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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
the cadillac cimarron has finally come of age. This small sport/luxury four-door sedan no longer looks like something left as an afterthought on cadillac's doorstep by general motors. And now, too, it has performance to match the european sport sedans gm considers its competition. Quite a neat trick - but it should be noted that it took more than three years to pull it off.

Based on the gm's j-car, the cimarron made its entrance in 1982 as the small car in the cadillac lineup. The rationale, at the time, went like this: If people are willing to spend lots of money on small upscale american car? The idea was sound - after all, everybody else eventually got into the act - and the original cimarron was certainly a worthwhile alternative. But it was never really taken seriously by those in its intended market. One of the big reasons was, nodoubt, that it was too closely associated with the chevy cavalier, which, in typical gm clone designing, it did resemble strongly.

This year's cimarron, however, finally looks like a cadillac - especially in front-end styling. The whole front end was stretched by almost five inches to accommodate the new optional v-6, which helps it get away from the stubby j-car look. The new cross-hatch grille, flush-mounted hood ornament and built- in foglamps help with the european look. The test car (supplied by daniels cadillac-bmw, 1327 tilghman st., allentown) also had the optional lower body accent molding that looks remarkably (coincidentally?) similar to the molding on the mercedes-benz. This, obviously, gave it an even stronger european sport sedan look.

http://articles.mcall.com/1985-05-04/news/2473560_1_cimarron-test-car-front-seats
lol!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
0-60 in just a shade over ten seconds!
 

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Great find. Interesting comments by the author. It seems, as in typical GM fashion (then and now), the sophomore effort was stronger and much more appealing than the initial product. One wonders: If Cadillac led off with what was the revised Cimarron in the first place, would it be the but of jokes all these years later?
 

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Ha-Ha! I had one of those. Only mine was an 84 with the 2.0L. I was in high school in the mid-90s and that was my ride. I thought I was the s#!t because I was the only kid at my school with a "luxury" car. Mine was maroon on maroon with a white vinyl roof. Looking back I see just how terrrible the car was but for my first car when I was a kid, it was damn near perfect.
 

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0-60 in just a shade over ten seconds!
Most of the diesel-powered European compact cars GMiers desire so much don't do better than that.
 

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Early 1980s was a tough era to be a car guy (or gal)

Easy to say now. Yet the early 80's was exactly the time I got seriously into cars. 0-60 times aside there was still much of interest to my 10-12 year old eyes.

It was a totally different era. Styling meant a lot. Interiors has color and elegance. Advances like 4 speed overdrive automatics were just starting to come online along with fuel injection on mainstream models, more aerodynamic styling, trip computers and onboard diagnostics. Each new year could be told apart from the last unlike today where many cars look the same for up to 5 years with nothing but color changes. Engines shuffled. V8's came and went and then came back again but with more power aka the 1982 Mustang GT and the HO 305 L69 F-bodies which was quite a revelation for 1983. You could buy coupes, station wagons, personal luxury coupes, many flavors of sedan including a real 6 passenger full size (something you can't buy with any amount of money today) and various trucks and off road capable vehicles.

If one wanted power in this era it was a simple small block Chevy, intake, carb and headers away for many cars or a worked 302 Ford or 318/360 Chrysler etc. Power was available it was just harder to come by stock from any given manufacturer. If anything the 1983 model year really started to see power making a comeback. The Olds Hurst with HO 307. The Monte SS with L69 305 V8. The turbo Buicks. The L69 equipped F-bodies with stick. The 302 HO 4BBL Mustangs and Capri's. Some of these were running mid to high 6 second 0-60 times even back then so not everything was turtle slow!
 

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I actually liked the look of the 1988 model year with the composite headlights. I think it was the best the designers could do with what they had to work with.



Maybe if they would have shoehorned in the 3.8L V6, and added the Caviler's Z24 suspension - A somewhat more redeemable car could have been produced.
 

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It's a fairly classic case of how important it is to differentiate a premium vehicle that shares some mechanical aspects with "lesser" vehicles. There are exceptions to this, such as the Escalade, but typically more thorough re-imaginings of the vehicles (Lexus ES, Nissan Maxima).

The Cimarron should've had a completely unique exterior and interior along with a V-6 standard, preferably a Cadillac-specific version. Maybe an I-4 could've been made standard, but it would've needed more power than either of the I-4s it had offered. Otherwise, with decent refinement and dynamics it just might have worked, along with some good marketing. The Catera, despite the reputation, was closer to what I think GM could have used in this segment (although I think with certain changes, could've actually been a next-gen Seville, but that's a lengthy discussion for another thread). But again the updates that the Euro original received, like the 5AT or updated interior were never given to the Catera to maintain its relevance. Luckily the CTS (aside from its interior) was a fine successor and finally got GM in the entry-luxury door.
 

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The test car's handling was aided even further by the optional Goodyear GT P205/60R14 tires mounted on 14-by 6-inch aluminum alloy wheels. (Standard are P195/70R13 tires on 13-by 5.5-inch aluminum alloy wheels.).
Rollin' on 13's, yo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's a fairly classic case of how important it is to differentiate a premium vehicle that shares some mechanical aspects with "lesser" vehicles. There are exceptions to this, such as the Escalade, but typically more thorough re-imaginings of the vehicles (Lexus ES, Nissan Maxima).

The Cimarron should've had a completely unique exterior and interior along with a V-6 standard, preferably a Cadillac-specific version. Maybe an I-4 could've been made standard, but it would've needed more power than either of the I-4s it had offered. Otherwise, with decent refinement and dynamics it just might have worked, along with some good marketing. The Catera, despite the reputation, was closer to what I think GM could have used in this segment (although I think with certain changes, could've actually been a next-gen Seville, but that's a lengthy discussion for another thread). But again the updates that the Euro original received, like the 5AT or updated interior were never given to the Catera to maintain its relevance. Luckily the CTS (aside from its interior) was a fine successor and finally got GM in the entry-luxury door.
If they had used styling cues from the Cimarron PPG, starting in 1985, and did the rest of the things you say, along with final refinements they did on the 87 and 88 models, history of this car may be very different.
 
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Much as it is mocked now, the car actually did get some decent reviews back then.

The performance matched or exceeded competitors, at least in acceleration. The interior was actually pretty contemporary, especially for a Cadillac. FWD wasn't looked down on as it is now; in fact, it was preferred by a lot of luxury car drivers because of concerns about winter weather.

I'm not defending it; the j-car should never have even been a Buick, let alone a Cadillac. But the attacks on it grew worse as time went by. People tend to judge old cars by modern standards.
 
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