Last week we marveled at Ken Brehler’s lovely, lumbering 1975 Cadillac Eldorado. It reminded us that the Eldorado was at one time the epitome of Americana and still remains one of the most storied names in automobile history. Today, we reveal five little-known facts about the one-time king of cool, according to Hagerty:
1) The Cadillac Eldorado was the first American car with quad headlamps.
Up until the late 1950s, laws required all American vehicles to use two sealed-beam headlights about seven inches in diameter. By 1958 quad headlights came into vogue; even the Corvette donned quadruple lights that year. However, the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham was the first to gain a four-eyed face.
2) It was once one of the most expensive and opulent cars in the world.
The aforementioned 1957 Eldorado Brougham was hand-built, and came stuffed with nearly every conceivable luxury option available during the time. Self-leveling suspension? Check. Air conditioning? Check. Stainless steel roof and lamb’s wool carpeting? You’d better believe it. Plus, with sticker price of $13,000 ($110,000 today), it cost even more than a Roll-Royce.
3) It was the only American convertible for eight-years.
The 1976 Eldorado was the only American convertible until the 1984 model year, according to Hagerty. The federal government drafted a batch of new safety legislation that would have killed the convertible if enacted, and many automakers killed off their droptops preemptively. The last from GM died in 1975-76. However, GM continued to produce the Eldorado and marketed it as “the last convertible.” Collectors flocked to snatch them up.
4) It initiated a class action lawsuit.
Customers who purchased 1976 Cadillac Eldorados were furious when GM introduced a convertible option on the new, smaller Eldorado and Buick Riviera; their coveted convertibles were suddenly commonplace once again. Consequently, owners filed a class action lawsuit against the company, but the lawsuit was immediately thrown out as groundless.
5) It came with largest-ever production American V8 engine.
Believe or not, the 1970 Eldorado was offered with a 500 cubic-inch V8 engine (appx. 8.2L) that drove 400 hp through– again, believe or not– the front wheels. Torque steer, anyone?