In 1957, Cadillac introduced the ultimate luxury car, rivaling Rolls-Royce and at a price equal to one, $13,750.00. General Motors made only 750 ElDorado Broughams in 1957 and 1958. They featured pillarless construction (suicide doors), air suspension, a stainless steel roof, mouton carpeting, a compound curved windshield, automatic opening and closing trunk, memory seats, alloy wheels, quad headlights with Autronic Eye (automatic dimming), six magnetic shot glasses, a ladies compact with cigarette case, make-up mirror and lipstick tube, a note pad with a Cross pencil, and a dispenser of Arpege perfume. This example was originally delivered to Beverly Hills, CA, for rock and TV star Ricky Nelson. The Eldorado Brougham is a premier representation of Cadillac's slogan, 'The Standard of the World.' This is one of only 350 manufactured in 1958.
As in 1957, the Eldorado Brougham was Cadillac's costliest model at $13,074, and had its own unique front end styling. This is widely considered as Harley Earl's 'tour de force', featuring a pillarless, brushed aluminum roof, center opening doors and quadruple headlights. Under the hood is a 365 cubic-inch V8 fed by 3 dual-barrel carburetors.
A standout at custom car shows, this sleek Cadillac was customized by noted craftsman John D'Agostino. To enhance the car's dramatic profile, D'Agostino sectioned the body four inches and fitted an adjustable air suspension system. Legendary custom painter Gene Winfield applied its attractive 'fade' paint.Source - Petersen Museum
Sold for $84,700 at 2009 Worldwide Auctioneers. The world was shown the Eldorado Brougham concept vehicle for the first time in 1955 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It was a pillarless low slung vehicle with suicide doors and intricate amenities. A few years later, in 1957, Cadillac offered a road-going version of this concept that was truly unique from other vehicles found on the roadway at the time. It incorporated the four-door pillar less hardtop design with pedestal-mounted seats, a brushed stainless steel roof, and air suspension. They were outfitted with nearly every available feature and amenities, such as air conditioning, a beverage bar, and vanity sets. There was an E-Z-Eye tinted windshield and automatic headlight dimmer. Weighing over 5,300 pounds, it was one of the heaviest sedans in America.
The 1957 and 1958 Broughams were very similar with only a few distinguishable features between them. Both had the quad-headlamp treatment. For 1958, wheel covers were updated along with the addition of some new exterior colors. Minor differences could be found inside, such as upper door panels that went from a metal finish to leather cladding. The compression ratio in the engine was increased to 10.25:1, and Rochester triple two-barrel carburetors replaced the Carter dual four-barrel carburetors from 1957.
Only 304 examples of the Brougham were produced in 1958 and they had a factory base price of $13,000. This example is car number 648 with body number 650. This stainless steel-topped sedan came with an extensive array of options such as factory air conditioning, memory seating, power side windows and vent windows, Guidematic control for the headlights, standard radio, power locks, and an automatic trunk pull down. There are 43,409 miles on the odometer and the interior white leather with black inserts is in new condition.
At the 2009 Houston Classic Auction in Seabrook, Texas, presented by Worldwide Auctioneers, this Eldorado Brougham was estimated to sell for $70,000 - $90,000 and offered without reserve. The lot was sold for the sum of $77,000, plus buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | May 2009
Hardtop Sedan Engine Num: 58P088156
Sold for $148,500 at 2015 RM Auctions. Harley Earl and his styling team contributed multiple new ideas to the creation of the ultimate Cadillac of the late 1950s. It was given a litany of power accessories, including a trunk lid and rear doors that were operated by a push of a button. The doors would lock automatically when the transmission was put in gear. A memory front seat was a first for a production car, as were the forged aluminum wheels.
The Eldorado Brougham had style, power, luxury and a price tag that was twice the cost of the Eldorado Biarritz Convertible. With a base price of $13,974, it was reported that Cadillac lost $10,000 on every car built. Production lasted only two years with just 704 examples produced.
