Eldorado is the Cadillac line of cars that were produced between 1953 and 2002. Its main competitors were the Mark series from Lincoln and the Buick Riviera cars. Under the name Eldorado cars were produced, somewhat different both externally and internally, but this line (Eldorado) remained the top for Cadillac. The exceptions were: the model Brougham, which was produced in the period from 1957 to 1960, and was the most expensive; Series 75 with a wide wheelbase, which included both sedans and limousines. The name Eldorado was suggested in connection with the holding of a special automobile show in 1952 in honor of the golden anniversary of the company Cadillac.
The word Eldorado was derived from the two words of the Spanish language "el dorado", which translated means "gilded" or "golden." The first Cadillac Eldorado was born in 1953. It was a production version of the conceptual 2-door convertible. A total of 532 copies of this version were released. The car was based on the platform of the 62 series. For the Eldorado of the 53rd year, 4 body color options were offered: Aztec Red, Alpine White, Azure Blue and Artisan Ocher. Also offered and option in the back of a convertible. From the identification marks on the body there is only one gold-plated “Eldorado” nameplate.
Under the hood of this version was installed the engine, which was also borrowed from the 62nd series. It was a V8 power unit with a volume of 5.4 liters, whose power was 210 hp. The length of the car was 5610 mm, and the width - 2000 mm. Cadillac Eldorado in those days became the founder of the design ideas of General Motors. The rest of the car companies began to follow the trends in the style of Eldorado and adopt elements of its appearance.
In 1955, the rear end of the Eldorado was changed, which received a kind of stylish "fins". They looked quite contrasting against the wide sides of the car. In 1956, the 2-door version of the coupe with a hardtop was named Eldorado Seville. In turn, the version of the convertible was called Eldorado Biarritz. The year 1957 was marked by the release by General Motors of one of the most memorable projects - Eldorado Brougham. This 4-door hardtop sedan was an ultra class car.
Brougham had a stainless roof, air suspension, first memory seats, and other advanced options available to GM at the time. Its price of $ 13,074 made the Eldorado Brougham also the most expensive car in its class. In 1960, the latest models were released Cadillac Eldorado Seville. By then, the Eldorado Seville was essentially a truncated luxury version of the Cadillac Series 62 cabriolet. Of course, the Eldorado cabriolet could be left in the line, but due to minor differences with its counterpart, it was decided to discontinue it.
By 1964, the main distinguishing feature of the Eldorado series was the bulging sides of the car. In 1967, the appearance of the Cadillac Eldorado was radically changed. Such vehicles as Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile Toronado, which were presented in 1966, were taken as the basis for the development of the new design. Also Cadillac took over from them and front-wheel drive. Under the hood placed the engine V8 of 8. 2 liters with a modified turbocharger (THM 425, based on the THM 400) and a torque converter installed near the planetary gearbox.
Despite the fact that the new generation of Cadillac Eldorado was based on Riviera and Toronado, the head of work on the appearance of General Motors - Bill Mitchell, was able to give uniqueness to the new Eldorado. It was a coupe with a long hood, compared to the rest, and hidden headlights. Acceleration of the updated coupe to 100 km / h took less than nine seconds, and the maximum speed was 192 km / h. Handling and ride comfort are widely praised in reviews of those times. Disc brakes in 1967 were offered as an option and already in 1968 were standard. The car sold well, despite the relatively high price.
In 1968, some changes were made to Cadillac Eldorado, which were associated with the emergence of new exhaust emission standards. In 1969, the hidden headlights were replaced with the usual ones, and the roof received a vinoplast finish. A little later, a transparent hatch appeared in the roof. In 1970, the Cadillac Eldorado installed the power unit V8 volume of 8.2 liters. This is the largest V8 engine ever produced. Its power in 1970 was 400 hp with a maximum torque of 746 Nm.
Such a power unit was an exclusive Eldorado until 1975, until it became the standard for full-size Cadillac cars. In 1971, when the exterior of all full-size Cadillac models was updated, the Cadillac Eldorado re-appeared version in the back of the cabriolet and those same classic voluminous sides. In 1978, the Eldorado model with a wheelbase of 3213 mm was launched, having undergone minor external changes in 1973 and 1975.
