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Cadillac Eldorado

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cadillac Eldorado
1959 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
Also calledCadillac Fleetwood Eldorado
Body and chassis
ClassPersonal luxury car
Layoutrear-wheel drive (1953–1966)
front-wheel drive (1967–2002)
SuccessorCadillac CTS coupe

The Cadillac Eldorado is a luxury car manufactured and marketed by Cadillac from 1952 until 2002 over twelve generations.

The Eldorado was at or near the top of the Cadillac line. The original 1953 Eldorado convertible and the Eldorado Brougham models of 1957–1960 had distinct bodyshells[1] and were the most expensive models that Cadillac offered those years. The Eldorado was never less than second in price after the Cadillac Series 75 limousine until 1966.[2][3] Starting in 1967 the Eldorado retained its premium position in the Cadillac price structure, but was built in high volumes on a unique two door personal luxury car platform.[1][4]

The Eldorado carried the Fleetwood designation from 1965 through 1972, and was a modern revival of the pre-war Cadillac V-12 and Cadillac V16 roadsters and convertibles. It was the first Cadillac model to use a nameplate instead of previous Series model descriptions.[5][6]


The nameplate Eldorado is a contraction of two Spanish words that translate as "the gilded (i.e., golden) one" — and also refers to El Dorado, the mythical Colombian "Lost City of Gold" that fascinated Spanish explorers.[7]

Chosen in an internal competition for a 1952 concept vehicle celebrating Cadillac's golden anniversary, the name Eldorado was[6] subsequently adopted for a limited-edition convertible for model year 1953.

Cadillac began using the nameplates "Eldorado Seville", after the city in southern Spain, and "Eldorado Biarritz" after the luxury seaside resort in southern France, to distinguish between the hardtop and convertible models (respectively) while both were offered, from 1956 through 1960 inclusively. The "Seville" name was dropped when the hardtop was initially discontinued (1961), but the Biarritz name continued through 1964. Beginning in 1965, the Eldorado became the 'Fleetwood Eldorado'. 'Biarritz' returned as an up level trim package for the Eldorado for 1976 until 1991.

First generation (1953)

First generation
1953 Eldorado (14245524610).jpg
1953 Cadillac Eldorado
Model years1953
AssemblyDetroit, Michigan, U.S.
DesignerHarley Earl
Body and chassis
Body style2-door convertible
LayoutFR layout
RelatedBuick Roadmaster Skylark
Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta
Engine331 cu in (5.4 L) Cadillac OHV V8
Transmission4-speed Hydra-Matic
Wheelbase126.0 in (3,200 mm)
Length220.8 in (5,608 mm)
Width80.1 in (2,035 mm)
Height58.5 in (1,486 mm)
Curb weight5,000 lb (2,300 kg)

The Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado joined the Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta, and Buick Roadmaster Skylark as top-of-the-line, limited-production specialty convertibles introduced in 1953 by General Motors to promote its design leadership. A special-bodied, low-production convertible (532 units in total), it was the production version of the 1952 El Dorado "Golden Anniversary" concept car. Along with borrowing bumper bullets from the 1951 GM Le Sabre show car,[8] it featured a full assortment of deluxe accessories and introduced the wraparound windshield[9] and a cut-down beltline to Cadillac standard production.

The expansive frontal glass and distinctive dip in the sheet metal at the bottom of the side windows (featured on one or both of GM's other 1953 specialty convertibles) were especially beloved by General Motors' styling chief Harley Earl and subsequently widely copied by other marques. Available in four unique colors; Aztec Red, Alpine White, Azure Blue and Artisan Ochre.[5] Convertible tops were available in either black or white Orlon. AC was an option at US$620 ($6,279 in 2021 dollars [10]),[11] as were wire wheels for US$325 ($3,292 in 2021 dollars [10]).[5] The car carried no special badging other than a gold-colored "Eldorado" nameplate in the center of the dash. A hard tonneau cover, flush with the rear deck, hid the convertible top when stored.

Although technically a subseries of the Cadillac Series 62 based on the regular Series 62 convertible and sharing its engine, it was nearly twice as expensive at US$7,750 ($78,493 in 2021 dollars [10]) as the all-new Packard Caribbean convertible.[5]

The 220.8 inches (5,610 mm) long, 80.1 inches (2,030 mm) wide vehicle came with such standard features as windshield washers, a signal seeking radio, power windows, and a heater.[5] Only 532 were produced, comprising just 0.5% of Cadillac's 1953 sales.[5]

Second generation (1954–1956)

Second generation
Cadillac Eldorado Special (1955), photo-02.jpg
1955 Cadillac Eldorado
Model years1954–1956
AssemblyDetroit, Michigan, U.S.
DesignerHarley Earl
Body and chassis
Body style2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
LayoutFR layout
RelatedBuick Roadmaster
Oldsmobile Starfire 98
Engine331 cu in (5.4 L) OHV V8
365 cu in (6.0 L) OHV V8
Transmission4-speed Hydra-Matic[12]
Wheelbase129.0 in (3,277 mm)
Length1954: 223.4 in (5,674 mm)
1955: 223.2 in (5,669 mm)
1956: 222.2 in (5,644 mm)
Width1954: 79.6 in (2,022 mm)[3]
1955: 79.8 in (2,027 mm)[3]
1956: 80.1 in (2,035 mm)[3]
Curb weight4,900–5,100 lb (2,200–2,300 kg)

In 1954, Eldorado lost its unique sheet metal and shared 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 fender breaks, and wide fluted beauty panels to decorate the lower rear sides. These panels were made of extruded aluminum, and also appeared on a unique one of a kind Eldorado coupé 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. A total of 2,150 Eldorado's were sold at a much more modest US$5,738 base price (equivalent to $57,899 in 2021 dollars [10]), nearly four times as many as in 1953.[5]

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. 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.[5]

For 1956, a two-door hardtop coupé version was released, 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 twin hood ornaments. An extra feature on the Eldorado convertible was 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.[5]

Third generation (1957–1958)

