How do you define a collector car? Does a car have to be desirable when it was new to be worth collecting when it’s old? Or is it enough just to have outlived most of its brethren?
The Cadillac Cimarron was never a volume seller. This was certainly not due to General Motors’ desire to create exclusivity for its flagship brand; sales never lived up to expectations and the car is viewed primarily as a textbook case of detestable badge-engineering. Perhaps even worse for Cadillac, consumers at the time also seemed to view the car as little more than a cynical attempt to separate fools from their money.
It wasn’t enough that the Cimarron was a bad car, but it was an even worse Cadillac. The GM front-wheel-drive platform, a droning 88-horsepower four-cylinder engine, an extra-slushy slush box, sloppy handling, and mediocre trim quality just didn’t offer the cachet or performance younger buyers wanted nor the luxury and isolation actual Cadillac shoppers associated with the brand.
It is essentially little more than a first-generation Chevrolet Cavalier. A bit of chrome, some fancier seats, but no mechanical upgrades were supposed to draw younger import-intenders to Cadillac showrooms in 1982 when the model was launched. Despite the car’s size and fuel economy, this just never worked. If one squinted really hard (and it was dark enough), we suppose you could see a similarity to the BMW 320i of the time… if you had never driven either car.
This week’s eBay find is said to be a truly rare survivor, with only 42,000 miles since new. It’s painted in the cream beige color most common to the model, and the interior also appears to be in exceptional original condition with the period digital instruments glowing in all of their glory.
The seller is asking $6600 or best offer, which is actually a bit above Hagerty’s #1 condition value for the model ($6100), but little harm can be done at this level. This one doesn’t have the optional V-6, but that likely wouldn’t make much difference in this car’s desirability or market value, which are based more on the idea that one would likely have the most original surviving Cimarron left outside of a GM-owned museum.
This Cimarron would make a great Concours d’Lemons entrant as a great example of a bad car, or perhaps as an ironic automotive statement for a millennial hipster. So yes, we say sheer survival makes this collectible—but not very valuable.