Archive for Eldorado

1973 Cadillac Eldorado Custom Cabriolet

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques, Editorials, Extreme Luxury with tags , , , , , , on November 22, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

The Eldorado legend continues

1973 Eldorado 1

…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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One of the world’s most exciting automobiles is the 1973 Cadillac Eldorado Custom Cabriolet coupé. Only an automobile as unique as the Eldorado combines the largest V8 engine to power a passenger production car, Automatic Level Control to maintain its poise at all times, the assured traction of front-wheel drive, and Variable Ratio Power Steering which changes according to the driving situation to aid in its excellent overall operation. It is as rugged as it is rewarding. The 1973 Eldorado Custom Cabriolet coupé more than exemplifies the great Cadillac heritage. The legend becomes a lifestyle…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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For the 1973 model year, the Cadillac Eldorado was available as a coupé, the elegant Custom Cabriolet coupé, and the only luxury convertible built in the land. Cadillac offered the luxury of choice with these totally unique motorcars. The Eldorado has always been Cadillac’s glamour car. The 1971-1976 models were larger, rounder, and more glamorous than ever.

The fabulous fender skirts adorned 1971 through 1974 Eldorados. They lost their rear quarter windows but gained fixed opera windows which makes them even more unique in the luxury car arena. These Eldorados grew 2”+ in length and 6” in their wheelbases when they were re-designed for the 1971-1976 model years. The 1973 Eldorado convertible was chosen as the Official Pace Car for the 1973 Indy 500.

Indy 500 Pace Car

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Model #693/L style code #L-47-H, 1973 Eldorado coupé was base priced at $7,360. The base shipping weight is 5,094 pounds. Out of a 304,839 1973 production total for the Cadillac Motor Division, 42,136 are built as Eldorado coupés, and an additional 9,315 built as convertibles. This was the first time Eldorado production totals exceeded 50,000 units built. The 1973 production year total was an incredible record-setting year for the “Standard of the World.” Cadillac introduced automobiles during the Spirited Seventies that would forever change the American luxury car segment.

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Cadillac gave the Eldorado a discrete “beauty treatment.” It still had the basic design of the 1971-1972 models but was further refined to look completely different. The front end ensemble is augmented by a new, stronger front bumper system capable of withstanding a 5 mph crunch with no damage to sheet metal. The new grill is mounted to the bumper, both of which telescope into the front cavity out of harm’s way.

A new beveled hood adds to its luxurious styling. The stand-up Cadillac wreath and crest hood ornament boldly presents the Eldorado as a senior model in the hierarchy. The rear end design is totally new. A beveled deck lid and new taillamps are immediately noticeable and are completely in character with Cadillac prestige. The new rear bumper can also withstand a 5 mph collision without sheet metal damage.

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Luxury such as this will never, ever, be built again. Vehicles of this stature offer resplendent elegance and a style that only Cadillac could provide – the 1973 Eldorado Custom Cabriolet coupé has a special half vinyl roof treatment crowned with rich padded elk grain vinyl haloed by a sheer chrome molding. This special limited edition version of the Eldorado was a $360 option. It was available with or without the optional sunroof. The only way to travel…was Cadillac-style.

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Comfort and elegance abound inside the 1973 Cadillac Eldorado. Appliques with a carved wood look of Spanish filigree and new “soft-pillow” door panels are unique to the model. A wide choice of upholstery fabrics including Manchester, a new houndstooth pattern was available in seven color combinations.

Soft and supple Sierra grain leather was also available in twelve different color combinations. Cadillac always offered bespoke elegance matched by no other luxury automobile in its class…the 1973 edition of the Cadillac Eldorado continued the proud Eldorado legend of being the world’s finest personal luxury automobile –

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The 1973 Eldorados are powered by the Cadillac 8.2 litre 16-valve 500 CID V8 engine. The engine’s camshaft is designed with a greater overlap between intake and exhaust valve timing to reduce nitrous oxides in the exhaust. The engine is equipped with a Rochester 4MV 4-bbl downdraft Quadrajet carburetor, automatic choke, intake silencer, and dry-type air filter. A GM Turbo Hydra-Matic THM-425 3-speed automatic front-wheel drive transmission with torque converter/fixed stator is mated to the engine. The converter multiplies engine torque for increased driving thrust to drive wheels in any forward gear.

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The 8.2 litre V8 engine produces 220 hp @ 3,800 rpm with 495 Nm of peak torque @ 2,400 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 11.1 seconds, 0-100 mph in 35 seconds with a top speed in the 118 mph range. It can do the ¼ mile @ 79 mph in 18 seconds. Cadillac Eldorados were notable for their spirited performance. The integration of pollution controls to satisfy the EPA robbed this powerful engine of its horsepower. The Exhaust Gas Recirculation and Air Injection Reactor systems were the culprits.

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The 1973 Eldorados are built as body on frame construction. The perimeter frame has heavier gauge boxed side rails. New front members offer added protection with increased energy absorption. The front suspension has upper and lower control arms with an integral steering knuckle for dependability and longer life. The Cadillac magic carpet ride is further refined by helical coil springs.

Cadillac Eldorados use a torsion bar type suspension with rubber bushings to not only absorb road impact but also isolate road noise before it reaches the passenger cell. Shock absorbers with Teflon pistons fine tune the Cadillac ride. The rear suspension is equipped for automatic (hydraulic) leveling. These are among the last of the traditional Cadillacs. The 1973 Eldorados has the luxury length of 222”, rides upon a long 126.3” wheelbase and is a hefty 79.8” in width. (Get hit by this in your 2015 Cadillac XTS and you are toast)

1973 Cadillac Eldorado

Standard was Cadillac’s triple power braking system with self-adjusting feature. It has discs fitted the front axle and finned composite drums fitted to the rear axle. Brakes automatically adjust themselves when the car is driven in reverse and the brakes are applied.

It uses a dual hydraulic master cylinder to facilitate independent operation of front and rear braking systems. The parking brake is vacuum operated and releases automatically when the car is shifted into a drive gear. This is a true auxiliary brake since it will not lock with the engine running and car in gear.

1953 Cadillac Eldorado

The 1973 model year marks the 20th Anniversary of the original Cadillac Eldorado of 1953…no one even mentioned it in sales brochures and campaigns. The ultra-exclusive Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado was an exclusive trim option that became its own series in 1954. The 1953 Eldorado was driven January 1953 at the Inaugural parade for Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Yes, the 1953 Eldorado had the spotlight! Each subsequent Eldorado became even more luxurious than the model it replaced. Cadillac’s Flagship model was a winner. Between the Eldorado and the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special…life was good at Cadillac. The “Gilded One” was one of the world’s most desired automobiles.

Presenting 30 Years of the Cadillac Eldorado

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1954 Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado convertible

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1964 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible

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The 1964 Eldorado has genuine walnut trim

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1974 Cadillac Eldorado Custom Cabriolet

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Can you remember the imposing stature of a Cadillac Eldorado from the Spirited Seventies? You opened the door and got into what resembled a summer home in the South of France. The self-closing door shut with a vault-like click. Then you looked out through the windshield over a hood that resembled a billiard table.

You turn the key and the engine responds so quiet and vibration-free that you had to check the gauges to make sure it was running. It is completely oblivious to the outside world…the interior is very quiet; it is just you and your Cadillac Eldorado. The engine shifts into gear without resistance…now; savor the ride that’s the envy of the entire world. It drives straight as an arrow, it steers effortlessly. It has gear changes that are totally imperceptible.

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Boulevard travel intrusion is negligible. These cars smash any road flat for a ride that would shame today’s limousines. A 1973 Cadillac Eldorado is one of the few automobiles that one can drive from The Hamptons to Boca Raton and still be refreshed at journey’s end…try this today in Cadillac’s cramped puddle-jumpers and the other assorted death traps we are FORCED BY THE OIL COMPANIES TO DRIVE.

The back seat riders in today’s cars must either be contortionists or have their limbs amputated for ease of entry/exit and the ride. Do you remember the nick-name for a traditional Cadillac? It was called a “Hog” because of its imposing stature and the way it took up most of the road just to maneuver it…welcome to Greg’s World…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

1973 Rag top 1

Special thanks to Bob Adams Classic Cars, Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars, Matt Garrett/GM Classics, and Jim Hailey for the photos of these rare automobiles…

1960 Eldorado Brougham 1

1960 Cadillac Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham

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1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado

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Cadillac Elmiraj Concept

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“As the Standard of the World Turns”


The Magnificent Series 70 Eldorado Brougham by Cadillac

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

A Rhapsody in motion

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…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Cadillac is the most famous luxury brand of all the classic American Grand Marques. The brand is underrated because there are so many on the highways all over the world. Cadillac introduced so much throughout its tenure that it has been taken for granted by the entire automotive industry. Cadillac has built luxury cars in such high numbers; it makes the competition green with envy. The brand is currently undergoing an existential identity crisis – it is trying to be too many things in too many classes where it should not belong. Cadillac should realize its commercial importance in the luxury car class – and leave it as such.

The brand is an ultra-luxury icon that became a legend…unfortunately; its contemporary plebian approach has diluted its illustrious image tarnishing the heritage its magnificent predecessors set into place. The absolute last word in Cadillac luxury, elegance, and pre-eminence was the fabulous Series 70 Eldorado Brougham. This highly coveted classic was the most expensive domestic automobile during its tenure from 1957 until 1958. NotoriousLuxury takes you down memory lane with the Series 70 Eldorado Brougham…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham introduced a new realm in motoring majesty. These resplendent automobiles are the logical successors to the illustrious Cadillacs that preceded them.  The fabulous Eldorado Brougham has all the virtues that made Cadillac the “Standard of the World.” They satisfied the most discerning luxury car buyers. And…who would have thought such awesome jaw-dropping power would come from a luxury sedan?

The Cadillac…the TRADITIONAL Cadillac didn’t stint on luxury or performance. It is truly a masterpiece from the master craftsmen – a masterpiece that could only come from the undisputed “Standard of the World.” Whatever the occasion, there was no more gracious manner to arrive…than in a Fleetwood crafted Cadillac. The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham is NotoriousLuxury in every respect.

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These elegant ultra-luxury four-door hardtop sedans remain popular with fine automobile connoisseurs world-wide. The 1957-1958 Detroit-built versions have become the most desired of all post-war Cadillacs. Prices for these classics demand six figures and there is always a long line of enthusiasts waiting to purchase them.

The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham was built at a highly restricted pace which makes the survivors command top dollar on the auction block. A Cadillac Brougham has always retained the attribute of being the most luxurious owner-driven luxury sedan throughout the different model series configurations; with the ultimate versions built as the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham.

1965 Fleetwood Brougham

1965 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

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1970 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

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1972 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

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1976 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

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Model #57-70 style code #7059X 1957 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham four-door hardtop sedan had a base price of $13,074 with a base shipping weight of 5,315 pounds and only 400 were built. Model #58P-70 style code #7059X 1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham four-door hardtop sedan had a base price of $13,074 with a base shipping weight of 5,315 pounds and only 304 were built.

