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Who Killed The Cimarron? (^-^)

mattcmattc Posts: 16
edited July 2015 in General
Looking at this comparison report with the BMW 325e and the Mercedes 190E, the little Caddy comes out not too bad. Even 30 years ago the German car buyer would never have considered a Caddy, regardless of how good it was. Originally conceived as a BMW 320i & Audi 4000 import fighter, on basic specs Cadillac seemed to be in the ballpark, or were they? ;)



Popular Science Aug '85 Page 1

Popular Science Aug '85 Page 2

Popular Science Aug '85 Page 3



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Comments

  • fintailfintail Posts: 47,590
    edited July 2015
    Had the Cimarron had more body changes to mask the Cavalier roots, it might have fared better. That being said, they seem to have sold quite a few, as they aren't particularly rare today. FWD might not have helped either - I know it was seen as new good tech in the early 80s, but some people didn't want it then and don't want it now.

    Many of the W201s and E30s compared to the Cimarron are still on the road too. That early Audi 4000 though, those are almost extinct now, heck, they were rare 20 years ago.
  • sdasda Indian Land, SCPosts: 2,633
    fintail said:

    Had the Cimarron had more body changes to mask the Cavalier roots, it might have fared better. That being said, they seem to have sold quite a few, as they aren't particularly rare today. FWD might not have helped either - I know it was seen as new good tech in the early 80s, but some people didn't want it then and don't want it now.

    Many of the W201s and E30s compared to the Cimarron are still on the road too. That early Audi 4000 though, those are almost extinct now, heck, they were rare 20 years ago.

    In early 1985, about 2 years out of college I bought a used 82 Cimarron. It was silver with med/dark blue leather interior, all power except cruise, and no pop up glass sunroof. It was a 4 speed manual. 1.8 litre (GM spelling) with 2bbl. I think it was around 85hp. It was a real slug with the a/c on, though typical GM air, very good indeed. It wasn't a bad car. Compared to other similar size cars at the time, very nicely equipped, rode and drove well, though no sports sedan and decently quiet. The 4 speed trans was a disaster in that 4th gear was over drive. Thus a huge gap between 3 and 4. No pull at all in 4th, just good for cruising on level ground. I was living in hilly east TN, and remember either having to the engine scream up an incline trying to maintain 55-60, or lug and lose speed by keeping it in 4th. I do think in Cadillac had more time to bring the Cimarron to market, bring it in with a 5 speed--which they did for 83, give it a better engine, make some other changes that they eventually did but too late, it would have been better received. I still have the original sales brochure from 82. Crank windows were standard! Really, in a Cadillac in 82? I think electric windows were standard in all Caddys since the late 60s!

    2010 Pilot EXL-RES, 2013 Accord EX, 2006 Acura TL/Nav

  • sdasda Indian Land, SCPosts: 2,633
    It was too expensive at the start. I think mine listed for around 14-15k. I bought it for $5200 at a Toyota dealership not 3 years later. I'd hate the think what the original owner rec'd as a trade in.

    2010 Pilot EXL-RES, 2013 Accord EX, 2006 Acura TL/Nav

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,111
    edited July 2015
    I never thought Cimarrons were bad cars, just that it was so obvious they were a Cavalier. Why would you spend Cadillac money on a new Cavalier? Used is different, of course. Whenever I saw a new one being driven, I'd think "there's a not-very-sophisticated buyer", same as what I generally thought when I'd see new Renault Alliances and Encores being driven. My two cents only, change gladly given. ;)
  • berriberri Posts: 9,870
    Heck, back in that era GM was saddling Cadillac's with not such great engines as well. Aluminum, 8-6-4 (IIRC, they did skip on the early Olds Diesel) before they were ready for prime time. It was kind of like GM was saying "C'mon into my marketplace Germany and Japan". They did help Lincoln out though I suppose. It was really kind of sad to me.

    Speaking of deals, I actually saw a Lincoln MKS today. Now there's a car you can probably steal used.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,492
    I think the problem with the Cimarron is that Cadillac was entering a market they didn't really understand...premium small sedans. GM had gotten lucky with their previous "small" car experiment...the 1975 Seville. But, while the Seville was based on the Nova, GM put a lot of effort into improving it, so it was a lot more than simply a "Nova Brougham". It also probably helped that the Nova shared a lot of its chassis with the Camaro, so it made for a fairly well-handling car.

