This is not the absolute worst Cadillac ever to grace the planet earth. No; the earlier 1.8-liter Cimarron is still at large and evading (photographic) capture. However, for the moment let’s consider this mint example that showed up on eBay which solves one of the biggest problems the Cimarron ever had. Its price.
Although the J-cars eventually became adequate cheap transportation, they had a very poor start out of the gate. In a classic case of GM hubris, they thought the Cavalier (and siblings) was going to be a genuine Accord-fighter. Not. Perhaps they really weren’t much worse than say, an early Aries, but GM had to quickly shift the content level, as the earliest ones to hit the dealers were very weak sellers with overly ambitious price tags. Average prices dropped, and for the rest of the Cavalier’s long life, it was sold on its Walmart price. So much for being an Accord fighter.
Due to the second energy crisis and desperate dealers, Cadillac’s General Manager decided Cadillac just had to have a J car too, with less than a year before the introduction. One to take on the established European premium imports, most of all the BMW 3 Series. GM’s president, Pete Estes, warned Kennard, “Ed, you don’t have time to turn the J-car into a Cadillac.” True that.
The Cimarron turned out just to be a slightly dolled up Cavalier, with a different grille,taillights, some brightwork, and a leather interior. Just about everything else was pure Cavalier, including the dashboard and that dreadful, buzzy, feeble 1.8 pushrod four. The biggest change? the Cimarron was sporting a price tag almost double that of its Cavalier donor. Good luck with that.
To make it worse, the Cimarron was kicking what was at one point one of the most innovative brands in the world and a byword for quality, and that was suffering from a horrendous case of rot at the time with the made-of-explodium HT4100 the V8-6-4 needing 2002 technology to work properly. Cadillac survived, barely, and the Cimarron remains as a textbook example on how NOT to adapt an economy car for to be a pretend premium import fighter. And now you have a chance to own one of those textbook examples.
Our featured model is a 1986 Cimarron Brougham (or at least badged as such) Finished in Red over Silver two-tone with a tan interior. Or at least three-tone, considering how the various tan interior parts don’t match.
Power is provided by the corporate 2.8-liter V6 mated to a three-speed automatic. You get a cassette player, full instrumentation and a leather wrapped steering wheel included in the price. The odometer (allegedly) only shows 62,000 miles. I believe them, this car looks like the stereotypical “Only driven on Sundays to church” car. The owner claims that it has been used as a second car for a decade, stored it in the winters and has only had it serviced at his friendly local GM dealership, where it has just received a tune-up, a service and an R134a A/C conversion.
Really, if you have ever wanted to own a Cimarron this has got to be the best example around. It certainly is the best one on sale on eBay at the moment. The listing is here. The Price? $4,995. Suddenly it’s 1982 all over again: It’s WAY too much for an old Chevrolet Cavalier, but of course perfectly reasonable for a mint old Cavalier sporting a Cadillac grille, hood ornament and plush interior. So here’s your chance to prove that all the naysayers got it wrong and that Cadillac got it right with the Cimarron; then, and now.