Cadillac Eldorado

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Cadillac Eldorado
1971 Eldorado.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer General Motors
Also called Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado
Production 1952–2002
Body and chassis
Class Full-size personal luxury car
Chronology
Successor Cadillac CTS

The Eldorado is a two-door personal luxury car manufactured and marketed by the Cadillac Division of General Motors from 1953 to 2002. Competitors included the Lincoln Mark series and the lower-priced Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile Toronado.

The Eldorado was at or near the top of the Cadillac line during early model years. The original 1953 Eldorado convertible and the Eldorado Brougham models of 1957–1960 were the most expensive models that Cadillac offered those years, and the Eldorado was never less than second in price after the Cadillac Series 75 until 1966.[1][2] Eldorados bore the Fleetwood designation from 1965 through 1972.

Beginning in 1961, Cadillac marketed an upper trim level named after the French coastal resort, the Eldorado Biarritz.

Etymology[edit]

The name "Eldorado" was proposed for a special show car built in 1952 to mark Cadillac's Golden Anniversary; it was the result of in-house competition won by Mary-Ann Marini (née Zukosky), a secretary in the company's merchandising department. Another source, Palm Springs Life magazine, attributes the name to a resort destination in California's Coachella Valley that was a favorite of General Motors executives. However, the Eldorado Country Club in Indian Wells, California was not founded until 1957 - five years after Cadillac's naming competition. In any case, the name was adopted by the company for a new, limited-edition convertible that was added to the line in 1953.

The name Eldorado was derived from the Spanish words "el dorado", which is translated "the gilded one" or "the golden one" in English; the name was originally given to the legendary chief or "cacique" of a South American Indian tribe. Legend has it that his followers would sprinkle his body with gold dust on ceremonial occasions and he would wash it off again by diving into a lake. The name more frequently refers to a legendary city of fabulous riches, somewhere in South America, that inspired many European expeditions, including one to the Orinoco by England's Sir Walter Raleigh.

1953[edit]

First generation
1953 custom Cadillac El Dorado 01.jpg
Overview
Model years 1953
Assembly Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Designer Harley Earl
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Cadillac Series 62
Buick Roadmaster
Buick Super
Oldsmobile 98
Powertrain
Engine 331 cu in (5.4 L) OHV V8
Transmission 4-speed Hydra-Matic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 126.0 in (3,200 mm)
Length 220.8 in (5,608 mm)
Width 80.1 in (2,035 mm)
Height 58.5 in (1,486 mm)
Curb weight 5,000 lb (2,300 kg)

The top of the line 1953 Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado was one of three specialty convertibles produced that model year by General Motors, the other two being the Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta and the Buick Roadmaster Skylark. The Eldorado was a special-bodied, low-production convertible (532 units in total). It was the production version of the 1952 El Dorado "Golden Anniversary" concept car, and borrowed bumper bullets (aka dagmars) from the 1951 GM Le Sabre show car.[3] It featured a full assortment of deluxe accessories, including wire wheels, and introduced the wraparound windshield[4] and a cut-down beltline to Cadillac standard production, the latter signifying a dip in the sheetmetal at the bottom of the side windows. These two touches (featured on one or both of GM's other 1953 specialty convertibles) were especially beloved by General Motors Styling Chief Harley Earl and subsequently were widely copied by other marques. Available in four unique colors (Aztec Red, Alpine White, Azure Blue and Artisan Ochre — the latter is a yellow hue, although it was shown erroneously as black in the color folder issued on this rare model). Convertible tops were available in either black or white Orlon. The car carried no special badging other than a gold-colored "Eldorado" namelplate in the center of the dash. A hard tonneau cover, flush with the rear deck, hid the top in the open car version. Although technically a subseries of the Cadillac Series 62 and based on the regular Series 62 convertible, sharing its engine, it was nearly twice as expensive at US$7,750. This car was 220.8 inches (5,610 mm) long and 80.1 inches (2,030 mm) wide. Standard features included windshield washers, a signal seeking radio, power windows, and a heater.[5] The Eldorado comprised only .5% of Cadillac's sales in 1953.


1954–1956[edit]

1955 Cadillac Eldorado
Second generation
Cadillac Convertible.jpg
Overview
Model years 1954–1956
Assembly Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Designer Harley Earl
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Cadillac Series 62
Buick Roadmaster
Buick Super
Oldsmobile 98
Powertrain
Engine 331 cu in (5.4 L) OHV V8
365 cu in (6.0 L) OHV V8
Transmission 4-speed Hydra-Matic[6]
Dimensions
Wheelbase 129.0 in (3,277 mm)
Length 1954: 223.4 in (5,674 mm)
1955: 223.2 in (5,669 mm)
1956: 222.2 in (5,644 mm)
Width 1954: 79.6 in (2,022 mm)[2]
1955: 79.8 in (2,027 mm)[2]
1956: 80.1 in (2,035 mm)[2]
Curb weight 4,900–5,100 lb (2,200–2,300 kg)
1955 Cadillac Eldorado with view of "sharkfin" tailfins
1956 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

In 1954, Eldorado lost its unique sheet metal, sharing its basic body shell with standard Cadillacs. Distinguished now mainly by trim pieces, this allowed GM to lower the price and see a substantial increase in sales. The Eldorados had golden identifying crests centered directly behind the air-slot fenderbreaks and wide fluted beauty panels to decorate the lower rear bodysides. These panels were made of extruded aluminum and also appeared on a unique one of a kind Eldorado coupe built for the Reynolds Aluminum Corporation. Also included in the production Eldorado convertible were monogram plates on the doors, wire wheels, and custom interior trimmings with the Cadillac crest embossed on the seat bolsters. 2150 Eldorados were sold, nearly four times as many as in 1953.

For 1955, the Eldorado's body gained its own rear end styling with high, slender, pointed tailfins. These contrasted with the rather thick, bulbous fins which were common at the time and were an example of Eldorado once again pointing the way forward. The Eldorado sport convertible featured extras such as wide chrome body belt moldings and twin round taillights halfway up the fenders. Sales nearly doubled to 3,950.

For 1956, a two-door hardtop coupe version appeared, called the Eldorado Seville at which point the convertible was named the Eldorado Biarritz. An Eldorado script finally appeared with fender crest on the car which was further distinguished by a twin hood ornament. Extras featured on the Eldorado convertible were a ribbed chrome saddle molding extending from the windshield to the rear window pillar along the beltline. With the addition of the Seville, sales rose yet again to 6,050 of which 2,150 were Sevilles. Eldorados accounted for nearly 4% of all Cadillacs sold.

