Market recovery came about as a result of several needed improvements for 1988. The return of crisp fenderlines, a rear end lengthened three inches, and a new “power dome” hood lent a “more Cadillac” look, and performance improved via a bored-out 4.5 liter V-8 whose 25 extra horses trimmed 0-60 times from 12.5 seconds to a sprightly 9.9.
Advanced GM/Teves anti-lock brakes served safety as a new $925 option-peanuts against a base price that now neared 28-grand. With all this, as CONSUMER GUIDE observed, the ’88 Eldo proved “that Cadillac is responding to customer demands . . . and that it has the ability to respond very quickly.” Sales responded, too: over 33,000 for the model year.
The 1988 Cadillac line featured a new 4.5 liter V-8 for the Eldorado. The Eldorado was extensively redesigned. The acceleration of Cadillacs with the new V-8 was better than any comparable Cadillac of the last decade. The Eldorado’s sheet metal, except for the roof, was all new.
In response to what Cadillac admitted was a call for “more distinctive styling,” the Eldorado was given a major restyling for 1988. Major exterior sheet metal panels including the front fenders, hood, C-pillar, rear quarters and rear deck were all new as were the grille and taillights. The result was a longer, crisper, more tailored appearance. Both the front and rear fenders were subtly bladed. The traditional Eldorado grille had a bolder, more open pattern and the hood was set off by a raised power dome and a new header molding. The side view was enhanced by the extension of the rear fender line forward into the C-pillar, which was a long time Eldorado trademark. The new rear fender extensions and rear bumper were contoured into a redesigned end panel which, along with a new taillight design, also gave the 1988 model a classic Eldorado appearance. The standard power radio antenna was relocated to the rear fender to provide for improved corrosion protection.
As was the case with other Cadillacs powered by the new V-8, the Eldorado had a 4.5 liter V-8 engine identification plaque on the decklid. Six new exterior colors were offered for the 1988 Eldorado, bringing the color choice to 17. Both the Eldorado and Eldorado Biarritz had new design pinstripes. A restyled full vinyl roof was available for the Eldorado. The Biarritz had a revised formal cabriolet roof as standard equipment. Interior changes for 1988 consisted of a redesigned rear seat frame with added cushion suspension system. A new upholstery design featuring horizontal stripes was also used. Two new interior colors, antelope and beechwood, were added to complement the new exterior choices. A total of nine interior colors were offered. New self-storing pull-swing door handles along with new-design wider headrests were found in the 1988 Eldorado.
90-degree, overhead valve, V-8, aluminum block and cast iron cylinder liners, cast iron cylinder heads