Third generation
1958 Cadillac Eldorado Seville.JPG
1958 Cadillac Eldorado Seville
Model years1957–1958
AssemblyDetroit, Michigan, United States
DesignerHarley Earl
Body and chassis
Body styleSeries 62:
2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
4-door hardtop (4 specimen)
Series 70:
4-door hardtop
LayoutFR layout
PlatformSeries 62: C-body
RelatedSeries 62:
Cadillac Series 62
Buick Limited
Buick Roadmaster
Buick Super
Oldsmobile 98
Engine365 cu in (6.0 L) OHV V8
Transmission4-speed Hydra-Matic
WheelbaseSeries 62: 129.5 in (3,289 mm)
Series 70: 126.0 in (3,200 mm)
Length1957 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)
WidthSeries 62: 80.0 in (2,032 mm)
Series 70: 78.5 in (1,994 mm)
HeightSeries 62: 59.1 in (1,501 mm)
Series 70: 55.5 in (1,410 mm)
Curb weight5,000–5,500 lb (2,300–2,500 kg)

Cadillac was restyled and re-engineered for 1957, with stylistic updates in 1958.


1957 saw the Eldorado (in both Biarritz convertible and Seville hardtop body styles) receive new styling with an exclusive rear-end design featuring a low, downswept fenderline capped by pointed in-board fins. Just behind the open rear wheel housings the lower rear quarters were trimmed with broad, sculptured stainless steel beauty panels that visually blended into the split rear wraparound bumper assemblies. A form of this unique rear-end treatment first appeared (sans fins) on the Cadillac "Interceptor" prototype from the immediate post-war era. 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 three section front bumper was shared with the rest of the redesigned Cadillac model line, as in previous years the Eldorados came with a long list of standard features. Four specially-built 4-door hardtop Eldorado Sevilles were also built in 1957.


For 1958, the car received quad headlights as the front clip was again shared with this year's updated standard Cadillacs. GM was promoting their fiftieth year of production, and introduced Anniversary models for each brand; Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Chevrolet.[13] The 1958 models shared a common appearance on the top models for each brand; Cadillac Eldorado Seville, Buick Limited Riviera, Oldsmobile Starfire 98, Pontiac Bonneville Catalina, and the all-new Chevrolet Bel-Air Impala.

This year's revised front clip incorporated a new hood, a new front bumper with "dagmars" mounted lower and further apart combined with a full width jeweled grille. On the Biarritz and Seville, a V-shaped ornament and model identification script was asymmetrically mounted to the deck lid. Other styling updates included the addition of ten vertical chrome slashes ahead of the open rear wheel housings and crest medallions on the flank of the tailfins. The split rear bumper assemblies were each updated with a low-profile combined reverse light/grille unit that replaced the previous year's separate, round exhaust exits and reverse lights; the round brake/tail light units at the base of the fins remained unchanged. The rear license plate housing was now flanked on each side by five vertical hash marks.

1957–58 Eldorado Brougham

Announced in December 1956 and released around March 1957, the Series 70 Eldorado Brougham was a distinct, hand-built four-door ultra-luxury vehicle, derived from the Park Avenue and Orleans show cars of 1953–54. Designed by Ed Glowacke, it featured the first appearance of quad headlights, which were at the time illegal in the United States,[14][15][16] and totally unique trim. Like the later 1961 fourth-generation Lincoln Continental, it had rear doors that were rear-hinged (suicide doors); unlike the Continental the Brougham was a true pillarless hardtop as the doors latched onto a stub pillar that did not extend beyond the beltline

It cost US$13,074 ($126,139 in 2021 dollars [10])—twice the price of a conventional 1957 Eldorado and more than competitors Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud,[17] Facel Vega Excellence[18] or Continental Mark II. Sales were 400 in 1957 and 304 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. It was a marketing approach revival used in the early 1930s with the Cadillac V-16 with similar attention to detail and engineering pursuits as a halo car.

The car featured a roof trimmed in brushed stainless and self leveling air suspension. The exterior ornamentation included wide, polished 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. It also had 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 and a dual heating system. Other unique features included an automatic starter with restart function, Autronic Eye, drum-type electric clock, power windows, forged aluminum wheels and air conditioning, six silver magnetic glovebox drink tumblers and finally, an Evans leather trimmed cigarette case and vanity kit containing a lipstick holder, ladies' powder puff with powder, comb, beveled mirror, coin holder, matching leather notebook, gold mechanical pencil, atomizer filled with Arpège Extrait De Lanvin perfume.[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.[19]

Cadillac Eldoradio Brougham all-transistor car radio-1957 dash
Cadillac Eldoradio Brougham all-transistor car radio-1957 dash

There were serious difficulties with the air suspension, which proved troublesome in practice. Some owners found it cheaper to have it replaced with conventional coil springs.[20]

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,[21][22] and so this would also mark the first time in 20 years that a Fleetwood-bodied car was paired with the Brougham name.[2][3][23]

The 1957-58 Eldorado Brougham also marked the return of the Cadillac Series 70, if only briefly. 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.[24][25][26][27]

The Eldorado Brougham received minor changes for 1958. 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.

Fourth generation (1959–1960)

Fourth generation
Cadillac Eldorado 1959 - Falköping cruising 2013 - 1705.jpg
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
AssemblyDetroit, Michigan, U.S.
DesignerChuck Jordan
Body and chassis
Body styleSeries 62:
2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
Series 6900:
4-door hardtop
LayoutFR layout
RelatedCadillac Sixty Special
Cadillac De Ville
Cadillac Series 62
Buick Electra
Oldsmobile 98
Engine390 cu in (6.4 L) OHV V8
Transmission4-speed Hydra-Matic
Wheelbase130.0 in (3,302 mm)
Length225.0 in (5,715 mm)
Width1959 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)
Heightcoupé: 54.1 in (1,374 mm)
convertible: 54.4 in (1,382 mm)
4-door: 56.2 in (1,427 mm)
Curb weight5,100–5,300 lb (2,300–2,400 kg)


Along with the rest of the General Motors divisions, the bulky, originally proposed 1959 styling was abandoned in favor of a significantly lower, longer and wider theme as an overdue response to Virgil Exner's striking redesign of the 1957 Chrysler products. 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.