1957-1958[edit]

Third generation
Cadillac Eldorado SeVille 1958.JPG
Overview
Model years 1957–1958
Assembly Detroit, Michigan, USA
Designer Harley Earl
Body and chassis
Body style Series 62:
2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
4-door hardtop
Series 70:
4-door hardtop
Layout FR layout
Platform Series 62: C-body
Related Series 62:
Cadillac Series 62
Buick Limited
Buick Roadmaster
Buick Super
Oldsmobile 98
Powertrain
Engine 365 cu in (6.0 L) OHV
Transmission 4-speed Hydra-Matic
Dimensions
Wheelbase Series 62: 129.5 in (3,289 mm)
Series 70: 126.0 in (3,200 mm)
Length 1957 Series 62: 222.1 in (5,641 mm)
1958 Series 62: 223.4 in (5,674 mm)
Series 70: 216.3 in (5,494 mm)
Width Series 62: 80.0 in (2,032 mm)
Series 70: 78.5 in (1,994 mm)
Height Series 70: 55.5 in (1,410 mm)
Curb weight 5,000–5,500 lb (2,300–2,500 kg)
1957 Cadillac Eldorado Seville
1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham

1957 saw the Eldorado (in both Biarritz convertible and Seville hardtop bodystyles) with a revised rear-end design featuring a low, downswept fenderline capped by a pointed, in-board fin. The rear fenders were commonly referred to as "chipmunk cheeks". This concept was used for two years, but did not spawn any imitators. Series 62 Eldorados (as distinct from the Series 70 Eldorado Brougham) were further distinguished by the model name above a V-shaped rear deck ornament and on the front fenders. The rear fender and deck contour was trimmed with broad, sculptured stainless steel beauty panels. Also seen were "shark" style fins pointing towards the back of the cars. A three section built in front bumper was another exclusive trait of the Series 62 Eldorados, which came with a long list of standard features. A new bodystyle was added to the subseries, a 4-door Eldorado Sedan Seville, but only four were actually sold, and it was cancelled the following year.

1957 was chiefly notable for the introduction of one of GM's most memorable designs, the Series 70 Eldorado Brougham. Announced in December 1956 and released around March 1957, the Eldorado Brougham was a hand built, limited car derived from the Park Avenue and Orleans show cars of 1953-54. Designed by Ed Glowacke, it featured the first appearance of quad headlights and totally unique trim. The exterior ornamentation included wide, ribbed lower rear quarter beauty panels extending along the rocker sills and rectangularly sculptured side body "cove" highlighted with five horizontal windsplits on the rear doors. Tail styling treatments followed the Eldorado pattern. This four-door hardtop with rear-hinged rear doors was an ultra-luxury car that cost an astonishing $13,074 — twice the price of any other 1957 Eldorado and more than the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud of the same year. It featured a stainless steel roof, air suspension,[7] the first automatic two-position "memory" power seats, a dual four-barrel V-8, low profile tires with thin white-walls, automatic trunk opener, Cruise Control, high pressure cooling system, polarized sun visors,electric antenna, automatic-release parking brake, electric door locks, dual heating system, silver magnetized glovebox, drink tumblers, cigarette and tissue dispensers, lipstick and cologne, ladies compact with powder puff, mirror and matching leather notebook, comb and mirror, Arpège atomizer with Lanvin perfume, automatic starter with restart function, Autronic Eye, drum-type electric clock, power windows, forged aluminum wheels and air conditioning.[5] Buyers of Broughams had a choice of 44 full leather interior and trim combinations and could select such items as Mouton, Karakul or lambskin carpeting. There were serious difficulties with the air suspension. Some owners found it cheaper to have the system removed and replaced with conventional coil springs.[8] The 1957 Eldorado Brougham joined the Sixty Special and the Series 75 as the only Cadillac models with Fleetwood bodies although Fleetwood script or crests did not appear anywhere on the exterior of the car,[9][10] and so this would also mark the first time in 20 years that that a Fleetwood bodied car was paired with the Brougham name.[1][2][11] The 1957-58 Eldorado Brougham also marked the return of the Cadillac Series 70, if only briefly. Only 400 Eldorado Broughams were sold in 1957.

Cadillac Eldoradio Brougham all-transistor car radio-1957 dash

An all-transistor signal-seeking car radio was produced by GM's Delco Radio and was first available for the 1957 Eldorado Brougham models, which was standard equipment and used 13 transistors in its circuitry.[12][13][14]

On 1958 2-door Eldorados, a V-shaped ornament and model identification script were mounted to the deck lid. Two-door Eldorados also had ten vertical chevron slashes ahead of the open rear wheel housings and crest medallions on the flank of the tailfins. Broad, sculptured beauty panels decorated the lower rear quarters on all Series 62 Eldorados and extended around the wheel opening to stretch along the body sills. All new was a special order Series 62 Eldorado Seville of which only one was actually built.

The major changes to the Eldorado Brougham in 1958 were seen inside the car. The interior upper door panels were finished in leather instead of the metal finish used in 1957. New wheel covers also appeared. Forty-four trim combinations were available, along with 15 special monotone paint colors. A total of 304 Eldorado Broughams were sold in 1958. 1958 was the last year for the domestic production of the handbuilt Brougham at Cadillac's Detroit factory, as future manufacturing of the special bodies was transferred to Pininfarina of Turin, Italy.

1959–1960[edit]

Fourth generation
Cadillac at car show.jpg
Overview
Model years 1959–1960
Assembly Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Designer Chuck Jordan
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
4-door hardtop
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Cadillac Sixty Special
Cadillac De Ville
Cadillac Series 62
Buick Electra
Oldsmobile 98
Powertrain
Engine 390 cu in (6.4 L) OHV V8
Transmission 4-speed Hydra-Matic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 130.0 in (3,302 mm)
Length 225.0 in (5,715 mm)
Width 1959 2-door: 80.2 in (2,037 mm)
1960 2-door: 79.9 in (2,029 mm)
4-door: 80.2 in (2,037 mm)
Height coupe: 54.1 in (1,374 mm)
convertible: 54.4 in (1,382 mm)
4-door: 56.2 in (1,427 mm)
Curb weight 5,100–5,300 lb (2,300–2,400 kg)
With the exception of the Eldorado Brougham, 1959 Cadillacs were famous for high tailfins with double tail lights in mid-fin. This marked the peak of 1950's car tail fin extension.
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. This 1959 Cadillac was the only 1959 model showing the more modest tail fin design to come to all Cadillacs in 1960
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Seville

The 1959 Cadillac is remembered for its huge sharp tailfins with dual bullet tail lights, two distinctive rooflines and roof pillar configurations, new jewel-like grille patterns and matching deck lid beauty panels. In 1959 the Series 62 became the Series 6200. De Villes and 2-door Eldorados were moved from the Series 62 to their own series, the Series 6300 and Series 6400 respectively, though they all, including the 4-door Eldorado Brougham (which was moved from the Series 70 to Series 6900), shared the same 130 in (3,302 mm) wheelbase. All Eldorados were characterized by a three-deck, jeweled, rear grille insert, but other trim and equipment features varied. The Seville and Biarritz models had the Eldorado name spelled out behind the front wheel opening and featured broad, full-length body sill highlights that curved over the rear fender profile and back along the upper beltline region. Engine output was an even 345 hp (257 kW) from the 390 cu in (6.4 L) engine. Standard equipment included power brakes, power steering, automatic transmission, back-up lamps, windshield wipers, two-speed wipers, wheel discs, outside rearview mirror, vanity mirror, oil filter, power windows, six way power seats, heater, fog lamps, remote control deck lid, radio and antenna with rear speaker, power vent windows, air suspension, electric door locks and license frames.

The 1960 Cadillacs had smoother, more restrained styling. General changes included a full-width grille, the elimination of pointed front bumper guards, increased restraint in the application of chrome trim, lower tailfins with oval shaped nacelles and front fender mounted directional indicator lamps. External variations on the Seville two-door hardtop and Biarritz convertible took the form of bright body sill highlights that extended across the lower edge of fender skirts and Eldorado lettering on the sides of the front fenders, just behind the headlamps. Standard equipment included power brakes, power steering, automatic transmission, dual back-up lamps, windshield wipers, two-speed wipers, wheel discs, outside rearview mirror, vanity mirror, oil filter, power windows, six-way power seats, heater, fog lamps, Eldorado engine, remote control trunk lock, radio with antenna and rear speaker, power vent windows, air suspension, electric door locks, license frames, and five whitewall tires. Technical highlights were finned rear drums and an X-frame construction. Interiors were done in Chadwick cloth or optional Cambray cloth and leather combinations. The last Eldorado Seville was built in 1960.

