-Cadillac-STS-brochure-2-3-4.jpg

    Sporty!

    If I was doing a coupe at this time, I’d of gone for the much more stylin Trofeo with all the digitalness and 3800.

    http://home.comcast.net/~corey.sciuto/images/89trofeo.jpg

    I mean come on, rear light strip and flip up headlamps.

    I don’t think those were the standard wheels on this car in 89. They look like they came off a bit newer DeVille. Those center caps weren’t colored in at this time, right?

    Also:

    By far the most rare Eldorado of this time period is the ETC version, of which I’ve only seen one (for sale on Craigs not too long ago).

    http://startinggrid.org/2013/05/12/street-parked-eldorado-touring-coupe/

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      4.9 > 4.5 but they are essentially the same motor. Stay north of about mid CY1988 for a build date and you’re fine (from a motor perspective, you should probably seek professional help though).

      Many moons ago I was desperaly trying to source a mechanic to replace the 4100 in my clean MY85 Coupe de Ville with a 3800 (which theoretically was possible). Every grungy mechanic I talked too essentially said F that noise, those cars were junk new and are junk now (the 4100s).

      Ah, youth.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Always just seems like there are so many MORE 4.9’s around. How was the 80s-92 Fleetwood Brougham 5.4(?)?

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          The Olds 307? Its reliable, but sluggish.

          90-92 Bro-hams had the TBI 305 or 350. Much better.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          D-body ran:

          6.0L? Cadillac 368 MY80-81
          4.1L 4100 MY82-85?
          5.0L Olds 307 MY86-89
          5.0L Chevy 305 TBI MY90-92
          5.7L Chevy 350 TBI, optional MY90-92

          If I had to guess, the Olds 307 will be the most plentiful, but it kinda sucks (its also carb’d). The 350 is probably the best overall buy, but good luck finding one.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    The Allante was more of an Eldorado than this heap.

    If I’m gonna buy a 86-93 FWD Caddy, make mine a 4.9 Fleetwood.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Allante is an E-body, so yes you are correct.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I thought the Allante was a K body…

        Well, no matter what it was, it was a great looking car unfortunately hamstrung by poor engines.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Nope, E-body. K-body didn’t come out until MY94. The Allante got 4.5 for I think MY88 (or 89 for sure), but it suffered from a host of other issues. If you’re gonna go for oddball E-body, make it Reatta (but make sure the pop up headlamps either work or are already up).

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Well I’ve seen more Reattas than Allantes…but the Allantes always seem to be either restored or immaculately maintained.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I imagine the only Allantes left will be of the 4.5 variety or as you as immaculately maintained Northstars or 4100s.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            The ones I’ve seen for sale are definitely 4.5 and Northstar cars, yeah.

            I was surprised to discover that 1993 was actually the Allante’s best sales year…

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I REALLY WANTED to like this car…but there was just so much wrong with it. The concept here was radically off.

  • avatar
    dtremit

    I can’t find base MSRP information, but a Mark VII *LSC* stickered for almost $2k less than this in ’89. Not much surprise that no one bought the Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Heh, if it were 1993, I’d be buying the Lincoln too. Of course, hindsight hasn’t been kind to the Northstar so the 32V 4.6 kinda wins by default, and then you have that solid chassis underneath with rear wheel drive…

      • 0 avatar
        anti121hero

        Mark vii would have a 302

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I think he’s referring to Mark VIII when he mentions 1993.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Yeah. Mark VIII with RWD, a great chassis with 4 wheel disks and 4 wheel independent suspension, and a 32V V8 that doesn’t self-destruct at nearly the same rate. The Eldorado only has one edge for me: looks.

            I just can’t get into the Mk VIII’s looks…especially the later models with the even uglier grille.

    • 0 avatar
      Exfordtech

      The 32 valve 4.6l Ford engines are very reliable in my experience. Easy 200k mile motors, even the FWD intechs on the Continentals (but the AX4N ruins those).

  • avatar
    Marko

    These cars always reminded me of a penguin, especially the two-tone models.

    On a related note, yesterday, I saw an early-mid 1990s Sixty Special coupe with the tacked-on fender skirts. It reminded me of the similarly skirted Ford Foci in that terrible Cat in the Hat movie with Mike Myers.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I believe those were only made for 1993, as the new larger DeVille was coming, and the other small FWD models were dying out.

      Fender skirts standard on the Sixty-S, and Euro seat package optional for $3000 or something ridic. They looked good with the fender flares, sport alloys, Euro seats, and no landau.

      Correction: Sixty Special available 87-93. But you very rarely see them, and almost never the final revised version, which was called the “Fleetwood Sixty Special,” and was for 1993 only.

      That’s the one I want.

      Production was extremely limited:
      1989: 2,007
      1990: 1,817
      1992: 554

      1993: 5,286 (686 of these with Euro seats – the “Ultra” interior).

