Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cadillac Eldorado

The Eldorado model was part of the Cadillac line from 1953 to 2002. The Cadillac Eldorado was the longest running American personal luxury car as it was the only one sold after the 1999 model year. Its main competitors included the Lincoln Mark Series and the lower-priced Buick Riviera. Although cars bearing the name varied considerably in bodystyle and mechanical layout during this long period, the Eldorado models were always near the top of the Cadillac line. Nevertheless, and except for the Eldorado Brougham models of 1957–1960, the most expensive models were always the opulent, long wheel-based Series 75 sedans and limousines, not the Eldorado. The name 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", "the gilded one" or "the golden one"; the name was given originally 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.

1982 Cadillac Eldorado Diesel start & run

Unlike the Fleetwood and de Ville models, Eldorado didn't 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. The most unique feature of Biarritz, a name that hadn't been used since 1963, (the Fleetwood designation was used for all Eldorados produced from 1964 through late 1976) 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. 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 Biarritz remained unique just the same.

Cadillac Eldorado Interior

Cadillac Eldorado Show Up

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 seven 1978 Cadillac Eldorados were known to have been produced with Power Sliding T-Tops customized and manufactured by American Sunroof Company under the direction of General Motor’s Cadillac Motor Division. There are seven known 1978 Cadillac Eldorados with Power Sliding T-Tops remaining: One (1) Black Eldorado Cabriolet; One (1) Carmine Red Eldorado Cabriolet; One (1) Cotillion White Eldorado Cabriolet; One (1) Colonial Yellow Eldorado Custom Biarritz; Two (2) Cotillion White Eldorado Custom Biarritz and One (1) Two-Tone Arizona Beige/Demitasse Brown Eldorado Custom Biarritz Classic.For 1986, yet another downsizing occurred, and it was fairly extreme. Eldorado lost about 16" in length, and some 350 pounds in weight. Convertible models were gone. As was the case in previous years, 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.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.

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