Under Aurora’s plebeian skin
Let’s start with power. Would you believe that Aurora is motivated by a 4.5-liter V-8 engine, adapted from the production Allanté? Well, it is. Except, in Allanté, it was mounted transversely, meaning from left to right. That’s because Allanté is a front-wheel-drive car. The Aurora concept is actually all-wheel-drive and the engine is mounted longitudinally, meaning from front to rear, old fashioned style.

This image below depicts the drivetrain.

1990 Cadillac Aurora phantom view longit eng and awd

The engine was constructed with an aluminum block and cast iron cylinder heads, with fuel delivery handled by a tuned port-fuel-injected system.

1990 Cadillac Aurora 4.5 V-8 mounted longitAt 4,400 RPM, the mildly modified engine developed 200 bhp (i.e. brake horsepower, or the power the motor makes without the shackles of accessories such as pumps or alternators) and 270 pound-feet of torque.

Shifting duty was assigned to a THM 700 R4 four-speed automatic transmission with a final drive ratio of 3.06:1. The press release stated Aurora could also be fitted with a six-speed ZF manual transmission.

The all-wheel-drive system is full-time and splits the torque 50/50 between front and rear wheels. The Aurora also employed a four-wheel traction control system.

Unfortunately, the press kit only included one picture of the interior but in the gallery I zoomed in on the center console.

1990 Cadillac Aurora interior w ETAK system

The shapes, materials, and fit and finish all look top notch for the era. It appears a good deal of effort went into styling the interior because it’s quite dissimilar from Cadillac’s typical design comfort zone and yet comes across as sophisticated and feasible for the time.

It’s got all the wiz-bang techno stuff including an in-dash navigation system; something many take for granted today. That system is repeatedly referred to as ETAK in the press release but nowhere did it define the acronym. After a little research, I discovered that is apparently the name of a company that coordinated with GM on the system. If you’re interested in a very short read on the subject, you may want to check out this article: Development of Vehicle Navigation Technology.

Besides ETAK, the Aurora had everything you’d expect such as memory enabled front seats, heating for all four seats, and–advanced for the time–an airbag each for four passengers.

There are plenty more pictures in the gallery. There is even a series of pictures from Aurora’s development, like the one shown below. In some of them, I’ve zoomed in on peculiarities in the background.

1990 Cadillac Aurora develop 4 full-size clay prelim templates

Also, the press release included the following fun facts about Cadillac firsts:

  • electric lighting, starter and ignition, in 1912;
  • production V-8 passenger car engine (in America), in 1915;
  • laminated safety glass, in 1929;
  • high compression, overhead valve V-8, in 1949;
  • automatic temperature control, in 1964;
  • application of electronic fuel injection on an American vehicle, in 1975; and
  • mounting a V-8 engine transversely


Continue below to the photo gallery.

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