For 1959 the Series 62 became the Series 6200. De Villes and two-door Eldorados were moved from the Series 62 to their own series, the Series 6300 and Series 6400 respectively, though they all, including the four-door Eldorado Brougham (which was moved from the Series 70 to Series 6900), shared the same 130 in (3,302 mm) wheelbase. New mechanical items were a "scientifically engineered" drainage system and new shock absorbers.[28] All Eldorados were characterized by a three-deck, jeweled, rear grille insert that replicated the texture of the front grille; this front/rear grille treatment was shared with the Fleetwood Sixty Special and would continue through 1966 with textures being revised each year. 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.[29] The Eldorado Brougham also came with air conditioning, automatic headlight dimmer, and cruise control standard over the Seville and Biarritz trim lines.[29]


1960 Cadillacs resemble 1959 Cadillacs, but with much lower tailfins and 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 minus the twin bullet taillamps, 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 block 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 Chambray cloth and leather combinations. The last Eldorado Seville was built in 1960.

The 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz 6467E is featured as Maurice Minnifield's vehicle in the 1990s television series Northern Exposure.[30]

1959–60 Eldorado Brougham

For model years 1959 and 1960, the Eldorado Brougham became longer, lower and wider. The Brougham featured narrow taillights integrated into low tailfins; an angular rear roofline with rear ventiplanes that contrasted to the rounded roofline; and the dual rocket-like taillights and tall fins of the standard 1959 models. Front and rear bumper assemblies were shared with the standard Cadillacs.

Designed in-house, Cadillac contracted with Pininfarina of Turin, Italy for the manufacture of the low-volume model. The Eldorado Broughams were among the first Cadillacs to be hand-built in Italy; concept cars were also hand built as needed. Cadillac chassis were sent by boat to the port of Savona, Italy where they were then delivered to the factory in Turin at Grugliasco, mated with the body and sent back to Detroit by boat.[31]

Priced at $13,075 ($121,541 in 2021 dollars [10]), the Brougham cost $1 more than their older siblings and did not sell as well as their forebears.[5]

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. The Brougham did not have Eldorado front fender letters or Eldorado-specific body edge highlight trim. For 1960 new standard model bumpers were incorporated and a fin-like crest or skeg ran from behind the front wheel opening to the rear of the car on the lower bodyside with the crest medallions relocated to the trailing edge of the rear fenders. The standard equipment list matched those of other Eldorados, plus Cruise Control, Autronic Eye, air conditioning and E-Z Eye glass.

The Eldorado Brougham was moved to its own unique Series 6900 from Series 70 for its remaining two years.

Fifth generation (1961–1962)

Fifth generation
1961 Cadillac 6400 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible.jpg
1961 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
Model years1961–1962
AssemblyDetroit, Michigan, U.S.
DesignerBill Mitchell
Body and chassis
Body style2-door convertible
LayoutFR layout
RelatedCadillac Sixty Special
Cadillac De Ville
Cadillac Series 62
Buick Electra
Oldsmobile 98
Engine390 cu in (6.4 L) OHV V8
Transmission4-speed Hydra-Matic, automatic
Wheelbase129.5 in (3,289 mm)
Length1961–62: 222.0 in (5,639 mm)
Width1961: 79.8 in (2,027 mm)[3]
1962: 79.9 in (2,029 mm)
Curb weight4,800–5,000 lb (2,200–2,300 kg)


All Cadillacs were 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 convex jewelled grille slanted back towards both the bumper and the hood lip, along the horizontal plane, and sat between dual headlamps. New rear-slanting front pillars with a reverse-curved base as first used on the 1959-60 Broughams with a somewhat less expansive windshield was incorporated. 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 reverse 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. Rubber-isolated 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.


A mild facelift characterized Cadillac styling trends for 1962. A flatter, upright 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 vertically oriented rectangular nacelles designed with an angled peak at the center. A vertically ribbed rear beauty panel replicating the grille treatment appeared on the deck lid latch panel. Cadillac script also appeared on the lower left side of the 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.[32]

Sixth generation (1963–1964)

Sixth generation
1964 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible type 6367.jpg
1964 Eldorado Biarritz convertible
Model years1963–1964
AssemblyDetroit, Michigan, U.S.
DesignerBill Mitchell
Body and chassis
Body style2-door convertible
LayoutFR layout
RelatedCadillac Sixty Special
Cadillac De Ville
Cadillac Series 62
Buick Electra
Oldsmobile 98
Engine390 cu in (6.4 L) OHV V8
429 cu in (7.0 L) OHV V8
Transmission1963: 4-speed Hydra-Matic
1964: 3-speed TH-400, automatic
Wheelbase129.5 in (3,289 mm)
Length1963: 223.0 in (5,664 mm)
1964: 223.5 in (5,677 mm)
Width1963: 79.7 in (2,024 mm)[3]
1964: 79.5 in (2,019 mm)[3]
Curb weight4,800–5,000 lb (2,200–2,300 kg)


In 1963, the Eldorado Biarritz joined the Cadillac Sixty Special and the Cadillac Series 75 as the only Cadillac models with Fleetwood bodies, thus acquiring the Fleetwood wreath and crest on its rear quarters[33] and Fleetwood rocker panel moldings.[21] 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.[2][23] In overall terms the 1963 Cadillac was essentially the same as the previous year. The completely redesigned body imparted a bolder and more angular look. 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 eliminated in favor of smooth, flatter slab sides. The slightly V-shaped radiator grille was taller and now incorporated outer extensions that swept below the dual headlamps and housed small circular front parking lamps. The Eldorado also had a rectangular front and rear grille pattern that it again shared with the Fleetwood Sixty Special. 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).[34]


The Eldorado received a minor facelift for 1964. The main visual cue indicating an Eldorado Biarritz rather than a De Ville convertible 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 bisected by a central body-colored horizontal bar. 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 429 cubic inch 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. Series 62, 75. and the Commercial Chassis continued with the old Hydra-Matic until 1965.