A different Eldorado Brougham was sold for 1959 and 1960. These cars were not quite so extravagantly styled but were very unusual pieces in themselves. Priced at $13,075, they cost $1 more, each, than their older siblings. The company contracted out the assembly to Pininfarina of Italy, with whom the division has had a long-running relationship, and these Eldorados were essentially hand-built in Italy. Ironically only now did it acquire Fleetwood wheel discs[15] and doorsill moldings,[16] presumably because the design work[16] and final touches[9] were still being done by Fleetwood. Discreet, narrow taillights integrated into modest tailfins, and a squared-off rear roof line with rear ventiplanes caused the Italian-built Brougham to contrast sharply to the rounded roof lines, and especially the new "rocketship" taillights and flamboyant fins of the standard 1959 Cadillacs, which are a feature only of that year. A vertical crest medallion with Brougham script plate appeared on the front fenders and a single, thin molding ran from the front to rear along the mid-sides of the body. It did not sport Eldorado front fender letters or body sill headlights. A fin-like crest, or "skeg," ran from behind the front wheel opening to the rear of the car on the lower bodysides and there were special crest medallions on the trailing edge of the rear fenders. The Brougham's styling cues would prove to indicate where standard Cadillac styling would head from 1960 through the early-mid-1960s. The standard equipment list was pared down to match those of other Eldorados, plus Cruise Control, Autronic Eye, air conditioning and E-Z Eye glass. The Brougham build-quality was not nearly to the standard of the Detroit hand-built 1957–1958 models, and thus the 1959–1960 Broughams did not sell as well as their forebears. However, collector interest and values for these cars remain high. The Eldorado Brougham was moved to its own unique Series 6900 for its remaining two years.

The 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz 6467E is featured as Maurice Minnifield's vehicle in the 1990s television series Northern Exposure.[17]

1961–1964[edit]

Fifth generation
1961 Cadillac 6400 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible.jpg
1961 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
Overview
Model years 1961–1964
Assembly Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Designer Bill Mitchell
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Cadillac Sixty Special
Cadillac De Ville
Cadillac Series 62
Buick Electra
Oldsmobile 98
Powertrain
Engine 390 cu in (6.4 L) OHV V8
429 cu in (7.0 L) OHV V8
Transmission 4-speed Hydra-Matic
3-speed TH-400, automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 129.5 in (3,289 mm)
Length 1961–62: 222.0 in (5,639 mm)
1963: 223.0 in (5,664 mm)
1964: 223.5 in (5,677 mm)
Width 1961: 79.8 in (2,027 mm)[2]
1962: 79.9 in (2,029 mm)[2]
1963: 79.7 in (2,024 mm)[2]
1964: 79.5 in (2,019 mm)[2]
Curb weight 4,800–5,000 lb (2,200–2,300 kg)

Cadillac was restyled and re-engineered for 1961. The Eldorado Biarritz convertible was technically reclassified as a subseries of the De Ville (Series 6300), a status it would keep through 1964. An Eldorado convertible would remain in the Cadillac line through 1966, but its differences from the rest of the line would be generally more modest. The new grille slanted back towards both the bumper and the hood lip, along the horizontal plan, and sat between dual headlamps. New forward slanting front pillars with non-wraparound windshield glass were seen. The Eldorado Biarritz featured front series designation scripts and a lower body "skeg" trimmed with a thin three quarter length spear molding running from behind the front wheel opening to the rear of the car. Standard equipment included power brakes, power steering, automatic transmission, dual back up lights, windshield washer, dual speed wipers, wheel discs, plain fender skirts, outside rearview mirror, vanity mirror, oil filter, power windows, 6-way power bench seat or bucket seats, power vent windows, whitewall tires, and remote control trunk lock. Rubberized front and rear coil springs replaced the trouble prone air suspension system. Four-barrel induction systems were now the sole power choice and dual exhaust were no longer available. With the Seville and Brougham gone sales fell to 1,450.

1964CadillacEldorado.jpg

A mild face lift characterized Cadillac styling trends for 1962. A flatter grille with a thicker horizontal center bar and more delicate cross-hatched insert appeared. Ribbed chrome trim panel, seen ahead of the front wheel housings in 1961, were now replaced with cornering lamps and front fender model and series identification badges were eliminated. More massive front bumper end pieces appeared and housed rectangular parking lamps. At the rear tail lamps were now housed in vertical nacelles designed with an angled peak at the center. A vertically ribbed rear beauty panel appeared on the deck lid latch panel. Cadillac script also appeared on the lower left side of the radiator grille. Standard equipment included all of last year’s equipment plus remote controlled outside rearview mirror, heater and defroster and front cornering lamps. Cadillac refined the ride and quietness, with more insulation in the floor and behind the firewall.[18]

In 1963 Eldorado Biarritz joined the Cadillac Sixty Special and the Cadillac Series 75 as the only Cadillac models with Fleetwood bodies and immediately acquired Fleetwood crests on its rear quarters[19] and Fleetwood rocker panel moldings.[9] The 1963 Eldorado was also the first Fleetwood bodied convertible since the Cadillac Series 75 stopped offering four- and two-door convertible body styles and production of the Cadillac Series 90 (V16) ceased in 1941.[1][11] In overall terms the 1963 Cadillac was essentially the same as the previous year. Exterior changes imparted a bolder and longer look. Hoods and deck lids were redesigned. The front fenders projected 4.625 inches further forward than in 1962 while the tailfins were trimmed down somewhat to provide a lower profile. Body side sculpturing was entirely eliminated. The slightly V-shaped radiator grille was taller and now incorporated outer extensions that swept below the flush-fender dual headlamps. Smaller circular front parking lamps were mounted in those extensions. The Eldorado also had a rectangular grid pattern rear decorative grille. A total of 143 options including bucket seats with wool, leather or nylon upholstery fabrics and wood veneer facings on dash, doors and seatbacks, set an all-time record for interior appointment choices. Standard equipment was the same as the previous year. The engine was entirely changed, though the displacement and output remained the same, 390 cu in (6.4 l) and 325 hp (242 kW).[20]

1964 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible

It was time for another facelift in 1964 and really a minor one. The main visual cue indicating an Eldorado Biarritz was simply the lack of fender skirts. New up front was a bi-angular grille that formed a V-shape along both its vertical and horizontal planes. The main horizontal grille bar was now carried around the body sides. Outer grille extension panels again housed the parking and cornering lamps. It was the 17th consecutive year for the Cadillac tailfins with a new fine-blade design carrying on the tradition. Performance improvements including a larger V8 engine were the dominant changes for the model run. Equipment features were same as in 1963 for the most part. Comfort Control, a completely automatic heating and air conditioning system controlled by a dial thermostat on the instrument panel, was introduced as an industry first. The engine was bumped to 429 cu in (7 l), with 340 hp (253.5 kW) available. Performance gains from the new engine showed best in the lower range, at 20 to 50 mph (30 to 80 km/h) traffic driving speeds. A new technical feature was the Turbo-Hydramatic transmission, also used in the De Ville and the Sixty Special.

