To understand how far Cadillac has come, lets revisit the Brands Rock-Bottom moment. This footage, particularly the first clip of the design studio was actually sent to me by a GM design team member that worked on this project and briefly featured in the video. He noted that the whole program was an absolute last minute effort, and was never part of any corporate strategy with the other 4 J-cars set to launch. At the time he was the new kid in the studio ,everyone else was busy, so he was the one that had to do it.
It was at the time of the early 80′s energy crunch,gas lines,etc.,and the whole corporation was running scared. Cadillac was the most vulnerable,and so as a last minute idea,they said,”hey,let’s do a Cadillac version of the J cars”! The studio personnel were for the most part horrified. They knew instinctively that you couldn’t sell a Chevrolet as a Cadillac. But that was what they tried to do.The American public could see through the whole thing. Those years also brought us the 8-6-4 engine, the Diesel engined Cadillac, and the downsized ’86 Eldo & Seville. Not exactly high points for the once “Standard of the World” . The team was told to only change the front fascia ,rear bumper, bodyside molding., wheels, taillights, etc. In the footage Cadillac notes the design was functional, easy to park and economical, at the same time distinctively Cadillac, thick cut pile carpeting that exemplifies a Cadillac interior. I call it all ‘borrowed’. To call this car badge engineered is a bit cliche, but calling a Cavalier a Cadillac is a move that can only be described as , well, cavalier.