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History of the 1986-1991 Cadillac Eldorado
Cadillac downsized the Eldorado for this generation, placing the name on a shortened version of the E-body front wheel drive platform shared with the Oldsmobile Toronado and Buick Riviera. But where the other brands offered a V-6 engine, Cadillac used their proprietary 4.1-liter V-8, mounted transversely in the engine bay.
The new Eldorado was available only as a two-door coupe. The prior generation’s convertible was discontinued. The 4.1-liter engine produced 130 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque, and the transmission was a four-speed automatic.
Borrowing a page from the Corvette, the rear suspension used a single fiberglass transverse leaf spring for a fully independent rear end. Four wheel disc brakes were standard, along with electronic leveling.
Inside, the 1986 Eldorado offered a fully digital display, bucket seats with lumbar support, cruise control, and all comforts and conveniences of the era. The optional Biarritz edition also featured an upgraded interior.
For 1987, customers could order a “cabriolet” roof – the false convertible look with cloth covering the back half of the roof, and smaller “opera” rear side windows. Buyers could also opt for a built-in cellular telephone in the center console.
1988 saw a mid-generation refresh to the model, and public response was positive. Formerly low sales jumped to over 33,000 units, largely due to the new bodywork adding 3 inches to overall length and a 4.5-liter V-8 with 155 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. The same four-speed automatic transmission was standard. 1988 options included the Touring Suspension, a $155 add-on that offered larger wheels and a firmer ride. A vinyl landau roof replaced the optional cabriolet treatment.
1989 models continued mostly unchanged from 1988, but this was the first year that a compact disc player was optional in the sound system for the Eldorado. 1990 saw the introduction of the Eldorado Touring Coupe, which was an extension of the Touring Suspension package, and featured a taller final drive ratio and upgraded suspension.
For the final year of this generation, Cadillac introduced the new 4.9-liter V-8 engine with port fuel injection and a new electronically controlled four-speed automatic. The new engine was good for 200 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque – bringing the Eldorado back at least a share of its past glory.
Collectors will want to gravitate towards the later years, selecting a 1991 model of the Eldorado Touring Coupe if at all possible. Because these years were transitional for technology such as the digital dashboard, finding a car where all features are still working may be a challenge.
1988 Cadillac Eldorado Info
8-cyl. 273cid/155hp FI
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