Future Classic: 2004 Cadillac XLR

The XLR was Cadillac's second attempt at a luxury performance two-seater convertible after the mixed results of the Allanté.

When production of the Allanté ended in 1993, Cadillac was without a flagship convertible for a decade. However, in 1999 they tested out a two-door concept, the Evoq, at the Detroit Auto Show. It wore a startlingly fresh body by Kip Wasenko of razor-sharp lines, edges, and creases. It was bold and new, yet still very American and very Cadillac. Under the hood was the familiar Northstar V8, but for the first time in a while, power was directed to the rear wheels. It was a hit, and Cadillac has been utilizing its design themes ever since.

When asked what current designs he likes, legendary Mercedes-Benz designer Brunco Sacco stated he admired Cadillac most. Indeed, in the same way Sacco created a memorable face for all Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, starting with the Evoq, finally found a design theme to fit across the whole range and instantly identify their cars, especially against stiff competition. No other cars wear Cadillac's ultra-mod sharp body lines, while German and Asian cars are looking more and more alike with each passing model year, much to their detriment.

Based on Corvette's rear-wheel drive Y platform, the XLR debuted in 2004 and featured a unique body, interior and suspension. It also had a power-retractable hardtop that needed just under a foot of clearance for retraction. The hardtop was supplied by Porsche and Mercedes-Benz (who had employed this setup on the groundbreaking SLK) and was made of aluminum to reduce the addition of weight as much as possible.

Only 15,460 were produced until 2009, when it was never followed up with a successor. Currently, Cadillac is two-seat convertible in their range.

The seller of this example states their daughter bought it in 2006 from the original owner, then the seller swapped his four-door Lexus for the XLR. He now finds the XLR too small and needs to sell. The seller states the odometer as reading 70,500, slightly high for an XLR, which were usually acquired by older people who drove them sparingly.

Cosmetcially, the seller says the vehicle is in excellent condition "but not perfect", whatever that means. They do say everything looks and works as it should. Mechanically, they state it runs and drives well, and they invite local prospective owners to inspect and test drive it.

Since the V8 is a large and somewhat complex engine and the vehicle relatively new, it should come with a stack of records and receipts to document the 70k miles put on. If the seller is just getting rid of it for lack of need, it could check out however.

Regardless, with a Buy-It-Now of just $22,000, this is one of the nicest and least expensive XLR I came across on the market right now.

Find it here on ebay in Kenova, West Virginia.

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