    With the Cimarron though, GM pretty much just changed the easy-swap stuff and then put in a nicer interior. GM probably would have passed on the Cimarron completely, but Cadillac dealers were hollering for something smaller and economical, because in those fuel-starved times, buyers were staring to wake up and take notice of the offerings from Benz, BMW, and Audi. So, GM might have simply whipped up the Cimarron quick and dirty to get the dealers to shut up. And, CAFE fuel averages were most likely a concern, as well.

    FWIW, I think a Cimarron is an attractive little car. When the Cavalier got restyled for 1984 though, and given quad headlights and an eggcrate grille, the two cars really started looking too similar. Also, I'm not sure about earlier Cavaliers, but a friend of mine had an '86 that had some kind of optional interior, and it was pretty ritzy inside. So, while the Cimarron was a nice car inside, I'm not so sure that it was that much nicer than a top trim Cavalier.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 47,590
    Manual windows? These people should have their pay and benefits retroactively taken back, seriously, who made these decisions?

    When I was in high school, I knew a guy who had an ~86 Cimarron. V6, pretty loaded, it seemed like a pretty nice car - especially in the small town where I lived, where it was nicer than most cars on the road. This would have been around 1994. It was grey with similar leather, sunroof, etc. I think it had belonged to his grandparents, who gave it to him and his similar aged relatives to use.
  • sdasda Indian Land, SCPosts: 2,633
    I found a few pictures of the 82 Cimarron that I bought in Jan 85. Who ever owned it prior to me had the hood ornament put on and put white walls on it. I had intended to reverse the tires back to black wall but ended up selling it in May as I was moving to NC and did not want a car payment. Bought a 79 Rabbit to bide time. It was my stick shift Caddy.


    2010 Pilot EXL-RES, 2013 Accord EX, 2006 Acura TL/Nav

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    GM committed no worse an offense than BMW did with an overpriced, rather bland 320i that they foisted on their loyal 2002 fans.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,111
    edited April 2016
    I'd have considered a used Cimarron, but never a new one. You could load up a Cavalier if you liked that platform. This is probably not very fair of me, but if I saw anyone driving a new Cimarron, my first thought would be, "Those folks aren't very car-smart". I felt the same way about Renault Alliance and Encore owners....LOL...substantiated by a guy I worked with who bought one. I was surprised to remember that the Alliance was a "Car of the Year". I remember having an Encore as a rental in NJ. Merging required special planning, and one of the hatch struts was lying in the body channel on that side of the car.
  • sdasda Indian Land, SCPosts: 2,633

    I'd have considered a used Cimarron, but never a new one. You could load up a Cavalier if you liked that platform. This is probably not very fair of me, but if I saw anyone driving a new Cimarron, my first thought would be, "Those folks aren't very car-smart". I felt the same way about Renault Alliance and Encore owners....LOL...substantiated by a guy I worked with who bought one. I was surprised to remember that the Alliance was a "Car of the Year". I remember having an Encore as a rental in NJ. Merging required special planning, and one of the hatch struts was lying in the body channel on that side of the car.

    I agree, the Cimarron was overpriced and under delivered. I happened upon this one at the Toyota dealership, the owner traded for a Cressida. I paid $5200 for it and the original sticker was near $14k, nuts. It did have a nice interior, the 1.8 litre was a dog, no umph at all. Of all things, I sold it private party for $6000 four months after I bought it. Never have made money on a car since, yet made money on a Cimarron of all things.

    2010 Pilot EXL-RES, 2013 Accord EX, 2006 Acura TL/Nav

  • texasestexases Posts: 8,825
    edited April 2016
    Doubly sad, given that Caddy new how to do this right, like they did with the Seville-from-Nova transformation: better looking body, better engine, better interior. I don't remember folks criticizing the Seville, even with its high price.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,111
    Folks didn't criticize the Seville, because I don't believe there was a single piece of sheetmetal or glass that interchanged between a Nova and it, unlike the Cimarron and also the Lincoln Versailles.

    I still like the smaller Seville. They ruined it for '80 IMHO.
  • sdasda Indian Land, SCPosts: 2,633
    One more picture--instruments

    2010 Pilot EXL-RES, 2013 Accord EX, 2006 Acura TL/Nav

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,111
    Same mileage as your Vega GT in the other photo! ;)
  • sdasda Indian Land, SCPosts: 2,633

    Same mileage as your Vega GT in the other photo! ;)

    I saw that too! Sold the Cimarron with closer to 60k on it.