1965–1966[edit]

1966 Cadillac Eldorado convertible
Sixth generation
1966 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible.JPG
Overview
Model years 1965–1966
Assembly Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Designer Bill Mitchell
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Cadillac De Ville
Cadillac Calais
Buick Electra
Oldsmobile 98
Powertrain
Engine 429 cu in (7.0 L) OHV V8
Transmission 3-speed TH-400, automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 129.5 in (3,289 mm)
Length 224.0 in (5,690 mm)
Width 79.9 in (2,029 mm)
Curb weight 4,700–4,900 lb (2,100–2,200 kg)

For 1965 the Eldorado became a Fleetwood sub-series although there was strictly speaking no separate Fleetwood series at this time.[1][2][21] It was consequently marketed as the Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado, in a similar fashion to the Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 and the Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special.[1][2][22] The Biarritz nomenclature was finally dropped from sales literature, probably because there was no need to distinguish the convertible from the long absent Seville and Brougham. The Eldorado was redesigned but rode on the same 129.5-inch (3,290 mm) wheelbase. The elevated tailfins were removed, with fins planed flat, and sharp, distinct body lines replaced the rounded look. Also new were a straight rear bumper and vertical lamp clusters. The headlight pairs switched from horizontal to vertical, thus permitting a wider grille. Curved frameless side windows appeared with a tempered glass backlight. New standard features included lamps for luggage and glove compartments and front and rear safety belts. Power was still supplied by the 340 horsepower 429 cu in (7,030 cc) V8. Perimeter frame construction allowed repositioning the engine six inches forward in the frame, thus lowering the transmission hump and increasing interior room.

In 1966 changes included a somewhat coarser mesh for the radiator grille insert, which was now divided by a thick, bright metal horizontal center bar housing rectangular parking lamps at the outer ends. Separate rectangular side marker lamps replaced the integral grille extension designs. There was generally less chrome on all Cadillac models this year. Cadillac crests and V-shaped moldings, front and rear, were identifiers. Cadillac "firsts" this season included variable ratio steering and optional front seats with carbon cloth heating pads built into the cushions and seatbacks. Comfort and convenience innovations were headrests, reclining seats and an AM/FM stereo system. Automatic level control was available. Engineering improvements made to the perimeter frame increased ride and handling ease. Newly designed piston and oil rings and a new engine mounting system and patented quiet exhaust were used.

1967–1970[edit]

Cadillac Eldorado
Seventh generation
4th Cadillac Eldorado -- 10-30-2009.jpg
Overview
Production 1967–1970
Assembly Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door hardtop
Layout Longitudinal front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform E-body
Related Buick Riviera
Oldsmobile Toronado
Powertrain
Engine
  • 429 cu in (7.03 l) OHV V8 (1967 only)[23]
  • 472 cu in (7.7 l) V8 (introduced 1968)[24][25]
  • 500 cu in (8.2 l) V8 (introduced 1970)[24]
Transmission 3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 120 in (3,000 mm)
Length 221 in (5,600 mm)

The Eldorado was radically redesigned in 1967. Intended for the burgeoning personal luxury car market, it was a "personal" Cadillac sharing the E-body with the second-generation Buick Riviera and the Oldsmobile Toronado, which had been introduced the previous year. Cadillac adopted the Toronado's Unified Powerplant Package and front-wheel drive. (Contrary to popular belief, the Riviera did not use the front-wheel drive setup until 1979.) The Eldorado used a standard Cadillac 429 V8 with a modified Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission (Turbo-Hydramatic 425, based on the Turbo-Hydramatic 400) with the torque converter mounted next to the planetary gearbox, driving it through a metal chain. New standard safety equipment included an energy absorbing steering column and a redesigned instrument panel with lots of padding.[26]

Despite sharing underpinnings with the Riviera and Toronado, the Eldorado's crisp styling, initiated by GM styling chief Bill Mitchell, was distinctive and unique, appearing more angular than the rounded Riviera and Toronado. Performance was 0–60 mph (0–96 km/h) in less than nine seconds and a top speed of 120 mph (192 km/h). Roadability and handling were highly praised by contemporary reviews, and its sales, 17,930 units,[27] nearly three times the previous record, helped give Cadillac its best year ever.[28] Disc brakes were optional in 1967 and became standard in 1968. The new Eldorado was a great departure from the previous generation, which had become little more than a dressed-up version of Cadillac's De Ville. Sales were excellent despite high list prices.

In 1968, the Eldorado gained slight exterior changes to comply with new federal safety and emissions legislation, and as with the rest of the Cadillac lineup, a new 472 cu in (7.7 l) V8 rated at 375 hp (280 kW) (SAE gross). Sales set another record at 24,528, with Eldorados accounting for nearly 11% of all Cadillacs sold.

In 1969 it lost its hidden headlamps and picked up as options a halo vinyl roof and later in the model year a power sunroof option.

For the 1970 model year, the Eldorado introduced the new 500 cu in (8.2 l) V8 engine, the largest-ever production V8, rated SAE gross 400 hp (298 kW) and 550 lb·ft (746 N·m) in 1970, that would be an Eldorado exclusive until it became standard on all full size Cadillacs in the 1975 model year.

1971–1978[edit]

Eighth generation
1972 Eldorado.JPG
Overview
Production 1971–1978
Assembly Linden, New Jersey, U.S.
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
2-door convertible
Layout Longitudinal front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform E-body
Related Buick Riviera
Oldsmobile Toronado
Powertrain
Engine 500 cu in (8.2 L) V8 (1971–76)
425 cu in (7.0 L) V8 (1977–78)
Transmission 3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 126.3 in (3,210 mm)
Length 224 in (5,700 mm) (1977–78)
224.1 in (5,690 mm) (1974–76)
223 in (5,700 mm) (1971–73)
Width 79.8 in (2,030 mm)
Height 54.2 in (1,380 mm)

When GM's full-size cars were redesigned for 1971, the heavier-looking Eldorado regained both a convertible model and its fender skirts. The 126.3-inch (3,210 mm) wheelbase version of the Eldorado would run through 1978, receiving facelifts in 1973 and 1975. The Eldorado, Riviera and Toronado shared the redesigned E-body chassis. However, as before, Eldorado and Toronado were front-wheel drive, while the Riviera (which underwent three design changes in the same timeframe, including a temporary switch to the B-body platform for 1977) was rear-wheel drive. Sales set a new record at 27,368.

Although the door glass on all Eldorados remained frameless, the hardtop rear quarter windows were deleted, replaced by a fixed "opera window" in the widened "C" pillar. In 1972 sales rose to 40,074.

With model year 1973 the Eldorado was removed from the Fleetwood series and reestablished as its own series.[1][2][21]

The Cadillac Eldorado was chosen as the pace car for the Indy 500 in 1973. Cadillac produced 566 of these special pace car convertibles. Thirty-three were used at the track during the race week and the remaining 513 cars were distributed to the U.S. Cadillac dealers (one for each dealership), which were then sold to the general public. Total sales soared to 51,451. Eldorados now accounted for over a sixth of all Cadillac sales.

1974 models featured a redesigned rear bumper and horizontal taillamps, redesigned instrument cluster, marketed in sales literature as the "space age" instrument panel and shared with the Calais, De Ville and Sixty Special.

