I should know better than to even take a second look at these cars. You know what they say about the word "should". When you use that word, you "should' all over yourself.

Seriously, though. I should know better since I had this car's evil cousin, a 1982 Buick Riviera. I'm still digging out from the emotional and financial carnage that was, "The Riv". A car so tortured and corrupt that to this day, this day being twenty five years after I got rid of it, I still use it as the low water mark to judge my cars by.

Let's not forget about the third installment in this trilogy of fetching, automotive ineptitude, the Oldsmobile Toronado. 

This vintage of Cadillac Eldorado, save for a 1979 with the fuel injected Olds 350 engine and  the 368 Cadillac engine in 1980, were complete and utter heart breakers. These gorgeous wrecks rank up there with the best of GM designs from the twentieth century. While my Buick was hardly a power house, with its 148 horsepower Olds 307, it felt like as fast as the Space Shuttle taking off compared to the '82-'85 Eldorado. 

In addition to some pretty shoddy workmanship overall, the biggest problem with this car is under here. The "HT" 4100 V8 that saddled all Cadillacs from 1982-1985 just flat out sucks. In addition to being about as responsive as a Chevette of the same vintage, these engines would dynamite themselves without so much as warning light telling you something was about to go catastrophically wrong. I'd take an '81 with the V-8-6-4 and deactivate the cylinder modulation rather than take this bomb home. This car needs a Chevy 350 swapped in or better. That's a tall order, though, seeing how this is a front wheel drive automobile. Us hack weekend mechanic are in way over our heads here. 

Backyard engine swaps are not exactly routine on these cars. Torque goes out the back of the engine and  through the transmission. Then, it gets routed to the front wheels, not the rear. Quite the piece of engineering on The General's behalf. Best to pull everything out from the bottom, not the top. That's hard to do when you have a lift, let alone when you don't.


The transmission blew up on my '82 Riviera and it cost me $2,000 in 1989 to replace it. I shudder to think what that would run in today's dollars.  

This trunk has as much usable storage space as the much larger car it replaced. That's great design. Too bad design doesn't mean these cars were screwed together well.

Still, I can dream. Dream of what this car could be if it had the right heart.


I can dream. Even though I know I shouldn't.



words and pictures Charles Connolly