Cadillac Eldorado

The famous Cadillac car brand name Eldorado originates from the Spanish words "el dorado", meaning the golden one. According to the legend, it was the title originally given to the legendary chief of a South American Indian tribe because of the tradition of being sprinkled with gold dust on ceremonial occasions.

The chief would wash them off by diving into a lake to the delight of his followers. Popular culture also connects the name with a legendary city of incredible wealth located somewhere in South America. Same legends of the golden city inspired many European expeditions, including Sir Walter Raleigh expedition to the Orinoco River.

A proposal to name the new limited-edition convertible model Eldorado was originally given Mary-Ann Marini, a secretary in the Cadillac merchandising department, when they held an in-house competition. The name was proposed for a special show car built in 1952 to mark Cadillac's Golden Anniversary and was added to the product line in 1953.

The top of the line 1953 Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado was one of three specialty convertibles produced in 1953 by General Motors, the other two being the Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta and the Buick Roadmaster Skylark.

The Eldorado was a special-bodied convertible produced in only 532 units. The original was a production version of the 1952 El Dorado "Golden Anniversary" concept car, with full assortment of deluxe accessories, including wire wheels, the wraparound windshield and a cut-down beltline to Cadillac standard production, the latter signifying a dip in the sheetmetal at the bottom of the side windows.

These two details were favorites of the General Motors Styling Chief Harley Earl and were subsequently widely copied by other brands. Eldorado was available in four unique colors: Aztec Red, Alpine White, Azure Blue and Artisan Ochre. Convertible tops were available in either black or white Orlon. There was no special badge on the car, besides the "Eldorado" nameplate in the center of the dash created in color of gold. A hard tonneau cover, flush with the rear deck, hid the top in the open car version.

Model performance

Even though Cadillac Eldorado was a subseries of the Cadillac Series 62 and technically based on the regular Series 62 convertible with the same engine, the price per unit was almost doubled at US $7,750. The particular model car was 220.8 inches (5,610 mm) long and 80.1 inches (2,030 mm) wide, with standard equipment including windshield washers, a signal seeking radio, power windows and a heater.

Throughout the 1950s, Cadillac Eldorado was the industry styling leader. In 1954, Eldorado lost its unique sheet metal, sharing its basic body shell with standard Cadillac models.

Distinguished by mere trim pieces, General Motors could now lower the price and achieve a substantial increase in sales. The Eldorado were famous for their golden identifying crests centered directly behind the air-slot fenderbreaks and wide fluted beauty panels which decorated the lower rear bodysides. Also included in the production Eldorado convertible were monogram plates on the doors, wire wheels, and custom interior trimmings with the Cadillac crest embossed on the seat bolsters.

In 1976, when all other domestic convertibles had virtually vanished, General Motors heavily promoted Eldorado as the American automotive industry's last remaining convertible. Over 14,000 units were, many of which were purchased as investments. The final 200 convertibles produced were designated as "Bicentennial Edition" commemorating America's 200th birthday. These cars were white with a dual-color red/blue pinstripe along the upper bodyside.

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