For 1977, the Eldorado received a new grille with a finer crosshatch pattern. The convertible was canceled (although Custom Coach of Lima, Ohio took a few brand-new 1977 and 1978 Eldorados into their coachbuilder facilities and converted them into coach convertibles using salvaged parts from 1971-76 Eldorados; Cadillac did not produce convertibles after 1976). The 8.2L V8 of 1970-76 gave way to a new 7L V8 with 180 bhp (134 kW). Also in 1977, all E-body cars were exclusively front-wheel drive for the first time, when Buick removed the Riviera from that platform during a two-year hiatus (after which it also switched to front-wheel drive in 1979). Minor changes followed in 1978.

This generation of Eldorados produced between 1971 and 1978 were sometimes customized as seen in films like Dolemite, Superfly, Highwaymen, The Mack, Willie Dynamite, (the customized Eldorado seen in Willie Dynamite is similar to the one seen in Magnum Force) and even the James Bond film Live and Let Die. An Eldorado was also used in Rob Zombie's second film, The Devil's Rejects as the car that the character Charlie drove. Customizers such as Les Dunham Coachworks had modified brand-new Eldorados with headlight covers (commonly known as Superfly headlights), grille caps, a 1941 goddess hood ornament, lake pipes, and thick-padded vinyl tops, usually with circular porthole windows.

Eldorado convertible for 1976[edit]

In 1976, when other domestic convertibles had been discontinued, GM heavily promoted the American industry's only remaining convertible as "the last American convertible". 14,000 would be sold, many purchased as investments. The final 200 convertibles produced were designated as "Bicentennial Edition" commemorating America's 200th birthday. These cars were white with a dual-color red/blue pinstripe along the upper bodyside. In 1983, when GM reintroduced convertibles, 1976 Eldorado owners, who felt they had been deceived, launched an unsuccessful class action lawsuit.[29]

Eldorado Biarritz[edit]

Unlike the Cadillac Sixty Special and De Ville, Eldorado did not have a unique luxury package to provide it with a title change (such as the "d'Elegance" package). This was rectified in mid-year 1976 with the Biarritz package. A unique trim feature of Biarritz, a name that had not been used since the 1964 model year (although the Eldorado was Fleetwood bodied from the 1963 model year on, the Fleetwood designation was only applied to all Eldorados produced from the 1965 through 1972 model years) was a brushed stainless steel roof covering the front passenger compartment for model years 1979-1985. This was a styling cue reminiscent of the 1957/58 Eldorado Brougham. The rear half of the roof was covered with a heavily padded landau vinyl top accented with large "opera" lights. The interior featured "pillowed"-style, "tufted" velour or leather seating, with contrasting piping, along with an array of other options available.

For example, the 1978 Biarritz option packages consisted of the Eldorado Custom Biarritz ($1,865.00); w/Astroroof ($2,946.00); w/Sunroof ($2,746.00) and Eldorado Custom Biarritz Classic ($2,466.00); w/Astroroof ($3,547.00); w/Sunroof ($3,347.00).

For the 1978 Eldorado model year only, there were 2,000 Eldorado Custom Biarritz Classics produced in Two-Tone Arizona Beige/Demitasse Brown consisting of 1,499 with no Astroroofs or no Sunroofs; 475 with Astroroofs; 25 with Sunroofs and only one (1) was produced with Power Sliding T-Tops.[30]

The Biarritz option stayed with the Eldorado through the 1991 model year. Some of the original styling cues vanished after the 1985 model year, such as the brushed stainless steel roofing and the interior seating designs, but the Biarritz remained unique just the same.

1978 Cadillac Eldorado with Power Sliding T-Tops[edit]

“The 1978 Cadillac Eldorado was the only American luxury car in its class (or any car class) to be offered with Power Sliding T-Tops that folded neatly inside the center-front roof. In this regard, only nine 1978 Cadillac Eldorado’s were known to have been retrofitted with Power Sliding T-Tops customized and manufactured by American Sunroof Company under the direction of General Motor’s Cadillac Motor Division. There are nine documented 1978 Cadillac Eldorado’s with Power Sliding T-Tops: Two (2) Two-Tone Arizona Beige/Demitasse Brown Eldorado Custom Biarritz Classic’s; One (1) Black Eldorado Cabriolet; One (1) Hatteras Blue Custom Biarritz; One (1) Carmine Red Eldorado ElDeora; One (1) Cotillion White Eldorado ElDeora; One (1) Colonial Yellow Eldorado Custom Biarritz; and Two (2) Cotillion White Eldorado Custom Biarritz’s."

Art Car World Land Speed Record[edit]

In the year 2007 a team called We Ain't Stupid used modified 1972 Cadillac Eldorado called T-47 to break the Art Car World Land Speed Record setting a speed of 125 m.p.h.. Then again in 2010 they used the same car with a different number change (the car appearing as X-47 instead of T-47) this team set a new Art Car World Land Speed Record of 146 m.p.h..

1979–1985[edit]

Ninth generation
79-85 Eldorado.jpg
Overview
Production 1979–1985
Assembly Linden, New Jersey, U.S.
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
2-door convertible
Layout Longitudinal front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform E-body
Related Buick Riviera
Oldsmobile Toronado
Powertrain
Engine 4.1 L V6
4.1 L V8
4.5 L V8
5.7 L V8
5.7 L Diesel V8
6.0 L V8
Transmission 3-speed automatic (1979-83), 4-speed w/electronic overdrive (1984-85)
Dimensions
Wheelbase 114 in (2,900 mm)
Length 204.5 in (5,190 mm) (1982–85)
204 in (5,200 mm) (1979–1981)
Width 71.4 in (1,810 mm) (1979–1981)
71.5 in (1,820 mm) (1982–83)
70.6 in (1,790 mm) (1984–85)
Height 54.3 in (1,380 mm) (1982–85)
54.2 in (1,380 mm) (1979–1981)

For 1979, a new, trimmer Eldorado was introduced, and for the first time the car shared its chassis with the Buick Riviera as well as the Toronado. Smaller 350 and 368 in³ (5.7 and 6.0 L) V8's replaced the 500 and 425 in³ (8.2 and 7.0 L) of the preceding model, giving better fuel efficiency. For 1979, it was offered only with the Oldsmobile 350 as standard, with the Diesel 350 available as an option.

1980 Cadillac Eldorado

In 1980, the gas 350 was replaced with the Cadillac 368 except in California, where the Oldsmobile 350 was retained for that year. In both the 1980 Seville and Eldorado (which shared their frames), the 368s in 1980 came with DEFI, whereas for the larger RWD Cadillacs, the 368 only came with a 4-barrel Quadrajet carburetor. Independent rear suspension was adopted, helping retain rear-seat and trunk room in the smaller body. The most notable styling touch was an extreme notchback roofline, making the rear window almost vertical. The Eldorado Biarritz model resurrected the stainless-steel roof concept from the first Brougham. Although downsized, these Eldorados were still substantial-sized cars with good room and power. Contrary to the current body design of the time, the Eldorado continued to feature frameless door glass, and the rear quarter windows re-appeared as they did before 1971, without a thick "B" pillar. However, these cars were not true hardtops, as the rear quarter windows were fixed and could not be rolled down. Most people probably didn't even notice, since air conditioning was de rigueur for all the cars, and the coupe featured "hospital zone" quietness with the windows closed. Sales set a new record at 67,436.