With a total production of only 704; the Series 70 Eldorado Brougham is a highly coveted collectible automobile. Cadillac opulence made the other luxury brands blush from sheer embarrassment. The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham gangster-slapped the automotive industry with power, presence, performance, and prestige – This was the counter to Lincoln’s Continental MK II which had a base price of $10,000 built in 1956-1957.

Continental MK II

1956-1957 Continental MK II

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Arrogance but not conceit…as luxury cars they are complete – they epitomize the Cadillac brand in its most magnificent form. These limited edition Flagships were modern in every aspect for the day. The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham is highlighted by a sleek pillarless design with elegant forward-opening rear coach doors. The extremely low overall height is just 55.5” high. Its low-slung silhouette is augmented by a brushed stainless-steel roof. They shared sheet metal with no other Cadillac; the design features a customized appearance.

In the Fabulous Fifties…cars were lowered with chopped tops, frenched headlamps, unique tail lamp treatments, and futuristic bumperettes…the 1957-1958 Detroit-built versions had all of these unique styling tricks – and engineering features that were never before incorporated into any automobile at the time. The “Standard of the World” was synonymous with the word “first.” The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham marks one of the most important “firsts” in automotive history. The impeccable custom, hand-crafting by Fleetwood made it the finest luxury automobile in its class. This is one of the last hand-built Fleetwood-bodied Cadillacs. This is the first luxury sedan with virtually every feature and accessory offered as standard equipment.

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The chic brushed stainless-steel roof was a favorite of Harley Earl

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The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham was described as being symbolic of Cadillac’s leadership in the fine automobile segment. There was nothing else on the road like it. Cadillac engineering prowess is what made it exclusively the “Standard of the World.”

The fabulous Series 70 Eldorado Brougham embodies styling features and accessories that had never been offered before in the automotive industry. The Eldorado Brougham’s customized body is designed specifically for this model. The driver may open and close the trunk lid without leaving the seat by a master switch located in the glove box. All doors can be locked and unlocked by controls in the front passenger compartment.

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The six-way power seat has a memory control; the front seat automatically moves forward to aid access to the spacious rear passenger compartment when either rear door is opened – the front seat automatically positions itself down and back for front seat passengers when either front door is opened…when all doors are closed; the front seat automatically returns to the driver’s pre-set favorite position. The antenna automatically rises when the radio is turned on. Beneath the all-new quad headlamp system is a sound wave opening for the triple note horn. The standard air conditioning system includes two rear under seat heaters that can be operated individually by the rear seat passengers.

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The interior is every inch a Cadillac. The Brougham came equipped with distinctive mouton carpets or deep pile Karakul. There was a choice of over 45 interior trim combinations. Upholstery trim was available as glove soft leather or luxurious high-quality broadcloth. The rear armrest has a storage compartment for a note pad, pen, a portable vanity mirror, and perfume atomizer.

The front compartment’s glove compartment contains gold finished magnetized tumblers, an Arpege or Lanvin perfume atomizer, a vanity mirror, powder puff, cigarette case, and tissue dispenser. The Brougham pampered its occupants with luxury that includes an electric clock and polarized sun visors. Everything was power from the windows, seats, to door locks. Automatic transmission, power steering and brakes added to the Brougham’s long list of standard equipment. Exclusivity and supremacy in a motorcar is exemplified with the 1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham.

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Another industry first by the “Standard of the World” is the four headlamp lighting system. This headlamp system was pioneered by Cadillac for the Series 70. The low beams provide greater wattage than traditional single beam headlamp systems for the day. The high beams produce an accurately aimed bright spot light. The combined wattage of all four headlamps was greater than the wattage for single high beam headlamps of the traditional incandescent bulbs.

The lights are designed to project light for maximum vision at night without dazzling the eyes of drivers of on-coming vehicles. The four headlamp system was illegal in some states in 1957; they were legalized in 1958. Legislative action passed and it was the last time a law was passed to accommodate an automobile manufacturer. The rest of the automotive industry scrambled to catch up with this ingenious design.

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The most important innovation of the Series 70 is its air suspension leveling system. This is the first time a system such as this was used for automobile adaptation. It uses an individual air spring (air bag) unit at each wheel. This is a primitive version of the independent suspension of later model years. The air is supplied by a compressor through leveling valves to maintain optimum poise under any road or load condition. This not only contributes to a consistently luxurious ride quality but also aids the Brougham’s overall appearance to keep its luxurious poise at all times.

The down side to this technology is the fact that the system was unreliable and the air bags were proned to blow-out at embarrassing moments. This issue led Cadillac engineers to introduce a coil spring override system which most Series 70 owners switched to. Many Eldorado Brougham owners have presently restored their cars’ air suspension regardless of the problems; many of which have been eliminated through modern technology. A Series 70 Eldorado Brougham with an operating air suspension system commands a higher price on the auction block than a converted coil spring version.

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Through consistent research and development, this primitive air suspension evolved into Cadillac’s exclusive Automatic Level Control in 1965 standard on all Fleetwood models, optional at extra cost for the other models. Automatic Level Control evolved into Electronic Level Control for later model years as cars became computerized. The electronic systems weighed less than the hydraulic leveling system with their bulky components. (Poor Lincoln never should have adopted this for their contemporary luxurious Town Cars…as they became “unexpected low-riders” at inopportune moments…)

The 1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham is built as body on frame construction using Cadillac’s rugged tubular X-frame, one of the results of the car’s extensive research advancements. With this type of construction, the body is married to outrigger mountings as compared to previous designs where the body was mounted to side rails. The X-frame is stronger because its rigid backbone includes “V” type arms fore and aft. The outrigger mounts have brackets that protrude from the box-type beams. This is Cadillac engineering at its finest. The Series 70 rides upon a long 126” wheelbase with the luxury length of 216” and is 78.5” in width…Cadillac-style. It came equipped with an early version of the wide oval low-profile tires with narrow 1” white walls.

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General Motors announced the Series 70 Eldorado Brougham in December of 1956 as a limited edition luxury sedan. It went on sale March 1957. It is based upon the 1953 Orleans and 1954 Park Avenue concept cars introduced at GM’s Motoramas. The Eldorado Brougham concept car was introduced at the 1955 Motorama at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. It is the first American completely pillarless four-door hardtop sedan.

The brochure that was handed out at the presentation read: “The Eldorado Brougham has been created with the intent of capturing the appeal of those who demand the finest…a compact, personalized automobile, easy to operate, and employing our latest knowledge of styling and engineering. Only 54 inches in height and 210 inches in length, it features low sweeping lines…graceful contours of roof and hood, a unique pillarless design…and great areas of vision. Among its interior innovations are specially designed lounge seats, a distinctive vanity case and a unique instrument panel. Its performance is highlighted by a special high-powered Cadillac engine.”

1953 Orleans at the Waldorf Astoria GM Motorama

1953 Cadillac “Orleans” Show Car with a pillarless hardtop design

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1955 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Show Car Concept

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Cadillac was the only luxury brand famous for engines that produced prodigious power. Cadillac was also the master builder of the V8 engine. The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham is no exception.  Its power is derived from a 5.9 litre 16-valve V8 engine. The engine is equipped with equalized manifolding, mechanical fuel pump, intake silencer, overhead valves, modified intake manifold, and automatic choke. The engine is mated to GM’s Hydra-Matic (Jetaway/Flashaway) 4-speed automatic transmission without torque converter.

For the 1957 model year it was equipped with two Carter (WCFB 2583 & WCFB 2584) 4-bbl carburetors which generates 325 hp @ 4,800 rpm with 542 Nm of peak torque @ 3,300 rpm. Cadillac Eldorados were always the “wild and turbulent ones.” They were renowned for their spirited performance. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 11.3 seconds, 0-100 mph in 32.6 seconds with a top speed in the 121 mph range. It does the ¼ mile @ 80 mph in just 18.3 seconds.

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For the 1958 model year the two 4-bbl set-up was replaced by three Rochester #7015801 2-bbl carburetors some refer to as a triple deuce, Pontiac called it Tri-Power. This set-up produced 335 hp @ 4,800 rpm with 542 Nm of peak torque @ 3,200 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 11.2 seconds, 0-100 mph in 31.8 seconds with a top speed in the 122 mph range.

It does the ¼ mile @ 81 mph in just 18.2 seconds. The triple deuce was a tad bit less fuel thirsty than the dual quad carburetor set-up…but who cared about the cost of petrol when it was far less than a buck per gallon? Cadillac had such a formidable reputation among luxury automobiles that just the mere mention of the “Standard of the World” had the competition limping home on one axle!

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1959 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham 1

1959 Cadillac Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham

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The Series 6900 Eldorado Broughams built from 1959 until 1960 were hand-built in Italy by Pininfarina and lacked the Cadillac quality as the Detroit-built Fleetwood hand-crafted 1957-1958 versions. Production was farmed out to Italy to be more cost efficient. This move freed the Fleetwood assembly line. The Series 70 was built completely by hand and slowed the processing of the other Fleetwood models. They could build the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special a lot faster, it outsold the Series 70.

There were issues with the 1959 & 1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Broughams which required a lot of post-build hand finishing once they arrived back to Detroit from Italy. The lacquer paint cracked in spots where lead was used as a filler. Their overall styling wasn’t as exquisite as the Detroit-built Broughams. The Detroit-built Series 70 Eldorado Broughams are Certified Milestone Vehicles. The Milestone Car Society is dedicated to the distinctive domestic and foreign motorcars built during the first two post-war decades.

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The 1959 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham was really a hodge-podge of remnants from the standard Cadillacs. They were nowhere near as exclusive as the Series 70 Eldorado Broughams. The styling is rather nondescript. It took the eagle-eye to denote the difference between The Broughams and the standard Cadillac models. Only 99 were built for the 1959 model year.

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1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham

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See how hard it is to tell the difference between the 1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham and the standard models? There were only 101 sold for the 1960 model year. This was the last year for the Eldorado Brougham.

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Cadillac Eldorado Broughams are among the rarest of all Cadillac models. Either Series 70 or Series 6900 are excellent collectibles; however, the Series 70 Eldorado Broughams being Certified Milestone Vehicles, command top dollar on the auction block and are highly sought among connoisseurs of fine automobiles world-wide.

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The Series 70 Eldorado Brougham introduced many features and accessories to the industry that had never before been integrated into automobiles. Cadillac was the innovator, the luxury leader in the high-end automobile segment. The competition was not only green with envy but paled by comparison with the “Standard of the World.” The opulent Series 70 Eldorado Brougham was the most expensive domestic automobile for its day at $13,074.