      3 Mary Kay Pink / 59 Dark Plum / 110 Light Sapphire Blue / 206 Slate-Bronze / 220 Academy Gray / 228 Carmine Red / 250 Platinum / 310 Sapphire Firemist Blue / 326 Taupe / 445 Royal Maroon / 477 Light Beige / 518 Slate Green / 578 Black / 707 Navy Blue / 849 White

      • 0 avatar
        Marko

        Now I realize it was probably just a Fleetwood Coupe…only one 1993 Sixty Special coupe was ever built. But this one WAS Royal Maroon like said one-off, so you never know!

        Yes, as you pointed out, the color and trim make a HUGE difference in the appearance of these Cadillacs.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I learned something

          “A 1993 Sixty Special Coupe was planned, and is referred to in the “Advance Preview Book” (a supplement that Cadillac dealer’s received in July 1992 offering information about the upcoming 1993 model year). However, by September 12 of that year, the coupe was dropped from production after just one model was built (in Royal Maroon Metallic)”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_Sixty_Special

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    Last Monday Copart in San Diego sold a 1990 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance (originally Fleetwood Brougham in previous years) for $2,750. It had the 5.7 V8, 52,000 miles, light antelope in color and was a donated vehicle. One owner since 1990 and originally had disabled plates.
    The couple I bought my 1966 Toronado from in 1994 had a 1986 Eldorado in the light yellow color. They loved the car and it lasted over twenty years with just regular maintenance.
    These days when you see the downsized GM luxury coupes they look “right-sized”, for the times. Roger Smith’s wife liked the smaller luxury cars in Europe in the early 1980s so the bean counter determined Americans would also.

  • avatar
    Nigel

    I drove a hand me down ’90 Biarritz with the gold trim package in the mid-90s. Dad bought it new. I completely looked out of place in the thing. It had a great ride. The ’90 HT engine got a power bump so it was a decent highway passer for the time. I recall was in the snow the thing would not slid or get bogged down. It could power through anything. It actually was decent on gas. When it hit 140K and it left me on the side of the highway three times in six months I traded it in for a Jetta.

  • avatar
    shadow mozes

    True American luxury! Not like the ugly cramped psuedo-cadillacs they are making these days.

  • avatar

    I want that back seat cover. Gorgeous quilted blue leather with embossed or embroidered Cadillac wreaths. I registered Cadillacleather.com and I’m trying to find a sewer who will take the leather I salvage (or is the au courant term “upcycle”?) from junkyard Cadillacs and sew it into wallets and guitar straps.

    Anyone got a phrase that’s sort of like “cruelty free” that I can use to describe how we aren’t killing any more cows to make the items?

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    I really like this car, so you can all cram it.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    An example of a Caddy that alienated just about everyone when new. They did eventually find their buyers in the low level high school drug-dealer demographic.

    This was the generation where my grandfather switched from Cadillac to Lincoln for his bi-annual new car selection.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Ronnie Said : ”
    Anyone got a phrase that’s sort of like “cruelty free” that I can use to describe how we aren’t killing any more cows to make the items? ”

    How about ‘ Junk Yard Fresh ! ‘ ? .

    =8-) .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    mcs

    Somewhat off-topic, but still in the GM 1980’s realm. You won’t believe what I saw live in the flesh today! A Chevy Citation 4 door hatchback I thought they had rusted away into oblivion. It was on a movie set for a new DeNiro/Jen Lawrence/Bradley Cooper movie. Didn’t have my camera handy, so I couldn’t get a picture. I don’t think it’ll be there tomorrow. I may have other opportunities.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      You’re a true member of the B&B if you can get more excited about a Chevy Citation than possibly getting a glimpse of DeNiro, Lawrence and Cooper.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        Last year I was out for a drive and in a small town in eastern Ontario I saw this guy had a collection of unloved turds from this era. He had a Citation, a Vega, a Pinto and something else I forget. Maybe a Chevette? All in pretty decent shape. I still wish I’d stopped to get a picture.

  • avatar
    Kevin Jaeger

    Just say no to transverse-mounted FWD V8s. That’s a brain damaged layout to begin with.

    Other than GM who else has ever tried this? There’s so much comprised to begin with – torque steer, chassis weight distribution, access for maintenance, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Andrew T.

      Ford did this with the 1995 Continental and 1996 Taurus SHO.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        I forgot about the SHO. I could sort of understand a special edition performance version of a regular sedan.

        I didn’t know Lincoln ever had a transvere V8, though. I suspect they concluded it was a bad idea, too.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          GM did this not only with the Northstar and prior Cadillac engines, but also made a FWD transverse LS V8 package for the W body cars in the mid-2000s. Those LS4 cars are fun in a ridiculous way.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The S80 and XC90 also did a transverse V8 although those did have a FWD-based AWD system.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Ford did it, also Volvo. Given the technology of the period, I don’t think it was brain damaged per se.

      I recall reading torque steer wasn’t much of an issue with FWD until roughly 280hp. The 4.5L V8 in this Cadillac put out 165bhp or thereabouts, and its successor the 4.9 200bhp. Granted a supercharged 3800 exceeds the 200bhp spec, but this motor didn’t come out until MY96, and the 4.5 above came out in MY88 (and the 4.x motor was under development in 1981).

