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Classic Car Profile: Cadillac Eldorado

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1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
Photo: The News Wheel

Cadillac has always been known for its high-end luxury vehicles. One of the American automaker’s most popular nameplates over the years was the Eldorado.

The Cadillac Eldorado made its debut in 1952 as a ’53 model. Its name came from an internal contest at GM to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The name Eldorado was pitched by company secretary Mary-Ann Marini and adorned the new limited-edition model as it made its debut on the American car scene. That first year, Cadillac produced just 532 Eldorado models, making it sought after during the time and a rarity in the present day. At the time, the ’53 Eldorado sold for $7,750, which was almost twice the cost of the Series 62 convertible, which carried the same engine as the ’53 Eldorado.

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The 1953 Cadillac Eldorado was the vehicle’s first generation and lasted just one year. The second-gen Eldorado debuted in 1954. Starting in 1956, Cadillac offered the Eldorado in two body styles: convertible and hardtop. The convertible model carried the moniker Eldorado Biarritz, while the hardtop version was called the Eldorado Seville. In 1961, Cadillac discontinued the Seville version and rebadged the convertible as Fleetwood Eldorado.

Cadillac redesigned the Eldorado in 1967. The nameplate now shared a body with the Buick Riviera and the Oldsmobile Toronado. It sported a new look, more power, and easier handling. Starting in 1970, the Eldorado was powered by an exclusive V8 engine that eventually made its way to the rest of Cadillac’s lineup in 1975.

  • 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
  • 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
  • 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
  • 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
  • 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
  • 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible

The Eldorado was redesigned and rebranded in 1967 to appeal to the personal luxury car market. This was a smart move, as sales of almost 18,000 units helped Cadillac achieve its best sales year to that date.

Cadillac made several more changes to the Eldorado over the next decades, including a downsizing, the introduction of a Touring Coupe model, and new technology features like rain-sensing wipers and daytime running lights. The Eldorado’s 50-year lifespan came to an end in 2002 with a limited-run production model available in red or white, the same colors the very first 1953 model came in.

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Today, you can buy used Eldorados from various decades, though the very first models are hard to come by.

Sources: Money Inc, Wikipedia