Walmart is always a good place to spot old iron, and these two green luxo-boats from about 1993 caught my eye. They’re pretty much on opposite ends of the US luxury car market that year; the Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue is the boxy K Car’s last gasp, while the Seville STS was Cadillac’s first serious shot at the imports with a handsome new body and a quad-cam 32 valve V8.
It’s hard to believe that the roots of this car go back to the 1980 Reliant and Aries. How many ways did Lee Iaccoca fold, spindle and mutilate the K car to keep the money rolling in? Well, that game had thoroughly played out by this time, and falling sales made it easier for Bob Lutz and the Chrysler board to shove poor old Lee out the door. By 1994, the radically different and aerodynamic LH cars would be Chrysler’s salvation, even though they were chasing Ford’s aerodynamic “potato” cars, as Lee called them. Oh well, you can’t be right forever.
Chuck Jordan’s 1992 Seville was a radical departure from the crappy little boxes that had been wearing that name for way too long. It was an ambitious effort at playing catch-up, and one that Cadillac never really pulled off. But the STS version was a credible effort, except for the new Northstar V8 in 1993, which once again turned out to be not quite ready for prime time. But this one is still making music from its quad exhaust outlets.
These two may be the color of money, but the Seville’s is a decided deeper shade of green. Like $20k deeper, at it listed for $42k compared to the Chrysler’s $22k. Forty-two big ones; that’s $70k in today’s money. Meanwhile the Lexus LS was selling for some $35k; no wonder Cadillac was screwed. They waited too long to build a Mercedes-fighter, and Lexus comes along and pulls the rug out from under both of them.