Junkyard Gem: 1981 Cadillac Eldorado with V8-6-4 engine

Murilee Martin
Junkyard Gem: 1981 Cadillac Eldorado with V8-6-4 engine

Skyrocketing fuel prices caused by geopolitical events in 1973 and 1979 led to gas lines, federal fuel economy requirements, and an increasing reluctance on the part of American car shoppers to buy big, thirsty Detroit luxury machines. General Motors had pulled off some amazing technological feats in the past — the small-block Chevrolet V8 engine and Hydramatic transmission being two extraordinarily successful ones — and so Cadillac's bosses figured that a combination of computer wizardry and clever mechanical engineering would give the 368-cubic-inch Cadillac V8 a cylinder-deactivation system and resulting superior fuel economy. An "MPG Sentinel" display on the dash would let the driver know how many cylinders were active at the moment, and the car would get Chevy Citation fuel economy with Cadillac luxury.