Seventh generation (1965–1966)

Seventh generation
1966 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible.JPG
Model years1965–1966
AssemblyDetroit, Michigan, U.S.
DesignerBill Mitchell
Body and chassis
Body style2-door convertible
LayoutFR layout
Engine429 cu in (7.0 L) OHV V8
Transmission3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic THM400 automatic
Wheelbase129.5 in (3,289 mm)
Length224.0 in (5,690 mm)
Width79.9 in (2,029 mm)
Curb weight4,700–4,900 lb (2,132–2,223 kg)

For 1965, the Eldorado gained Cadillac's Fleetwood designation,[2][3][35] marketed as the Fleetwood Eldorado, in a similar fashion to the Fleetwood Series 75 and the Fleetwood Sixty Special.[2][3][36] The Biarritz nomenclature was finally dropped from sales literature, probably because there was no need to distinguish the convertible from the long defunct Eldorado Seville and Brougham (The Biarritz nameplate would be revived in 1976 as a trim option for the Eldorado coupe). This was the last generation Eldorado to be equipped with rear wheel drive.

The redesigned Eldorado still rode on the same 129.5 in (3,289 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 "firsts" this season included variable ratio power 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.

Eighth generation (1967–1970)

Eighth generation
Cadillac Eldorado.jpg
1967 Cadillac Eldorado
AssemblyDetroit, Michigan, U.S.
DesignerBill Mitchell
Body and chassis
Body style2-door hardtop
LayoutLongitudinal front-engine, front-wheel drive
RelatedBuick Riviera
Oldsmobile Toronado
  • 429 cu in (7.03 L) OHV V8 (1967 only)[37]
  • 472 cu in (7.7 L) V8 (introduced 1968)[38][39]
  • 500 cu in (8.2 L) V8 (introduced 1970)[38]
Transmission3-speed automatic
Wheelbase120.0 in (3,048 mm)
Length221.0 in (5,613 mm)
Width79.9 in (2,029 mm)
Curb weight4,696 lb (2,130 kg)

The Eldorado was radically redesigned for 1967 as a front-wheel drive hardtop coupe, becoming the brand's first entry to capitalize on the era's burgeoning personal luxury car market.[4] Promoted as a "personal" Cadillac, it shared the E-body with the second-generation Buick Riviera and the first-generation Oldsmobile Toronado, which had been introduced the previous year.[4]

To enhance its distinctiveness, Cadillac adapted the Toronado's front-wheel drive unified powerplant package, mating a Cadillac 429 V8 to a Turbo-Hydramatic 425 automatic transmission.[4] Disc brakes were optional, and new standard safety equipment included an energy absorbing steering column and generously padded instrument panel.[40]

The 1967 Eldorado was a great departure from previous generations, which shared styling with Cadillac's De Ville and Series 62, the exceptions being the rare 1953 model, and the even more rare 1957-60 Eldorado Brougham.[1] The front drive Eldorado's crisp styling, initiated by GM styling chief Bill Mitchell, was distinctive and unique, more angular than the streamlined Riviera and Toronado. The rear end was inspired by the GM-X Stiletto concept car.[41] This was the only production Cadillac to be equipped with concealed headlights behind vacuum operated doors.[1]

Performance was 0–60 mph (0–97 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 sales were excellent despite high list prices. Its sales of 17,930 units,[42] nearly three times the previous Eldorado high, helped give Cadillac its best year ever.[43]

In 1968, the Eldorado received Cadillac's new 375 hp (280 kW) (SAE gross) Cadillac 472 V8 (7.7 L) V8, and disc brakes became standard. Only slight exterior changes were made to comply with new federal safety legislation. Sales set another record at 24,528, with Eldorados accounting for nearly 11% of all Cadillacs sold.

In 1969, hidden headlamps were eliminated, a halo vinyl roof was available as an option, as was a rim-blow steering wheel – the only year Cadillac offered it.

In 1970, the Eldorado featured the new Cadillac 500 V8 (8.2 L) V8 engine,[1] Cadillac's largest-ever regular production V8, rated SAE gross 400 hp (298 kW) and 550 lb⋅ft (746 N⋅m), and would remain exclusive to the Eldorado until it became the standard engine in all full size Cadillacs for the 1975-76 model years. A power sunroof was a newly available option for 1970. Styling changes for 1970 included a longer hood, a new grille with '8.2 Litre' notification and new taillamp bezels with thin lenses.

Ninth generation (1971–1978)

Ninth generation
1971 Cadillac Eldorado - Flickr - denizen24.jpg
1971 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Coupe
AssemblyLinden, New Jersey, U.S.
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupé
2-door convertible
LayoutLongitudinal front-engine, front-wheel drive
RelatedBuick Riviera
Oldsmobile Toronado
Engine500 cu in (8.2 L) V8 (1971–76)
425 cu in (7.0 L) V8 (1977–78)
Transmission3-speed automatic
Wheelbase126.3 in (3,208 mm)
Length224 in (5,690 mm) (1977–78)
224.1 in (5,692 mm) (1974–76)
223 in (5,664 mm) (1971–73)
Width79.8 in (2,027 mm)
Height54.2 in (1,377 mm)
Curb weight4,828 lb (2,190 kg)

The 1971 Eldorado was substantially redesigned, growing two inches in length, six in wheelbase and featuring standard fender skirts, all of which gave the car a much heavier appearance than the previous generation. The 500 cu in (8.2 L) V8 engine remained an Eldorado exclusive.

A convertible was also offered in 1971, the first in the line since 1966. Door glass remained frameless, and the hardtop rear quarter windows were deleted, replaced by a fixed "opera window" in the widened "C" pillar. A stand-up wreath and crest hood ornament was new this year.

Inside, there was a new curved instrument panel and redesigned seats. A fiber-optic "lamp monitor" system, which displayed the functionality of the headlamps, taillamps, parking lamps, turn signals and brakelights was mounted on each front fender and the shelf below the rear window. This 126.3 in (3,208 mm) wheelbase version Eldorado would run through 1978, receiving major facelifts in 1973, 1974 and 1975. Sales in 1971 set a new record at 27,368.

Changes were minimal for 1972; the most noticeable exterior change was a new 'Eldorado' script, replacing the block 'Eldorado' lettering on the front fenders an trunk lid. Sales for 1972 increased to 40,074.

