Analysis To Paralysis

This Hemmings article about “[t]he increasing complexity of electronics [posing] a challenge for future collectibles” gave me pause about considering buying a car like a 2000-02 Cadillac Eldorado in the future. I thought, what if the 20-year old electronics die and I can’t find replacements? I don’t know how interchangeable those parts are with other Cadillac/GM parts and only 31,495 Eldorados were built in those three model years, meaning not much incentive exists–one would think–for third-party companies to provide parts.

Being an “intelligent” person with OCD can really be awful. It’s great to plan and to anticipate, but like EVERY other behavior it has its limits and is not always appropriate. Analysis to paralysis…

I used to lie to my marvelous mom and don’t feel bad about it at all. When I lived in California and she lived on the other side of the country, what good would it have done to answer truthfully to the question, “How are you feeling?,” if I were sick? She would have worried and she was not a doctor. I would always answer, “I’m fine, Ma.” The first year I lived in California I felt sick most of the time, perhaps due to new allergens. Oh, if you were to look in the dictionary for the phrase “Jewish Mother” my mother’s picture should have been next to the definition. (How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb? [In a Yiddish accent] None, we’ll sit in the dark…)

It’s great to be industrious and hard-working, but it’s also OK to take a break every now and then. It’s good to think of others, but it’s OK to be selfish sometimes, too. (I think selfishness is a part of our survival instinct and is simply unavoidable at times.) My 2¢.

After some period of worrying, I decided to look on (they’re not paying me for this) and, whadda ya know, they have a slew of electronic parts for 2000-02 Eldorados, even Electronic Control Modules (ECM), both new and refurbished. Oh, before I looked on RockAuto, I started looking at Cadillac ATS and CTS models no older than 2011 because their electronics should be less prone to failure. Oy Vey!

Remember, if you will, that this search was originally about finding a car like a 1963-65 Buick Riviera or 1962-64 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. I value flexibility and adaptability, also remember that I was originally going to buy/build a C2 Corvette restomod before deciding to buy a C7 Z06, so after speaking to experts like John Kraman I decided to focus on more modern cars.

Since I don’t wrench on cars and don’t have an 8- or 9-figure net worth (or more), trying to bring an older car to the point of being reliable is not a practical solution. The potential for electronic obsolescence or no, I guess we’ll buy something from this century, whenever all of the dust settles. Of course, ask me again in a week and I might have a different answer. 🙂

From Mecum, a picture of a 2002 Cadillac Eldorado ETC (the more upscale of the two Eldo versions) offered at their Kissimmee auction in 2017. 2002 was the last year for the Eldorado; it is sad to me that the model is no longer produced.


See the source image


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8 thoughts on “Analysis To Paralysis

  1. One of the keys to either owning a classic car or building a project car is to know who to allow to work on your car with the needed skill set. Considering the complexity of cars, this becomes a rather long list, but still limited to those trusted individuals.

    I have used Rock Auto for several parts for my project truck mostly for the Dakota independent front suspension replacement parts. I am now at the stage in the project where more specialized parts suppliers are required. Fortunately for me/us the American economy has produced many small companies that produce the needed parts. The trick is finding them and the Internet reigns supreme in the search. Electronic replacement parts suppliers are a growing segment of the aftermarket supplier base.


  2. As you have no doubt noticed, I prefer older vehicles. I haven’t had too many problems finding parts for them, but most are not heavily dependent on electronics. I did recently purchase a 1991 Dodge Stealth R/T, non turbo. It’s a rebadged Mitsubishi 3000 GT, so there are a bunch of electronics on it. I’m not sure how long I’ll keep it so at the moment I’m not too worried about replacement parts. There seems to be a strong enthusiast group for these cars so I suspect any needed parts should be fairly easy to acquire.

    A few years back, I stopped by to see a friend who ran a small auto repair shop. He was mounting a set of trailer lights in the back window of a 10-12 year old Buick. I was kidding him about “jerry rigging” instead of repairing. Story was the car was owned by an older man and the brake lights had quit working. The way the electronics were ran, the brake lights were tied into one of the computers on the car because of the cruise control. Dealer said the computer was bad and it would be $1200 to replace. Man didn’t want to pay that much, asked Chris if he could do anything cheaper. Solution was a switch mounted at the brake pedal, like had been done for 100 years, wired to a set of trailer lights. Total cost? $125.

    I suspect given the increase in electronic driver aids, automatic braking, lane assist, blind spot alert, etc, many cars will end up being scrapped due to the cost of replacing some of these systems.


  3. Something I won’t have to worry about, being of a certain age, but I know the collectability of our current model vehicles will be really hampered by the sophistication and uniqueness of the electronics now installed. When it was just that the car had an 8-track player instead of a cassette or cassette instead of a CD, it was a relatively easy matter to replace the electronics if something went bad, or if you had a hankering for more modern.

    With all of the integrated electronics these days custom designed into the dash, not to mention radar cruise, backup, and birds-eye view camera systems, the complexity of today’s cars is mind-boggling.

    The sound system in my 2004 Mustang had a broken CD and 2004 electronics. I updated the system to support Bluetooth phone access, added a backup camera system and generally made it more modern, but I’ve kept the old system for the day I sell it in case a buyer wishes to take it back to stock. That CD player still won’t work, but it will look original.


    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, sir. “Of a certain age…” In 1940 there were probably fewer than 100 centenarians in the US. Today, there are about 75,000. That’s what I’m hanging my hat on, anyway. I know you’re not 100…

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  4. I can’t say for certain, but I’d imagine in the age of cost-consciousness, most of the electronics used in the Eldo would be common to most other of its stablemates. I’d also think that as the late 90s/early 00s cars gain ‘collector status’, someone will start seeing the value in supplying new/refurb electronics parts. There’d have to be enough demand in Corvettes, Camaros, Firebirds, Vipers, Mustangs and Lightning pickups to keep someone busy.


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