For 1981, Cadillac began offering the V8-6-4 variable displacement variant of the 368 engine, which was designed to deactivate some cylinders when full power was not needed, helping meet GM's obligations under the government fuel economy ("CAFE") standards. Unfortunately, it did not work as planned, and sometimes did not work at all. It was a reduced bore version of the 1968 model-year 472, sharing that engine's stroke and also that of the model-year 1977–1979 425. The engine itself was extremely rugged and durable, but its complex electronics were the source of customer complaints.

Another problematic engine was introduced for 1982. The 4.1 L HT-4100 was an in-house design that mated cast-iron heads to an aluminum block. HT-4100s failed in large numbers and many were replaced under warranty.[citation needed]

1983 Cadillac Eldorado
1984-1985 Cadillac Eldorado convertible

1981 was the first year electronic "digital" instrumentation was an available option. In addition to the digital electronic climate control that was standard on all Eldorados, the standard analog speedometer and fuel gauges could be replaced with a digital display showing speed in a single, precise, and instant number and a fuel gauge that would read the number of gallons of fuel remaining in the gas tank and another gauge showing approximately how many miles can be driven on it.

In 1984, Cadillac also introduced a convertible version of Eldorado Biarritz. It was 200 pounds (91 kg) heavier, but featured the same interior as other Biarritz versions. The model year of 1985 was the last year for the ASC, Inc., aftermarket conversion Eldorado convertible. Because of its limited edition (around 3000 total), the convertible models are now highly sought after by numerous collectors. Total sales set an all time record of 77,806, accounting for about 26% of all Cadillacs sold.

Prior to the 'official' 1984 and 1985 Eldorado convertibles marketed by Cadillac, some 1979-83 Eldorados were made into coach convertibles by independent coachbuilders e.g. American Sunroof Corporation, Custom Coach (Lima, Ohio - this coachbuilder turned a few 1977 and 1978 Eldorados into convertibles), Hess & Eisenhardt. The same coachbuilders also converted the Oldsmobile Toronado and Buick Riviera into a ragtop.

Late in the 1985 model year, an optional 'Commemorative Edition' package was announced, in honor of the last year of production for this version of the Eldorado. Exclusive features included gold-tone script and tail-lamp emblems, specific sail panel badges, gold-background wheel center caps, and a "Commemorative Edition" badge on the steering wheel horn pad. Leather upholstery (available in Dark Blue or White, or a two-tone with Dark Blue and White) was included in the package, along with a Dark Blue dashboard and carpeting. Exterior colors were Cotillion White or Commodore Blue.


1986–1991[edit]

Tenth generation
7th Cadillac Eldorado.jpg
Overview
Production 1986–1991
Assembly Hamtramck, Michigan, U.S.
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform E-body
Related Buick Riviera
Oldsmobile Toronado
Powertrain
Engine 4.1 L HT-4100 V8 1986–1987
4.5 L V8 1988–1990
4.9 L L26 4.9 V8 1991
Transmission 4-speed THM440-T4 automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 108 in (2,700 mm)
Length 191.4 in (4,860 mm) (1989–1991)
191.2 in (4,860 mm) (1986–88)
Width 72.4 in (1,840 mm) (1989–1991)
71.7 in (1,820 mm) (1986–88)
Height 53.2 in (1,350 mm) (1989–1991)
53.7 in (1,360 mm) (1986–88)

For 1986, yet another downsizing occurred, and it was fairly extreme. The Eldorado lost about 16" in length, and some 350 pounds in weight. The convertible was discontinued. Just like in previous generations, the Eldorado shared its chassis with the Oldsmobile Toronado and Buick Riviera, as well as Eldorado's four-door companion, the Cadillac Seville. However, the coupes from Buick and Oldsmobile both utilized Buick's 3.8 liter V6 engine, while Cadillac continued to use their exclusive 4.1 liter V8. The $24,251 Eldorado was now the same size that GM's own compact cars had been only a few years earlier, and considerably smaller than Lincoln's competing Mark VII. Its styling seemed stubby, and in a final unfortunate flourish, for the first time the Eldorado abandoned its "hardtop" heritage and featured framed door glass. News reports later indicated that GM had been led astray by a consultant's prediction that gasoline would be at $3 per gallon in the U.S. by 1986, and that small luxury cars would be in demand. In fact, gasoline prices were less than half that. With a sales drop of 60%, seldom has any model experienced a more precipitous fall. Production was only about a fifth of what it had been just two years earlier.

Aside from a longer, 5 year/50,000 mile warranty, Eldorado received very few changes for 1987. A price drop, to $23,740, did not raise sales any, as only 17,775 were made this year (21,342 for 1986). The standard suspension, with new taller 75 series (previously 70) tires and hydro-elastic engine mounts, was slightly retuned for a softer ride, while the optional ($155) Touring Suspension, with deflected-disc strut valves and 15" alloy wheels, remained for those desiring a firmer ride. As part of a federal requirement to discourage "chop-shop" thieves, major body panels were etched with the VIN. Also new, a combination cashmere cloth with leather upholstery, and locking inertia seat belt reels for rear seat passengers, which allowed for child-seat installation in the outboard seating positions in back. The formal cabriolet roof was added this year. Available for $495 on the base Eldorado, it featured a padded covering over the rear half of the roof, and turned the rear side glass into smaller opera windows. One of Eldorado's most expensive singluar options was the Motorola cellular telephone mounted inside the locking center arm rest. Priced at $2,850, it had been reworked this year for easier operation, and featured a hidden microphone mounted between the sun visors for hands-free operation. Additionally, the telephone featured a clever radio mute control: activated when the telephone and radio were in use at the same time, it automatically decreased the rear speaker's audio volume, and over-rode the front music speakers to be used for the hands-free telephone. On an interesting note, the square marker lamp, located on the bumper extension molding just behind the rear wheel well on 1986 and '87 Eldorado models, would suddenly re-appear on the 1990 & '91 Seville (base models only) and Eldorado Touring Coupe.

1988 was met with an extensive restyle, and sales nearly doubled from the previous year, up to 33,210. While the wheelbase, doors, roof, and glass remained relatively unchanged, new body panels gave the 1988 model a more identifiable "Eldorado" appearance. Now available in just 17 exterior colors (previously 19), the new Eldorado was 3" longer than last year. Underneath the restyled hood was Cadillac's new 155 horsepower 4.5 liter V8. A comprehensive anti-lock braking system, developed by Teves, was newly available. Longer front fenders held "bladed" tips, and a new grille above the revamped front bumper. In back, new three-sided tail lamps - reminiscent of the 1987 Deville - appeared along with a new bumper and trunk lid. Bladed 14" aluminum wheels remained standard, while an optional 15" snowflake-pattern alloy wheel was included with the Touring Suspension option. The interior held wider front seat headrests and swing-away door pull handles (replacing the former door pull straps). New upholstery patterns, along with shoulder belts for outboard rear-seat passengers, appeared for both base and Biarritz models, with the latter bringing back the tufted-button design - last seen in the 1985 Eldorado Biarritz. A new vinyl roof option, covering the full roof top, featured a band of body color above the side door and windows - similar to the style used until 1978. This replaced the "cabriolet roof" option, which covered the rear half of the roof, introduced just a year earlier. With the Biarritz option package, the padded vinyl roof covered just the rear quarter of the roof top, behind the rear side windows. Biarritz also included slender vertical opera lamps, as in 1986 and '87, but now added a spear molding (similar to the style used on the 1976 - 1985 Eldorado Biarritz) that ran from the base of the roof top, continuing horizontally along the door, and down to the front fender tip. The standard power antenna was moved from the front passenger fender to the rear passenger fender. Pricing went up this year - to $24,891. This 1988 restyle would be the last, until the model was replaced by an all-new Eldorado for 1992.

