Cadillac Eldorado Supercharged Convertible
1953 will forever serve as a high-water mark for General Motors, a year when the finest styling features of the company’s sexy Motorama dream cars were finally offered to the American public.
Four of GM’s divisions introduced premium-priced, limited-production convertibles in ’53 whose names would become legends in the industry. Buick’s Skylark (full name: Model 76X Skylark Anniversary Convertible) was essentially a Roadmaster convertible with a lower profile and Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels whose fenders and doors were modified in the fashion of California’s custom culture. Oldsmobile’s Fiesta was the ultimate version of the company’s Ninety-Eight Series droptop with every factory option except air conditioning. Chevrolet’s Corvette was a two-seat sports car that – despite a less-than-stellar inline six-cylinder engine – would introduce generations of Americans to the romance of the open road.
Then, there was the Eldorado, “the most exciting car ever built,” according to the modest Cadillac Data Book for 1953. Based on the 1952 Motorama show car that celebrated Cadillac’s 1902 founding a half-century earlier, the Eldorado brought to production many of its custom charms, such as jet-like fender scoops, power antennae, and subdued badging. Chromed bumper bullets from GM’s Le Sabre dream car of 1951 found their way to the Eldorado’s front design.
What each of the 532 Eldorado buyers received was a personal-luxury convertible whose body only shared fenders, trunk lid and floorpan with Cadillac’s standard $4,144 ragtop. Ordering the Eldorado brought a custom-made hood, cowl, doors and body shell, as well as the company’s first wraparound windshield – similar, but not identical, to the innovative glass on that year’s Olds Fiesta. The hydraulic convertible top, when lowered, disappeared completely below a hard metal cover. Standard fender skirts hid the top halves of the stock Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels.
Cadillac’s standard Series 62 convertible and Eldorado shared a 126-inch wheelbase and 220.8-inch overall length. The Eldorado’s cut-down doors and body and a one-inch-lower suspension made the special car three inches shorter in overall height (58-1/8 inches), which only visually reduced its perceived weight. The Eldorado actually weighed 300 pounds more than the standard convertible, which carried a host of otherwise optional equipment such as power windows, steering and seat; whitewall tires; wire wheels; fog lights; outside mirror; and top-line radio. “Gilded one,” indeed!
Cadillac offered the Eldorado in four model-specific colors: Alpine White, Azure Blue, Aztec Red and Artisan Ochre (a yellow tone), although 70 cars were delivered in other colors from that year’s Cadillac palette. Crease-resistant synthetic Orlon tops were available in either Black or White, and there were six leather interior combinations.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in November of 2010 at the Robson Estate, Gainesville, Georgia.
300 hp, 331 cu. in. overhead-valve V-8 engine, 8.25:1 compression, 4-71 supercharger, Hydra-Matic transmission, Borrani wire wheels, 3.07:1 rear axle, four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Aaron Summerfield