In 1973, the Eldorado was removed from the Fleetwood series and reestablished as its own series.[2][3][35] The 1973 models received a major facelift, featuring a massive egg-crate grille, new front and rear bumpers, decklid, rear fenders and taillamps. Interiors featured new "soft pillow" door panels, with larger, sturdier pull-straps. The rear "lamp monitor" display which showed the driver the function of the turn signal, brake and taillamps, was relocated (except on the convertible) from the rear shelf, to the headliner just above the rear glass.

The Cadillac Eldorado was chosen as the official pace car for the Indianapolis 500 in 1973. Cadillac produced 566 of these special pace car convertibles. Thirty-three were used at the track during the race week, with the remainder distributed to U.S. Cadillac dealers one per dealership. Sales of the Eldorado coupe and convertible soared to 51,451 the highest total for the model during the 1970s and over a sixth of all Cadillac sales for 1973.

The lengthened wheelbase reduced performance relative to contemporary premium personal luxury cars, but offered comfortable seating for six adults rather than just four.

Performance against competitors (1972)
Make & model Horsepower 'SAE net' Top speed Acceleration 0 to 60 mph (0–97 km/h) Fuel economy
Cadillac Eldorado 238 PS (175.0 kW; 234.7 bhp) 189 km/h (117 mph) 9.7 sec 4 km/l (11 mpg‑imp; 9.4 mpg‑US)[44]
Continental Mark IV 215 PS (158.1 kW; 212.1 bhp) 190 km/h (118 mph) 10.8 sec 4.8 km/l (14 mpg‑imp; 11 mpg‑US)[45]
Oldsmobile Toronado 269 PS (197.8 kW; 265.3 bhp) 206 km/h (128 mph) 10 sec 4.2 km/l (12 mpg‑imp; 9.9 mpg‑US)[46]
Buick Riviera 253 PS (186.1 kW; 249.5 bhp) 202 km/h (126 mph) 8.9 sec 4.1 km/l (12 mpg‑imp; 9.6 mpg‑US)[47]
Imperial LeBaron coupe 228 PS (167.7 kW; 224.9 bhp) 191 km/h (119 mph) 10.4 sec 4.1 km/l (12 mpg‑imp; 9.6 mpg‑US)[48]
Rolls-Royce Corniche 240 PS (176.5 kW; 236.7 bhp) 190 km/h (118 mph) 9.7 sec 5.1 km/l (14 mpg‑imp; 12 mpg‑US)[49][50]
Jaguar XKE Series III V12 254 PS (186.8 kW; 250.5 bhp) 217 km/h (135 mph) 6.8 sec 5.5 km/l (16 mpg‑imp; 13 mpg‑US)[51]
Citroën SM 170 PS (125.0 kW; 167.7 bhp) 220 km/h (137 mph) 8.5 sec 8 km/l (23 mpg‑imp; 19 mpg‑US)[52]
Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC 192 PS (141.2 kW; 189.4 bhp) 202 km/h (126 mph) 9.5 sec 6.5 km/l (18 mpg‑imp; 15 mpg‑US)[53]
Jensen Interceptor 254 PS (186.8 kW; 250.5 bhp) 217 km/h (135 mph) 7.5 sec 4.4 km/l (12 mpg‑imp; 10 mpg‑US)[54]
BMW 3.0CS 180 PS (132.4 kW; 177.5 bhp) 200 km/h (124 mph) 7.9 sec 7.6 km/l (21 mpg‑imp; 18 mpg‑US)[55]
Stutz Blackhawk 432 PS (317.7 kW; 426.1 bhp) 210 km/h (130 mph) 8.4 sec 3.3 km/l (9.3 mpg‑imp; 7.8 mpg‑US)}

1974 Eldorados featured a redesigned rear bumper with vertical ends, housing sidemarker lamps. This new bumper was designed to meet the new 5 mile impact federal design regulation. Other styling changes included new horizontal taillamps placed beneath the trunk lid, a new fine mesh grille with Cadillac script on the header and new standard wheel covers. Inside, there was a redesigned two-tier instrument panel, marketed in sales literature as "space age" and shared with all 1974 Cadillacs. A new, quartz controlled digital clock, an "information band" of warning lights and the fuel gauge ran horizontally along the upper tier of this new instrument panel.

For 1975, the Eldorado was given rectangular headlamps, a new egg-crate grille, full rear wheel openings sans fender skirts and sharper, crisper lines resulting in a sleeker appearance reminiscent of the 1967–70 models.[56]

1976 was to be the final year for the Eldorado convertible and the car was heavily promoted by General Motors as "the last American convertible". Some 14,000 would be sold, many purchased as investments. The final 200 convertibles were designated as "Bicentennial Edition" commemorating America's 200th birthday. All 200 of these cars were identical, painted white with a dual red/blue pinstripe along the upper bodyside and inside, a commemorative plaque was mounted on the dashboard. When Cadillac reintroduced the Eldorado convertible for the 1984 model year, several customers who had purchased 1976 Eldorado convertibles as investments, felt they had been deceived and launched an unsuccessful class action lawsuit against General Motors.[57] Having received a major facelift the previous year, the Eldorado for 1976 received only minor styling changes, including a new grille, a small Cadillac script on the hood face, revised taillamp lenses and new black painted wheel covers.

For 1977, the Eldorado again received a new grille with a finer crosshatch pattern. New vertical taillamps were relocated to the chrome bumper-fender extensions. New 'Eldorado' block-lettering appeared on the hood face and new rectangular side marker lights with 'Eldorado' block-lettering replaced the 'Eldorado' script on the rear fenders. The convertible was dropped (although Custom Coach of Lima, Ohio converted a few 1977 and 1978 Eldorados into convertibles using salvaged parts from earlier models). The mammoth 500 cu in. (8.2L) V8 of 1970–76 was replaced by a new 425 cu in. (7L) V8 with 180 bhp (134 kW) available in all 1977 Cadillacs, except the Seville.

A new grille was the only visible change for 1978; the Eldorado would be completely redesigned and downsized for 1979.

