Category Archives: Cadillac Eldorado

The Standard of the World (sometimes)

Caddy affords older fellas a chance to do some Harry Stylin'

Swell Caddy affords post-teen dudes a chance to do some Harry Stylin’

Apart from a car show or museum display it’s not often that one encounters a pristine 1960 Cadillac Series 62 convertible, as we did the other day.   Loaded with four madcap guys (one of whom was actually wearing a mad cap), it was about to depart when we nailed down these shots.  To their credit, the driver and passengers offered to get out of their topless land whale for our impromptu photo session but we thought the cause was better served with all four fun and sun seekers aboard.  In this instance size not only matters but is most noteworthy:  the car weighs over 5,000 lbs and measures 225 inches from bumper to bumper. Yes, it’s two and a half tons of fun and almost nineteen feet of over-the-top mid century American excess and we love it.

Partying like it 1960

Partying like it 1960

The  fins on ’60 Cadillac were less pronounced and sleeker than those on its legendary ’59 rolling jukebox predecessor.  The Eisenhower years were drawing to a close and fins were out of place during the time of the New Frontier and a new sense of sleekness became the order of the day. We covered another ’60 Cadillac, a six-window sedan, in an earlier post.  Sure, it could use a little “work” — can’t we all? —  but it still has gobs of presence!

Six windows and counting

Six windows and counting

Peter Andrews, Feral Cars Field Scout extraordinaire, found this ’76 Eldorado convertible that dates from the model year Cadillac claimed it was building “the last convertible.”  It made up for its lack of fins with an elongated hood that was more akin to the prow of a Navy destroyer.  We’re still not sure we can get our heads around a Caddy convertible without fender skirts but, as Le Sieur Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac,  the French explorer who founded Detroit in 1701, might have said, “chacun à son goût.”

Big, bigger, biggest

“Last” but not least

American front

American front

We go from the sublime and larger-than-life to the commonplace and hum drum.  It’s a (sort of) Cadillac.. a Catera, one of Cadillac’s numerous attempts at marketing a small car with a Cadillac crest (actually Antoine de la Mothe’s coat-of-arm) affixed.  It was actually a re-badged Opel Omega made not in Detroit but rather in Rüsselsheim. These were sold for a few years, starting in the mid ’90s,  to compete with Mercedes Benz and BMW.  Hey, they were made in Germany but that’s where the comparison, sadly, ends.

It doesn't look or smell like a Cadillac so it it really?

If it doesn’t look or smell like a Cadillac so is it really a Cadillac?

This does give us an excuse to link to the TV commercial in which supermodel Cindy Crawford, decked out like a dominatrix,  launched “the Caddy that zigs” campaign though no actual explanation was ever provided about what that was supposed to mean.  The spot debuted on the Super Bowl and was shortly withdrawn thereafter “because of concerns that the ad might offend women.”  Was it that wolf whistle on the soundtrack?  The boots?  The black leather mini dress?

Says here it's a Cadillac but it is?

Says here it is…

We found this pink Mary Kay Cadillac of fairly recent vintage that should, by all rights, offend men and anybody else with a semblance of taste. It’s a patriotic-themed horror show and we only wish that Mary Kay (the company — not the actual Mary Kay who died, bouffant ‘do still in place, in 2001) would switch to some foreign brand.  We’re thinking  a pink Hyundai Equus — their spelling, not ours — should be used as the incentive to give distributors who sell over a $100,000 worth of their face paint per year.  We have our national dignity to maintain!

Think pink (and red, white and blue)

Think pink (and red, white and blue)

Seriously, we think highly of Cadillac, the slogan for which was “The Standard of the World.” This downsized ’83 Eldorado Biarritz doesn’t really seem to true to that credo, thanks to dulled paint and a vinyl roof that is “bleeding” rust.

Eldo with "issues"

Substandard of the World

Eldo-rot-o

Eldo-rot-o

We don’t like to “pile on” but couldn’t resist providing this portrait of abject decay: an ’84 Eldorado convertible with some needs.  See?  They lied when they said the ’76 was going to be the last Caddy ragtop but, based on this tawdry example, maybe they should have really called it quits in that bicentennial year.

Trash-o Eldo

Trash-o Eldo

Illin' grill

Emergency automotive orthodontics, STAT!

Let’s bring our Cadillac celebration to a conclusion on an upbeat note.  It’s an Allanté, a two seater roadster that Cadillac introduced in 1986 to compete with the Mercedes Benz SL.

