1980 Cadillac Eldorado
The new breed of Cadillac Eldorado
Almost every system, and every detail, contributed to the world-class status for the 1980 Cadillac Eldorado. Refinements made the 1979 Eldorado redesign even more magnificent. Its trim international size made it at home anywhere in the world. A smooth responsive new V8 engine, four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, electronic fuel injection, and the impressive traction of front-wheel drive were standard features for the most elegant Personal Luxury Car in the world.
The big news for the 1980 model year was the introduction of the all new 6.0 litre L61 368 CID electronic fuel injected V8 engine. It used sophisticated new digital technology. Two electronically controlled injectors metered a precise amount of fuel/air to the engine. The digital microprocessor automatically monitored barometric pressure, engine temperature, manifold pressure, and other engine operating variables, it even compensated for aging of parts. The digital processor also maintained idle speed regardless of weather, load, or altitude. The 6.0 litre V8 was unavailable in California; the 5.7 litre 350 Oldsmobile Rocket V8 was standard.
The Cadillac 6.0 litre 368 CID engine produced 145 hp @ 3,600 rpm with 366 Nm of peak torque @ 2,000 rpm. The engine was mated to GM’s Turbo-Hydramatic THM-325 3-speed automatic transmission. The 1980 Eldorado with the 6.0 litre V8 went from 0-60 mph in 12.9 seconds, 0-100 mph in 51 seconds, with a top speed of 111 mph. It did the ¼ mile @ 75 mph in 19.2 seconds.
The Rocket Olds 5.7 litre 350 CID V8 produced 160 hp @ 4,400 rpm with 359 Nm of peak torque @ 1,600 rpm. It also used the GM Turbo Hydra-Matic THM-325 3-speed automatic transmission. The 5.7 litre V8 used electronic fuel injection. The 5.7 litre V8 went from 0-60 mph in 11.4 seconds, 0-100 mph in 38.1 seconds, with a top speed of 113 mph. It could do the ¼ mile @ 76 mph in 18.8 seconds.
The 1980 Cadillac Eldorado used new technology electronics for the time. Exclusive with Digital EFI, new on-board computer diagnostics took away the guesswork out of servicing. It enabled the technician to find and address issues expeditiously. Through a sequence of buttons a service code appears. Then after the service, the touch of a button tells the technician if the issue had been resolved.
Electronic level control automatically adjusts ride height with changing loads, even additional passengers to keep the 1980 Eldorado poised under all conditions. New Electronic Climate Control system with digital accuracy maintains the temperature automatically with the touch of a button. This sophisticated system ventilates, heats, and cools with one of the highest cooling capacities in existence at the time. Also new was the electronically tuned AM/FM digital signal seeking radio with scan function and digital clock.
The 1980 Cadillac Eldorado rode on a “thinking” suspension. It used the four-wheel independent type with electronically adjustable dampers at all wheels. The front used independent torsion bar/springs with link-type stabilizer bar, while the rear was fitted with independent trailing arms, coil springs, and electronic height control with hydraulic direct action shock absorbers. The 1980 Eldorado used a separate full-frame ladder type construction with welded cross-members. A four-wheel self-adjusting brake system with individually ventilated discs and single piston sliding calipers with ventilated rotors were standard equipment.
The 1980 Cadillac Eldorado interior choices included cloth and full leather. Dual comfort front seats were standard. The upholstery had a unique pillow-style with button tufting. Leather was available in 10 colors. Power windows and door locks, electronic climate control, six-way power driver’s seat, remote control outside rear view mirrors, MPG Sentinel, illuminated entry system, automatic power antenna, power trunk release/lock, and Twilight Sentinel, are a few of the many standard comfort and convenience features.
A popular option for the 1980 Cadillac Eldorado was the “Biarritz” luxury package. Exterior signature features included a brushed stainless steel roof cap covering the forward portion of the roof, a padded landau vinyl roof with “Biarritz” script and opera lamps on each rear sail panel, cast aluminum wheels, and distinctive accent striping. The Biarritz interior featured tufted pillow-style seat cushions trimmed in leather or an elegant knit cloth, plush Tampico carpeting, and individual rear reading lights. The Biarritz was the look that set the ultimate Eldorado apart from the rest.
The 1980 Cadillac Eldorado was considered the new breed of Cadillac luxury. It was world-class in engineering. It came standard with front-wheel drive, electronic level control, four-wheel disc brakes, four-wheel independent suspension, digital electronic fuel injection, and automatic electronic climate control.
