The famous Northstar V8 is ending production after a 17-year run, a GM spokesperson confirmed to Inside Line. The last Northstar will be made sometime near the end of July.
The Northstar’s design was initiated as a response to the advanced dual overhead cam V8 engines introduced by European and Japanese competitors of Cadillac in the late 1980s. At that time, Cadillac was using the aluminum HT Overhead Valve (OHV) V8 which had been pushed hastily into production after the failure of the V8-6-4 of 1981.
Cadillac was developing new models like the Allanté and updated Eldorado and Seville STS which they hoped would compete against the best from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and Infiniti. They developed a laundry list of items that must be included in these new models, including sophisticated steering, braking, and suspension technologies, which became known as the Northstar System. One key element was a high-tech V8 engine with all of the features and performance of the competitors’ offerings.
The “Northstar” V8, as it was then known, was an evolution of the Lotus-designed Chevrolet LT5 all-aluminum DOHC 32-valve V8 used in the Corvette ZR-1. Archrival Ford Motor Company was developing a similar engine at that time as well, and Ford’s Modular engine would precede the Northstar into production with its introduction on the 1991 Lincoln Town Car. Both continue in production at 4.6 L of displacement.