One Of 32 Ever Made Chevrolet El Morocco For Sale At Mecum Kissimmee: Video8
The stunningly restored Chevrolet El Morocco seen here is part of the Marv Siesel collection headed to the Mecum Collector Car Auction in Kissimmee, Florida, from January 7th to the 16th. It is believed to be the only surviving copy from the 1956 model year. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of a Chevrolet El Morocco, as it’s one of the rarest Bel Airs ever.
Reuben “Ruby” Allender was a millionaire businessman in Detroit. Ruby loved his 1955 Cadillac Eldorado convertible, and thought that more people should be able to enjoy such a magnificent car. The problem was few could afford such a conveyance. In 1955, an Eldorado ragtop could set you back over $7,000, not much less than the average house, versus around $2,000 for a Chevy. He had a vision of being able to create a “Cadillac for the working stiff,” or a “Bel Air Brougham.”
Allender began planning for his project in 1955 but didn’t start producing the Chevrolet El Morocco until 1956. He would build a smaller, lighter, more affordable car that was styled after Cadillacs. Allender wanted something that sounded like Eldorado, but didn’t want to wind up in trouble with Cadillac. There was a popular Manhattan night club called El Morocco, and that sounded close enough.
Using the Bel Air as the basis for his poor man’s Caddy, he grafted Eldorado-style tailfins to the rear and Eldorado moldings to the sides in back. He removed the Chevy grille and replaced it with an aluminum egg-crate style insert. The Chevy crest was removed, but the “V” emblem remained.
The Chevrolet lettering was replaced with El Morocco badges in the front and EL MOROCCO in block lettering on the rear deck. To the front bumper, Allender added large “Dagmar” bumper guards. Some of them were treated to a Cadillac-style exhaust that exited through the back bumper. A few El Moroccos were given Continental kits.
They all had radios, power steering, and power brakes. Running gear was left untouched, with Chevrolet 265 V8s in 1956, and the 283 in 1957, and all had Powerglide automatic transmissions.
By the time Allender put all the pieces together, the Chevrolet El Morocco was just too expensive for the average buyer. The price was too close to that of the Cadillac. Over the two-year span, somewhere between 32 and 34 (there seems to be some confusion over exactly how many) units of the Chevrolet El Morocco left the factory.
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Not a bad looking car. I feel it looks a little nicer with the top down.
Thank you for this. Very interesting. I never knew this existed.
This was kind of the Trans Am conversion on the modern Camaro of that era.
They tried to make a Chevy into a Cadillac and by the time they were done for the money you should have just got the Cadillac.
The 1957 was the best version. It fit the conversion better.
It was just an answer to a question the market never asked and just did not work out.
Today they really are special as so few were made. I have only seen a couple in person. People are always wanting to find a rare car and this truly is one.
I’ve seen a couple of 57s before but never knew there was one made in 56. I have to say, I like the 56 better. I had a 55 Eldorado convert a long time ago. I really loved that car. The 56 El Morocco is much more reminiscent of the 55 Eldorado. Whoever is the next custodian of this car is a lucky person.
It appears to me that, there is something wrong with this car.
The fins and tail lights were not available in 1956, as they
first appeared on the 1959 Cadillac for one year only.
Having been an Engineer at Cadillac for 17 years beginning in 1955
and watched the evolution of the fins, tail lights, grills and bumper guards
I question the dates mentioned for the build of this car.
We’re talking about the Eldorado, not the DeVille. Go look at a picture.
A ’57 was for sale in Hemmings a few years back. Think it was dark blue with a silver/gray roof. If memory serves me correctly it was for sale for $149,000.
Thought it was a 4-door but I could be wrong seeing this ’56 & the ’57 in another article.
I believe it was styled somewhat after a ’57 Cadillac Brougham.
That main problem was in ’58 GM converted the Chevy into a discounted Cadillac by themselves and had luxury buyers wondering “why I’m buying a Cadillac?” In which IMO started the downward slide in American luxury.