1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

The “Standard of the World” creation for 1960….

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“Welcome to Fantasy Island”……the land where one’s dreams come true with the correct cash; big houses, big ideas, BIG cars, America was livin’ large in the 1960s. Cars a city block long and half a city block wide were in every-other driveway. Cadillac was the “Standard of the world.” The Cadillac Motor Car Division of General Motors was rolling masterpieces off its assembly lines at the Clark Street plant in Detroit, Michigan. Those were the days! Detroit Michigan was known as “The Motor City Capital of the World.” The number one US GNP was the automobile. The iconic tail-fin ruled! Some of the largest fins in the industry belonged to Cadillac. The 1960 Eldorado Biarritz is a stunning example of American excess. It was known as model # 60-64E, style # 6467E. The Eldorado was the very essence of Cadillac; it epitomized the brand in the world of superlatives, as Cadillac was the superlative of superlatives!

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Exit Harley Earl, retired in 1958 after an extremely successful career spanning three decades…enter, Bill Mitchell, a talent that kept Cadillac on the right path took over where Earl left off……taking the white-hot spotlight of success. Bill Mitchell kept the tradition alive giving Cadillac that poised dignity that was the hallmark of every Cadillac. Poised indeed, describes the 1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible. The car’s imposing exterior was equally impressive as its capacious interior.

And as for those fins….they were neatly tapered from the flamboyant design of the 1959 Cadillac. The “heavy-metal” of this car made it hug the pavement. No one rolled the classic Caddy; it was way too heavy for that. Its weight contributed to its smooth ride and incredible performance. The 1960 Eldorado was available as a Brougham hardtop sedan, a Biarritz convertible, and a Seville hardtop coupe. Again, the Eldorado augmented the model year’s offerings. Bill Mitchell wanted to “tone-down” the Cadillac from the 1959 model year; Dave Holls presented the 1960 Cadillac design. It was more understated, but the fins remained. Gone forever were the “Dagmar” bumper guards from the 1950s…..

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Cadillac produced 1,285 copies of the 1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible. The price was $7,400, about 2.5 times the price of the average car at the time. The Eldorados from that genre will remain the most iconic Cadillac Motor Cars in history. The architecture was simply breathtaking…..the “sweep” of its design from front to rear, was unmistakably Cadillac from the bold front end styling to those towering fins.

The Biarritz differed from the standard Series 62 convertible by its fiber-glass parade boot and a dual chrome bead from the roof’s belt line arching its way around to the rocker panel. With the nature of being a drop-top, the Biarritz was upholstered in Cardiff leather with matching Florentine leather trim. It also shared hubcaps with the Fleetwood series of which the Eldorado became adopted until the 1970s. The first generation of the Cadillac Eldorado was considered 1953-1966.

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This like-new Biarritz belongs to Matt Garrett/Gm Classics

The 1960 Eldorado Biarritz was powered by Cadillac’s 390 CID V8 with 16 overhead valves. The engine was cast iron with hydraulic valve lifters and five main bearings. This was the last year for the Rochester triple deuce (3 2-bbl carbs). The 390 V8 produced 345 hp @ 4,800 rpm with 590 Nm of peak torque @ 3,400 rpm. It was mated to the GM Hydra-Matic Jetaway 4-speed automatic transmission. It could go from 0-60 mph in 10.8 seconds, 0-100 mph in 30.2 seconds, and had a top speed of 123 mph.

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Luxury was the impetus, and elegance was the driving force behind the Eldorado series that augmented the Cadillac model line-up. Standard features for the Biarritz convertible was a fully automatic folding fabric roof with fibre-glass parade boot, power windows & door locks, power steering and power brakes of course, air suspension, six-way power front seats, five white-wall tires, and dual speed windshield wipers with wash feature. The 1960 Eldorado Biarritz rode upon a long 130” wheelbase, 79.9” wide, with the luxury length of 225”. This nineteen-foot land yacht was an absolute dream to drive. It was so sophisticated and luxurious that it practically drove itself, all one had to do was steer and operate the pedals. This was the final year for the air suspension system.

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The Cadillac Eldorado was the quintessential American status symbol all over the world throughout the 1950s and 1960s. This was an illustrious era for the “Standard of the World.” It was a time when superficial advertising campaigns, gimmicks, and performance based on power to weight ratios weren’t needed. A Cadillac had raw horsepower and an image to maintain. Today’s CTS & XTS mock the brand. Cars like the 1960 Biarritz convertible and the Seville hardtop coupe epitomized the Cadillac brand. This was a time when the Cadillac name exuded opulence, sheer luxury and elegance with the panache of being a world-class leader by which others were measured. This was the “Standard of the World” for Nineteen Hundred Sixty.

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1973 Eldorado convertible top; 1966 Fleetwood Eldorado convertible

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