Fresh Metal: 1974 Eldorado Custom Cabriolet

The Eldorado legend continues…

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the continuing saga of…”As the Standard of the World Turns”

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A legend became a lifestyle. Year after year Cadillac was the luxury car enjoyed by more motorists than any other luxury make. It was the sophisticated styling of the Cadillac Eldorado that made it a perennial favorite among luxury car enthusiasts. The 1974 Eldorado Custom Cabriolet with its elegant, youthful, demeanor was obviously no ordinary luxury car.

The pleasure of owning a Cadillac was exceeded only by that of driving it. Spirited performance was just the tap of the accelerator away. Style code 6EL47 1974 Fleetwood Eldorado coupe had a base price of $7656 with a mid-year increase to $9437. Here is the 1974 Eldorado Custom Cabriolet with a dramatic encore presentation…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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The Cadillac Eldorado was the world’s most elegant personal luxury car. It was even more glamorous for the 1974 model year. The Eldorado Custom Cabriolet featured an exclusive padded Elk grain vinyl half-roof haloed by a sheer chrome molding. The focal point of its dramatic silhouette were the private fixed rear quarter windows. This style of roof treatment accented Eldorado’s youthful orientation. A Cadillac Eldorado was the unique expression of luxury from the “Standard of the World.” A Cadillac Eldorado was the ultimate Flagship…

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The “Gilded One” for 1974 sported dramatic superfine mesh grille work. The look was symmetrically offset by the sleek classic Cadillac lines of its separate front fender/hood design. The front bumper guards were made lower and wider. Standard bumper impact strips were a unique silver-gray color that blended into the chrome bumpers.

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A new rear end design incorporated Delco energy absorbing dampers. The rear bumper retracted into thermoplastic bezels and could yield a 5 mph impact without damage to sheet metal. The rear bumper extensions extended vertically and incorporated side marker and reflector lamps. The rear of the Eldorado was completely redesigned to provide improved impact resiliency.

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The 1974 Eldorado Custom Cabriolet had a long low-slung silhouette. Its well-balanced architecture was highlighted by the long hood and short rear deck. Rear wheel fender skirts added the classic finishing touch. This was the last year an Eldorado would wear the fender skirts. The 1974 Cadillac Eldorado Custom Cabriolet was the world’s most elegant personal luxury grand tourer.

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The interior received a pleasant upgrade for the 1974 model year that included a new “Space-Age” instrument panel. It was an all-new concept designed to give a definite “lap of luxury” look to the Eldorado.

It used a redesigned wood grain instrument panel that extended in one continuous sweep from side to side. Immediate functional information for driving was separated from conditional information. A color-coded fuel gauge and warning lights were contained in a horizontal strip across the upper portion of the dash.

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This new space age instrument panel included an information band in the center with a new precision crystal controlled digital timepiece. The speedometer, transmission indicator, and turn signal lights were mounted into the housing over the steering column in the driver’s immediate view. This new instrument panel was designed for improved convenience and easier serviceability.

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The 1974 Eldorado interior choices available included a tri-toned fabric called “Mohawk” with “Meridian” cloth bolsters in six color/trim combinations. Medici crushed velour was available in three color combinations. Leather upholstered interiors were available in 14 different trim color combinations.

A few of the many standard features and accessories included: notchback front seat with folding center armrest, power windows, power seat, 3-speed windshield wiper/washers, courtesy lighting, cornering lamps, door-close assist straps, and litter receptacle. Cadillac offered more features standard and optional than any other luxury brand.

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Popular options for the 1974 Eldorado included: power sunroof, power door locks, dual comfort front seating, tilt & telescopic steering wheel, Cruise Control, Automatic Climate Control, Twilight Sentinel, power trunk release with power locking, AM/FM Stereo Signal Seeking Radio with power antenna and 8-track tape deck, Theft Deterrent System, lamp monitors, and Firemist paint finishes.

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A Cadillac Eldorado was the world’s most unique personal luxury car. The impressive traction and stability of front-wheel drive…Automatic Level Control to maintain optimum poise under any driving situation…and the versatility of power assisted Variable-Ratio Power Steering made the Cadillac Eldorado world-class in stature. Power from the formidable 8.2 litre V8 engine moved the 1974 Eldorado Custom Cabriolet with aplomb.

This exclusive Eldorado engine was so efficient and easier adaptable to EPA emission devices that it became the standard powerplant for the Fleetwood, DeVille, and Calais for the 1975-1976 model years. A Cadillac Eldorado was always the glamour car…the 1974 edition was no exception. This superb combination of features were known as “The Eldorado Experience.”

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The 1974 Eldorado was powered by the mighty 8.2 litre 500 CID 16-valve pushrod V8 engine. New for the 1974 model year was a “fast burn” combustion chamber, a new camshaft for smoother, quieter, more efficient operation, a choke re-indexer to provide quick starting, and a snorkel to supply the engine with cooler air from outside the engine bay. The 1974 Cadillacs were designed to operate efficiently with low to no-leaded fuel of at least 91 octane.

