The signal of things to come

Marketing Material: 1988 Cadillac Seville STS BrochureThe year is 1988 and Cadillac is planning to target their next Seville model right at the heart of a fiercely competitive international sports sedan arena. But that car won’t arrive until the 1992 model year.

At a time when the competition was engaged in a relentless advance, and had consumers taking notice, what was Cadillac to do while their latest weapon was being prepared?

Prime the consumer with a prequel package, of course.

At least it went something like that, according to one of my interviews with Cadillac’s one-time Chief Designer, Dick Ruzzin.

1988 Cadillac Seville STS brochure - coverIn my Design Notes: 1992 Cadillac Seville post, I mention how Mr. Ruzzin told me he was responsible for the third-generation Seville STS. (For 1988 and 1989, STS was a package on Seville and didn’t become a standalone model until 1990.) As described in the aforementioned post, it had been introduced to essentially prime consumers for the all-new, fourth-generation STS model.

Well, I had been rummaging through one of my boxes of old brochures and came across this one for the 1988 Cadillac Seville STS. It’s from the Los Angeles Auto Show those many, many years ago and has fortunately survived in excellent condition.

This picture to the left is brochure’s cover. (Click on the images to see a larger version.)

The brochure is a three-panel layout. This picture below is what is on the inner three panels. The glass on my scanner is unfortunately a quarter-inch narrower than each panel so this picture is actually five scans that have been stitched together. One area didn’t mesh too well (the area by the front console), likely because I didn’t hold the original down correctly for one of those scans.

1988 Cadillac Seville STS brochure - inside panels

Nice, huh? Maybe opulent is a better word. There are over 95 square feet of French-fold-seamed leather in that plush interior which, by the way, has unique seats, doors, consoles and steering wheel, compared to other Seville models. The front seats have 12-way power adjustments.

Another nice touch is the real elm burl wood accents. (Personally, I don’t think materials, particularly adornments, should be simulated on a Cadillac.) It’s interesting, though, as I read the list of standard equipment, I realized that most is either standard equipment on average new cars today, or obsolete (e.g., AM stereo/FM stereo radio with cassette tape and five-band equalizer).

1988 Cadillac Seville STS brochure - page 5Okay, this page of the brochure, to the right, offers some really good shots of the car’s exterior. You know, it may be perceived that I am not fond of this generation Seville. Truth be told, I’m a fan of every generation of Seville, just to varying degrees.

Take this subject generation, for instance. I still have my 1986 Cadillac brochure that I picked up at their Los Angeles Auto Show booth that year. I was so fond of that model in particular that I had worn the brochure’s cover loose and lost it at some point.

Even as an early teen, I was swooned by the car’s modern new shape with its formal, angular upright lines. I may be creeping some readers out but, I used to take that brochure with me on long car rides to stare at the pictures–the new Seville, specifically.

There were two things about that generation Seville that have rendered it admittedly somewhat forgetful in my mind. First, its demure size. Not just stylistically but from a product competitiveness standpoint its petiteness conspired against it to set a ceiling on its ultimate potential.

The second thing was the 1992 Seville. It was that good. The fourth generation initiated a leap in status that quickly wiped the third generation from many peoples’ minds… mine included.

Nevertheless, this 1988 Seville STS is a remarkable-looking design and stands apart from its non-STS kin with its wreath and crest affixed to the grille, Euro-spec amber turn signals outback and special wheels and labeling.

1988 Cadillac Seville STS brochure - page 6To the left here is the back panel of the brochure. It summarizes some of the STS’ specifics, such as its 155 HP, 240-pound feet of torque produced by its 4.5-liter V8. That’s some good torque overall power levels sure have come a long way since 1988. Same thing with the wheels. Almost laughable by today’s standards are the otherwise attractive, “Cadillac-exclusive” 15-inchers.

Well, I hope you enjoyed looking back at the 1988 Cadillac Seville STS, I know I did.