Eldorado Biarritz

Unlike the Fleetwood Brougham and De Ville, which both boasted the opulent d'Elegance trim luxury package, Cadillac did not offer a similar option for the Eldorado until the 1976 model year with the introduction of the Biarritz (a name last used for the 1964 Eldorado convertible) package. The car featured unique exterior trim and the rear half of the cabriolet roof was covered with a heavily padded landau vinyl top accented with large "opera" lights. Body colored wheel covers were also featured. The 1977–1978 interior featured "pillowed"-style, "tufted" leather seating, while the 1976 interior did not. As with other Cadillac models, special order contrasting upholstery piping and exterior colors were available.

The 1978 Biarritz option packages consisted of the Eldorado Custom Biarritz ($1,865); with Astroroof ($2,946); with sunroof ($2,746) and Eldorado Custom Biarritz Classic ($2,466); with Astroroof ($3,547); with sunroof ($3,347).

2000 Eldorado Custom Biarritz Classics were produced for 1978 only, in two-tone Arizona beige/demitasse brown consisting of 1,499 with no Astroroofs or no sunroofs; 475 with Astroroofs; 25 with sunroofs and one was produced with a power sliding T-top.[58] Only nine of the latter are known to have been retrofitted by the American Sunroof Company under the direction of General Motors' Cadillac Motor Car Division.[citation needed]

The Biarritz option was available on the Eldorado through the 1991 model year and was replaced with the touring coupe (ETC) option for 1992.[59] Some of the original Biarritz styling cues vanished after 1985, such as the brushed stainless steel roofing (1979–85) and the plush "pillowed" interior seating designs, but the Biarritz remained unique.

Tenth generation (1979–1985)

Tenth generation
79-85 Eldorado.jpg
AssemblyLinden, New Jersey, U.S.
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupé
2-door convertible (1984–1985 only)
LayoutLongitudinal front-engine, front-wheel drive
  • 3-speed automatic (1979-83)
  • 4-speed w/electronic overdrive (1984–1985)
Wheelbase114.0 in (2,896 mm)
Length204.5 in (5,194 mm) (1982–85)
204.0 in (5,182 mm) (1979–1981)
Width71.4 in (1,814 mm) (1979–1981)
71.5 in (1,816 mm) (1982–83)
70.6 in (1,793 mm) (1984–85)
Height54.3 in (1,379 mm) (1982–1985)
54.2 in (1,377 mm) (1979–1981)

The tenth generation Eldorado debuted in 1979, continuing as a rebadged variant of the Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile Toronado. This model was successful in terms of annual production totals compared with the ninth and eleventh generations.[60] The model set an all-time Eldorado sales record in 1984 of 77,806 (coupes and convertibles), accounting for about 26% of all Cadillacs sold.


Independent rear suspension was adopted for the first time, helping retain rear-seat and trunk room in the smaller body. The most notable styling touch was an extreme notchback roofline. The Eldorado "Biarritz" model featured a stainless-steel roof, similar to the 1957–1958 Eldorado Brougham. The Eldorado featured frameless door glass, and rear quarter windows, similar to those from 1967 to 1970, without a thick "B" pillar. The Eldorado and the redesigned 1980 Cadillac Seville shared front wheel drive platforms. The cars were not true hardtops, as the rear quarter windows were fixed.

The Cadillac Trip Computer was available on the 1979 Eldorado. First offered on the 1978 Cadillac Seville, it provided electronic digital (LED) readouts for the speedometer, remaining fuel gallons, clock, and radio. No digital instrumentation was available for the 1980 Eldorado, apart from the climate control system. In 1981, full electronic "digital" instrumentation was an available option on the Eldorado and Seville. In addition to the digital electronic climate control that was standard on all Cadillacs, the standard analog speedometer and fuel gauges could be replaced with digital displays with features displaying gallons of remaining fuel and approximate range.


The tenth generation Eldorado was sold with multiple "malaise era" V8 engine variants, while offering a six cylinder for the first time in company history, a 4.1 L V6 sourced from Buick:


The Eldorado was fitted with both gasoline engines – all of which operated on regular fuel – and a single diesel:


A smaller, more fuel efficient, Oldsmobile 350 ci (5.7 L) gasoline V8 replaced the 425 ci (7.0 L) engine from 1978.


In 1980, the standard engine became the Cadillac 368 ci V8 engine except in California, where the Oldsmobile 350 was still used. In both the 1980 Eldorado and Seville (which now shared frames) the 368s came with DEFI throttle body fuel injection.

4.1 L

For 1982, Cadillac unveiled the 4.1 L "High Technology" HT-4100. The performance was modest relative to older generations of the Eldorado. It possessed 127 PS (93.4 kW; 125.3 bhp) powering the car to a top speed of 171 km/h (106 mph) and a 0-60 time of 13.8 sec, with fuel economy of 8.5 km/l (24 mpg‑imp; 20 mpg‑US)[61]

This lightweight engine, used in all full-size 1982 Cadillacs (except limousines) was an in-house design that mated cast-iron heads to an aluminum block. Many HT-4100s were replaced under warranty because it was prone to failure of the intake manifold gasket due to scrubbing of the bi-metal interface, aluminum oil pump failure, cam bearing displacement, weak aluminum block castings and bolts pulling the aluminum threads from the block.[citation needed]

350 diesel

The Oldsmobile 350 ci diesel engine was available as an option. It possessed 106 PS (78.0 kW; 104.5 bhp) powering the car to a top speed of 155 km/h (96 mph) and a 0-60 time of 17.3 sec, with fuel economy of 25 mpg.[62]


For 1981 only, the Eldorado was powered by Cadillac's V8-6-4 variable displacement variant of the 368 engine, which was designed to deactivate two or four cylinders when full power was not needed, helping meet GM's government fuel economy (CAFE) averages. It was a reduced bore version of the 1968 model-year 472, sharing that engine's stroke and also that of the model-years 1977–1979 425.


In 1981-2 the Buick LC4 V6 was available.[63] It came with a 4-barrel carburetor, had an 8.0:1 compression ratio, and produced 125 hp (93 kW) at 4,000 rpm and 205 lb⋅ft (278 N⋅m) at 2,000 rpm.