Only 704 were built during its tenure from 1957-1958 which makes it a highly desirable collectible for the Cadillac connoisseur. With all of its “firsts” to the automobile industry, the Series 70 Eldorado Brougham became a Certified Milestone Vehicle. If Cadillac could decide upon a luxury concept; it can shed its existential identity crisis and once again become the pride of the U.S. and the envy of the world. The magnificent Series 70 Eldorado Brougham is another highly successful chapter…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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1956 Eldorado Brougham Town Car 1

This is the 1956 Eldorado Brougham Town Car. It is a one-off fibre glass bodied concept car that never went into production. Its classic lines and authoritative demeanor epitomized luxury cars from the 1950’s. Will there ever be another “Standard of the World?”

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1990-1992 Brougham 1The 1990-1992 Cadillac Brougham

1993-1996 Fleetwood Brougham

The 1993-1996 Fleetwood Brougham is the last of the breed…

Cadillac Style

Cadillac Style…

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“As the Standard of the World Turns”

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GM Heritage Center

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Special thanks to Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars, Bob Adams Classic Cars, Sarasota Classic car Museum, Wikipedia, Fav, and the GM Heritage Center for the use of the lovely photographs of these rare and beautiful automobiles.

Eldorado Brougham ad

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The End

NotoriousLuxury is Greg’s World…


Cadillac: The Standard of the Entire World

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans, Notorious Retrospect, Requiem For A Legend with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

…Automotive milestones


…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”



Theodore MacManus wrote in his famous “The Penalty of Leadership” advertisement: “That which is good or great makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamor of denial.” Cadillac prowess in the luxury car arena made headlines all over the world. From the massive V16 and V12 powerplants to the modern V8 engines…Cadillac was the master builder of the luxury automobile.

Fisher Body, Harley Earl, Bill Mitchell, and a host of other talent made the brand the undisputed “Standard of the World”…in the entire world. Will the brand ever stop chasing everything that moves in Europe…and return to being the pride of the USA and the envy of the world? NotoriousLuxury retros back to the days when Cadillac reigned supreme…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”



There was a time when Cadillac had no product recalls…they even sold without advertising. Cadillac was recognized as the luxury leader world-wide. The mere mention of “Cadillac” had the competition in a nervous frenzy. The brand had absolutely no interest comparing itself to European brands simply because the European brands were taking notes from Cadillac success!

The “Standard of the World” was the innovator displaying engineering prowess with outstanding fit & finish. Cadillac couldn’t have cared less about achieving 0-60 mph in a nanosecond, nor was it trying to compete in every automotive class – a Cadillac was a luxury car…period. Cadillac has since forgotten all of its loyal following that made it the “Standard of the World.”

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1976 Cadillac Coupe deVille

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The Cadillac name was synonymous with luxury, prestige, and quality. The association was that of superlative status such as the Cadillac of appliances…the Cadillac of electronics; this meant the product or service was the best in its industry. And of course…the Cadillac of automobiles was the one and only “Standard of the World.” It was everyone’s dream car…the envy of the driveway.

The mere sight of a big, shiny, classy Cadillac sent shock waves throughout the entire automotive industry. The exclusivity and supremacy made quite a statement about its owner. A Cadillac was a supreme achievement in motoring…I used to polish mine for hours upon end to a glassy mirror-like reflection that was so shiny, my girlfriends used to apply their make-up using my Cadillacs as a mirror! Those were the good old days.

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1976 Coupe deVille 4

Once seated behind the wheel…a turn of the ignition key brought the powerful V8 engine to life…it didn’t roar its existence – it whispered its presence. The transmission engaged imperceptibly…the steering was light as a feather…I could turn the steering wheel with one finger action.

Once the ride was under way, boulevard travel intrusion was negligible…a Cadillac managed the roughest pavement with ease. There was nothing else on the road quite like it. In fact, there was no more magnificent manner in which to view the world than from behind the wheel of the “Standard of the World.” Its presence enhanced any occasion…its eminence never went unnoticed –


Not many truly understand this automobile’s illustrious heritage. Let’s take a look into the history of the “Standard of the World.” The brand was established in 1899 as The Detroit Auto Company. It was the first venture of its type in Detroit. It was struggling to survive; the company floundered and was dissolved in January 1901 after only 20 vehicles were built.

The company was reorganized on November 20, 1901 as The Henry Ford Company. Henry ran the company for three weeks then resigned to move on to other endeavors. Henry Martyn Leland, a reserved traditional entrepreneur, reorganized the venture and the company was renamed after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of the city of Detroit. The Cadillac Model A was introduced in 1903.

The brand did not spring forth as the “Standard of the World.” This formidable title was garnered through evolution and dedication to quality. It’s an American success story that unfortunately has a not so happy ending. To regain the illustrious title the brand must cease and desist with the kitschy-faux, make-believe unreasonable facsimiles and build real luxury automobiles once again –

1904 Model B Touring 1

1904 Cadillac Model B Touring

1908 Model S

1908 Cadillac Model S

Model 30 1913 2

1913 Cadillac Model 30

Model 30 1913 1

1918 Model 57 Raceabout

1918 Cadillac Model 57 Raceabout

Fisher Body, the coachbuilder for GM was founded in 1908 by Fred and Charles Fisher of the famous Fisher brothers in Detroit, Michigan. It all began here in Ohio in the beautiful area of Norwalk in the late 1800s building horse-drawn carriages. The transition became necessary because the internal combustion engine and its torque created way too much vibration and the bodies of the horse-drawn units couldn’t withstand the forces.

1929 Cadillac V-8 Dual Cowl Phaeton

Before Fisher Body became a company, the Fisher brothers built bodies for Cadillac. By 1910, Fisher Body became the supplier of all closed bodies for Cadillac. They also built bodies for Buick, Abbot, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Packard, Studebaker…even Ford. By 1913 Fisher Body had the capacity to build 100,000 bodies per year. This success caused the company to expand into Canada right across the lake from Detroit. By 1914 they grew becoming the world’s largest manufacturer of automobile bodies.

In 1916 Larry Fisher joined the company placing emphasis on the Cadillac brand. He wanted exclusivity for the brand. Fisher Body developed the art of interchangeability of wood body parts. They created precision wood working tools, thus, increasing production output. The company became The Fisher Body Corporation in 1916 with the capacity to build 370,000 bodies per year. Larry Fisher became general manager from 1925 until 1934. He oversaw the purchase of The Fleetwood Metal Body Company of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania in 1925.

V16 1

Cadillac was the first American car in 1914 to introduce a V-type water-cooled 8 cylinder engine and was also the first to use a thermostatic controlled cooling system. In 1920 the Clark Avenue plant was built in Detroit, Michigan and was the most modern facility in the entire industry. In 1922 Cadillac introduced a thermostatic carburetor control for efficiency. For the 1923 model year Cadillac was the first in the industry to build the inherently balanced V8 engine with a compensated crankshaft…and a four-wheel braking system.

Cadillac was the first in the industry in 1926 to offer a comprehensive service policy on a nationwide basis. In 1928 Cadillac developed the clashless synchromesh transmission that eliminated the chafing noise and friction of gear shifting, thus, laying the foundation for the first fully automatic transmission called the Hydra-Matic in 1941 which eliminated the clutch and manual shifting. In 1929 chrome plated accessories were standard.

1930 Cadillac Model 452 V16

1930 Cadillac Model 452 V16

1930 V16 convertible

1930 Cadillac V16 Roadster

1930 V16 Roadsters were the world’s most luxurious cars

1930 V16 Phaeton 1

1930 Cadillac V16 Phaeton

1930 V16 Phaeton 2

1930 V16 Phaeton 3

After the stock market crash in the 1920s with The Great Depression, GM never lost money due to its diversity under the leadership of Larry Fisher. Fisher Body was an innovator in the industry. They introduced car window regulators to raise and lower windows, closed bodies offering year round comfort wet or dry…rain or snow, and many other features automakers take for granted today. The Fishers turned a $1,000 investment from Fred’s sister into a multi-million dollar company a few years later. In 1919 General Motors paid $27.6 Million USD for 60 percent of Fisher Body, and in 1926 GM paid another $208 Million USD for the remaining 40 percent of Fisher Body.

And in case you didn’t know…Cadillac was a pioneer in the automotive industry. Cadillac luxury and elegance are prominent attributes but innovation and engineering prowess were paramount. Cadillac introduced many firsts to the automotive industry. It is the only ‘foreign’ automobile to win the coveted Dewar Trophy from the Royal Automobile Club of Great Britain…not once…but twice. In 1908 Cadillac won for introducing standardization and interchangeability of parts. In 1912 it won for introducing the Delco electric lighting and ignition system. In 1905 Cadillac was the first to offer a multi-cylinder engine. In 1910 it was the first auto manufacturer to offer closed bodies as standard equipment. For the 1911 model year the illustrious Fleetwood hand-crafted coachwork made its grand entrance.


This is one of Cadillac’s coupé body designs from 1930-1932

1931 Cadillac V12

1931 Cadillac V12

1933 Cadillac V16

1933 Fleetwood-bodied V16

1936 Series 90

1936 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 90

Next…enter Harley Earl. He created Cadillac works of art. Harley Earl initiated the process of freeform sketching and hand sculpture techniques. His “concept car” theory is still used today for the design process. He was discovered by Larry Fisher who was intrigued by Earl’s concept car and clay model processes. Harley Earl’s methodology was far ahead of its time. The comradery began in 1927 when Fisher commissioned Harley Earl to design the 1927 LaSalle which was to be a companion entry-level car for Cadillac.

Harley Earl was named the first director of GM’s Art & Colour Section which was an in-house design studio and is an industry first, established December 15, 1935. Earl’s legendary techniques were a shock to conservatives at General Motors. He brought luxurious style to Cadillac…just what Larry Fisher wanted.  Before the Art & Colour Section, there really wasn’t a great importance to how an auto body looked. By 1937 The Art & Colour Section was renamed “The Styling Section” and Harley Earl was named vice president. This is the first time in automotive history that a designer became a VP of a large corporation.

1936 Cadillac V16 Series 90 Town Cabriolet

1936 Cadillac V16 Series 90 Town Cabriolet

The big news was the ultimate automobile powerplants introduced in 1930. The massive 16 and 12 cylinder engines, both V-types…made Cadillac the first auto manufacturer to offer a complete line of multi-cylinder automobiles. Cadillac introduced the hydraulic valve silencers the same year; Cadillac was the master builder for multi-cylinder engines.

This made the competition appear dated – placing the competitors even further behind…for the 1932 model year Cadillac introduced safety headlamps, an air-cooled generator, a completely silent transmission, and full-range ride regulator. And you thought Cadillac was merely a luxury car…Cadillac was the engineering leader…it “started the dance” the rest of the auto industry followed in subservience…especially European luxury “wannabes.” 

