HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 2004 Cadillac XLR

Pick of the Day: 2004 Cadillac XLR

What happens when Cadillac tries to make its own Corvette?


In 1999, Cadillac unveiled its Evoq concept car to raving reviews. Unlike so many concept cars that have come and gone – and mostly forgotten but for the pages of publications like ours – Cadillac actually decided to build and market the car.

The Pick of the Day is a 2004 Cadillac XLR advertised by a dealer in Wichita Falls, Texas, on ClassicCars.com.


The overwhelming positivity for the design of the two-seat roadster Evoq concept, and the public’s appetite for sporty roadsters, convinced Cadillac to throw its hat in the ring with a luxurious and powerful car that would be compared to the Corvette. As a matter of fact, the car would be built on the same assembly line in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The XLR was produced from 2003-2009 for a total of 15,460, although new-car sales continued into 2011 for 2009-titled cars as sales projections were never met, which makes this car relatively rare. By comparison (and perhaps a stretch), the same could be said for Plymouth Superbirds, which failed to meet projections – only to become seven-figure, cherished collectibles.


The Corvette and the XLR would both have the all-new hydro-formed perimeter frame and composite bodywork construction. The similarities are clear, but these certainly are very different cars. This Xenon Blue on black interior looks and feels like a Cadillac. The bold, rigid lines were as recognizable on the XLR as on the CTS Sedan, whereas the Corvette of the day had much more rounded edges.

The XLR was the first two-door convertible Cadillac produced since the Allante, a future classic in its own right. Like its predecessor, the XLR would be powered by a 4.6-liter NorthStar V8 making 320 horsepower and featured a retractable hard-top and heads-up display. The comfortable interior sported Bulgari-designed analog instruments, engulfing the occupants in luxury and style.


Other pioneering features for Cadillac were adaptive suspension, radar-adaptive cruise control and a touchscreen radio/navigation head unit. The 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution gave the XLR superior handing, which made it fun to drive.

The dealer says there are 109,441 miles on the odometer and is asking $14,900 – a far cry from the nearly $80,000 price tag when new.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler is the Managing Editor of the ClassicCars.com Journal. Tom has a lifelong love of cars and motor racing – beginning with the 1968 USRRC race at Road America, in a stroller, at eight months of age. His words, photos and broadcasts can can be found on a myriad of media. He has won the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Award and a Gold Medal in the International Automotive Media Awards.


  1. I rode in a Corvette/XLR road rally a few years ago in the NC Mountains. Corvettes and Cadillacs from all over the SE and Midwest converged in the Asheville area for a long weekend. Drivers swapped cars and we hit most of the curves on some lesser know parkways and roadways. A few times we were sideways. Became good friends with a couple from FL and tossed them the keys to my ZR1 with 315 F1 Eagles on the rear. I hammered down on their ’06 XLR. What great time and an awesome handling Caddy!

    • Great Story Brian! Nice to hear a Corvette guy give this car props. I think it may be one of the most under-appreciated Caddys ever made. I think this car is due as a collectible.

  2. Have 2 questions at this time-
    How many miles are on the XLR ?
    Looking to get the VIN # so I could check the service records.

  3. I remember these. Back in the early 2000’s they were really cool and really fast for the time. If I remember correctly, you could actually get these with a stick. I remember cuz I thought then that that was the first time I ever saw a Caddy with a manual trans. Correct me if I’m wrong. anyway, I’m sure someone’s gunna grab the one real soon.

    • The CT5-V and ATS-V sedans have/had available manuals. The XLR had a 5-speed 5L50 automatic and the Supercharged XLR-V had a 6-speed 6L80 automatic. I was fortunate to drive an ATS-V six-speed at Willow Springs Raceway a couple of years ago during the Motor Press Guild’s Track day, with several OEMs represented — and the Caddy was my favorite car of the day!

  4. $5K-$6k max….. Northstar was an engineering and design nightmare…. engine has to be swapped out for Chevy engine of that era as the Northstar is unworkable…. otherwise a nice car…..

    • Well the car already has over 109 thousand miles on it, my xlr has 67 k on it no troubles. I think a lot has to do with maintenance and the way people drive. You can’t find any xlrs cheap unless it has a lot of problems.Great car to drive !!

  5. Can you get 2 sets of golf clubs in the trunk of the XLR? what is the overall gas mileage of this XLR>? Would you consider shipping included in the asking price? shipping to Wa state

  6. Don’t know ’bout that, Ronald. Ran a couple of Northstars, one in a Bonneville GXP, one in an ElDorado.
    Not ever a problem; Bonnie had 280,xxx miles when I sold her. Other than plugs, oil/filter changes, and the air filter, the Northstar performed as advertised, for far longer than I would have credited. The screen print wore off the radio control buttons before the motor was tired.
    The Eldo rusted out underneath. The buyer intended to put the Northstar/transaxle in the back of a ’68 Corvair. I never heard back. But it had 130,xxx; given my experience with the Bonnie, I’d guess he had at least 100k with which to work.
    Always liked GM/Caddy’s “Art & Science” creased and folded styling, but for the money and maintenance, as well as rarity, I’ll take the CTS-V wagon with the crunchy but indestructible Tremec please, thank you oh so much.
    Still, a sweet cruiser in a beautiful color.

  7. I don’t know about that, Ryan. You had two Northstars, no problems. I had one Northstar and had problems. That’s one of three, using limited-sized samples, as you are. It was the well-known blown head gasket (and fallout) and it cost $2,000 to get it fixed. The problem is common enough that GM makes a repair kit for it, sold to the few places than do the fix. There is a shop in my suburb (of Chicago) that fixes it and gets Northstar-disabled Caddies trucked in from surrounding states.

  8. Well the car already has over 109 thousand miles on it, my xlr has 67 k on it no troubles. I think a lot has to do with maintenance and the way people drive. You can’t find any xlrs cheap unless it has a lot of problems.Great car to drive !!

  9. For some reason I always thought the XLR had the Corvette motor? Still, 320+ hp in a 2-seat Caddy? For under $15k? I’m in!


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