1986–1991 Cadillac Eldorado with after-market grille

With such big changes for Eldorado just a year earlier, 1989 saw little that was new. The optional automatic rearview mirror went from an electrically-operated mechanical tilting mechanism to the new electrochromic style, using a clear fluid filled between the mirror and a thin sheet of glass, which tints upon activation. A new exterior color, White Diamond, brought the color choices up to 18. Gone were the 14" wheels, as the previously-optional 15" "snowflake" style aluminum wheel, introduced last year, was made standard for the base Eldorado. A compact disc player, available only with the Delco Bose Gold Series music system, was a new option this year, as was reversible floor mats, and gold-plated ornamentation ("Cadillac" grille and trunk scripts, sail panel ornaments, deck lid engine plaque, trunk lock cover, tail lamp emblems, and available wire wheel cover wreath and crest). New standard items include an express-down module for the driver's window, electronic oil-life indicator, a more powerful Delco Freedom II battery, a revised factory warranty, and GM's PASS (Passive Automotive Security System) KEY theft-deterrent system, which activated the fuel system based upon a coded pellet within the ignition key. Previously optional items that were now added as standard equipment included a cassette player with graphic equalizer, remote fuel filler door release, and a front license plate mounting. In an effort to use up existing warehouse stock, the brushed chrome lower bodyside accent molding, optional through last year, was added as standard equipment for 1989 (revamped moldings would appear in 1990). New high-gloss Birdseye Maple trim (replacing the satin-finished American Walnut used from 1986–1988) on the instrument panel and console was standard on Eldorado Biarritz, and available (for $245) on the base Eldorado. The optional full cabriolet roof, which re-created the dashing look of a convertible top, was offered this year in limited colors. Pricing rose again, now at $26,738. Production slipped slightly, down to 27,807 (including 7,174 Biarritz models). The dip in sales was partly due to competition from GM's own Buick Riviera, which grew 11" this year in a dramatic restyle, and had a production increase from 8,625 units in 1988 to 21,189 in 1989.

Aside from the new-for-1990 Touring Coupe model (see entry below) introduced later in the model year, it was a year of enhancement for Eldorado. A driver's side airbag was introduced as standard equipment, but as a result, the telescoping steering column was discontinued (although the tilt feature remained). Cruise control buttons were mounted on the center of the previous steering wheel, but with the advent of the air bag (mounted on a smaller diameter steering wheel), they were now moved to the turn signal stalk. A new multi-point fuel injection replaced the throttle-body style from last year, and horsepower jumped from 155 to 180, although the new system required the use of premium fuel. A new cast aluminum wheel design (not available with the Touring Suspension package) was optional for those customers who desired something different than the standard "snowflake" alloy wheel on the base Eldorado. Seating received numerous enhancements, including new molded trim panels, additional lateral and lumbar support, French seams, and revised front headrests. Full leather upholstery (formerly leather and cloth) was now standard on the Biarritz model, but the base model lost the seat-back map pockets. The cellular telephone disappeared from the option list, and the vinyl center armrest was revamped. The electronic climate control received an update in the form of three automatic and two manual settings. The optional leather upholstery package on the base model now included a power passenger seat recliner. Last year's "Eldorado Option Package" (which included new-style carpeted floor mats, body-color door edge guards, illuminated driver and passenger visor vanity mirrors, luggage compartment mat, and the illuminated entry system) was now standard. Additionally, previously optional items that were added as standard equipment this year included the rear window defogger with heated outside mirrors, and bodyside accent striping. New options for 1990 included a central-unlocking feature (from the outside door locks using the key) added to the automatic door locks. A revised deck-lid engine plaque now mentioned the port fuel injection, and the deck-lid itself held a chromed handle above the license plate opening. Also, the rear safety reflectors moved from the bumper onto the panel below the decklid this year. A new charcoal-colored vinyl strip accented the chrome bumper and bodyside moldings this year, while the front bumper guards changed from body-color to charcoal. In the front suspension, the stabilizer shaft was revised for ride and handling, while the tire jack located in the trunk had a new carpeted storage container. Price for 1990 was $28,885, with the Biarritz model an additional $3,180. Production dropped to 20,874 units, about 1/3 of which were the Biarritz model. An additional 1,507 Eldorado Touring Coupe models were made.

1991, the last year for this body style, was also the first year for Cadillac's new 4.9 liter V-8 engine with port fuel injection, teamed up with GM's 4T60-E electronically-controlled 4-speed transmission. Cadillac set apart the GM transmission from other corporate models it was shared with by the Cadillac-exclusive viscous converter clutch, which provided even smoother shifting under hard acceleration. Engine controls were monitored by the GMP4 Powertrain Control Module (PCM), an on-board 64-kilobyte computer. A new exhaust set-up with a wider catalytic converter reduced restriction by 38% from last year, while the 0-60 mph speed went from 9 seconds in 1990 to 8.2 for '91. Revised engine mounts prevented engine noise and vibration from affecting the cabin, while new the Computer Command Ride (CCR) system, optional on most other Cadillac models, was standard on Eldorado. CCR would automatically adapt the suspension mode with regard to vehicle speed for better handling and ride comfort. A $309 electrically-heated windshield was new to the option list this year, as was the available ($480 on base Eldorado, no charge on Biarritz or Touring Coupe) "Security Package" which now included remote keyless entry along with automatic door locks with central unlocking, and the theft-deterrent system. The Bosch II anti-lock braking system, previously a $925 option, was made standard this year, as well as a more powerful 140-amp alternator. A revised windshield washer system rounded out the changes for 1991. Base price was $31,245, almost $2,400 up from 1990, but the jump was not nearly as dramatic when considering the new powertrain and sophisticated suspension system, and that anti-lock brakes were now standard equipment, as well as other previously optional items that were now available at no-charge. In an effort to exhaust parts inventory - and to make Eldorado appear to be a better value in its last year of current style production, several optional items were available at no-charge on the base Eldorado, including choice of full vinyl roof covering or full-cabriolet (convertible-look) roof (an otherwise $1,095 option), leather upholstery with power passenger recliner, and the Delco-Bose sound system - with choice of CD or cassette. Additionally, both the $2,050 Touring Coupe and the $3,180 Biarritz packages included the power moon roof and Delco-BOSE stereo at no additional charge. This would be the last year for the Eldorado Biarritz. Production dropped to just 16,212 (including 2,249 Touring Coupe models), the lowest output seen since 1966.

1990–1991 Eldorado Touring Coupe[edit]

Although a touring suspension option had been available on Eldorado since 1980, there was an Eldorado Touring Coupe model introduced in mid-1982, and continued through 1985. In 1990, the Eldorado Touring Coupe (ETC), the 2-door version of the Seville Touring Sedan (STS), re-appeared. The car had a special handling and suspension package, quicker steering than the standard Eldorado, and a higher final drive ratio of 3.33:1 in contrast to the base model's 2.97:1. Badging was restricted to ETC badges on both C-pillars, a Cadillac crest on the grille along with the Cadillac script logo and a special "Cadillac Motor Car Company" badge on the trunk, which it shared with the STS. Available in Sable Black, Cotillion White, Medium Slate Gray Metallic, Black Sapphire Metallic (Dark Blue), and Crimson (Bright Red), all with a special beechwood interior. An additional color, Polo Green Metallic, was added for '91. The driver's outside rearview mirror held glass with a blue-tint to reduce glare from following vehicles. The model also featured body-colored door handles, wider side rocker panels, an additional marker lamp behind the rear wheel well, and dual rectangular exhausts. The international-theme tail lights, which were Touring Coupe specific, featured a distinct split-style with "amber above red" lenses.