V16 2

1936 Series 70 V8 coupe

1936 Cadillac Series 70 V8 coupé

1936 V16 convertible

1936 Cadillac V16 Convertible coupé

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 1

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special with body by Derham

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 2

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 3

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 1

1940 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 5

The glamour of a Cadillac was second to none. There was style…grace…and the poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac. It used to be the luxury car enjoyed by more luxury car buyers than any other brand. These resplendent automobiles were an ultra-exclusive realm of motoring majesty. Now…enter Bill Mitchell, a bright and talented advertising illustrator.

Harley Earl recruited him to join the GM Art & Colour Section in 1935. Bill Mitchell designed the fabulous Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special. He influenced the design of over 72.5 million GM automobiles. Some of his monumental designs include the 1955-1957 Chevy Bel Air, the 1961-1976 Corvette Stingray, the 1963 Buick Riviera, and the 1975-1979 Cadillac Seville. Bill Mitchell eventually became the VP of Design for GM.

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 6

Beginning the 1934 model year, Cadillac was the first to begin stream lining the coachwork…the spare tire was now concealed within the body. The 1936 model year is another important milestone year. Bill Mitchell designed the Fleetwood-bodied Series Sixty-Special. This car revolutionized luxury automobiles. It was the first car to use fender mounted headlamps when everyone else attached them to the hood.

The elegant Series Sixty-Special was sans running boards which was shocking at the time. It had a faired-in rear deck lid, thin door posts, and chrome banded window frames which became Fleetwood signature features for many years. A hydraulic braking system was also introduced by Cadillac in 1936 as a first to the industry. The Sixty-Special was released for the 1938 model year; its design was copied by the rest of the auto industry. This milestone vehicle made everything on the road appear outmoded. This car influenced automotive design for an entire generation.

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 2

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 3

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 4

1940 Series 72

For the 1940 model year, Cadillac was the first to introduce an ultra-modern large, luxurious motorcar to the industry known as the Fleetwood Series Seventy-Two. It was similar to the Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five but is 3″ shorter. It rides upon a long 138″ wheelbase. The Fleetwood Series Seventy-Two is powered by a 346 CID V8 engine that produces 140 hp.

The Fleetwood Series Seventy-Two uses a 3-speed manual transmission and is equipped with a four-wheel hydraulic braking system. This is the only year it was produced and only 18 were built. 1940 introduced the first ball bearing steering system making these large vehicles easier to maneuver.

1941 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1941 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1941 Cadillac Sixty-two Coupe

1941 Cadillac Series 62 coupé

1947 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1947 Cadillac Series 62 convertible coupé

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 5

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 

Harley Earl’s first monumental design is the 1948 Cadillac. This is the birth of the iconic Cadillac tail fin. The Lockheed P-38 was the inspiration. During this genre, air craft and space rockets dominated the designers’ imagination for automotive design. The tail fin wars of the 1950s were instigated by Harley Earl and Chrysler’s chief designer Virgil Exner. Tail fin mania spread like wildfire throughout the industry. The greatest engineering achievement in 45 years was Cadillac’s new compact…more economical and smoother operating overhead valve V8 engine for the 1948 model year. 

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 1

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 2

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 4

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 3

Harley Earl and Alfred P. Sloan, GM’s president at the time developed the annual model change implemented as “Dynamic Obsolescence.” This associated model identity to a specific year for product success. This principle is used in the marketing strategies today. Harley Earl is the pioneer of using clay models to evolve various body components. He is the first designer to create complete automobiles; blending the main body structure with hoods, fenders, lights, and trim to enhance styling continuity. The rest of the auto industry scrambled to adopt this theory.

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 2

1949 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 4

Public acceptance was important to Harley Earl. It was his fabulous idea that led to the formidable GM Motoramas. Between 1949 and 1961 these glitzy, glamorous extravaganzas showcased notorious conceptual designs aimed at public reaction. Comments were taken seriously and used towards production models. Harley Earl designed the pillarless hardtop design which was the first of its kind in the automotive industry.

He ordered the two-door hardtop design into production as the very first Coupe deVille for the 1949 model year. Earl visited Italy and after seeing a Lancia sedan sans “B” pillars…he introduced the hardtop Sedan deVille for the 1956 model year for luxury car buyers that wanted a pillarless four-door configuration. The Orleans four-door hardtop sedan was a concept car that debuted at the 1953 Motorama which appealed to customers and spawned the Sedan deVille. The DeVille series is among the longest and most successful production runs in the history of the brand. They earned the title as “America’s favorite luxury cars.”

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 7

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 3

The Coupe deVille mocked a convertible with chrome roof bows

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 5

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 6

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 8

1949 Series Sixty-Special 2

1949 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1949 Series 62 convertible

1949 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1950 Cadillac Sixty-two Convertible

1950 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1953 Series 62 Eldorado 4

1953 Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado convertible

Cadillac even outdid itself for the 1953 model year slapping the competition with the highest horsepower V8 engine to power a domestic production vehicle with an astounding 220 hp in the magnificent limited edition Series 62 Eldorado convertible…a Harley Earl masterwork! The 1953 Cadillac Eldorado is an exclusive trim option package for the Series 62 and the image car for General Motors. It was also the most expensive model at $7,750…you could have purchased two Cadillacs for this price.

Distinctive signature features which set it apart from the stock convertible are a wrap-around panoramic windscreen, a sculpted beltline that incorporates a cupid’s bow in its design, a sleek metal parade boot, and Kelsey-Hayes genuine wire-laced wheels. Only 532 were built making it highly sought by collectors world-wide today. They now sell for six figures…that is if you can find one for sale – Harley Earl’s legend will live on forever. He and Bill Mitchell made Cadillac the quintessential luxury icon.

1955 Cadillac for racing 1

Cadillac was into stock car racing, 1955 Series 62 coupé shown

1955 Cadillac for racing 2

1955 Eldorado

1955 Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado convertible

1956 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five

1956 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five limousine

1956 Series 62 Sedan deVille 1

1956 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan deVille

1956 Series 62 Sedan deVille 2

The pillarless hardtop Sedan deVille became an instant success

1956 Series 62 Sedan deVille 3

1958 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five

1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five limousine

Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 1

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham

Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 3

the end 2

The last of Harley Earl’s masterpiece designs is the magnificent 1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Broughams. This is the most spectacular Cadillac motorcar of the 1950s. Its sheet metal wasn’t shared with any other Cadillac. The Eldorado Brougham was one of the world’s most expensive cars at the time selling at $13,074. Understated luxury from bumper to bumper with a custom appearance makes this automobile totally unique for the genre. Harley Earl designed some of the most significant Cadillacs of all time. He retired at age 65 in 1958 shortly after directing the design of the iconic 1959 Cadillacs. By this time, General Motors had become the largest corporation in the world.

The end 1

The 1959 tail fin

The iconic tail fin from the 1959 Cadillac

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 1

1959 Cadillac Series 62 “Flat Top” hardtop sedan

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 2

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 3

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 6

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 5

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 4

1959 Eldorado Biarritz convertible

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 1

1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 2

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 3

For the 1960s, Bill Mitchell promoted what he called the “Sheer Look.” It was an aerodynamic design that is sleeker and more contemporary. He broke away from the designs of Harley Earl with his own interpretations of what a luxury car should be. The designs under his direction are noted as the “Bill Mitchell Era.”

He gave GM vehicles a more conservative, streamlined look. His restrained use of ornamentation, less chrome, and the elimination of tail fins instituted an understatement which made these automobiles timeless challenging the years gracefully. Mitchell’s last accomplishments are the radically down-sized Cadillacs for the 1977 model year. Both Bill Mitchell and Harley Earl left an indelible impression on the automotive industry.

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 5

1960 Series 62 convertible 1

1960 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1960 Series 62 convertible 2

1960 Series 62 convertible 3

Cadillac was still a heart-throb with its “Sheer Look”

1960 Series 62 convertible 4

1960 Series 62 convertible 6

1960 Series 62 convertible 5

1960 Series 62 convertible 7

1967 Fleetwood Eldorado

The 1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado with front-wheel drive is the world’s finest personal luxury automobile. It successfully combined the traction of front-wheel drive, maintained perfect poise with Automatic Level Control, and the maneuverability of Variable Ratio Power Steering…all as standard equipment. This car gangster-slapped the industry big-time!

1971 Coupe deVille 1

1971 Cadillac Coupe deVille

1971 Coupe deVille 2

The Bill Mitchell Era exemplified Cadillac luxury and distinction to new heights in exclusivity and supremacy. This elegant era in luxury motoring was augmented by “Cadillac-Style!” Bill Mitchell had the entire industry “nervous.” Each time the competition ‘thought’ they had caught up with Cadillac-Style…Bill Mitchell bitch-slapped them with something more intriguing…with an attitude –

1971 Coupe deVille 3

1971 Coupe deVille 4

1971 Coupe deVille 5

1972 Fleetwood Brougham

1972 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 2

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 6

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 3

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 4

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 7

Cadillac pioneered many features and accessories the auto industry takes for granted. I could go on and on with praise for the brand’s outstanding automotive achievement. The 1960s and 1970s were equally as innovative…but something happened during the mid to late 1970s. The music stopped for Cadillac in the 1980s – it became adulterated with so many generic shortcuts which made it a mere hodgepodge of GM parts adorned with Cadillac nomenclature. Quality, fit & finish came to an abrupt halt. Its styling became nondescript and austere.

And as the years went by, it began chasing/emulating anything that moved from Europe. It has become too many things: a jack of all trades and a master of none. Its luxurious demeanor has become diluted to the point of kitsch. All models are recalled annually because of defects and short-sighted engineering. It is no longer a real luxury car…it masquerades as everything. In order to regain its stature, it must cease and desist with the intent of trying to be all things competing in areas which it should not.

Cadillac was snob wagon supreme…formidable in its existence, causing the competition to take note. The entire world waits with bated-breath for the supremacy and exclusivity once presented by Cadillac to dominate the industry and once again become the pride of the USA and the envy of the world. This is another NOTORIOUS flashback…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

1973 Coupe deVille 1

1973 Cadillac Coupe deVille

1973 Coupe deVille 2

1973 Coupe deVille 3

1973 Coupe deVille 4

1973 Coupe deVille 5

Fisher Body Logo

“GM mark of excellence…”

1975 Fleetwood Brougham

1975 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

1976 Fleetwood Castilian Estate wagon 2

1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Castilian Estate wagon

1976 Fleetwood Castilian Estate wagon 1

1990-1992 Brougham 3

1990-1992 Cadillac Brougham 

1990-1992 Brougham 2

1990-1992 Brougham 1

1990-1992 Brougham 4

Brougham d’Elegance interior

1990-1992 Brougham 5

Special thanks to the best caretakers in the classic car business: Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars, Jim Hailey’s Classic cars, Matt Garrett/GM Classics, MJC Classic Cars, Liberty Old Timers, Bob Adams Classic Cars, and Park Ward Motors Museum.


Will there ever be another “Standard of the World” creation?