Trim options

From 1982 through 1985, Cadillac offered the Eldorado Touring Coupe, with heavier duty "touring" suspension, aluminum alloy wheels, larger blackwall white-letter tires, cloisonné hood ornament, body-colored headlamp and taillamp bezels, wide-ribbed rocker moldings and available only with saddle leather interior and three exterior colors. These Eldorados were marketed as "drivers' cars" and included reclining front bucket seats with lumbar support, leather wrapped steering wheel, a center console and standard digital instrument cluster.

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.

Return of the Eldorado Convertible

In 1984, eight years after Cadillac built its last convertible, the division temporarily resumed production of a convertible version of the Eldorado Biarritz. This car was not an aftermarket conversion, but a Cadillac division built convertible offered for the 1984-85 model years. The car was 200 pounds (91 kg) heavier, featuring the same interior as the Eldorado Biarritz coupe. The 1985 model year was also the last for the aftermarket Eldorado convertible made by the American Sunroof Corporation.

Prior to the "official" 1984 and 1985 Eldorado convertibles marketed by Cadillac, some 1979–1983 Eldorados were made into coach convertibles by independent coachbuilders e.g. ASC inc., Custom Coach (Lima, Ohio—this coachbuilder turned a few 1977 and 1978 Eldorados into convertibles) and Hess & Eisenhardt. The same coach-builders also offered Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile Toronado convertibles.

Production totals

Production totals[60]
Year Model Units
1979 Eldorado coupe 67,436
1980 Eldorado coupe 52,685
1981 Eldorado coupe 60,643
1982 Eldorado coupe 52,018
1983 Eldorado coupe 67,416
1984 Eldorado coupe 74,506
1984 Eldorado convertible 3,300
1985 Eldorado coupe 74,101
1985 Eldorado convertible 2,200

Eleventh generation (1986–1991)

Eleventh generation
7th Cadillac Eldorado.jpg
AssemblyDetroit/Hamtramck Assembly, Hamtramck, Michigan, U.S.
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupé
LayoutTransverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
RelatedBuick Riviera
Oldsmobile Toronado
  • 4.1 L HT-4100 V8 (1986–1987)
  • 4.5 L 4.5 V8 (1988–1990)
  • 4.9 L L26 V8 (1991)
Transmission4-speed THM440-T4 automatic
Wheelbase108.0 in (2,743 mm)
Length191.4 in (4,862 mm) (1989–1991)
191.2 in (4,856 mm) (1986–88)
Width72.4 in (1,839 mm) (1989–1991)
71.7 in (1,821 mm) (1986–88)
Height53.2 in (1,351 mm) (1989–1991)
53.7 in (1,364 mm) (1986–88)
1988 Cadillac Eldorado Front Grille
1988 Cadillac Eldorado Front Grille
1988 Cadillac Eldorado Rear with Tire kit
1988 Cadillac Eldorado Rear with Tire kit

For 1986, the Eldorado was again downsized, losing about 16 inches (410 mm) in length and 350 pounds (160 kg) in weight and once again as a badge engineered variant of the Oldsmobile Toronado and Buick Riviera, as well as the four-door Cadillac Seville. Annual sales of the Cadillac Eldorado plummeted 72% from 1985 to 1986.[60] Observers noted this Eldorado represented was too small for Cadillac's traditional customers, yet too soft to attract buyers from competitors from BMW and Mercedes-Benz.[64]

The coupés from Buick and Oldsmobile both used Buick's 3.8 liter V6 engine, while Cadillac continued to use the 4.1 liter V8.[64] The Eldorado Biarritz convertible was dropped to make way for the new Cadillac Allanté roadster. The eleventh generation Eldorado carried a base price of $24,251 which was nearly 16% higher than the 1985 model.

Despite its smaller exterior size, the Eldorado's interior volume remained comparable to the previous generation model as well as Lincoln's Mark VII.[64] For the first time, the Eldorado abandoned its "hardtop" heritage and featured framed door glass. News reports later indicated GM had been led by a consultant's prediction that by 1986 gasoline in the U.S. would be at $3 per gallon and that smaller luxury cars would be in demand.[64] In fact, gasoline prices were less than half that.

Aside from a longer, 5 year/50,000 mile warranty, the Eldorado was virtually unchanged for 1987, though with a price drop, to $23,740 ($56,624 in 2021 dollars [10]). 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" ($370 in 2021 dollars [10]), with deflected-disc strut valves and 15-inch 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 the Eldorado's most expensive standalone options was the Motorola cellular telephone mounted inside the locking center arm rest. Priced at $2,850 ($6,798 in 2021 dollars [10]), it had been reworked this year for easier operation, and featured a microphone mounted between the sun visors for hands-free operation. Additionally, the telephone featured a 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. The rectangular marker lamp, located on the bumper extension molding just behind the rear wheel well on 1986 and 1987 Eldorado models, reappeared on the 1990 and 1991 Sevilles (base models only) and Eldorado Touring Coupés.

The Eldorado received a major facelift for 1988 and sales nearly doubled from the previous year, up to 33,210. The Eldorado was 3 in (76 mm) longer than in 1987; the wheelbase, doors, roof, and glass remained relatively unchanged and body panels were revised. 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 – similar to the 1987-88 Deville – appeared along with a new bumper and trunk lid. Bladed 14-inch aluminum wheels remained standard, while an optional 15-inch 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 returning to the tufted-button design – last seen in the 1985 Eldorado Biarritz. A new vinyl roof option, covering the full rooftop, 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 rooftop, behind the rear side windows. Biarritz also included slender vertical opera lamps, as in 1986 and 1987, but now added a spear molding (similar to the style used on the 1976–1985 Eldorado Biarritz) that ran from the base of the rooftop, 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. Nineteen shades of exterior paint were available (two more than the previous year). Pricing went up this year – to $24,891 ($57,031 in 2021 dollars [10]). This 1988 facelift would be the last until the Eldorado was completely redesigned for 1992.

1990 Cadillac Eldorado touring coupe
1990 Cadillac Eldorado touring coupe

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-inch wheels, as the previously optional 15-inch "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 to 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 ($58,450 in 2021 dollars [10]). 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 inches 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 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 rose 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, trunk 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 ($59,911 in 2021 dollars [10]), with the Biarritz model an additional $3,180 ($6,596 in 2021 dollars [10]). Production dropped to 22,291 units, about 1/3 of which were the Biarritz model and 1,507 were Eldorado touring coupe model.

