1973 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Convertible
The “Standard of the World” in open tourers
The 1973 Cadillac Eldorado convertible was the only luxury convertible built in America. From the jewel-like stand-up wreath and crest hood ornament to its beautifully beveled rear deck, this spirited open tourer offered a world of driving pleasure. It was the most magnificent convertible for the day. This elegant personal luxury car combined the traction and stability of front-wheel drive, Automatic level Control to maintain poise, and variable ratio power steering that adjusted to the driver’s style automatically. The “Gilded One” was back in high style. The 1973 Fleetwood Eldorado convertible was the most elegant personal luxury car in the world.
The 1973 Fleetwood Eldorado was a freshened variant of the 1971 Eldorado bodyshell. Cadillac gave the 1973 a beauty treatment that included a more upright hood, 5 mph impact bumper and one-piece turn signal/parking lamp/cornering lamp unit in the front. The rear received a new beveled trunk lid, new taillamps, and new impact bumper. The sides were cleaned up, removing the dummy air scoops from the 1971-1972 model years, making it sleeker and more fluid in appearance. The styling changes made it look completely different from the previous model’s design.
The lighted wreath and crest circular rear side marker lights returned last used in the 1968-1970 model years. This was without conjecture the quintessential luxury convertible. Cadillac once again had shown dominance in the luxury car segment reinforcing the “Standard of the World” status. Style code #693/L L-67-E Fleetwood Eldorado convertible had a base price of $7,681 and Cadillac built 9,315, 564 of which were Indy 500 Pace Cars. The 1973 model year set a new sales record with production totaling 304,839 vehicles. The five millionth Cadillac was made in 1973 as a St. Tropez Blue Firemist Sedan deVille.
An Eldorado was the Cadillac showcase. Performance went with the image. The 1973 Fleetwood Eldorado had the largest engine in the industry to power a production passenger car. It was the formidable 8.2 litre 500 CID 16-valve OHV V8 engine that had the other luxury automakers runnin’ scared! Unfortunately, power began to suffer when the 1973 Oil Embargo and the mounting requirements by the EPA for greater mpg and lower emissions that reduced this magnificent powerplant to a mere 235 hp @ 3,800 rpm with 522 Nm of peak torque @ 2,400 rpm.
This was an extremely high output V8 engine, stifling its power killed its spirit. The engine used a Rochester 4MV 4-bbl down-draft Quadrajet carburetor with automatic choke. The engine was mated to GM’s front drive Turbo Hydra-Matic THM 425 3-speed automatic transmission. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 10.3 seconds, 0-100 mph in 32.8 seconds, and had a top speed of 116 mph. It did the ¼ mile @ 80 mph in 17.6 seconds. Oldsmobile and Cadillac were pioneers with the front-wheel drive technology at GM. The rest of the auto industry soon copied.
The formidable 8.2 litre 500 CID 16-valve OHV V8 engine
Its innovative inward folding convertible top provided full width rear seating. The fully automatic power folding fabric roof stowed away neatly in its locker behind the rear seat. It didn’t intrude the trunk space either. The interior was upholstered in supple Sierra grain leather by Fleetwood. Nine color combinations were available. Also standard were power windows, power seat, and a fibre-glass parade boot reminiscent of the 1953 Eldorado convertible.
Thirty years of the Cadillac Eldorado: 1953, 1963, & 1973
The 1973 Fleetwood Eldorado was built on Cadillac’s rugged perimeter frame with heavier gauge boxed side rails for 1973. New front members added protection by increased energy absorption. Its front suspension used torsion bars with Teflon piston shock absorbers. The rear suspension used helical coil springs and large rubber bushings to improve ride quality. The 1973 Fleetwood Eldorado convertible rode on a long 126.3” wheelbase and had the luxury length of 222” with a width of 79.8”.
Cadillac power brakes with self-adjusting feature, composite finned rear drum, disc front, were standard. The system used a dual hydraulic master cylinder with front and rear brakes operating independently. It had a large two-piston power booster with larger front wheel brake cylinders. All 1973 Cadillacs incorporated a significant number of features for increased occupant protection, accident avoidance, and theft deterrence.
