: Dual test drive review: John's '88 LSC & Jesda's '92 STS

02-22-10, 11:24 PM
We went to John's place Saturday night to get some stuff & swapped cars en route. On the way over, I drove the LSC and on the way back I drove the STS.


Exterior design:

Very handsome for an '80s car, especially compared to a lot of the stuff FoMoCo was doing back in '84. What a contrast compared to the Mark VI! I loved sitting behind the wheel and seeing that long flat hood, with the powerdome clearly outlined. It's got a very clean cut, business like look. This is probably one of the best looking American cars of the '80s. It's definitely better looking than the Mark VIII.

Again, extremely handsome for a '90s car. Arguably Cadillac's best design IMO, it's right up there with the 98-03 STS & the 90-92 Brougham. The lines are razor sharp and very stylish, especially considering it's 18 years old. With the LSC, you can tell it's a product of the Reagan era, and that's a good thing, but the STS would look fitting on a showroom today.

Interior design:

Very boxy and '80s typical. Everything has a right angle and is very hard edged, much like the car's exterior. The interior fits like a glove, for me atleast. There is just the right amount of headroom for me at 5'6", but the other two were more cramped in it. The front seats have nice bolstering & plenty of cush, and the backseat has plenty of legroom (FINALLY) and the seat it's self is extremely comfortable.

Wonderful. The 92-97 Sevilles have such a gorgeous dashboard design, with the perfect amount of Zebrano wood trim, which contrasts beautifully with the dark tan leather interior. The STS's seats were much firmer than the LSC's, so I'd rather sit in the LSC, but the STS's interior was easier on the eyes.

How they drive:

It feels great behind the wheel. Long, flat hood ahead of you, Mustang-sourced 302 under the hood, rear wheels pushing you along. It just instills a feeling of cool confidence. But I'm not as used to Fords as I am to GM's, so some things seemed unusual to me, such as the slightly more syrupy feeling steering & air suspension. The suspension was great because it was smooth when it needed to be, but could still bite like a proper sports/luxury coupe.

The Ford 5.0 isn't as quick out of the hole as the Cadillac 4.9, which is really odd considering that the 5.0 makes 25 more horsepower and torque than the 4.9, but it must the the way the 4.9 flows or something, because we raced, and the STS walked the LSC from a stop! With the 5.0, the power builds with the RPMs, and once it passes 3000 it really starts to build. With the 4.9, power is explosive out of the hole, but fades past 3500. When the LSC's transmission downshifts at low speeds, it really kicks you into your seat and you can feel the Traction-Lok rear axle kick in and sidestep the rear end. I forgot how quick that can put a grin on your face! Also, the 302 sounds AWESOME! Vintage muscle car sounds out of a Lincoln coupe! Bitchin! :cool2: It didn't hurt that the right muffler was split in two. :cool:

It felt like a much sharper version of the '92 Sedan deVille I had. Ride & handling are very balanced for a car of it's size, and I'd say it rides firmer (harsher?) than my smaller, lighter GS, but at the same time, it's front struts were worn to the point of banging around at every pothole or bump, so maybe that's why? I don't recall it being as quite as sharp as the '93 STS I drove a few years back, in terms of steering and handling, but maybe they revised that in '93 for the introduction of the blistering Northstar?

With the 3.33:1 final drive ratio combined with the 4.9's tidal wave of off-idle torque, I was having a hard time keeping the wheels from spinning from a stop (sorry Jesda), and I found out that if you go WOT from a 20 mph roll, you'll still send the front tires into a spinning frenzy! My deVille only wished it could do that, but I only had the pedestrian 2.73:1 final drive ratio. Shit, I don't think my GS can spin it's tires from a 20 mph roll..... :eek:

I guess I really need that underdrive pulley. :)

Anyways, like I said earlier, the 4.9 falls on it's face once the RPM's increase, and that wasn't any different even with the much steeper final drive ratio. It was just like I remembered with my deVille....the power band is very smooth and quiet, but it's not as linear as the 5.0 or Supercharged 3.8, but if you treat it civil you'll never feel it's "bad zone". Also, I should note that I did not notice a much different sounding exhaust note than from what I remember with my SDV, even though the STS has dual exhaust tips and the SDV had one.

With the STS, I really feel that the Northstar is a necessity though. It really brings out the verve in the car's personality. The 4.9 is a fine motor, don't get me wrong, but it's more suited to a bigger, less dynamic sedan, much like a deVille.