Cadillac Wreath and Crest

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“As the Standard of the World Turns”

Cadillac: The Standard of Excellence

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

A tribute to the traditional Cadillac

Lead photo

…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”


Cadillac was once a formidable brand in the automotive industry. It was the standard of excellence in every aspect…superb fit & finish, remarkable engineering, absolute power…and prestige beyond belief world-wide. No automobile in the world achieved the admiration and respect as a Cadillac. Whatever one desired in a high-end luxury automobile…Cadillac either offered it or was in the process of building it. Always the innovator…always the epitome of luxury…and always the leader!

Fleetwood-bodied, hand-crafted automobiles catapulted the brand to an even higher standard of automotive excellence. The Cadillac DeVilles were and remain America’s favorite luxury cars. The formidable Eldorado had the entire industry in awe…with its poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac. Whether one chose the elegant open tourer, a spacious four-door sedan, the personal luxury of a two-door hardtop coupé, or a luxurious limousine…Cadillac designed and built the industry’s finest. NotoriousLuxury rekindles the passion of this lost art… in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

Crest 1

The Cadillac crest

Crest 4 1963 B

1963 Cadillac crest

Crest 4 1963

The famous insignia that adorns the legend is a coat of arms from the French de la Mothe Cadillac family. It was registered as an American trademark on August 6, 1906. In the language of ancient heraldry it’s described as: “Quarterly, the first and fourth gold…a fess sable between three Merlettes of the same – posed two in chief and one in base. Second and third gules quartering argent…three bars azure.”

What does this mean? Translated, it describes a quartered shield with the uppermost left and lower right corners gold containing black bands with two legless birds above and one below the band. The uppermost right and lower left corners contain two red quarters, and two silver quarters with blue bars. The “couronne” or coronet is for the six counts of France. For symmetry, the original de la Mothe Cadillac family arms and the trademark of 1906 contain seven round pearls. Evolution of the crest through the years has displayed as many as 18 but no less than seven.

Crest 2 1941 B

1941 Cadillac crest

Crest 2 1941

Crest 3 1955 B

1955 Cadillac crest

Crest 3 1955

The first and fourth quarters represent the de la Mothe arms. The Merlettes are ancient heraldic adaptations of the Martin and are shown without beaks and legs. The Merlettes are given for a difference to young brothers to signify, in order to raise themselves they are to look to the wings of virtue and merit; and not to rely on the legs having but little land to set their feet upon. The second and third quarters were added to the de la Mothe arms to signify the favorable marriage which increased their estates. The red stands for prowess and boldness in action…the silver for purity, charity, virtue, and plenty. The azure blue signifies knightly valor – 

Fleetwood crest B

Fleetwood laurel wreath and Cadillac crest

Fleetwood crest

The laurel wreath augmenting the crest was used for Fleetwood…the senior most models in the hierarchy. DeVilles, Calais, and Series 62 models used a prominent “V” under the crest in either gold or silver. Contemporary Cadillac models use an abstract interpretation of this legendary design. Some agree this new design separates the make-believe Cadillacs from the genuine “Standard of the World” editions…

Crest 5 1965 B

1965 Cadillac crest

Crest 5 1965

Crest 6 1974 B

1974 Cadillac DeVille crest

Crest 6 1974

1959B tail fin

The formidable fins – 

1948 tail fin


1949 tail fin


Cadillac’s chief designer Harley Earl “started the dance” of which the entire automotive industry followed suit. This man designed Cadillac masterworks. It was his 1948 Cadillac creation that started it all – he designed the 1948-1949 Cadillacs patterned after the Lockheed P-38 war-time aircraft.

The beautifully tailored fins are artfully integrated into the rear fenders. These are separate bolt-on features which flow gracefully into the doors. Within a few years, tail fins sprouted in every division at GM…not to mention how the rest of the industry emulated but could not replicate the design. Harley Earl and Chrysler’s chief designer Virgil Exner instigated the “Tail Fin Wars” of the 1950s.

1952 tail fin


1953 tail fin


The next tail fin design appeared on the 1950-1953 Cadillacs. They have the same basic style only a bit more elegant and refined. Back-up lamps were moved from below the rear deck lid and repositioned beneath the taillamps for the 1951 model. Cadillac is one of the early pioneers of back-up lamps. The basic theme of the taillamp/back-up lamp combo ran through the 1956 model year designs.

1954 tail fin


1955 tail fin


1956 tail fin


The 1954 model year introduced a higher tail fin to offset the overall lower silhouette. Cadillacs were redesigned to be longer, lower, and wider than previous models. The fins are more “kicked-up.” This is the most remembered style establishing Cadillac as the tail fin leader. This design went basically unchanged from 1954 until 1956. Cadillac didn’t redesign their offerings from a blinding flash of inspiration…change was evolutionary. The 1955 Eldorado sported its own unique shark-fin design which inspired the next model year for the standard Cadillac.

1956 Eldorado tail fin

1955-1956 Eldorado

1957 tail fin


1957-1958 Eldorado tail fin

1957-1958 Eldorado “Chipmunk-Cheeks”

For the 1957 model year the tail fins were completely redesigned for the standard Cadillac models. They are a modified version from the 1955 Eldorado. The fins are lower and tapered into the architecture fashionably. The 1957 Eldorados received their own distinctive tail fin redesign. They are a bit sharper and more prominent than the previous version.

Rounded faired-in fenders received the nickname “Chipmunk-Cheeks” because of the appearance for the rear-end design of the Eldorados. The 1957-1958 Eldorado Seville and Biarritz used their new design; however, this was not inherited by any other Cadillac models. The 1957-1958 Cadillacs sported an even lower silhouette than previous designs. Automobiles were becoming more streamlined…Cadillac led the way in the entire industry with elegant designs, impeccable craftsmanship, and that poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac.

1958 tail fin


1958 Eldorado Brougham tail fin

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham

1959 tail fin


Tail fin drama continued. The tail fin shocker came with the 1959 redesign. The iconic 1959 Cadillac tail fins are the tallest and the largest in the industry. All Cadillac models shared the same design. They represent American excess to the hilt. Either you love ‘em or you hate ‘em…there is no in-between. Some say they are the summit of gaudiness…some say they are elegant, and then there are some who are undecided. Because of this controversy – 1959 Cadillacs especially Eldorados, fetch six figures easily on the auction block.

1960 tail fin


1961 tail fin


1962 tail fin


Refinement for the mighty tail fin began the 1960 model year. The designers knocked them down a notch planing them into the architecture for a cleaner look. The restrained use of ornamentation also provided an understatement of Cadillac elegance. From 1960 onward, the tail fin began to disappear into oblivion. The 1961 model trimmed the fins tastefully and added lower fins called “Skegs” to the redesign. They were trimmed again for the 1962 model year. The finale for the beloved fins are the 1963-1964 model years. They disappeared completely for the all-new 1965 redesign. Cadillac will always be remembered for luxury, opulence, and tail fins!

1963 tail fin


1964 tail fin


1965 tail fin

1965…tail fins are banished into history

1966 tail fin


1967 tail fin

1967 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1967-1969 Eldorado tail fin

1967-1969 Fleetwood Eldorado

1968 tail fin

1968 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1969 tail fin

1969 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1970 tail fin

1970 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1970 Eldorado tail fin

1970 Fleetwood Eldorado

1971 tail fin

1971-1972 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1971-1972 Eldorado tail fin

1971-1972 Fleetwood Eldorado

1973 tail fin

1973 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1973 Eldorado tail fin

1973 Eldorado

1974-1976 tail fin

1974-1976 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1974-1976 Eldorado tail fin

1974-1976 Eldorado

1977-78 Eldorado

1977-1978 Eldorado

Pink Cadillac 3

The luxury of choice

Pink Cadillac 1

The traditional Cadillac offered more body styles than any other luxury car manufacturer. There is no more romantic architecture than a Cadillac convertible. They are the glamour cars of the stars. The elegant open tourers are still the most desired convertibles in the entire world. These elegant Cadillac creations have inspired music by Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley with “Pink Cadillac.” They have inspired movies such as “The Solid Gold Cadillac” with Judy Holiday in 1954. They were also used in parades such as the very first Cadillac Eldorado of 1953 driven in the inaugural parade for Dwight D. Eisenhower.

And we cannot forget the 1973 Eldorado convertible pace car for the 57th 500 Mile International Sweepstakes held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday May 30, 1973. There is no more dramatic manner in which to travel Cadillac-style than open air motoring in an elegant Cadillac convertible coupé. Whether it be the classic Series 62…the classic DeVille…or the “Gilded One” it is the ONLY way to travel…Cadillac-style – 

Pink Cadillac 2

1959 Series 62 convertible

Pink Cadillac 4

Pink Cadillac 5

1957 Fleetwood 1

1957 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1957 Fleetwood 2

The most distinguished automobiles in all of motordom are the impeccably hand-crafted Fleetwood-bodied Cadillacs. This is luxury on the grand Cadillac scale…in the grand Cadillac manner. These most revered models are more than austere, ostentatious bling as today’s kitschy-faux make-believe luxury cars. The Fleetwood-bodied Cadillacs are the most luxurious owner and chauffeur-driven models in the history of the brand. All Fleetwood crafted cars were built on their own dedicated assembly lines. Their individually longer wheelbases provide more rear seat passenger room.

The magnificent Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Broughams are decadently luxurious with ultra-exclusive accommodations that offer limousine-style luxury in an owner-driven sedan. It is the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special that reinforced the “Standard of the World” title. Unfortunately…there will never, ever, be another hand-crafted Cadillac Fleetwood…they epitomized the brand’s integrity as the finest automobiles on the planet. No car in the luxury automobile arena could have been made more personally yours than a Cadillac Fleetwood. Will there ever be another LUXURIOUS Cadillac to be the pride of the US…and the envy of the world?

1957 Fleetwood 4

1957 Fleetwood 5

1957 Fleetwood 3

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 1

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 2

The most eloquent sedans in the world are the Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five nine-passenger sedan and Imperial formal limousine. Executive-style grace with spacious accommodations is expedited in a refined and most dignified manner. This is the ultimate expression of the “Standard of the World.” These opulent sedans are still seen at foreign embassies, palaces, and in the driveways of luxurious estates. Some things are just too good to be forgotten.

These hand-crafted Fleetwood-bodied masterpieces will still be in service…when today’s make-believe luxury cars are rusting in peace at the local scrap yard. Cadillac commercial chassis were popular as ambulances during the 1950s throughout the 1970s because of their notorious reliability and high-speed capabilities. They were also built as hearses of the utmost dignity. Some mortuaries still have them in service just because…there is nothing in today’s market that even comes close to the poised dignity that was the hallmark of every traditional Cadillac Fleetwood –

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 4

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 5

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 7

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 6

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 3

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 1

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 2

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 3

Good taste never goes out of style…

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 4

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 5

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 6

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 8

1970 Coupe deVille 1

1970 Coupe deVille

1970 Coupe deVille 4

America’s sweethearts –

The Cadillac DeVille remains America’s favorite luxury car. They are available as the Coupe deVille, Sedan deVille, and the DeVille convertible. They enjoyed the highest resale value and repeat ownership of any American-built luxury car. The elegant Coupe deVille and Sedan deVille sold more automobiles than the combined aggregate totals of the competitors.