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The 8.2 litre V8 engine was constructed with a cast iron block and cylinder heads, five main bearings, and hydraulic valve lifters. The engine was equipped with a mechanical fuel pump and a Rochester 4MV 4-bbl downdraft Quadrajet carburetor. It produced 210 hp @ 3,800 rpm with 515 Nm of peak torque @ 2,000 rpm. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 10.8 seconds, 0-100 mph in 34.3 seconds with a top speed of 116 mph. It did the ¼ mile @ 78 mph in 18 seconds. The engine was mated to GM’s THM-425 Turbo Hydra-Matic 3-speed automatic front-wheel drive.

The 8.2 litre 500 CID V8 for the 1970 model year was tuned to produce 400 hp @ 4,400 rpm with 746 Nm of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm. The 1970 tuned version performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 7.6 seconds, 0-100 mph in 20.5 seconds and had a top speed of 126 mph. The Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 began a series of “down-tuning” to the Cadillac Eldorado that eventually led to the demise of the model. Ostentatious luxury and prolific power were Eldorado hallmarks.

An optional High Energy Ignition (HEI) was completely unitized and included a magnetic pulse distributor, integrated circuit electronics, and high-energy coil. This sophisticated network eliminated traditional tune-ups since points and condenser were eliminated. Its advantages included improved cold weather starting, better durability, and greater reliability. This HEI system became standard equipment beginning with the 1975 model year for all Cadillacs.

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The 1974 Eldorado was a front engine, front-wheel drive personal luxury coupe. It was built on GM’s perimeter frame with heavy gauge boxed side rails, as body on frame construction with front-wheel drive provision. The 1974 Eldorado rode upon a long 126.3” wheelbase, had the luxury length of 224.1” with a wide 79.8” stance. Cadillac power brakes with self-adjusting feature were standard.

The system used a dual hydraulic master cylinder with a large two-piston power booster to accommodate independent front and rear operation. The system had larger front wheel brake cylinders for increased capacity.

The parking brake was a true auxiliary brake in an emergency. It had an automatic vacuum release therefore it wouldn’t lock with the engine running and transmission in gear. The dual master cylinder and parking brake were networked as Cadillac’s “Triple Braking System.” The 1974 Eldorado was fitted with ventilated discs to the front axle and finned composite drums fitted to the rear axle.

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The 1974 Eldorado’s front suspension used torsion bars with anti brake-dip control geometry. It was fitted with Cadillac’s 4-link suspension and Automatic Level Control system network in the rear. The suspension was fitted with rubber bushings throughout to isolate road noise and absorb road impact vibration. The rear suspension was fitted with anti-squat geometry as part of its road management system.

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From its bold front end styling highlighted by the stand-up Cadillac laurel wreath and crest hood ornament to the sweep of its custom roof treatment…and the iconic tail-fin rear styling, the 1974 Eldorado Custom Cabriolet was every inch the epitome of personal luxury motoring. The Custom Cabriolet was the ultimate Cadillac Eldorado for the 1974 model year. The distinctive Elk grain vinyl half roof augmented Eldorado’s classic Cadillac silhouette.

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Front-wheel drive, Variable Ratio Power Steering, and automatic level Control made it the finest personal luxury car in the world. The 8.2 litre V8 engine had power in reserve making the 1974 Eldorado Custom Cabriolet as sporting as it was luxurious.

With more standard and optional features and accessories available than the other luxury brands, the Cadillac Eldorado Custom Cabriolet could be as individual as one’s finger prints. This is another classic Eldorado encore performance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Thanks to Bob Adams Classic Cars…purveyor of the art

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…the sun never sets on a legend

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18 Responses to “Fresh Metal: 1974 Eldorado Custom Cabriolet”

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  15. You mentioned in your 1973 Eldorado Cabriolet post that 1972 was the last year that the Eldorado was a part of the Fleetwood Series – yet I see you use Fleetwood Eldorado for later years? I would love to know when it is appropriate and when it is not to use Fleetwood Eldorado?

    This blog is simply the best to be found. As a longtime Cadillac owner (16 thus far), I appreciate the expert detail that is so difficult to find elsewhere.

  16. I am looking for the press release that specifically gave the last year the Eldorado was in the Fleetwood series and cannot find it. I am glad you brought this to my attention, I looked out on the web and there are some that are using Fleetwood Eldorado for the 1976 model year. I looked at the Cadillac brochures and there is mention of Fleetwood Eldorado for the 1973 coupe and the convertible is just “Eldorado.” I also see where Cadillac referred to Fleetwood Eldorado in the 1974 model year. So who is right? I thought Cadillac knew their own products but then I se where they contradict themselves. I know for a fact the 1977-1978 models were just Eldorado…I am going to go thru my press releases, I have them as far back as 1970 to see just when it was they made the Eldog its own series. Thanks for the heads up! I usually write 3-4 stories at a time and I could have cross referenced incorrectly. I remember one night I started writing about a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow and ended the story as a Bentley T2…I called it a night and went to bed after that…I am looking in the Cadillac history books and Maurice Hendry is referring to the 1976 Eldorado as “Fleetwood” in “The Complete History” so it looks like I have my work cut out for me. I am working on an Eldorado timeline as we speak. Keep reading, let me know what you want to read about. I can be reached at: 99milesperhour@gmail.com. Let me hear from you!

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