Eldorado Touring Coupe production for 1990 was 1,507, with an additional 2,249 in 1991. Survivability rate of these Touring Coupes is about 2% (per the NHTSA Report and the Broxterman Survivability Rate Chart). Therefore, about 30 roadworthy 1990 TC's are still out there; while the 1991 has about 45 remaining on the road.

1992–2002[edit]

A 2002 Cadillac Eldorado ETC.
Eleventh generation
8th-Cadillac-Eldorado.jpg
Overview
Model years 1992–2002
Assembly Hamtramck, Michigan, U.S.
Lansing, Michigan, U.S.
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform E-body
Related Buick Riviera
Oldsmobile Toronado
Powertrain
Engine 4.9 L L26 V8 (1992–1993)
4.6 L Northstar V8 (1993–2002)
Transmission 4-speed 4T60-E automatic
4-speed 4T80-E automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 108 in (2,700 mm)
Length 202.2 in (5,140 mm) (1992–94)
200.6 in (5,100 mm) (1995–2002)
Width 75.5 in (1,920 mm)
Height 54.0 in (1,370 mm)

For 1992, Cadillac introduced a new, significantly larger Eldorado, approximately 11" longer than its predecessor. Window glass was once again frameless, and shortly after introduction Cadillac's new Northstar V8 became available in both 270 and 295 hp (220 kW) variants, replacing the 200 hp (150 kW) 4.9 L. Sales were up, though never again at record heights.

The Eldorado continued for the rest of the decade with incremental changes and tapering sales. A passenger side airbag was added as standard equipment in 1993. Fresh exterior styling - in the form of updated bumpers front and rear, side cladding, and a new grille - arrived for '95. 1996 featured a slightly revamped interior with a new upholstery sew style, larger analog gauge cluster, relocated climate control system, and updated stereo faces. In the wake of declining sales, circulating reports that the Eldorado would get a redesign for 1999 — similar to that which the Seville underwent for 1998 — would prove false as the car soldiered on largely unchanged into the new millennium, although it did get some upgrades from the 1999 Seville.

The car was sold under Cadillac ETC (Eldorado Touring Coupe) and ESC (Eldorado Sport Coupe) trim.[31]

Discontinuation[edit]

A 2002 Cadillac Eldorado Collector Series in the Alpine white paint scheme.
A 2002 Cadillac Eldorado Collector Series numbered 262 of 1596.

Having lost its only remaining platform mate, the Buick Riviera, after the 1998 model year, rumors of the Eldorado's demise gradually began to circulate. GM showed a lowered, customized Eldorado-based concept at the 2000 North American International Auto Show, which was called EldoRODo, to little media or public interest.

Not long after, GM announced that the Eldorado's 50th model year, 2002, would be its last. To mark the end of the historic name, a limited production run of 1,596 cars in red or white - the colors available on the original 1953 convertible - were produced in three batches of 532, signifying the Eldorado's first year of production. These last cars had exhausts that were specially tuned to imitate the note of their illustrious forerunners from a half-century earlier, and a dash-mounted plaque indicating each car's sequence in production. The last Eldorado was delivered to the Cadillac Museum, in honor of Don Massey of Don Massey Cadillac - one of the largest Cadillac dealers in the United States. The second-to-last production Eldorado was sold to Nicola Bulgari, the Italian jeweler and avid automotive aficionado. The car will reside with his collection in Rome, Italy. Production ended on April 22, 2002,[32] with the Lansing Craft Centre retooled to build the Chevrolet SSR.

2002 Cadillac Eldorado ETC Collector's Edition #262 of 1596. The Last of the Line...

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Kowalke, Ron (1997). Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975. Krause publications. ISBN 0-87341-521-3. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Gunnell, John (2005). Standard Catalog of Cadillac 1903-2005. Krause publications. ISBN 0873492897. 
  3. ^ Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1946-1959 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2008), p.1021.
  4. ^ "1953 Cadillac Eldorado Folder-02-03". Oldcarbrochures.org. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  5. ^ a b Flory, Jr., J. "Kelly" (2008). American Cars, 1946-1959 Every Model Every Year. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7864-3229-5. 
  6. ^ "Directory Index: Cadillac/1955_Cadillac/1955_Cadillac_Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  7. ^ "Directory Index: Cadillac/1957_Cadillac/1957_Cadillac_Eldorado_Brougham_Press_Release". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  8. ^ by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide (2007-03-13). "HowStuffWorks "1957, 1958 Cadillac"". Auto.howstuffworks.com. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  9. ^ a b c Bonsall, Thomas (2003). The Cadillac Story. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4942-6. 
  10. ^ "Mark II Meets Eldorado Brougham". Special Interest Autos (#2 Nov.–Dec. 1970). 
  11. ^ a b Kimes, Beverly (1996). Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942. Krause publications. ISBN 0-87341-428-4. 
  12. ^ "1957 & 58 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham". Generations of GM History. GM Heritage Center. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  13. ^ 1956 GM Year-End Annual Report, 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham car model introduction announcement, pg 15
  14. ^ Radio & TV News, August 1957, "Delco's All-Transistor Auto Radio", pg 60
  15. ^ "1957-1960 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham - page 5". auto.howstuffworks.com. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  16. ^ a b "1957-1960 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham - page 6". auto.howstuffworks.com. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  17. ^ 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz [6467E] at IMCDb (Internet Movie Car Database)
  18. ^ Flory, p.147.
  19. ^ "Cadillac photos - 1963". Car-nection.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  20. ^ Flory, p.211.
  21. ^ a b John Gunnell. Standard Catalogue of American Cars 1946-1975, 4th Edition, page 130
  22. ^ 1965 Cadillac sales brochure, page 18 Retrieved on 7 February 2012
  23. ^ Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1960-1972 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2004), p. 498.
  24. ^ a b Flory, p. 571.
  25. ^ Ludvigsen, Karl. "Cadillac: The Great American Dream Come True", in Northey, Tom, ed. World of Automobiles (London: Orbis, 1974), Vol. 3, p. 297.
  26. ^ http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Cadillac/1967_Cadillac/1967_Cadillac_Brochure/1967%20Cadillac-22.html
  27. ^ Flory, p.501.
  28. ^ Ludvigsen, p. 297. He also says "over 200,000 built"; Flory, pp. 500-502, counts only 197,667, albeit not including small numbers of coachbuilt cars.
  29. ^ by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide (2007-07-12). "HowStuffWorks "1982-1985 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible & Touring Coupe"". Auto.howstuffworks.com. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  30. ^ "1978 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Custom Biarritz Classic". Automotivemileposts.com. 1978-04-11. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  31. ^ "2002 Cadillac Eldorado review, specs". New-Cars.com. Retrieved 2009-10-04. 
  32. ^ Flores, Dan (2002-04-22). "Cadillac Commemorates the End of an Era as the Last Eldorado Rolls Off the Assembly Line". Press release. GM Media Online. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Holmes, Mark (2007). Ultimate Convertibles: Roofless Beauty. London: Kandour. pp. 44–49. ISBN 9781905741625. 

External links[edit]

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