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Mailbag: Shopping for an XLR

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I was asked for info on the XLR and for shopping ideas. Spec: Black exterior, dark wood interior, and under 80K miles.

Here is the SEARCH I use at cars.com. That is XLR's from my zip code which is 75023 for Plano.


This one is at Crest, a forum sponsor. https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/669750374/overview/ but it is red not black


This 2004 with 57K miles is black. https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/668280288/overview/

What do you guys think? What else would you specify?


2023 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

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  • 5 months later...


The old adage, "Be careful what you wish for" certainly applies to the XLR.

As much as I've loved owning an XLR, (and for years have continued to support owners online in other forums) it isn't a vehicle I would recommend to prospective buyers for one reason: Lack of critical spare parts.  And by critical, I mean without them, you can't drive on the road if they fail. If the front or rear end is damaged in an accident, insurance companies aren't enthusiastic about honoring claims when new parts aren't available. 

Specifically, GM has discontinued stocking headlight and tail light assemblies.  Add to the growing list, HUDs, Adaptive Cruise Control modules, interior trim pieces, seat pads and covers. . . the list grows monthly,. 

Are there workarounds? Sure.  You can scrounge salvaged parts or cross your fingers and hope for the best buying used parts on eBay; the majority of the headlight assemblies have crazed DRL bezels, which is why they were removed in the first place.   There's a guy who works out of his house claiming he can repair the headlights, but "You pay your money, you take your chances" certainly applies here.  

With less than 15,000 XLRs produced over a six-year span ending in 2009, (it's anybody's guess how many are still on the road) increasing numbers of savy, hard-core XLR enthusiasts are selling them to unsuspecting buyers enamored with it's beautiful design.  Others are snapping up hard-to-find parts in an effort to ensure they can keep their cars running long-term.

The majority of the suspension is corvette-supported, but a lot of the electronics modules are XLR-unique.  Browse an online parts list and you'll be disappointed to see how many (simple) parts are discontinued.

The most problematic system on the XLR has and always will be the Folding Top.  For even minor sensor replacement, a GM diagnostic tool (available at your local dealership) is required.  It's always been this way, but as time goes on, the number of certified XLR techs is dwindling.  It's easy to assume a good tech armed with the proper tools, and supplied with technical documentation can perform the work, but without training, (and experience since there aren't that many being repaired to begin with) you're liable to pay more in labor for their OJT than you would otherwise.  Just something to consider.  I receive many PM's seeking help from XLR owners fed up with Service Departments who cannot repair their cars.  More than a few ask if they should keep them and advise them to cut their losses and move on.  The XLR has moved into a niche reserved for owners who like to work on "old cars" which these days means you need to be very technically oriented with the requisite tools and knowledge required.  Support will not be getting better.  Ever.  I wish it were not so.

Unless you're a very capable DIY who doesn't depend on an XLR as a daily driver, and doesn't mind waiting for extended periods of time while your beautiful garage queen languishes in the garage waiting for parts, (on a Battery Tender, of course or it will deplete the battery) this no longer a car I would recommend without performing extensive online research to determine if it's the right car for you.  Like a supermodel, they're gorgeous, but can be very high maintenance --and that gets old --real fast.



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