This particular example is the third-from-last original Eldorado Brougham. It remained in the family of its original owner until 2007. The new owner restored its mechanical components and has driven it extensively. It has been driven from coast-to-coast, across the United States, and it visited the 2009 Cadillac-LaSalle Club Grand National in Las Vegas.
The car has its original interior and still rides on its rare original air suspension system. Currently, the car shows under 75,000 actual miles. The engine is an overhead valve 365 cubic-inch V8 engine mated to a four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission. Power hydraulic brakes are located at all four corners. By Daniel Vaughan | May 2015
Sold for $297,000 at 2016 RM Auctions. Cadillac built the original Eldorado Brougham for just two years, from 1957 to 1958, with 704 examples built. Just 304 of those were built in 1958.
This particular example was originally delivered in Connecticut. It left the factory finished in Deauville Gray with a Medium Blue and White leather interior. The car eventually made its way to Providence, Rhode Island, where it was discovered in 1983. In 2010, its longtime owner sold it to Don Ghareeb of Alabama, who gave it a restoration to concours standards.
When the restoration work was completed, it was awarded Post-war Best of Show at the Grand National Meet of the Cadillac-LaSalle Club in June 2012, and subsequently Chairman's Choice at the 2014 Greenwich Concours d'Elegance in Connecticut. By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2016
The Eldorado was a word with many meanings. It was chosen as the name to adore an upscale car that was built by Cadillac to celebrate its Golden Anniversary in 1952. Mary-Ann Zukosky, a secretary in the merchandising department, participated in a in-house competition and suggested the name. Eldorado was derived from the Spanish words 'el dorado' meaning 'golden one'. The name had first been used by the chief of a South American Indian tribe. The story was that his followers and tribe would sprinkle his body with gold dust on ceremonial occasions. He would later cleanse himself by diving into a lake.
Another story states the name represents a legendary but undiscovered city in South America filled with riches. Many European adventurers have long sought for this city including England's Sir Walter Raleigh.
'Palm Spring Life' magazine claimed the name Eldorado was derived from a Californian resort that was frequently visited by General Motors executives. The name of the resort located in Coachella Valley was the Eldorado Country Club.
In respects to the automobile built by General Motors, the Eldorado name was first used in 1953 and given to a limited-edition, low production, convertible and would continue to be used for many years. The original Eldorado was indeed a limited-production vehicle with only 532 examples created. The year prior, GM had shown the 'El Dorado' concept car in celebration of its 50 year anniversary. The Eldorado was the production version of this concept. It was based on the Series 62 and carried no special badging except a golden nameplate 'Eldorado' could be found in the center of the dash.
The convertible tops were available in black or white while the rest of the body could be ordered in one of four colors that included Azure Blue, Artisan Ochre, Alpine White, and Aztec Red. It carried a factory sticker price of $7,750 which was nearly twice as expensive as the vehicle it had been based, the Series 62.
The styling was influenced by the legendary Harley Earl who championed the wraparound windshield design along with other unique and stylish features.
The following year the Eldorado lost much of its unique qualities as it began sharing its body with other standard Cadillac's. This standardization allowed for lower, more cost effective pricing.
For 1955 the Eldorado continued to grow in bold features and radical designs. Tailfins could now be found in the rear giving the impression the car was in motion or pointing forward, even at a stand still. The following year Cadillac introduced the Eldorado Seville, a two-door hardtop coupe version.
One of the most memorable and sought-after designs of the Eldorado appeared in 1957, the Eldorado Brougham. At a price of over $13,000, the Brougham brought ulta-luxury and four doors. Event at this high price, it is estimated that GM lost over $10,000 on each of these hand assembled masterpieces. It cost more than most luxury marque models such as Rolls-Royce. The hardtop roof was stainless steel and it included almost every convenience option offered by General Motors, including dual headlights and air suspension. During its two year production run, only 704 examples were produced.
