1982 Cadillac Eldorado: (Ninth Generation: 1979-85) For 1979, a new, trimmer Eldorado was introduced, and for the first time the car shared its chassis with the Buick Riviera as well as the Toronado. Smaller 350 and 368 in³ (5.7 and 6.0 L) V8's replaced the 500 and 425 in³ (8.2 and 7.0 L) of the preceding model, giving better fuel efficiency. For 1979, it was offered only with the Oldsmobile 350 as standard, with the diesel 350 available as an option.
In 1980, the gas 350 was replaced with the Cadillac 368 except in California, where the Olds 350 was retained for that year. In both the 1980 Seville and Eldorado (which shared their frames), the 368s in 1980 came with DEFI, whereas for the larger RWD Cadillacs, the 368 only came with a 4-barrel Quadrajet carburetor. Independent rear suspension was adopted, helping retain rear-seat and trunk room in the smaller body. The most notable styling touch was an extreme notchback roofline, making the rear window almost vertical. The Eldorado Biarritz model resurrected the stainless-steel roof concept from the first Brougham. Although downsized, these Eldorados were still substantial-sized cars with good room and power. Contrary to the current body design of the time, the Eldorado continued to feature frameless door glass, and the rear quarter windows re-appeared as they did before 1971, without a thick "B" pillar. However, these cars were not true hardtops, as the rear quarter windows were fixed and could not be rolled down. Most people probably didn't even notice, since air conditioning was de rigueur for all the cars, and the coupe featured "hospital zone" quietness with the windows closed. Sales set a new record at 67,436.
For 1981, Cadillac began offering the V8-6-4 variable displacement variant of the 368 engine, which was designed to deactivate some cylinders when full power was not needed, helping meet GM's obligations under the government fuel economy ("CAFE") standards. Unfortunately, it did not work as planned, and sometimes did not work at all. It was a reduced bore version of the 1968 model-year 472, sharing that engine's stroke and also that of the model-year 1977–1979 425. The engine itself was extremely rugged and durable, but its complex electronics were the source of customer complaints.
Another problem with the 1981 model year was an unexplained balancing problem that affected the vehicle's overall handling. GM corrected this issue by installing a large, heavy steel plate under the driver's seat, a fact made popular by 1995's film Casino. The film's leading man Robert De Niro survives a bomb explosion, where the explosive had been attached to his 1981 Eldorado's undercarriage, on the driver's side, with that steel plate effectively shielding his driver seat from the blast beneath; the steel plate is credited with saving his life. The film, including the Eldorado explosion incident, is based upon Frank Rosenthal's life story.
Another problematic engine was introduced for 1982. The 4.1 L HT-4100 was an in-house design that mated cast-iron heads to an aluminum block. HT-4100s failed in large numbers and many were replaced under warranty.
1981 was the first year electronic "digital" instrumentation was an available option. In addition to the digital electronic climate control that was standard on all Eldorados, the standard analog speedometer and fuel gauges could be replaced with a digital display showing speed in a single, precise, and instant number and a fuel gauge that would read the number of gallons of fuel remaining in the gas tank and another gauge showing approximately how many miles can be driven on it.
In 1984, Cadillac also introduced a convertible version of Eldorado Biarritz. It was 200 pounds (91 kg) heavier, but featured the same interior as other Biarritz versions. The model year of 1985 was the last year for the ASC, Inc., aftermarket conversion Eldorado convertible. Because of its limited edition (around 3000 total), the convertible models are now highly sought after by numerous collectors. Total sales set an all time record of 77,806, accounting for about 26% of all Cadillacs sold.
Prior to the 'official' 1984 and 1985 Eldorado convertibles marketed by Cadillac, some 1979-83 Eldorados were made into coach convertibles by independent coachbuilders e.g. American Sunroof Corporation, Custom Coach (Lima, Ohio - this coachbuilder turned a few 1977 and 1978 Eldorados into convertibles), Hess & Eisenhardt. The same coachbuilders also converted the Oldsmobile Toronado and Buick Riviera into a ragtop.
Late in the 1985 model year, an optional 'Commemorative Edition' package was announced, in honor of the last year of production for this version of the Eldorado. Exclusive features included gold-tone script and tail-lamp emblems, specific sail panel badges, gold-background wheel center caps, and a "Commemorative Edition" badge on the steering wheel horn pad. Leather upholstery (available in Dark Blue or White, or a two-tone with Dark Blue and White) was included in the package, along with a Dark Blue dashboard and carpeting. Exterior colors were Cotillion White or Commodore Blue.
Source: Wikipedia, 2012