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By the Light of the North Star: 1993 Cadillac Northstar Series brochure

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Images are from the brochure collection of the author

Cadillac embraced the future in 1992 when it debuted the Northstar V-8. This all-aluminum engine was as sophisticated as any offered by a premium European automaker, and included dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and direct ignition. Displacing 279 cubic inches/4.6 liters and sporting an impressive 10.3:1 compression ratio, it made 295 hp and 290-lbs.ft. of torque (270 hp/300-lbs.ft. in the Eldorado Sport Coupe), and offered a 100,000-mile tune-up interval and the ability to run up to 100 miles without coolant. While it would later earn a bit of a troublesome reputation, variants of the Northstar would remain in production for the better part of 20 years.


This V-8 was the star component of the final-year 1993 Allanté, as well as powering variants of the crisp-looking Seville and Eldorado. As this well-worn showroom brochure illustrates, the engine was part of what Cadillac termed the “Northstar System,” available in all three front wheel-drive models: this also included electronic shock absorber control of the fully independent Road-Sensing Suspension, Bosch four-channel anti-lock brakes, traction control and 16-inch Goodyear Eagle tires.


Cadillac rated the Pininfarina-bodied Allanté‘s performance at 6.9 seconds to 60 MPH and a 144 MPH top speed, quite competitive in those days. The Seville STS and Eldorado Touring Coupe were just fractionally slower. These figures put them on par with equivalent mid-sized German sedans, but road test magazines sometimes noted the American cars’ less-desirable front wheel-drive dynamics; hindsight would prove these models’ worth.


Today’s Cadillac lineup still includes performance-oriented models, and the modern cars’ sophisticated rear wheel-drive platforms mean they truly are on equal footing with the imports. Take a look back at what GM considered The Standard of the World in 1993, and click on the brochure images below to enlarge.