My Two Cadillacs

Visitors to this automotive blog have seen me write about the car problems my 09 SRX has delivered. I thought I would take a minute to explain my long-standing loyalty to this brand regardless of issues. I’ve always been a big fan of the Cadillac models. I’m not sure where this love came from, as growing up my parents drove Ford and Chevy cars exclusively.

89 Cadillac Coupe DevilleIn fact they considered the purchase of such an automobile a waste of disposable income and verbally express their displeasure with my choice of automobiles when I bought one. Maybe it was the rebellious side of me that wanted to do something different than the rest of the family. Regardless, my dream became a reality in the early 90s when I purchased a high mileage 1989 Cadillac Coupe Deville. This was no run-of-the-mill everybody’s got one type of car. It was a Liberty Edition.

The only exterior difference between this car and the base model coupes was the aluminum slotted wheels, but the interior on the other hand was quite different. It had white leather seating areas with a blue carpet and red pin stripes. That’s right, a red white and blue interior set liberty edition apart from the other models.

Fun with Cadillacs

The mere mention of the brand name conjures up all different kinds of imagery. Some people associate the car-maker with grandparents and nice little old ladies behind the wheel. Others will remember big mistakes made by the company with models that never gained popularity like the Cimarron or the Cattera (the caddy that zigs). For me I prefer the memories of giant cars with even bigger engines. My Cadillac is the ones they wrote songs about.

Brown Mark VII LincolnYou might remember the tune “Hot Rod Lincoln”. It talks about a time and place when Caddies and Lincolns were setting the pace. In the 90s when I bought my Coupe de Ville a friend of mine bought a Lincoln Mark Seven that renewed this old rivalry. As we debated about whose car was faster it was hard to argue that my 4.5 L all aluminum engine would be any match for his 5 L V8 commonly found in the Mustang GT’s of that era. I had a lot of faith in my car and the company that built It., so it was time to find out which luxury car was the king of the road.

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Atco Raceway (the local drag strip) had a street night every Friday, so we decided to stop the debate and test the fate. Although these cars competed directly with each other in the marketplace they were for sure a mismatch on paper. The Cadillac was front wheel drive with a small displacement V-8. The Lincoln Mark Seven boasted more advertised horsepower rolling with its 5.0 and rear wheel drive.

What Happens when a Cadillac Races a Lincoln

Coupe DeVille by CadillacThe results shocked everybody including the fans in the stand. When the light turned green the Cadillac jumped out to an early and what looked to be an insurmountable lead. However, the Lincoln grew stronger as we progressed down the track. By the time we went through the traps it looked like a photo finish to me. Friends told me that the green light was lit on his side indicating a Lincoln victory. When we compared quarter-mile track times the Mark Seven was the winner by 5/100 of a second. Although it gave him bragging rights my Cadillac enjoyed some much deserved respect from that point forward.

What Killed My Coupe Deville

The all aluminum V-8 in my eighty-nine Coupe de Ville was a precursor of the North Star series of engines. Although these engines had a rocky start with a poor reputation, Cadillac deserves credit for realizing that the engine represents a big opportunity to reduce total vehicle weight. The more aluminum the greater the horse power to weight ratio swings in your favor.

First Generation SRXThe downside of this is the strength of the engine. All aluminum V-8’s are susceptible to damage from overheating. This brings me to what killed my Cadillac. Coming home from the Jersey shore the water pump began to leak and the low coolant and overheat light came on. We stopped and put straight water in, but the leak continued to worsen and by the time we got home the engine was knocking. I had my reasons and stand by them for not stopping and towing the car. The engine overheated, the head gaskets were compromised, and water mixed with the engine oil and wiped out the lower bearings.

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When I started to look for replacement engines they were extremely expensive. Me being a mechanic at the time I decided to pull the engine and install a crankshaft kit. This was a lot more difficult than I had expected and although the operation was successful in the end, I never wanted to do it again. Although the engine ran fine and quiet I no longer had the faith in it I once had. I traded it in at the Pontiac dealer I worked for on a Bonneville SSE. It would be 15 years before I was ready to try a Cadillac again. This brings you up to date on my current automobile which is a 2009 Cadillac SRX.