The eighties was a difficult decade for GM, and the Cadillac Cimarron is the poster boy of the era. No other single car so epitomizes the brand degradation that Cadillac inflicted upon itself. And to make matters worse, in 1985 they built a dual cowl pheaton concept car to directly invoke the spirit of the the ultimate Cadillac ever, the 1931 V16 Fleetwood. Truly brilliant.
The Most Ironic GM Concept Car Ever: 1985 Cadillac Cimarron Dual Cowl Phaeton
– Posted on December 14, 2011
Some of the styling cues on the concept are attractive, and in fact remind me of the 1992 Seville.
While the Cimmaron had been out for a few years at the time this concept was released, it leaves me wondering how things would have turned out had it not been rushed into production.
It is certainly better looking than the production Cimmaron. Although the front end is reminiscent of the final Caprice. Is this supposed to be based on a real Cimmaron? This car looks quite a bit larger, but it is hard to tell. If really Cimmaron-sized, it belongs on one of those kiddie rides on the midway.
Actually, I am surprised that nobody has done a dual-cowl convertible in modern times. Top-down driving is miserable in the rear seat of a convertible, and I would think that some high-end car would have given the dual cowl and second windshield a try.
The grille is like the Caprice, but the rest of the car reminds me of an Oldsmobile. I think those rims are like some used on Toronados too.
They look alot like the ones on the Touring Suspension equipped Cadillacs in the late 80’s too, see 1987 DeVille Touring Coupe.
The PPG pace cars were pretty ambitious project, and I used to enjoy reading about the ones from Dodge and Renault at the time. I don’t recall anyone ever mentioning this Cimarron. It must have been a pretty confusing assignment for the men that were instructed to take a Cimarron and turn it into something evocative of a real Cadillac.
The Dodge M4S will aways be one of my favorites.
At least one M4S survives, but it seems to have a supercharged Buick 3800 and an automatic transmission now.
That was one of the surviving Wraith prop cars. They finished a “restoration” on it last year and final plans are to install a turbo 2.2 back where it belongs.
There is a lot of what Cadillac would become in that car. It has the feel of the 92+ Eldo and Seville specifically.
I found it hard to believe that Caddy used the J body with their luxury brand names the local Camira was rubbish and so obviously a cloned Vauxhall despite Holdens hype of Australian designed. It was an awful car with built in problems why would GM sully their top brand? Fortunately the J Holdens are an extremely rare sight now like the other Wheels magazine worst COTY award choice the P76 they have disappeared from the roads. Why bother doing a twin cowl concept on such a crap platform it lowers the tone of the original V16 and does nothing for the Cimmaron.
This was hinting at a new generation Cimmaron, but the plug was pulled completely.
GM gets bashed for the Cimm, but in 1979-81, Gas Crisis II caused panic all over. Caddy dealers demanded a small car to sell, so we got their J car. The 80’s were predicted to be conitued high gas prices and all small cars. Thus no extra $ for styling, performance and size. Of course we know what really happened.
It’s kind of hard to not react to high gas prices. Were they supposed to sit and do nothing?
In this case, doing nothing would have been better. There was nothing wrong with the concept of a small Cadillac…but one that was such an obvious rebadge of a Chevrolet wasn’t the answer.
When Cadillac General Manager Ed Kennard was pushing hard for Cadillac to be included in the J-body program, to allow the Cimarron’s immediate introduction, General Motors President Pete Estes reportedly said, “You don’t have time to turn the J-Car into a Cadillac.”
And he was right. The car wasn’t competitive with a Honda Accord, let alone a BMW 3-Series.
If they’d at least had time to give the Cimarron a unique look, as above just without the dual cowl part, it would have been taken a bit more seriously.
Cadillac worked some magic transforming the plebeian Nova into a Seville. If they’d been able to give the Cimarron some unique styling and a few other cues to distinguish it from the rest of the J-cars, it could’ve been quite a success.
The final Cimmarons, with a standard V-6 and a front and rear clip that were definitely different from the other four versions wasn’t too bad. If they’d have brought THAT car out in ’81, there’d be a lot less bitching.
Still a J-car, there’s no way around that.
This seems like a call to arms for some skillful photochopper to do an X-body Cadillac Citation.
This is the rare occasion in which I agree with Syke. Neighbor had one of the last Cimmarons built. It was actually lustworthy with aluminum wheels, tan leather, tinted windows, and deep brown paint. Still pissed at myself for not wrestling it away from him.
I agree Syke. I actually like the ’87 and ’88 models, although they are still clearly Cavalier derived. I remember seeing a burgundy Cimarron at the ’88 Chicago Auto Show when I was eight years old. It must have made an impression!
Shame? We have no shame!
Like everything else at GM it had to be built from off the stock parts. As to the gas crisis, anyone buying a Cadillac shouldn’t care about gas prices, that’s what Chevy is for. When the division, dealers, and suits started thinking that well off customers wanted econoboxes with nice seats and fancy wheels that was the beginning of the end.