The interior was supple Sierra grain leather by Fleetwood
The 1973 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado convertible was the only luxury convertible built in the land. The Eldorado was never more elegant. With its 8.2 litre 500 cubic inch V8 engine, front-wheel drive, Automatic Level Control, and Variable Ratio power steering, The Fleetwood Eldorado series was world-class all the way. The “Standard of the World” stood alone. From the jewel-like stand-up wreath and crest adorning its hood to its beautifully beveled rear deck, this was a unique American luxury car. The 1973 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado convertible will always be the “Standard of the World” in prestige.
The “Standard of the World” in spirited performance
Marvelous automobiles they are! Inexplicably, Cadillac dropped the Fleetwood name from the Eldorado in 1972 and hence they were known simply as Cadillac Eldorado. Let’s not forget that the 1973 Eldorado was chosen for the pace car of the Indy “500” race that year so Cadillac produced an additional 520-some special edition convertibles in white which were both used at Indianapolis and each authorized dealer was provided one to sell.
Hello Randy! 1972 is NOT the last year the “Fleetwood” Eldorado was excluded from the “Fleetwood” series. I am looking at a 1973 Cadillac dealer brochure as I type…and it says (yup, you guessed it) “shown is the Fleetwood Eldorado convertible in Cotillion White.” Wikipedia mentions the 1972 model year as being the last year the Eldorado is considered a Fleetwood model. Yet, the Cadillac history book by Maurice D. Hendry…page 332 mentions BOTH the 1973 “Fleetwood” Eldorado and the 1974 “Fleetwood” Eldorado…by name.
It is confusing, this is why generally I leave it un-said. But the Cadillac Motor Division of General Motors refers to them as Fleetwood Eldorado for both 1973 AND 1974 model years. The dealer brochures for 1975 and 1976 are sans the “Fleetwood” title. Wikipedia has dropped the ball a few times I have found so a lot of their verbiage needs to be validated by General Motors. But then, don’t take my word for it…I only use the GM archives for specifications and I think GM would know their own cars…right? Pick up a 1973 Cadillac dealer brochure and turn the Eldorado coupe and convertible sections.
I have had to elaborate on this many times. The Eldorado went thru an existential identity crisis. It was the Gilded one, the top of the line Cadillac but it became a glorified DeVille sharing the same body as a rear-wheel drive convertible from 1961 until 1966. Then, for the 1967 model year the “Fleetwood” Eldorado made its debut continuing with the “Fleetwood” series up to and including the 1974 model year, but then, don’t take my word for it simply pick up a 1974 Cadillac brochure and see for yourself. I am also a Cadillac historian – Cheers!
HI MY NAME ID DANIEL ADAMS I VERY INTERESTED IN THE WHITE ELDARADO IS IT FOR SALE CAN U PLEASE CONTACT ME 678-637-8904 OR MY EMAIL DANIELROOFER55@YAHOO.COM OR IF U HAPPEN TO KNOW WERE I CAN FIND 1 WHITE WITH THE RED INSIDE TY VEY MUCH ASAP
Hello Daniel! Unfortunately, that car sold many years ago. 1973 Fleetwood Eldorado convertibles are extremely rare because Cadillacs from that genre were made with improperly refined sheet metal. All of the rust and impurities weren’t removed making Cadillac motorcars from the 1970s eaten relentlessly by rust. Cars in the rust belt vanished many moons ago. My advice is to make sure to keep a vigil with Hemmings Motor news in the classic cars for sale category.
Of course you do know you will have to search regularly if you are serious about obtaining one. The good cars are sold immediately without question, many times the cars are sold before the ad can print. Depends upon who sees them first. As for me, yup, I buy them immediately because I know I can re-sell them. I always make sure the cars I sell go to collectors – as not to end up as a crude low-rider! Good luck in your search. If I ever find the time I am going to add the classified section to this site. I have been so busy writing for other publications I haven’t had the time to post to this site. But I am working on it! Hope you find your 1973.
I would go with a 1976, the engine is much better than the 472 in the 1973. The 500 CID V8 was better suited to unleaded gasoline and all of the smog controls. The 472 CID was designed at a time when nobody cared about the cost of gasoline and how many miles it would travel to empty. Find your classic Cadillac quickly Daniel, have you seen the jump in their value lately? I know other sources you can try also if you are serious to track down and bag the big ones! It is not easy I will tell you now. I look everyday for the cars I want. One must jump when the availability arises – or else I may beat you to it!