1957 also saw a new rear-end design on the Eldorado, often referred to as the 'chipmunk cheeks.' Little changed in 1958 and in 1959 Cadillac scaled back on the design. Though it was a couple years older its price remained relatively the same, selling at around $13,075. The assembly was handled by the famous Italian coachbuilder, Pinin Farina. These virtually hand-built machines had large fins, 'rocket-ship' taillights, and a very modern design for its era.
1960 was the last year Cadillac built the Seville version. GM made the Eldorado a trim option on the standard Cadillac convertible which would continue until 1966.
In 1967 the Eldorado was redesigned and now shared an E-Body platform with the Build Riviera and the Oldsmobile Toronado. The styling had been courtesy of GM's styling chief Bill Mitchell. One of the more distinctive features were the hidden lights. It continued to define luxury, prestige, and style. Under the hood lurked a potent 429 cubic-inch V8 which drove the front wheels. Zero-to-sixty took less than 9 seconds. This excellent performance did not translate to all of its mechanical components and its drum brakes were rather inadequate for its size and speed. Disc brakes could be purchased for an additional price.
Strict government regulations, emissions, and safety concerns meant the Eldorado changed slightly in aesthetics and mechanical components for 1968. For 1969 the hidden headlights were no longer part of the Eldorado design. A halo vinyl roof was offered as optional equipment.
A massive 500 cubic-inch V8 engine capable of producing 400 horsepower was offered exclusively on the Eldorado from 1970 through 1975. Thereafter, it was standard on all full size Cadillac's.
GM redesigned their full-size cars in 1971, with the new design lasting until 1975. The Eldorado was again offered as a convertible with fender skirts. The opera window design was all new and would prove to be very popular, indicated by its imitation by almost every domestic manufacturer. The opera window was a fixed rear side window surrounded by a vinyl roof.
Near the close of the 1970's many marques were decreasing the size of their cars. The Eldorado and Toronado continued to remain large and luxurious. In 1979 the Eldorado decreased in size and now sat atop a chassis which it shared with the Buick Riviera and the Toronado. Due to increasing oil prices and stricter government regulations, the engines began to decrease in size as well.
The notchback roofline was perhaps the most distinctive feature on the Eldorado. Its rear window was nearly vertical. An Independent rear suspension could now be found on the Eldorado, offering more rear passenger seating and a larger trunk while retaining a smaller body. The Eldorado Biarritz model was offered with a stainless-steel roof, just like the one that had been used on the first Brougham.
To further comply with evolving government regulations and rising fuel concerns, GM introduced a variable displacement engine in 1981. The idea was to turn off inactive cylinders while not in use. When power was needed, those sleeping cylinders would come alive and provide the power that was need. The idea was genius, but the execution was disastrous. On many occasions, it did not work well or at all which did much to scare the reputation of the Eldorado resulting in poor sales. Within the next few years, the sales rebound and the Eldorado was able to regain its market share.
By 1986, the size of the Eldorado had decreased substantially, now being similar in size to a compact car. The design was mediocre and for the first time in its history it was available with sedan frames around its windows. Many believed that this drastic change was due to fears of skyrocketing fuel prices that would send consumers running to smaller, lighter, and fuel efficient vehicles. Rather, fuel prices remained reasonable and the Eldorado sales plummeted. There were future revisions and aesthetic changes but sales continued to slow for the following years.
In 1992 the Cadillac Eldorado was reborn. Though it did not grow much in size it gained much ground in the styling department. Its design drew from its past and incorporated the frameless window glass that was distinctive to the Eldorado. The Northstar V8 was placed under the hood and provided excellent power and response. The styling and power resulted in increased sales and popularity. Though the four-door Cadillac Seville consistently outsold the two-door Eldorado, it had regained much of its prestige that it had lost.
For the following years, there were minor enhancements to the design and the interior.
In 2003, Cadillac celebrated the 50th model year of this nameplate. An ETC version was offered that produced an astonishing 300 horsepower. A limited number of red and white colored cars, the same as the 1953 convertible, were produced as a tribute to the legacy of the Eldorado.
On April 22, 2002, production of the Eldorado ceased. By Daniel Vaughan | May 2006
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