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        I used to work with a guy who would brag about his Cadillac. Said “that Northstar is so powerful it’ll rip the steering wheel right out of your hands”. I managed not to say “you’re an idiot” but it took some effort.

        I realize this car is not a Northstar and it likely was much less of an issue.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      Here’s a real FF V8 oddball for you.

      The 1999 Mitsubishi Proudia, which was lent to Hyundai as the first Equus.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_Proudia

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        Woah – now I want one of those.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Good find, evidently Mitsu build a nice looking FWD luxury car and it sold under 1500 copies.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I saw 50 thousand of these in Korea as the Equus, a very successful model for Hyundai indeed. I always thought they were RWD though, since the car was so damn large. Much too big to be FWD! Some of them even have a big 5.0 V8.

          Even more rare than this was the LWB version of the Proudia, the Dignity.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_Dignity#Series_S43A_.281999-2001.29

          Because there were LITERALLY 48 sold.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    The thing that really bothered me about any 80s-early 90s GM cars was that the two doors felt like the doors weighed 1000 lbs each and the door hinges were made out of paper clips. So you open the door and the door drops down and you have to slam the hell out of it to get the door to close properly. It really made the cars feel like junk. Just compare a fox body Mustang vs an 80s F-body. The Mustang just felt MUCH better built, not to mention that most V8 F-bodies had that turd 305 vs the solid 302 in the Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      God, I know all about that. My Skylark was a FWD compact car and its doors felt just as heavy as the ones on my Thunderbird…despite the Thunderbird being a much larger car in every metric.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The F-body was not well built and the N-body is a horror show but do an annual count of how many ’86-’94 Taurus/Sable/Continental/Tempo/Topaz examples you see these days versus same year H/C and A bodies.

      And the Chrysler FWD cars of that era have nearly disappeared from the earth.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I saw one Taurus-based Continental recently! One!

        The double indemnity of an engine that blows head gaskets by 100k and a transmission notorious for failure kinda kills ’em dead, I feel…

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        I live in Minnesota, so I don’t really see too many 80s cars period, the salt has long destroyed them.
        Although when I do see them, looking like a frame with tires, they’re always in the toll/car pool lane, with nobody but the driver and no toll transmitter, when the toll is $8, and the car is worth $3.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I made a similar comment on here a while back (referring to the later Eldorados), nels.

      At that time, I was thoroughly yelled at, by someone who said that people didn’t “maintain the door hinges correctly.” And if they had done so, “then the doors wouldn’t sag.” So it’s the users fault, for not lubricating, tightening, and otherwise inspecting their door hinges regularly.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I thought it was ridiculous, but the owner’s manual on my Allante and Bonneville actually did include a section on hinge maintenance.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Are you serious? So your telling me that a hinge that has to move open and closed several to many times a day for the life of the car, exposed to rain, moisture, road salt and eventual wear should NEVER need any type of lubrication? I suppose that is why I open the doors on older model Lexus’s, Infinities, Mercedes, Kia Amanti’s, Lincolns and numerous other offerings that creak, groan and are hard to pull open or shut. Any moving part that takes loads of stress that is exposed to the elements like this will eventually need lubrication. Don’t tell your story to a service station because they will laugh you right out of the shop.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Lol, you made me laugh listing a Kia Amanti on a list with any of those other things.

          Lubrication of a hinge yes, put some WD-40 on there – whatever other maintenance you had to do to those GM ones, no.

          You really get entirely too worked up over hinge discussions.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            No, don’t put WD-40 on there, use oil instead. Use LPS, use motor oil, use transmission fluid, heck, use sewing machine oil.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I now remember using my dad’s old metal oil can with whatever kind of oil comes in those (heavy machine oil?).

            What’s wrong with the WD?

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            WD-40 is *barely* a lubricant, and certainly not intended for anything that sees any sort of stress. The correct lubricant is usually one of the greases that goes in as a liquid for penetration then sets up into a grease. Wurth makes a great one. WD-40 was intended as a water displacing spray initially. Just about anything would be better in a hinge, unless you are applying it almost every day.

            And lubricating the hinges is one of those things that is supposed to be done at every service that usually isn’t. Right up there with clearing the various drain holes in the car.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      I just opened the door of a 1989 Mustang the other day that was just taken out of storage and it’s driver’s door creaked open and must have dropped almost a half an inch and was darn near impossible to close with slamming it. This was a problem on many 2 door car’s during this time period, especially if you didn’t follow the maintenance schedule and lubricate them. Yes the F-body’s were hardly the best built cars but neither were the tinny and cheaply constructed Mustangs. The 305 was hardly a turd. Some 70’s 305’s came out with soft cams and valve guide seal issues. The mid 80’s port injected 305’s were powerful long lasting engines that I have seen countless examples with 200K plus miles that run as new so that is a ridiculous statement.

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