Photos from the Cohort, by J.C.
A couple of weeks ago I talked about how a certain kind of old beaters are rarely seen anymore. Old-time CC readers know what I’m talking about; rusty old junkers, with peeling paint, rusted-out panels, worn-out tires, and so on. In short, the Uncle Buck special.
A few commenters pointed out that such clunkers still exist, but they’ve just morphed into a different type. A true statement. And as such they tend to fall below the CC radar, as they’re, how shall I say? Less picturesque and charismatic?
Thanks to improvements in manufacture by the early ’80s, these 30+ year-old clunkers have a fairly integral appearance nowadays. But aged they have, like this mid-80s Cadillac de Ville. However, that aging isn’t quite so postcard-like. Crooked, worn out, and distorted plastics will never sway my heart the same way old pitted chrome did. But regardless, these old rides are survivors and deserve a bit of attention. And after the cash-for-clunkers program, I believe not many of these survive today.
As it happens every so often at CC, there’s been a good amount of recent discussion on GM’s poorly received downsized vehicles from the mid-80s. The shrunk C-body de Ville from 1985 is an exception to that story, with the model selling decently throughout its run. And while I wouldn’t call its styling a home run, against the upcoming ’86 Seville and El Dorado, the de Ville looked far more Cadillac-esque.
The ’80s de Ville may have sold fine and looked the part for its intended audience, but styling aside, GM was still a provider of rather iffy products. Nowhere near the doldrums of the early X-bodies, but what you purchased was a matter of luck. Something that’s been attested once and again by commenters (and acquaintances). Most units fell in the average, with a few being extremely faithful, and a similar number being just lemons. Cadillacs were no exception to those ills.
To put that in perspective, you’ll find two extremes of the de Ville equation further down. One filled with love, the other, with regret.