1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Concept

The 1950s was unofficially known as the 'decade of innocence,' and for automobile design, it was an era unlike any other. The individuals responsible were Harley Earl and his team, who began building cars that were lower, wider, longer, and more extravagant than anything else on the road. An excessive amount of chrome was used, including the bumpers and trim, and interiors were fitted with gadgets and creature comforts that were previously science fiction. The jet-inspired fins continued to grow over the years, especially on the Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible. 1958 was the final year before the Earl-styling reached its pinnacle with Cadillac tail fins. The 1958 Cadillac measured 221.8 inches and was powered by a 365 cubic-inch, 335 horsepower engine fitted with three 2-barrel carburetors.

Continually testing the limits of design, five Eldorado Biarritz's were taken from the production and modified into GM Motorama display cars. Changes included a deeper well for top storage, a motorized tonneau cover, and a moisture sensor in the center of the rear deck. When the moisture sensor sensed water, the main center section of the top boot moves rearward into the trunk area, while the two pieces alongside fold down into the rear quarter panels. The top then rises automatically and lowers onto the windshield's header bar, where it automatically screws down. The power-vent windows close, followed by the windows in the doors and then the rear quarter windows.

The five design statements varied, with one example being paneled in hand-laminated fiberglass, including the 1959 prototype fins, which are identical to those used on the production cars, save for the small 'bullet' lights that screw on from the outside and the molded chrome spears on the front fenders and doors. Except for the wheel opening moldings, all the body moldings were removed. The lower portion of the bumpers were color-matched to the car, and the backup lights were relocated under the license plate frame.

The interior featured four bucket seats arranged around a console that housed an ice bucket and a humidity sensor. This 'Raindrop' sensor never made it out of the prototype stage but is believed to have been installed for testing on three 1958 Eldorado Biarritz.


by Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2020

Related Reading : Cadillac Eldorado History

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 an 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....
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1958 Vehicle Profiles

1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Concept vehicle information

Convertible

1958 marked the last year before Harley Earl went over the top with Cadillac tail fins. More elegant and subdued, the 1958 tail fins created a sense of motion and careful aim. At 221.8 inches from nose to tail – an astonishing 18 feet, 5 inches – the....[continue reading]

Convertible
 


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