2002 Cadillac Eldorado ESC
8-cyl. 4.6L 279cid/275hp SFI
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
Cadillac’s signature Eldorado two-door coupe had been using front wheel drive since 1967, and for the final generation it once again became a large, somewhat ostentatious car, with a wheelbase of 108 inches and overall length of 202.6 inches.
The 1992 Eldorado used a transversely mounted 4.9-liter V-8 engine that developed 200 hp. This was mated to a four-speed 4T60E automatic transmission as the only drivetrain option. Mid-year in 1993, Eldorado buyers had an option to upgrade to Cadillac’s new 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 at 295 hp, mated to a four-speed 4T80E transmission.
Along with the Northstar, the 1993 Eldorado received a special road-sensing suspension and traction control, plus a host of features including a passenger air bag, speed-sensitive power steering, and speed-sensitive suspension. All that carried forward to 1994 and beyond. 1994 models were the first to have remote keyless entry and automatic door locks as standard equipment.
The Northstar became the only engine for the Eldorado starting in 1994, but it was offered in two variants. The base Eldorado received a 270 hp Northstar engine, while the more advanced Eldorado Touring Coupe received the 295 hp version.
For 1995, the Eldorado received a facelift with new front and rear treatments, and continued technological advances. The Northstar engine on the Touring trim level was boosted to 300 hp and the active chassis enhanced its integration of ABS, traction control, and road-sensing suspension. The base model saw its power rise to 275 hp.
1996 through 2001 saw additional incremental improvements, most notably the introduction of OnStar communications in 1997, but the technical improvements also continued to march forward on both the base and Touring trim levels as Cadillac improved its driver assistance and safety technologies through the decade.
For the final year of the Eldorado, Cadillac produced the base model – called the Eldorado Sport Coupe, the Eldorado Touring Coupe, and a final hurrah in the form of the Eldorado Collector’s Series. The Collector’s Series was applied to the final 1,596 Eldorados to come down the production line, and included 532 white cars and 1064 red cars – the colors available on the original 1953 Eldorado. Apart from the paint, there’s not much to differentiate the Collector’s Series from any other Touring trim level Eldorado.
Collectors will want to focus on Touring Coupe models, and the newer the better as Cadillac was making great technology strides in this era. Well-kept low-mileage examples should be easy to find, and condition will be all-important. Avoid the first-year models with the 4.9-liter engines and remember that early Northstar engines were known for weak head gaskets that often ruined engines when they failed.