Last August, Francesca Giannini of Jacksonville, Florida was driving in a school zone around 35 mph when the roof of her 2005 Cadillac XLR suddenly came flying off. A similar event happened last week to Brad Yates, a Georgia firefighter.
Yates was traveling on Interstate-75 at around 70 mph with the fiberglass roof panel on his XLR closed and secured during the multi-hour trip. Yates reports hearing a faint noise followed by a louder “bang” when his Cadillac’s roof detached.
There are 21 recorded complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the 2005 Cadillac XLR. An overwhelming majority of the complaints filed under the structure category report that the roof detached from the car’s body.
Yates said that the rainy weather was what probably kept other drivers from being too close when the roof from his roadster detached. After he pulled over, he researched the problem on his phone to find an explanation.
“You get online and people are talking about this. It’s aggravating that I had no clue this was even a potential to happen,” he said. “Instantly, it was like all the windows were rolled down. You never think that a structural component of the car is going to fly off while you’re driving down the road,” he added.
Luckily, no injuries were reported in either Yates’ and Giannini’s cases. But since the Cadillac XLR models are more than ten years old, they are past even the longest warranty periods. Yates was quoted over $3,000 to replace the lost roof.
A local Cadillac service manager told First Coast News that the adhesive securing the roof erodes faster in hot weather. While this makes sense for the cases of Yates and Giannini, which took place in the warmer states of Georgia and Florida, respectively it certainly is not an acceptable excuse.
Meanwhile, General Motors recalled the 2005 Chevrolet Corvette for roof panel separation issues back in 2009. However, it made no recalls for the Cadillac XLR, which shares the Corvette’s architecture. A spokesperson for GM did say that the “roofs for the Corvette and XLR use different technologies, so it is important to understand what is happening with the XLR.”
While the Corvette features a roof panel that can be manually removed by its owner, the XLR used a more advanced, power-retractable hardtop roof configuration.