The Cadillac Eldorado is a premium luxury car that was manufactured and marketed by Cadillac from 1952 to 2002 over ten generations. Competitors and similar vehicles included the Continental Mark series, Buick Riviera, Oldsmobile Toronado and Chrysler’s Imperial Coupe.
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 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. From 1967 on, the Eldorado was built in high volumes on a unique two door personal luxury car platform.
1976 was to be the final year for the Cadillac 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 were designated as “Bicentennial Edition” commemorating America’s 200th birthday. These cars were white with a dual-color red/blue pinstripe along the upper body and inside, a commemorative plaque was mounted on the dashboard. When Cadillac reintroduced the Eldorado convertible for the 1984 model year, several owners of 1976 model convertibles felt they had been deceived and launched an unsuccessful class action lawsuit against General Motors. Having received a major facelift the previous year, the 1976 Eldorado received only minor styling changes, including a new grille and revised tail lamp lenses.
Unlike the Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham and De Ville, which both boasted the opulent d’Elegance luxury package, Eldorado did not offer a similar plush option. This was rectified late in the 1976 model year with 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. The 1977-1978 interior featured “pillowed”-style, “tufted” leather seating, while the 1976 interior did not.