The Cadillac DeVille ruled the industry from 1949 until the 2004 model year when it became the DTS; maintaining the poised dignity Cadillac invented. The Cadillac DeVilles are among the most successful and longest production runs in the history of the brand. Their preeminence in the luxury car arena is achieved through years of growth and innovation. These elegant motorcars stole the hearts of enthusiasts world-wide in one svelte swoop.

1970 Coupe deVille 5

1970 Coupe deVille 6

1970 Coupe deVille 10

1976 Sedan deVille 1

1976 Sedan deVille

1976 Sedan deVille 5

1976 Sedan deVille 2

1976 Sedan deVille 4

1976 Sedan deVille 3

1976 Sedan deVille 8

Their six-passenger roominess combined with legendary Cadillac comfort and conveniences are what retained their following annually. They are smooth, responsive, and quiet beyond belief. The Coupe deVille is the only two-door luxury car that offers as much interior room as the competitor’s four-door sedan. It was the primary choice among the ladies with its intimate personal luxury and high style. Features and accessories were available to make it as unique as its driver.

The Sedan deVille is the luxury sedan that doubles as a family sedan. With its four-door convenience, it is like your own personal limousine. It was the perennial favorite among luxury car buyers. The Sedan deVille offered more comfort and convenience features and accessories as standard equipment than its competition. Open air touring with a youthful zest makes the DeVille convertible the number one choice among convertible lovers. Its fully automatic, power folding fabric roof disappeared at the touch of a button. The DeVille is the grandest of all open tourers…Cadillac-style. Its luxury has no peer. The Cadillac DeVille was the only luxury convertible built in the land at the time. It is one of the world’s most dramatic automobiles.

1970 DeVille 3

1970 DeVille convertible

1970 DeVille 5

1970 DeVille 6

1970 DeVille 7

1976 Eldo convt 4

1976 Eldorado convertible

1976 Eldo convt 2

No story regarding Cadillac could be complete without mention of “The Gilded One.” The totally avant-garde Eldorado was the Flagship from Cadillac the entire world will never forget. They became the most dramatic models in the history of the brand. Elegance, innovation, and engineering excellence made them one of the world’s most desired dream cars. The Eldorado introduced styling, features, and accessories that eventually found their way to other future models.

The superb Cadillac engineering, advanced design and dedication to excellence spawned the formidable 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado. It is the ultimate personal luxury automobile. The Fleetwood Eldorado is the only car in the world to successfully combine the positive traction of front-wheel drive, the agility of Variable Ratio Power Steering, and the perfect balance of Automatic Level Control. During its tenure, the Cadillac Eldorado was available as a convertible coupé, a two-door hardtop coupé, and an ultra-luxurious four-door hardtop sedan. They were the glamour cars of the 1950s through the 1970s…and remain so –

1976 Eldo convt 3

1976 Eldo convt 6

1976 Eldo convt 7

1956 Series 62 convt 1

1956 Series 62 convertible

1956 Series 62 convt 4

The traditional Cadillac was the most desired automobile in the entire world. It was the standard of excellence and second to none in the manufacture of luxury motorcars. It is a legend, and an American institution. A Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac is a hand-crafted masterpiece from the master craftsmen that garnered the title of the “Standard of the World.” The DeVilles remain America’s favorite luxury cars in every respect. The Eldorado began as the Flagship and evolved into the finest personal luxury car in the world. Cadillac had a luxury car for every luxury car buyer…whether coupé, convertible coupé, sedan, or an opulent limousine – the only way to travel…was Cadillac-style. NotoriousLuxury salutes the traditional Cadillac…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

1956 Series 62 convt 3

Special thanks to the finest classic automobile dealers in the business: Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars, Bob Adams Classic Cars, Jim Hailey’s Classic Cars, MJC Classic Cars, Park Ward Motors Museum, and Matt Garrett & GM Classics. You are the best in the industry!

1956 Series 62 convt 5

1956 Series 62 convt 7

1956 Series 62 convt 6

“As the Standard of the World Turns”

Greg's World

NotoriousLuxury IS Greg’s World…

Retrospect: 1969 Eldorado vs 1969 MK III

Posted in Cadillac, Editorials, Lincoln with tags , , , , , , , on May 29, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

Fleetwood Eldorado vs Continental MK III


“AS the Standard of the World Turns” vs “The Bold & the Beautiful Lincolns” …. for the 21st century re-match





Even in retrospect…the ambivalence continues…the 1969 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado and the 1969 Lincoln Continental MK III were both the pinnacle of motoring and the absolute epitome of luxury. Which one was superior? This is a deliberate ambiguity of superlatives…so which was better? Each automobile had panache all their own, and a manner in which they discharged their luxury.

They challenged each other in a very rare arena. There was no other car at the time to challenge either. The Fleetwood Eldorado was considered a “grand tourer” and the Continental MK III was “a unique American personal luxury coupé.”

They were both classified as personal luxury automobiles. So which was the winner? They both were masterful motorcars…”As the Standard of the World Turns” challenges “The Bold & the beautiful Lincolns” in the 21st century…NotoriousLuxury style-


The 1969 Fleetwood Eldorado was a formidable opponent in any arena. It was the only automobile in the world to combine the precision of front wheel drive, the maneuverability of Variable Ratio Power Steering, the perfect balance of Automatic Level Control, and the efficiency of front disc brakes…all standard.

It was the most dramatic and highly desired new luxury car in automotive history. A Cadillac Eldorado was always the glamour car…the highly refined 1969 edition was no exception. The first generation front wheel drive Eldorados (1967-1970) are highly sought collectibles today. Style code #69347H Fleetwood Eldorado coupé had a base price of $6,693 with 23,333 built for the 1969 model year.



The 1969 Continental MK III was one hot item selling 7,770 units when it was introduced in April of 1968 as a 1969 model. An additional 23,088 were built for the 1969 calendar year bringing the grand total to 30,858. Body style code #65A VIN/Body serial code: 89 Continental MK III coupé had a base price of $6,585 and it was out-selling Cadillac as Lee Iacocca set out to achieve. It out-sold Cadillac by a short 7,000+ vehicles so we’re not talkin’ a landslide victory…


The Continental MK III was a unique American personal luxury coupé. Lee Iacocca instructed Design VP Gene Bordinat to “Put a Rolls Royce grille on a Thunderbird.” The result was the Continental MK III, a contemporary personal luxury automobile designed to compete with the Cadillac Eldorado. The MK III was also a lesson in economics. It was built on the four-door Ford Thunderbird platform.

The T-Bird was dying in the marketplace. The Continental MK III was an immediate success combining the high unit revenue of a luxury car with the low development costs and fixed cost amortizing utility of platform sharing. In plain English; Ford took the basics from a suffering model, applied luxury architecture and gave it a premium price…thus, a new luxury car with little or no start-up costs. Using a pre-existing platform to build a high-end model was genius. This smart move earned Ford almost $1 Billion in profit from Lincoln alone.





The Fleetwood Eldorado eliminated the concealed headlamps for a more refined appearance. The styling was almost verbatim since the 1967 re-design. The Eldorado had sleek chiseled architecture with definite Cadillac style…there was nothing else quite like it. From the sculpted nose to the shark-fin tail, the Fleetwood Eldorado was the world’s finest personal luxury car.

Its silhouette had a long hood and short rear deck. This styling made such a sensation that it was carried over into the Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood models for the 1969 & 1970 model years. Those Eldorado-inspired lines made both model years a success.

Just as the success of the 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado…it had to be seen to be believed, driven to be fully appreciated, and owned for total satisfaction…it took the automotive world by storm. For 1969, Cadillac introduced its all-time masterpiece…beautifully new and distinctively Cadillac.


1969 Hardtop Sedan deVille


1970 DeVille convertible


The Continental MK III for 1969 was the definitive luxury coupé. It was the most authoritatively styled, decisively individual motorcar of the 1960s. First…there was the original Lincoln Continental that was a huge success from 1939 through 1948. Then the Continental MK II seductively stole the show in 1956 & 1957.

The Continental MK III was the latest in the series of impeccably crafted motorcars that was built from 1969 through 1971. The bold front end design was highlighted with concealed dual headlamps and a Rolls Royce style radiator grille. Its long low-slung silhouette was augmented by knife-blade fenders running the length of the architecture.



The ersatz spare tire design was a signature feature for the Continental Mark Series. The MK III combined classic Lincoln DNA with a contemporary look for a one-of-a-kind stand-out in the crowd look. The hide-away headlamps and bold radiator grille treatment made the MK III a timeless classic.

The Continental MK III was designed to be one of the world’s most beautiful automobiles. It was long, road-huggingly low and luxuriously wide…which made the MK III true to its illustrious heritage. The 1969 Lincoln Continental MK III looks as good today as it did when it left the assembly line.




New to the auto industry for the 1969 model year was the ignition mounted to the steering column with a lock which was activated once the key was removed from the ignition. This new GM theft-deterrent lock system affected the steering wheel, ignition, and transmission.

Cadillac introduced a new interior ventilation system that eliminated the vent windows. The optional Automatic Climate Control was refined increasing airflow, heating & cooling capacity, while being whisper quiet even at peak settings. A new dash was designed placing all controls within the driver’s convenience.





The 1969 Fleetwood Eldorado offered sumptuous deep-seated comfort for six passengers. These were the most luxurious interiors in Cadillac’s history. Eldorado’s front wheel drive provided a flat floor attributing to its spaciousness. Newly designed high-back lounge seats came standard with folding center armrest and head restraints.

Also standard were power windows, power 2-way seat, Power steering, power brakes with front discs, courtesy lighting, remote control driver’s outside rear view mirror, and seat belts. These were just a few of the many features and accessories standard on the 1969 Fleetwood Eldorado. Available upholstery choices included cloth with leather or all leather. A number of options were available to make the Fleetwood Eldorado even more elegant.













The Continental MK III had and interior equally as luxurious as its exterior. Standard folding center armrests and individually adjustable front seating were part of the long list of standard luxury features and accessories. Ample head, leg, shoulder, and hip room in both front and rear compartments rivaled that of a four-door sedan. And there was the legendary Lincoln luxury that could not be expressed with words…

The Continental MK III cossets its passengers with power windows, power seats, Flow-Thru ventilation system, power steering, power brakes with front discs, luxurious nylon cut pile carpeting, with a choice of two cloth selections, or optional leather upholstery. The Continental MK III was the first American automobile to be equipped with a fine-jeweled, transistorized timepiece. It was styled and signed by the famous jeweler Cartier. The Continental MK III was all about class…















The 1969 Continental MK III was powered by the computer designed Ford 385-Series 16-valve pushrod V8 engine. The lightweight deep-breathing design was one of the most advanced V8 engines in the automotive industry.