1991 was the final year for the eleventh generation Eldorado and also the first year for Cadillac's new 4.9 liter V-8 engine. Featuring port fuel injection, this engine was mated with GM's 4T60-E electronically controlled four-speed transmission. The Cadillac-exclusive "viscous converter clutch" 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 1991. Revised engine mounts prevented engine noise and vibration from affecting the cabin, while the new 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 ($64,806 in 2021 dollars [10]), 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 the 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 package included the power moon roof and Delco-Bose stereo at no additional charge. 1991 was the final year for the Eldorado Biarritz. Production dropped to just 16,212 (including 2,249 touring coupe models), the lowest for any Eldorado model since 1966.

Production totals

Production totals[60]
Year Model Units
1986 Eldorado coupe 21,342
1987 Eldorado coupe 17,775
1988 Eldorado coupe 33,210
1989 Eldorado coupe 27,807
1990 Eldorado coupe 22,291
1991 Eldorado coupe 16,212

Twelfth generation (1992–2002)

Twelfth generation
1995 Cadillac Eldorado - Biarritz chrome trim and vinyl roof.jpg
Model years1992–2002
AssemblyDetroit/Hamtramck Assembly, Hamtramck, Michigan, U.S. (1992–2000)
Lansing Craft Center, Lansing, Michigan, U.S. (2000–2002)
DesignerDick Ruzzin (1990)[65]
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupé
LayoutTransverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
RelatedBuick Riviera
Oldsmobile Toronado
  • 4.9 L L26 V8 (1992–1993)
  • 4.6 L L37 V8 (1993–2002, ETC)
  • 4.6 L LD8 V8 (1994-2002, ESC)
Transmission4-speed 4T60-E automatic
4-speed 4T80-E automatic
Wheelbase108.0 in (2,743 mm)
Length202.2 in (5,136 mm) (1992–94)
200.6 in (5,095 mm) (1995–2002)
Width75.5 in (1,918 mm)
Height54.0 in (1,372 mm)
SuccessorCadillac CTS coupe

The twelfth and final generation Eldorado introduced for 1992 was all new, drawing both interior and exterior styling cues from the 1988 Cadillac Solitaire show car. The 1992 Eldorado was 11 in (279 mm) longer and 3 in (76 mm) wider than the previous generation and featured frameless windowglass. Marketed in ESC (Eldorado Sport Coupe) and ETC (Eldorado Touring Coupe) trim,[66] the former featured a stand-up hood ornament, Cadillac crests on the rear roof pillar, and 16-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, and concealed exhausts.

Shortly after introduction Cadillac's new Northstar V8 became available in both 270 and 295 hp (220 kW) variants, replacing the previous generation's 200 hp (150 kW) 4.9 L L26.

Standard equipment included cloth upholstery, genuine Zebrano wood dash trim, 6-way power front bucket seats, climate control, digital instrumentation, column-mounted gear selector, and three-position electronically adjustable "Speed-Sensitive Suspension". The Touring Coupe featured a grille-mounted Cadillac wreath and crest, "Touring Coupe" scripts on the doors, integrated fog lamps, flat-face 16-inch alloy wheels, and quad exhaust outlets. Its standard equipment included gathered leather seating areas marketed as Nuance leather, 12-way power seats, Zebrano-trimmed full-floor console with gear selector, analog instrumentation, and specially tuned suspension.

The Eldorado continued for the rest of the decade with incremental changes. For 1993, the Touring Coupe received a new two-spoke steering wheel and a body-color grille, and lost the 12-way power seats in favor of 6-way seats. An Eldorado Sport Coupe model was introduced, featuring the new Northstar V8 and some of the features of the more expensive Touring Coupe, including quad exhaust, full-floor console with gear selector (without Zebrano trim), and the Touring-tuned adaptive suspension, which was now marketed as "Road Sensing Suspension". A passenger side airbag was added as standard equipment on all models, the previously matte-black exterior side mirrors from 1992 were now body-color, and new 16-inch chromed alloy wheels became available.

For 1994, the Eldorado and Eldorado Touring Coupe trims were offered. The steering wheel was revised to a four-spoke design. Both models now had quad exhausts. A new "Sport Appearance Package" option allowed the buyer to order most of the Touring Coupe's cosmetic features on the base Eldorado.

In 1995 the styling was revised, with the revised styling bringing new front and rear bumpers, side cladding, a new chrome eggcrate grille, and seven-spoke alloy wheels. For 1996, the interior received a larger analog gauge cluster, relocated climate control system, and updated stereo faces. While the four-spoke steering wheel was a carry-over, new this year was the addition of four switches mounted to the steering wheel base that offered resume to controls for climate and audio functions. The Touring Coupe offered a new upholstery style - perforated instead of the gathered leather as seen on other models. The Touring Coupe also received rain-sensing wipers marketed as "Rainsense", and once again a body-color radiator grille. Daytime running lights were standard.

In 1997, the Integrated Chassis Control System was added, which included microprocessor integration of engine, traction control, Stabilitrak electronic stability control, steering, and adaptive continuously variable road sensing suspension (CVRSS), with the intent of improving responsiveness, performance, and overall safety. It was similar to the Toyota/Lexus Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM).

By 2000, the Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile Toronado rebadged variants had been discontinued, as had the Lincoln Mark VIII, while the Seville and Deville sedan no longer shared its platform. At this point, the Eldorado was the last production K- or E-body, and its assembly was moved to the Lansing Craft Center.

A 2002 Collector Series Cadillac Eldorado
A 2002 Collector Series Cadillac Eldorado

In 2001, GM announced that the Eldorado's 50th model year (2002) would be its last. To mark the end of the nameplate, 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 featured specially tuned exhaust notes imitating their forerunners from a half-century earlier, and a dash-mounted plaque indicating each car's sequence in production. Eldorado production ended on April 22, 2002[67] with the Lansing Craft Center retooled to build the Chevrolet SSR. The last Cadillac Eldorado assembled was donated to the Cadillac Museum in honor of Cadillac dealer Don Massey.[68]

See also



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