Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
General Motors scored a hat trick with the 1953 Motorama traveling shows. All three of the upscale divisions, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac, had prestige convertible “idea cars,” dramatic in design but close enough to the production models that they were ready to manufacture. Named Fiesta, Skylark and Eldorado, respectively, they entered limited production during the year. Based on the Series 62 convertible, the Eldorado differed in having a wrap-around windshield, a portent of GM’s future; a distinctive dipped cockpit contour; and a hard “parade boot” to cover the top when lowered. Just 532 were built at a price 90 percent above that of the Series 62 droptop.
For 1954, all Cadillacs had wrap-around windshields, and the Eldorado adopted the standard 62 body contours. Distinctive side-trim now distinguished the car, and at just $1,300 more than the 62 convertible, it was much more affordable. For 1955, the Eldorado previewed the “rocket ship” tailfins that would eventually be adopted across the board, and Sabre Spoke cast wheels replaced the wires of earlier Eldos. A higher-performance engine with dual four-barrel carburetors was now standard and exclusive.
The success of the Eldorado inspired the creation of a companion style, a hardtop coupe, for 1956. To distinguish the two, the coupe was designated “Seville” and the convertible the glitzier-sounding “Biarritz.” Interestingly, the coupe outsold the convertible, 3,900 to 2,150, although they were priced exactly the same.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2010 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida and in January of 2011 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
305 bhp, 365 cu. in. ohv V-8 engine, four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 129"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel