The Cadillac Northstar V-8

A History

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About the Book

Cadillac has had a long history in the automotive marketplace as General Motors’ luxury car division. During the 1980s, Cadillac’s management wanted to reestablish the brand as a leader in sophistication, innovation, refinement and prestige. Engineers conceived a new dual-overhead cam, four-valve-per-cylinder V-8 engine—the Northstar. This power plant was the heart of Cadillac’s Northstar System, which included a greatly improved suspension and braking system.
The division redesigned its entire line to incorporate these new technologies for the 1990s and beyond. The Northstar was the last engine designed and built by Cadillac before the 2005 establishment of GM Powertrain, which took over engine design for all GM divisions. This history of the Northstar V-8 and the cars it powered covers the first generation front-wheel drive Northstar, the second generation rear-wheel drive model, and the supercharged version, along with racing history and the most collectible Northstar-powered Cadillacs.

About the Author(s)

Anthony Young has published books on transportation, aerospace and social history. He lives in Lafayette, Indiana.

Bibliographic Details

Anthony Young
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 208
Bibliographic Info: 87 photos (7 in color), bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7118-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2463-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Preface 1

Introduction: Cadillac Before Northstar 3

1. The Chevrolet LT5: Prelude to the Northstar V-8 29

2. The Northstar System and V-8: Engineering and Development 60

3. The Next Generation: The Northstar V-8 for Rear Wheel Drive (2004) 78

4. The Supercharged Northstar V-8, ­XLR-V and ­STS-V: Engineering and Development 94

Between pages 120 and 121 are 4 color plates containing 7 photographs

5. The New ­Multi-cylinder Era: The Northstar XV12 and V-16 OHV Sixteen Concept 121

6. Cadillac Goes Racing with the Northstar V-8 143

7. The Northstar V-8 in Other GM Cars 157

8. Legacy of the Northstar DOHC ­Multi-valve Engine 167

9. The Collectible Northstar V-8 Cadillacs 176

Chapter Notes 191

Bibliography 194

Index 195

Book Reviews & Awards

“this book should be in your library…the book to satisfy your general interest and even create a steady interest by the time you finish reading”—SAH Journal; “fascinating…Readers will enjoy [Young’s] technical, thorough, and yet approachable writing style, as they follow this important American engine through its life, and come to understand its enduing legacy for all multi-level GM engines.”—Hemmings Classic Car.