After decades of success in manufacturing large luxury cars, Cadillac turned to a small luxury car in an attempt to rival BMW, Audi, Volvo, Saab, small Mercedes, and similar high-class imports. Cimarron came with a standard 112 cu. in. (1.8-liter) four-cylinder engine and four-speed overdrive manual shift with floor lever. Three-speed Turbo Hydra-matic was available. This was Cadillac’s first four-cylinder engine since 1914, and the first manual shift since 1953. Most Cadillac buyers had never driven one without Hydra-matic in some form. Cimarron was billed as “a new kind of Cadillac for a new kind of Cadillac owner.”
The company first seemed a bit uncomfortable with its new addition, initially branding it Cimarron by Cadillac rather than a straight-out Caddy. Bodies carried a Cadillac emblem in the grille center, and on taillamps, but no script identification.
Five people fit into the car’s body-contoured leather seats with lumbar support, feet touching deep-pile Trianon carpeting. Even the trunk was carpeted. Dashes displayed a tachometer, oil pressure gauge, and voltmeter. Nine hand-buffed body colors were offered, including four exclusive metallics (Superior Blue, Autumn Amber, Garnet, and Columbian Brown). Cimarron rode an exclusive Cadillac-tuned touring suspension with MacPherson struts up front and a semi-independent rear, plus front/rear stabilizer bars. Aircraft-type aluminum alloy wheels held match-mounted steel-belted radial tires.
Sharing the same J-body as Chevrolet’s Cavalier and the similarly derivative Pontiac J2000, Cimarron didn’t quite manage a truly separate identity but offered a long list of standard features. Luxuries on every subcompact four-door sedan included
twin power mirrors
leather-wrapped steering wheel
power rack-and-pinion steering
AM/FM stereo radio
All this came at a cost, though: over $12,000 base price, which was far higher than its GM relatives, closer to the level of Eurosport sedans. Cimarron’s front end carried a finely-meshed crosshatch horizontal chrome grille and quad rectangular tungsten-halogen headlamps. At the rear were horizontal taillamps. Four of the nine Cadillac body colors were intended solely for Cimarron, as were two of the five interior choices. Wheels displayed small slots, and the full-width back seat could hold three passengers. The initially short option list included a Vista Vent roof and vacuum-type cruise control.
I. D. DATA
All Cadillacs again had a 17-symbol Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), stamped on a metal tag attached to the upper left surface of the cowl. visible through the windshield. Coding was similar to 1981. Model year code changed to “C” for 1982. Code “G” (Cimarron) was added to car line series. Engine coding was as follows: “G” L4-112 2-bbl. Code “C” for an assembly plant in South Gate, California was added.
Inline. OHV. Four-cylinder. Cast iron block and head