Not ever Cadillac is popular, but they were all created to be fast, luxurious, and stylish. While the Eldorado is one of the most famous American nameplates, the 1992-2002 twelfth generation doesn’t get much attention. Today, we’re going to see what that last model would look like as a “2023 Eldorado” that will obviously never be built.
For some reason, we honor much uglier Buick or Chevy models from the late 90s and early 2000s, but not the Eldorado. Maybe it suffered from an identity crisis. Looking at this old design, you can see how they tried to pay homage to the past while also bringing a little bit of the sportiness that we saw later with the CTS-V.
Here to push the 2002 Eldorado even further into modern car territory is one of the most popular car rendering artists on YouTube, TheSketchMonkey. He clearly picked one of the cleanest versions, in Aztec Red with the new bumpers that were introduced in 1995.
Round about that time, the coupe received the new and quite controversial Northstar V8 with both 270 and 295 hp. It replaced the 200 horsepower 4.9-liter L26, and while it’s known for mechanical issues, most of those were resolved towards the end of the car’s life.
The Northstar problem
The power bump itself was fantastic. At almost 300 horsepower, this was one of the most powerful front-wheel-drive cars ever made. But the Northstar had short, fine-thread bolts for the head and if you overheat the V8, they would pull away (from the aluminum block) and blow a head gasket. The worst years are up to 1999.
In 2000 they lengthened the bolts, but the problem was only really fixed in 2005 with the introduction of LS6 head bolts. Obviously, the Eldorado misses out on that, but there are kits to fix the issue. The problem is that the motor needs to come out, and only a skilled mechanic or machinist can pull it off, so it costs about as much as the coupe is worth.
It’s a shame because having a front-drive luxury Cadillac with Civic Type R levels of power sounds pretty interesting. And just to ensure the Eldorado gets sporty credentials it doesn’t merit, TheSketchMonkey opted to do his modernized rendering really aggressively with elements from the ATS-V Coupe. That car came with a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6. How much for that swap?
These include a deep chin spoiler, large plastic air intakes, and honeycomb grilles, all things you wouldn’t see on a car designed for the 1990s buyer. Larger wheels and a lowered roof also add sporty character, while the LED lights come straight from a Nissan pickup.
Let’s just pretend we don’t know about the reliability issues or where the power is going. Doesn’t this look like a luxury Camaro? Or do you prefer the classic Eldorado models with the big wings? Back in 1959, Cadillac probably made the best car in the world, but it’s not possible to modernize giant fins.