Its chiseled good looks and spirited performance combined with its efficient new size made the 1980 Cadillac Eldorado the most unique Personal Luxury Car in the world. This body style ran from 1979-1985. The 1979 model year with the 5.7 litre V8 and the 1980 model year with the 6.0 litre V8 were the last of the good engines.
The electronics from this era need to be approached with caution as well. Most that restore the 1981 thru 1985 model years switch engines to the Oldsmobile 5.7 litre. The 6.0 litre V-8-6-4 for 1981 was awful, the 4.1 litre HT 4100 V8 was even worse with its awful aluminum block and cast iron heads. Cadillac gave a dicey, lack-luster performance from 1981 forward. The Northstar and its indignities I will save for another chapter……Will we ever have another Cadillac flagship? Will Cadillac return to the legendary quality they once had? Will Cadillac ever be the “Standard of the World” again?
Thanks to Matt Garrett/GM Classics for the photos
Remember the Continental Kit?
very interesting technical info was not aware off like to know how many Biarritz produced
This is a fantastic article on the 1980 Eldorado. I own a 1979 but the
analog computer and the manifold fuel injection is always acting up.Im about to buy a 1980 Biarritz with low miles for $3500 US and of course its brown but in good condition. The seller says the thermostat stuck on the 368 engine and overheated. The engine was rebuilt with receipts showing $4500 a year ago. I wonder if I should buy it ? or convert my 79 with the 350 Olds engine to a carb system since nobody here knows how to fix it.
If I were you I would go with the 1979 5.7 litre V8 Oldsmobile engine. The 1980 is the 368 CID V8 engine version. I like the Olds version better. The computers were primitive back then. I would rebuild the system to bypass all the computer crap…it can be done.
How many biarritz were made with the moon roof in 1980
I’m curious about the 1979 to 1980 Eldorado models in terms of your describing the unique and newfangled sophistication of the digital climate control systems, most pointedly in regards to your remarks about the compressors and “the highest cooling capacity in existence at that time”. Was General Motors still overseeing Frigidaire in those days, not only in the retail appliance market, but were the compressors clearly labeled as ” GM Frigidaire” inside the engine bays? I’ve seen other Cadillacs from the 1970’s that clearly had air conditioning systems that were marked in that way, and was wondering if this new system was also part of the once-venerated General Motors/Frigidaire association.
The Cadillacs from the 1980s were a hodge-podge of parts. I never recite manufacturers because of parts availability at the time of production. GM owned Frigidaire from 1919 until 1979 when they sold to I believe White Sewing Machine Co who later was purchased by Electrolux in 1986. I know GM used Frigidaire through the 1970s so you are correct. But the 1980s, I’d have to research further. I didn’t follow Cadillac after the 1980 model year because from 1981 until the late 1980s – the music STOPPED for Cadillac. I couldn’t bear to look at their pitiful offerings (The V-8-6-4 fiasco and lest we forget…those HORRID LT8 HT 4100 V8 engines that went from the showroom to the junk yard in one svelte swoop!)
does anyone know the original tires and whitewall size of the 1980 Eldorado ?
After December 1980, GM dumped their Frigidaire appliance production line, after a January 1979 buyout by White Sewing (WCI) and converted The Dayton, Ohio appliance factory line to Chevrolet truck production exclusively. The compressors in Cadillacs from 1980 forward were labeled “Delco”…but the 1979/1980 Cadillac compressor labels as being “GM Frigidaire” or “Delco” is still a mystery…unless an owner who has one knows the answer! As an aside to your exhortations about how awful the Cadillac engines were, if not the entire cars were after 1980, when the whole reputation of both GM and Cadillac’s legacy quickly went down the drain, I have it on solid fact that the quality of GM-made Frigidaire appliances went right out the window once WCI took over at the very same time….and even today, as the “Frigidaire” name has lost it’s all of it’s cache as the “Cadillac” of appliances by way of it’s ownership by Electrolux. Two venerated and iconic American brands, one in the home, one in the garage gone the way of all flesh. Does Cadillac REALLY think they will return to their former glory with all-electric vehicles selling for more than Teslas?
The automotive press sure doesn’t think so….it’s ingrained in the popular consciousness that the word “Cadillac” (as in “it’s the Cadillac of”) is the saddest indication of a very, very passe phrase, and the irreparable sign of a permanently fallen giant.
By the way if you look at the dashboard of a 1980 Cadillac Biarritz and the high-end brochure of a 1980 GM Frigidaire appliance product line, the ranges and stoves and refrigerator design looks aesthetically exactly the same, even down to the “new digital technology”! I wonder if someone got the Eldo and the kitchen to match in the last year of the Carter Administration? That would be the height of cool, circa 1980!