The year 1973 was marked in the history of the Cadillac Eldorado, as the participation of Eldorado in the race "Indianapolis 500 Mile Race" (500 miles of Indianapolis). In 1977, the Cadillac Eldorado gets a new grille with a prettier mesh. In the same year, the Cadillac Eldorado was replaced by a new top model line of open-top cars Eldorado Biarritz. The last time this name was used only in the 60s. Also replacing the V8 engine with a volume of 8.2 liters, which was installed in the period from 1970 to 1976, comes a new seven-liter V8 with a volume of 7 liters. In 1978 some more minor changes were made.
This generation of Cadillac Eldorado, produced from 1971 to 1978, became a popular vehicle that often participated in the filming of films and described in the literature. There is even a stereotype that this is an exclusive car, which is made only to order. In 1979, the sixth generation Cadillac Eldorado appeared. This year, Eldorado was already much more modest both externally and in terms of technical equipment.
The new version is also based on the chassis Riviera and Toronado. Two variants of the V8 engines with the volumes of 5.7 and 6.0 liters were offered, instead of the more voracious engines of the previous generation with the volumes of 7.0 and 8.2 liters. With the advent of this model, Cadillac has revived the use of the notion of a “stainless roof”. But it is worth noting that the Eldorado was still a car of impressive size with a spacious interior and a powerful engine.
An unsuccessful hitch in production occurred in 1981 in connection with the installation of a new engine on the Cadillac Eldorado with switchable cylinders V8-6-4. It was equipped with an electronic system that had to deactivate some cylinders when maximum engine power was not required. The transition to such engines was associated with the tightening of CAFÉ standards (fuel consumption standards for cars). But the system did not work as desired, and sometimes it did not work at all. Therefore, it was decided to install the V8 with a volume of 5.7 liters, which was installed on cars of the brand Oldsmobile.
This engine was pretty frisky and durable, but buyers mostly complained about its sophisticated electronics. But Eldorado’s reputation was not spoiled for a long time and, soon, sales began to grow again. Another failure was the installation of a 5.7-liter diesel engine of the Oldsmobile brand, proposed in 1979. Buyers who are not familiar with the features of the new diesel engine often incorrectly exploited it (for example, they did not wait for the glow plug to warm up), and due to the fact that the cylinder head bolts did not meet the necessary requirements (did not withstand high pressure), the cylinder head gasket often failed.
Later, the engine was revised and the deficiencies were eliminated, which led to a decrease in power from 120 hp. up to 105 hp In 1984, Cadillac introduced the updated Eldorado Biarritz convertible. He was 91 kg heavier. The interior of the car remained unchanged.
Due to the fact that 1985 was the last year when the Cadillac Eldorado was produced in the back of a convertible, and the volume of the release of the latest version was 1000 copies, then today this car is a target for many collectors. In 1986, the Cadillac Eldorado became even smaller. Such a move was very dangerous. Now this expensive car was the same size as the General Motors subcompact models of previous years, and much smaller than its competitor Lincoln Mark VII. Later it became known from the news that such a change in this model was served by an erroneous forecast of rising fuel prices in the United States.
Based on this forecast, GM had planned that with rising gasoline prices, demand for small luxury cars would increase significantly. But the predictions were not justified even by half. Sales of the car model Cadillac Eldorado decreased by 5 times.
Buyers and critics regarded this car as a mistake of the company. In 1992, Cadillac introduces the new Eldorado. The size of the new items increased only slightly, but due to the new concept of appearance, these small changes seemed more impressive. The Cadillac Eldorado now installed a new 4.8-liter Northstar V8 engine. Its power was 200 hp. The combination of streamlined shapes and fairly high power was excellent. Sales grew, but were already far from record heights. Apparently, many buyers were not satisfied with the 2-door coupe for a price that surpassed the similar 4-door Cadillac Seville sedan.
In 1995, the 4.8-liter Northstar V8 engine was replaced with a 4.6-liter V8 engine with a capacity of 275 hp. and 300 hp. In 1999, the company General Motors prepared a concept based on Eldorado for the international North American motor show. The concept car was named “EldoRODo”.
A little later, GM announced that the anniversary year 2002 (the 50th model year of the Eldorado series) will be the last for the Cadillac Eldorado. To mark the completion of the era of Eldorado, it was decided to release a limited batch of cars, in the amount of 1,596 pieces in red and white colors, which were available for the 1953 convertible.