So if I had to pick one, it'd be a tough decision, but I'd probably go with the LSC. It fits me better, is more modifiable, and is RWD....and I've never had a personal luxury/sport coupe before. :)

02-23-10, 01:00 AM
Both of those cars are real timeless designs IMO. I really see that Lincoln becoming collectible in the next few years. Hemmings Muscle Machines did a feature on a Mark VII a few months ago if that tells you anything.


02-23-10, 12:17 PM
I took a quick video of the Mark 7 as well. Will upload it tonight. Its a clean design that was good when it came out, and looks even better now.

02-23-10, 12:36 PM
Lincoln looks good, but the Antenna looks tall as hell!

02-23-10, 12:41 PM
I thought it was neat that you could manually raise and lower the power antenna like older MBs. Great for car washes where you dont want to turn the radio completely off and sit in silence, and high speeds.

02-23-10, 01:30 PM
That is a neat function. I wish my Trans Am did that.

02-23-10, 01:40 PM
I drove the other 2 cars as well, will put in my two cents after work tonight.

02-24-10, 01:30 AM
I thought it was neat that you could manually raise and lower the power antenna like older MBs. Great for car washes where you dont want to turn the radio completely off and sit in silence, and high speeds.

Cadillacs had that feature until 1979. Don't know why they discontinued it.

02-24-10, 03:14 PM
Okay, my input on Jesda's STS and Chad's Regal. The Regal was definitely the fastest and the most comfortable to ride in. When you got on the throttle and it dropped into second you were GONE. The suspension and seats were soft and soaked up even large bumps with ease. The interior noise was also very quiet, but being that I own 2 80's cars I'm used to hearing lots of road noise and interior squeaks. The steering and brakes were good, but when comparing the handling to my Mark VII and the STS it really shows that this is where the Regal falls short. It handles well for being a FWD Buick, but the STS and my Mark feel like they are on rails by comparison.

The STS was very similar. I have never particularly liked the interiors on the pre-'96 models though. The gauge cluster looks awful IMO. Other than that it drove great. I forgot the incredible amount of torque the 4.9 had, holy crap. Seats were nice and supportive and the suspension was a little stiffer than my Lincoln. I wasn't fond of the steering either, it made me feel uneasy at speeds. It has a higher ratio gearbox but is also featherlight to turn. My car has a similar ratio in the steering box but there is a lot more resistance in the wheel. The other thing of note is the mileage both these cars got. Very impressive for how much power they have. The Lincoln is rated 22 on the highway and I've never gotten better than that. The average in the Buick was 28 mpg (he had it at 30 on the way down though) and I believe the STS was around 25.

Power wise both cars were amazing. The Regal and the STS both have very refined power where as my Lincoln feels more like just brute force. I liked that about them as the Lincoln just feels tired as you drive it. Now my biggest gripe, the FWD. FWD would be great for the base models of both these cars, but with the added power it really points out the downfalls of FWD. The torque steer in the Buick was bad, worse than I had thought it would be. Cadillac did a good job of effectively eliminating it on the STS, but under 1/4 throttle from a dead stop you could feel a shimmy in the wheel from the tires trying to get traction. I like being able to just sink my foot to the floor, have the rear tires dig in and go instead of having to ease into it.

Another issue I have with the cars is the sound system. My car has a HUGE antenna and will pick up even the faintest radio station and play it clearly. Jesda's car has no antenna, not surprising :), but there is NO radio. The antenna on the Buick is built into the rear window as they are on most cars nowadays. This is bad. As I was driving the station I was listening to would crackle and even completely fade out if I stopped in the right spot (like by a stoplight pole). I can be listening to the same radio station in my car and drive another 60 miles west before it starts to cut out.

All in all, if I were to buy one it would be the STS. I like the hard body and interior lines. After all they are one of the best looking Caddys ever made. The Regal would be a great DD as it is for Chad, but I prefer something a little off the beaten path and around me I don't see many fourth gen STS.

02-24-10, 08:30 PM

02-24-10, 08:37 PM
It's amazing to think that my dad's paltry, bland and milquetoast '97 Lumina is the same basic car underneath as my Regal GS. Badge engineering FTW.

Watching the video for the Mark VII LSC now.....I forgot about that sweet trip computer! I love buttons & information....it's a geek's dream! That 302 sounded AWESOME too!

I wish we woulda got that LSC v. STS race on tape.

02-25-10, 01:24 AM
Jesda for Top Gear USA All the way!!!!

02-25-10, 08:20 AM
Although I'm really not looking at one of these anymore given the need to haul the dog around...how does the Mk's 5.0 compare to the N*?

02-25-10, 08:58 AM
^ Any luck on the wagon hunt? Come... to the daaaark side!

02-28-10, 11:39 AM
STS was an amazing design. the 98-03 style you see on the streets today and it looks like something that could still be brand new