    2010 Pilot EXL-RES, 2013 Accord EX, 2006 Acura TL/Nav

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 120,311

    GM committed no worse an offense than BMW did with an overpriced, rather bland 320i that they foisted on their loyal 2002 fans.

    Having driven the two vehicles, I'll have to disagree with that.

    But, a stick-shift Cimarron!! Wow! :p

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • sdasda Indian Land, SCPosts: 2,633
    I happened upon a Retro Motorweek Review of the 82 and 83 Cimarron. Cadillac made significant changes in just one model year. The 1982 1.8 litre with 2bbl carb was upgraded in 1983 to a 2 litre with port fuel injection. They were both rated at 88hp, but torque was much better with the 2 litre. Some chassis changes were made that improved ride and handling. Remember the speed limit during this period was 55 mph. With the automatic the 82 did 0-60 in 15.8 sec, qtr mile 22 sec at 65 mph. The manual (which I had) was said to be 2 seconds quicker. The 83 actually squawked the tires and ran 0-60 in 14.5 sec and qtr mile at 20 sec and 70 mph. Again the manual car, now a 5 speed for 83 and not the 4 speed from 82, was still about 2 seconds quicker.

    2010 Pilot EXL-RES, 2013 Accord EX, 2006 Acura TL/Nav

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,111
    Both the J-cars, and the A-cars (I think...Celebrity et al) were introduced for the '82 model year and were sales disappointments--both in high price and in the J-cars, low performance. The '83 performance, as you've said, was much-improved.
  • Ahhh, the 85 MPH speedo....... sooo easy to "peg", b/c of the trip meter reset button! "Write me up a number 25, post my face wanted dead or alive, take my license, all that jive, I...can't...drive...55!!!!"
  • fintailfintail Posts: 47,590
    If one thinks the 85 mph speedo was bad...

    image
  • texasestexases Posts: 8,825
    edited May 2016
    My XJ Cherokee had a tach like that, with two digits. Why?? Why use numbers for the tach that could be confused for the speedometer?

    And I'll add my other pet peeve, ignored by 99.99% of folks - the label on the tach should either be "RPM/100" or "100 RPM"...
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited May 2016
    My wife blasted through a 25 zone on a road test a while back doing 40 mph. She was looking at the tach and thought it was the speedo and thought she was well under the limit. Can't remember which car it was, but it was a bit of a confusing setup - something you'd get used to in an hour or two though.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 11,111
    fin, what instrument panel is that? I don't have a clue here.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,492
    It looks like a variation of the Cavalier/Cimarron instrument panel, but I'm not sure. On the Cavalier, the tach and temp gauge were optional. And I remember the Z-24 having a different dashboard that, interestingly, reminded me a bit of a '73-77 LeMans. Not in the gauges so much, but the overall shape, especially on the passenger side around the ducts and glovebox.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 47,590
    That's an 86 Tempo sedan - I think the same shape was in sedans from 84-87, with the tach being optional (of course). I remember driving our Tempo when I was a teenager and getting into that magical realm above the 80 mark - took awhile to get there.

    I never understood how the tach and speedo could be too easily confused, but I understand many drivers aren't exactly 'with it', and will benefit greatly from autonomous cars :) I also think the tach is a silly thing for most cars, the pretense of sport that every 4cyl Camrolla needs.
  • Thinks that make you go "hmmmmmm". I don't think she's being all up-front with you. How can you be going 40 mph and not realize you're going 15 mph faster than what you think is your speedometer is showing?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited May 2016
    Well, both the salesperson in the backseat and me in shotgun told her a couple of times to slow down and she couldn't figure out what the problem was until we opined that she was looking at the tach and not the speedo.

    I dunno - you ever cruise down the freeway and glance down and realize that you are doing 90 in a 75?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    kyfdx said:

    GM committed no worse an offense than BMW did with an overpriced, rather bland 320i that they foisted on their loyal 2002 fans.

    Having driven the two vehicles, I'll have to disagree with that.

    But, a stick-shift Cimarron!! Wow! :p
    It's not about how it drove, it's about the price and blah looks. The BMW 320i was a rip-off.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 47,590
    edited May 2016
    Would one notice that the tach fluctuates a lot more than a speedometer (should)? Or a screaming engine at high speeds might catch my attention too.
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