Italo-American

Italo-American

The design was by  Carozzeria Pininfarina and they actually manufactured the bodies  in Turin and shipped them back to Detroit, 56 at a time, on specially fitted Alitalia and Lufthansa Boeing 747s. Back in the USA these fetching Italian bodies were mated with chassis and power trains.  The Allanté Air Bridge lasted a few years after which production, sexy Italian-designed body and domestic mechanical soul, went totally domestic.

No dropa the car!

Ciao bella!

This one is a ’93, the last year of production and the only one in which the car was equipped with Cadillac’s vaunted North Star System, a marketing handle for a 4.6 liter dual overhead cam V8, rated at 295 hp.  In typical GM fashion, they got it “right” just as they decided to walk away from the ideal. A total of 21,430 units were built over the course of eight model years.

Information overload

Badges of honor or information overload?

Check out this utopian Allanté Air Bridge video.  See?  We can all get along!

Lastly, if ever a car could be thought of as aspirational it’s a Cadillac convertible such as the spiffy ’60 model that started this post.  You can avail yourself of that same Cadillac lifestyle for a measly $49,900 — that’s less than $50,000! — by buying this nice white one on offer in nearby Frankfort, IL.  It’s your duty to uphold The Standard of the World.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

 

Big daddy Caddys

“White Walls,” the current hit by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is very much an homage to the Cadillac brand and its relationship to past and current generations.  Check out the official video.

Hip Cadillac-themed hip hop

Hip Cadillac-themed hip hop

We’ve long admired GM’s “Standard of the World” which endures despite the never ending onslaught (aunschuss, wenn sie müssen) from German, English, Japanese and now Koreans marques.  Macklemore and company’s rap reminds us that cool Caddys abound, perhaps because owners of less than pristine (read: gone to seed) examples are loathe to sentence such once grand conveyances to the crusher.  It just seems less than patriotic to trash ’em so there are quite a few trashy ones around.

Booted beauty

Booted beauty

This ’63 DeVille in Frost Green isn’t going places and not because its 390 cubic inch high compression V8, rated at 325 horsepower, generating 430 pound feet of torque, is not up to the task.  See that pile of parking tickets under the wiper?  It’s matched by a “Denver boot” immobility device affixed to the left front wheel.  Let’s hope it’s out of the clink soon.

Yes, they're all bluish.. it's 'Flahriddahr,' after all

Yes, they’re all bluish.. it’s ‘Flahriddahr,’ after all

Meanwhile, here’s a Ron and Nancy era Eldorado in the midst of an “Alligator Alley” trailer park down fabulous Florida way. Yes, that faux convertible top, complete with “hungry steer” ribbing and fake wire wheels actually do make it go faster.  At least that’s what the crowd of nutty revelers seen both in and out of the car told us.

With all due respect – and we mean no harm –  to fakey-doo rag top lovers, there’s nothing like a real topless Caddy.  Preferably in white.

Really stacked! The headlights, that is.

Really stacked! The headlights, that is.

This ’68 sports a read leather interior that has obviously been subjected to the elements over the course of the past 45 years.  We think it’s soulful in a Paul Newman-as-Hud kind of way.

Rather ripped and not ashamed of it

Rather ripped and not ashamed of it

But the other side of the Caddy coin is reflected most brilliantly in this ’77 Eldorado, a Hollywood Regency-styled behemoth with presence to spare.  The colonnadestyle coupe is incomprehensibly huge, its footprint obscures more than 115 square feet of the planet and it weighs 5,000 lbs.   The motor is, accordingly, gargantuan at an even 7 liters, down from 8.2 liters (!) the year before, driving the front wheels.  Dig that opera light and rear quarter panel peek-a-boo window.  Marie Antoinette would feel right at home in this decadent milieu.

Swelleganza!

Swelleganza!

Natch, when they painted it they made a double batch of Naples Yellow and made the chrome rimmed wheel covers match.  Now, that’s ‘swank’ definitively defined.

Caddy's the wheel deal

Caddy’s the wheel deal

Cadillac is synonymous with “B-I-G” and this commercial for the Fleetwood Brougham, already a rolling anachronism in 1986, was selling just that: “the longest regular production car and full sized comfort for six adults”

Lastly, may we suggest you seriously consider the purchase of a fine motor car built by the Cadillac Motor Division of General Motors Corporation?  Here’s a delightful Carolina-based ’57 Caddy that’s a great value (Buy it now: $9500).  You only get one life so don’t put this off!