This precision-engineered powerplant was equipped with an Autolite 4300 4-bbl carburetor and a dual exhaust system complete with dual mufflers and resonators. The engine was mated to the Ford C6 3-speed automatic Select-Shift transmission.

This potent V8 produced 365 hp @ 4,600 rpm, with 678 Nm of peak torque @ 2,800 rpm. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 7.7 seconds, 0-100 mph in 23.1 seconds and had a top speed of 131 mph.

The MK III did the ¼ mile @ 88 mph in 16.2 seconds. This type of robust performance was so typical of the “Spirited Seventies.” Even the luxury cars had high-performance, high-output engines.






The “Gilded One” was powered by Cadillac’s 7.7 litre 472 CID 16-valve OHV V8 engine. It was constructed with a cast iron block and heads, five main bearings, and hydraulic valve lifters.

It was equipped with a Rochester 4-bbl downdraft Quadrajet carburetor with equalized manifold, mechanical fuel pump, dry-type air filter, improved automatic choke, and AIR (Air-Injection Reactor) system to reduce hydrocarbons in exhaust.




The Cadillac 7.7 litre V8 produced 375 hp @ 4,400 rpm with 712 Nm of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 8 seconds, 0-100 mph in 21.8 seconds, and had a top speed of 126 mph. It did the ¼ mile @ 88 mph in 15.8 seconds. The engine was mated to GM’s Turbo Hydra-Matic THM-425 3-speed automatic front wheel drive transmission.





The Continental MK III was built as body on frame construction. This type of build was more cost efficient than the traditional unibody construction used by Lincoln since the 1958 model year. Unibody construction was strong but required special steps to reduce noise and vibration, not to mention it being extremely expensive in case of collision or corrosion repair. The MK III used the four-door Thunderbird platform, remember? The MK III also used the windshield, cowl, and front door glass as the T-Bird.



The Continental MK III rode on a long 117.2” wheelbase. It had the luxury length of 216” with a wide 79.4” stance. The longer wheelbase and tuned suspension gave the Lincoln a silicone-smooth ride that was noticeably smoother than the Cadillac magic carpet ride.





The 1969 Fleetwood Eldorado was built as body on frame construction. It had a new longer boxed perimeter frame with hidden bulkheads for torsional rigidity. The Eldorado used an exclusive frame to accommodate its front wheel drive, and its front & rear suspension.

The front suspension used forked upper and lower A-frame control arms with double-row ball bearings and torsion bar. The rear used single-leaf springs with two horizontal and two vertical shock absorbers. The suspension utilized rubber bushings throughout to isolate road noise while absorbing road vibration and impact, cancelling negative energy before it reached the passenger compartment.





The Fleetwood Eldorado rode upon a long 120” wheelbase. It had the luxury length of 221” and was 79.9” wide. Standard was Cadillac’s triple-braking system. The system used a power dual hydraulic master cylinder with a large two-piston power booster to facilitate independent front and rear operation.

The parking brake was a true auxiliary brake. It had a vacuum release that wouldn’t lock in place with the engine running and transmission in gear. This Cadillac power braking system was fitted with discs to the front axle and finned-composite rear drums. The brakes had a self-adjusting feature each time the car was driven in reverse and the brakes applied.


Both automobiles are exceptional. Each had their own style. Ford & GM have always been as different as night from day. For styling, the Continental MK III wins hands down, but the Eldorado gets honorable mention. The designers should have left the concealed headlamps on the Eldorado, it added to the car’s distinction. The svelte MK III was a bit more formal than the Eldorado.

The front end design of the MK III is what made the deciding factor along with the ersatz spare tire design and the unique rear styling. The Continental MK III was one of the world’s most beautiful automobiles. But then…so was the Eldorado. It was one of the most significant automotive designs of the entire 20th century. This genre Eldorado was one of the world’s most highly desired automobiles. Besides…those “shark fins” of the Eldorado really gave the MK III a run for its money! The MK III was definitely the victor in the styling arena.






For the engine, power and performance, the Fleetwood Eldorado was the obvious choice. Cadillac’s 472 CID 16-valve OHV V8 engine kicked out 375 hp with 712 Nm of peak torque compared to the Lincoln’s 460 CID 16-valve V8 engine’s 365 hp with 678 Nm of peak torque. The Cadillac was a few seconds slower than the Lincoln’s 0-60 mph in 7.7 vs Cadillac’s 8.0 seconds.

However, The Cadillac went from 0-100 in 21.8 seconds compared to the Lincoln’s 23.1 seconds. Both cars did the ¼ mile @ 88 mph but Cadillac did it in 15.8 seconds compared to the Lincoln’s 16.2 seconds. Both cars were equipped with 3-speed automatic transmissions and 4-bbl carburetors. Regarding fuel economy…t’was non-existent for the day, they both got NO miles to the gallon but who cared back then when the cost of a tank of gas was cheap…




In ride quality, the Continental MK III won without conjecture. There was nothing that could compare to that “greased-silicone” glide that a Lincoln featured. It was awesome, it put Cadillac’s magic carpet ride to shame. They both were built as body on frame construction using rubber bushings to isolate road noise and cushioning road impact thus cancelling negative energy.

They each rode long wheelbases, Cadillac at 120” vs Lincoln’s 117.2” wheelbase. The longer the wheelbase…the smoother the ride. They each were solidly built automobiles which added to their charismatic performances. These were luxury car behemoths. You really got more bang for your buck back then…unlike today’s surprise death-traps.


In comfort & convenience…Cadillac was the victor in this arena. From its newly designed high-back, deep-seated lounge seats, to the added spaciousness of its flat floors compliments of front wheel drive, the Fleetwood Eldorado was standard equipped “Standard of the World-style.”

Cadillac offered more features and accessories both standard and optional than any other luxury make. The MK III offered the electric timepiece styled by Cartier and a padded vinyl roof as standard equipment. The MK III was rich in options as well as standard equipment but it was the Caddy that ruled in this category. But then…Cadillac was always the luxury-leader.




Those were the days. Luxury automobiles were really luxury automobiles. Incredible styling, spirited performance, all wrapped up in a luxurious package. The 1969 Lincoln Continental MK III was the overall choice…with the 1969 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado not even a stone’s throw away… extremely close. This was a tough call because they both are outstanding examples of American motorcars.

Exclusivity and supremacy once ruled our luxury cars…they were the American lifestyle. But the positives are the fact that there are examples as these cars pictured, out there for sale in pristine condition. “As the Standard of the World Turns” will always battle “The Bold & the Beautiful Lincolns” as you will begin to see shortly…you never know what to expect from NotoriousLuxury!



These were the last of the breed…

1979 Cadillac Eldorado

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical with tags , , , , , on March 2, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

Eldorado was completely re-designed for 1979


The new breed of Eldorado was introduced for the 1979 model year. It had been re-designed from the ground-up. Eldorado was world-class luxury…first class, Cadillac-style. The trim new size increased its agility and overall performance. The Cadillac Eldorado was always the epitome of Cadillac luxury. The 1979 Eldorado was an impressively new performance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”



Front-wheel drive, Electronic Level Control, four-wheel disc brakes, Electronic Fuel Injection, and Automatic Climate Control were among the many standard features that made this a world-class automobile. The 1979 Eldorado was engineered to make efficient use of space. It had a new chassis, a new body, and a new engine.

This was the next generation of the Cadillac Eldorado. Its advanced engineering was due in no small part to its computer design. It took full advantage of the most advanced automotive technology to bring the 1979 Eldorado to a new precision size. The engineering objective was to reduce service complexity should it be required.




Every detail of the all-new 1979 Cadillac Eldorado made it one of the world’s best engineered automobiles. Its front-wheel drive provided optimum traction and stability, with the engine just above the drive wheels. Four-wheeled independent suspension allowed each wheel to react independently to road conditions providing a smoother ride.

The Electronic Fuel Injected engine used an on-board computer for spark selection. The 1979 Eldorado’s four-wheel disc braking system self-adjusted with each application, provided rapid heat dissipation, and guaranteed smooth, fade-free braking.

The Automatic Climate Control system automatically heated, cooled, and de-humidified the air at one touch of the temperature control. The compressor worked only when required. The 1979 Eldorado’s space efficient design provided more head and legroom than its 1978 predecessor.

Twilight Sentinel automatically turned lights on and off according to light conditions and included a timer to light one’s way to their door safely. Steel-belted wide whitewall tires were match-mounted to the wheels to reduce deflection and increase rolling smoothness.




The all-new 1979 Cadillac Eldorado was powered by the OLDSMOBILE 5.7 litre 350 CID 16-valve V8 engine. This Electronic Fuel Injected engine produced 170 hp @ 4,200 rpm with 365 Nm of peak torque @ 2,000 rpm. The engine was mated to GM’s Turbo Hydra-Matic THM-325 3-speed automatic transmission. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 11 seconds, 0-100 mph in 35.4 seconds with a top speed of 112 mph. It could do the ¼ mile @ 77 mph in 18.6 seconds.

The 5.7 litre Oldsmobile and the 6.0 litre Cadillac V8 for the 1980 model year were the last truly reliable engines for this genre. We were about to enter the decade of “extremely bad taste.” Cadillac had the audacity to offer a diesel engine which I absolutely refuse to address…yes, the era of extremely bad taste aka the kitschy-faux luxury cars of the ill-fated Eighties…






The 1979 Eldorado’s space efficient architecture was built as body on frame construction using Cadillac’s ladder-type frame with welded crossmembers. The all-new Eldorado used an independent torsion bar type front suspension with a link-type stabilizer bar. It was also modified to facilitate Eldorado’s front-wheel drive system.

Hydraulic direct action shock absorbers were fitted to the front and rear. The rear suspension used independent trailing arms with coil springs and self-leveling system dampers. This new breed Eldorado rode on a 114” wheelbase and was 204” in length, with a wide 71.4” stance.

The 1979 Eldorado not only had an all-new four-wheel independent suspension, it used four-wheel disc brakes as well. The system was set-up with single piston sliding calipers with ventilated discs fitted to all four wheels. Cadillac’s triple braking system was standard. The system used a dual hydraulic master cylinder with separate fluid chambers to provide independent front and rear operation. It used a tandem vacuum power booster.

The discs self-adjusted themselves each time the car was driven in reverse and the brakes applied. The parking brake had silent action and an automatic vacuum release. It was a true auxiliary brake since it wouldn’t lock with the engine running and car in gear.









The 1979 Eldorado was the first complete re-design since the 1971 model year. It was a trim 224 pounds lighter and 20 inches shorter than the car it replaced. The turning circle was five feet tighter. The Cadillac Eldorado was one of the cars that pioneered front-wheel drive.

The styling was unmistakably Cadillac with its long hood and short rear deck. It had a low-slung chiseled look with a hint of the iconic Cadillac tail fin at the rear. Its trim new size was perfect for today’s world. This new silhouette was most definitely Cadillac.







