The Eldorado is an automotive institution, having been a stylish presence for the second half of the 20th century. The name appeared in 1953 and had covered a multitude of models before the last Eldorado rolled off the line in 2002. However, they all had one thing in common — they were Cadillac’s pampered playboys in the personal luxury car segment of the market.
That was a strange but lucrative niche reserved for image-conscious buyers who wanted a smack-you-in-the-eye luxury car with oodles of style, at the expense of trifling practical concerns like boot space and good leg room for back-seat passengers.
This egocentric market was booming in 1967, when the fourth generation Eldorado was radically reworked. It shared a GM E-body with the Olds Toronado and also had that model’s front-wheel drive system and Powerplant Package.
The launch saw a car with an endless bonnet covering a hefty 7 litre engine, a short cabin and stubby rear end. The headlights were hidden and the front end sported a jutting triangle in the centre, giving this crouching speedster an aggressive appearance. And speedy it was, capable of rocketing well past the ton’ with blistering acceleration to match. As would be expected by those please-themselves owners, handling and road holding were exceptional, too.
Next year, there were cosmetic styling tweaks — and an even larger V8 motor. The 1969 advances saw the hidden headlamps appear, along with flashy options like a (then sensational) vinyl roof and a power sunroof. For the last year before another major revamp, the Eldorado acquired the ultimate boy’s toy — a massive 8.2 litre engine that remained exclusive until it was adopted by the other big Caddies in 1975. This was the biggest production V8 ever made, and its cachet ensured that Eldorado sales remained brisk.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
(Fourth generation) 1967 (until 1970)
7.0 I (429 cid), 7.7 I (472 cid) or 8.2 (500 cid) V8
Top speed of 120 mph (193 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 8.9 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
The personal luxury car was a creature of the 20th century although the Eldorado lingered on into the 21st century (just!) competitors like the Oldsmobile Toronado, Ford Thunderbird, Lincoln Mark and Buick Riviera had perished in the 1990s, predeceased by the Chrysler Cordoba in 1983.