A Cadillac Eldorado has always been a car complete. The 1979 was no exception. Its many standard features included: Automatic Climate Control, power windows and door locks, Dual Comfort 50/45 power assisted front seating, Illuminated Entry system, Twilight Sentinel, Electronically tuned AM/FM Stereo Signal-Seeking radio with scanner and digital display, remote-controlled left & right rearview mirrors, Electronic Level Control, Electronic Fuel Injection, remote trunk release with power pull-down, cornering lamps, and wide whitewall steel-belted radials.

The Trip-master on-board computer system was an available option which provided digital read-outs regarding average miles per gallon, average speed, miles to destination, estimated arrival time, engine rpm, engine temperature, and electrical voltage. Other popular options for the 1979 model year included: Electronic Cruise Control, power recliners, Theft-Deterrent system, Tilt & Telescopic steering wheel, Firemist paint finishes, fuel monitor system, automatic door locks, and trumpet horn.




The ultimate expression of Eldorado for the 1979 model year was the Biarritz trim option package. Its signature exterior features included a stainless-steel front roof cap, Cabriolet vinyl roof treatment with chrome moldings, opera lamps, Biarritz scripts affixed to rear sail panels, accent striping, and cast aluminum wheels.

The interior featured hand stitched button-tufted pillow-style seating in either luxurious Dante cloth or five colors of supple leather. Plush Tangier carpeting was under foot. A leather trimmed steering wheel completed the look of elegance. The Biarritz was the epitome of Eldorado luxury.
















The 1979 Cadillac Eldorado was the new breed of this distinctive personal coupe. Eldorado was always the pinnacle of luxury on the grand Cadillac scale. The 1979 Eldorado was world-class in design and engineering. Standard front-wheel drive, four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, Electronic Fuel Injection, Electric Level Control, and Automatic Climate Control made this world-class coupe even more distinctive.

Its lower wind-cheating silhouette combined with its aerodynamic design not only optimized its maneuverability but fuel economy as well. It was designed for easier serviceability and fewer maintenance services. This was the new breed of drama…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”



Requiem For A Legend: 1978 Cadillac Eldorado

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Requiem For A Legend with tags , , , , , on March 1, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

This was the finale for the glamorous Cadillac Eldorado


The Season Finale for “As the Standard of the World Turns”





A Cadillac Eldorado was once the epitome of Cadillac elegance


It was farewell to another Cadillac legend for the 1978 model year. The classic Eldorado series was the last full-size version of this legendary icon. It was a car of unequaled luxury and roadability. The Eldorado, or “The Gilded One” was a superstar of the show. It was the largest automobile made by General Motors in 1978.

The Eldorado began as a fancy trim option for the Series Sixty-Two in 1953. Its special styling features were unique and would soon be shared by the rest of the Cadillac models. The Gilded One was a styling predictor and a showcase for Cadillac elegance and prestige. There will never be another automobile like the Cadillac Eldorado. This was the season finale…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”


The Cadillac Eldorado dominated the luxury car arena during the 1950s. An Eldorado was the most elegantly luxurious Cadillac in the model hierarchy. They were always built at a restricted pace for exclusivity…and on the grand Cadillac scale. Its inception in 1953 was so successful that it became its own series beginning the 1954 model year. The 1953 Eldorado convertible had a specially designed body with a variation from the Series Sixty-Two.

It had a gracefully sculpted body with a “cupid’s bow” lowering the body lines. A classy parade boot, panoramic windscreen, and Kelsey-Hayes long laced genuine wire wheels were signature Eldorado features.  It was so exclusive that it became the official inaugural parade car for President and Mrs. Eisenhower January of 1953. Only 532 were built making it extremely valuable not to mention rare. 



The 1953 Eldorado was the most expensive Cadillac at a staggering $7,750 which was a lot when other luxury went for far less. It was available in four exclusive colors: Aztec Red, Alpine White, Azure Blue, and Artisan Ochre which was a yellow hue not black as stated in its brochure.

The 1953 Series Sixty-Two Eldorado was a GM image car, they actually lost money on each vehicle built. The 1953 Eldorado was a spin-off of a 1952 GM Motorama show car. It was a joint styling venture of two star Cadillac designers Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell. They initiated the Eldorado revolution which remained popular until the haphazardly designed models after the 1985 model year.





The Cadillac Eldorado took on many forms of prestige during its heyday. It began as an elegant ragtop, and for the 1956 model year the fabulous Eldorado Seville was introduced as a hardtop coupe with a fancy Vicodec covered roof. The convertible was re-named Eldorado Biarritz. This formidable Eldorado team graced the luxury car scene until the 1960 model year when the Seville was drooped at the end of the model year production run.






The elegant Eldorado became an elite limited production hand-built hardtop sedan featuring a brushed stainless steel roof and forward opening rear coach doors for the 1957-1958 model years. Cadillac lost money on each built…there was an assembly line joke that suggested at the end of the production line, a $10,000 bill should be placed in the glove box for its new owners.

The Eldorado Brougham’s production was farmed out to Pininfarina of Italy for the 1959-1960 model years to cut costs. With the nature of its hand-crafted construction, it hung up the Fleetwood assembly lines too long. It was more cost-effective to produce the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special and Series Seventy-Five which were higher production targets bringing in more $$$.

Sadly, the 1959-1960 Eldorado Broughams did not have the quality fit and finish as the 1957-1958 Detroit models. Upon receipt from Italy, they usually had to be touched up sometimes repainted due to cracking lead used as body filler. The 1959-1960 models unlike the exclusive 1957-1958 models, shared various parts from the standard Cadillacs. 



















You GO Matt Garrett!!






The 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado was introduced shortly after the world debut of the 1966 front-wheel drive Oldsmobile Toronado. It was so successful that it took the automotive world by storm. GM pioneered the front-wheel drive system that the rest of the automotive world adopted. The Fleetwood Eldorado’s production ran from 1967 until its grisly demise in 2002 when it had become redundant and nondescript. The last Eldorado went into the Cadillac museum…..Why?









The 1978 Eldorado came standard equipped with front-wheel drive, four-wheel disc brakes, power steering, Electronic Level Control, AM/FM Signal Seeking Stereo radio with scanner and automatic power antenna, power windows and door locks, cornering lamps, six-way power seats, lamp monitors, steel-belted wide whitewall tires, Soft-Ray glass, quartz digital clock, and automatic parking brake release.


The 1978 Eldorado was powered by Cadillac’s 7.0 litre 425 CID 16-valve V8 engine mated to GM’s Turbo Hydra-Matic THM-425 3-speed automatic transmission. The engine had a cast iron block and heads, five main bearings, and hydraulic valve lifters. It came equipped with a Rochester 4-bbl Quadrajet, mechanical fuel pump, solid-state voltage regulator with integral 63 amp generator, and High Energy Ignition system with 8mm silicone insulated wiring. The engine produced 180 hp @ 4,000 rpm, with 434 Nm of peak torque @ 2,000 rpm. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 13.2 seconds, 0-100 mph in 46.6 seconds with a top speed of 113 mph. It could do the ¼ mile @ 75 mph in 19.4 seconds.












The 1978 Eldorado was the last Cadillac to be built ruggedly, unlike today’s biodegradable kitschy-faux luxury sedans. It used body on frame construction built upon a ladder-type frame with welded crossmembers. It had the luxury length of 224’, rode on a long 126.3” wheelbase, and was 79.8” wide. The front suspension used upper and lower control arms with independent torsion bar, link-type stabilizer bar, and hydraulic direct action shock absorbers. 

The rear suspension was set-up to accommodate electronic height control with specifically designed dampers. It was equipped with Cadillac’s four-link drive, coil springs, and hydraulic direct action shock absorbers. Superb engineering, advanced design, and dedication to excellence made the Cadillac Eldorado one of the most desired luxury cars. Cadillac’s magic carpet ride made it the car everyone wanted to own.

The Gilded One came standard with Cadillac’s triple braking system. The power hydraulic master cylinder utilized two separate chambers in the fluid reservoir for independent front and rear operation. The power booster used the “Hydro-Boost” system that worked in conjunction with the power steering pump.

Also standard was four-wheel ventilated disc brakes. Each disc had cooling fins to rapidly dissipate heat. It used single piston sliding calipers front and rear. The parking brake had silent action and an automatic vacuum release. It was a true auxiliary brake since it wouldn’t lock with the engine running and car in gear.











An elegant special edition was available for The Gilded One. The Eldorado Custom Biarritz was an ultra-luxurious expression of this magnificent motorcar. Its interior was upholstered with Sierra grain leather by Fleetwood. It was the epitome of grace and elegance.

Cadillac contoured pillow-style seating was available in five colors. Signature features included Dual Comfort front 50/50 seating, a Cabriolet roof treatment with frenched rear limousine-style window and French seams, opera  lamps, accent striping, color coordinated wheel discs, remote passenger side outside rearview mirror, and five distinctive exterior colors from which to choose.






















The Custom Biarritz Classic was the most luxurious version of the Biarritz options. This limited edition was designed to commemorate the end of an illustrious era in motoring. The distinguishing features that differentiated this opulent luxury group from the Biarritz was its two-toned leather upholstered interior in light beige and dark saddle with a leather steering wheel jacket, and a duo-toned exterior finish in Arizona Beige and Demitasse Brown Metallic.

Gold plated “Biarritz” nomenclature was affixed to each roof sail panel and rear deck lid. The 1978 Eldorado Custom Biarritz Classic was built at a restricted pace of 2,000 vehicles. It was outsourced to American Sunroof Corporation (ASC) out of Southgate, Michigan. The entire modification added five extra days to normal production time.























The Cadillac Eldorado was the world’s finest personal luxury car. It had to be seen to be believed…driven to be appreciated, and owned for total satisfaction. The 1978 Cadillac Eldorado was base priced at $11,921 and 46,816 were built. The Eldorado was a snapshot in time. A time when America was America and not a by-product as it is today.

The cars of yesterday, especially cars like the Cadillac Eldorado were driven daily without the thought of gasoline mileage. America had just exited the “Ward & June Cleaver/Ozzie & Harriet Nelson” era of the 1960s, we were half-way through the Spirited Seventies and lost our beloved land yachts to become victims of vicious, haphazardly down-sized hatchet jobs leaving America with elegant puddle jumpers. 







The 1978 Cadillac Eldorado was the last full-size Eldorado and GM’s last traditionally built luxury cars. The Eldorado was world-class with its 7.0 litre V8 engine, front wheel drive, Electronic Level Control, and Variable Ratio power steering all as standard equipment. This was the last of the magnificent Cadillac motorcars.

Equipped as a true Flagship, the 1978 Eldorado was a car complete…Cadillac-style. It was another nostalgic end of a grand motoring tradition. There will never, ever be another Eldorado. This exemplary encore performance deserved a standing ovation and was a requiem for the legend…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”



Tune in next season for the continuing saga of…”As the Standard of the World Turns.”