The 1959 Cadillac Eldorado
ELDORADO - THE CROWN JEWEL

Eldorado - The Crown Jewel

     Cadillac was the most successful post-war luxury car manufacturer in the world. From this position of strength in the early fifties, Cadillac created a special limited production model that not only had special high performance and luxury features, but also introduced the styling themes of the future. It was named after the fabled land of gold in the Americas that centuries of explorers had yearned for - ELDORADO.

     From the start, Eldorado captured the imagination of the American public. For many, it was the embodiment of the "American Dream". Only a few hundred Eldorados were built in 1953. Although few in number, the Eldorados set styling trends that molded the entire industry for years to come by introducing wrap-around windshields, dropped door lines, and convertible tops that disappeared under hardcovers. By 1958, Eldorados had also introduced forged aluminum wheels, quad headlights, "shark" fins, memory seats, and self-leveling suspensions.

     However, the 1959 Eldorado is considered by most to be the grandest Eldorado of all. It cost nearly much as four full size Chevrolets, but that's irrelevant to its place in history. With its three-carbureted, 10.5:1 compression ratio, high-performance "Q" engine, it was probably the world's most powerful production car in 1959. Its full air suspension provided front and rear automatic-leveling and also provided multiple lift functions at the driver's command. It was the most advanced and sophisticated suspension system in the world.

     An incredible array of luxury features accompanied each Eldorado. In addition to the standard power windows, power seats, power brakes, and power steering, Eldorados had power vent windows, power trunk release, power trunk pull-down, power antenna, signal seeking automatic radio, 3-way rear view mirrors, heater ducts running to the rear seats, and integral fog lamps. Also available were power door locks and the first cruise controls, which had more functions than cruise controls in cars today.

     The cost, performance, and luxury features were awe inspiring in themselves, but the 1959 Cadillac's place in history is due to its unrestrained styling, particularly the fins - it is clearly the most opulently finned car ever made. Automotive historians judge the 1959 Cadillac to be the most extravagantly styled production car of all time, and the Eldorado is the creme de la creme of the 1959 Cadillacs.

     Only the Eldorado has a beautiful polished stainless steel band sweeping back from the front windshield, encircling the rear quarters and returning forward on the rocker panels. This accents the rise of the fins and the fuselage-like contours of the body, complimenting the styling more gracefully than the single narrow strip of trim work which ran along the side of standard Cadillacs. Eldorados also feature a three tiered rear grill, which, along with the front grill, have over five hundred components. Cadillac didn't stop here. There are many other embellishments to the exterior and interior. Check out "The Gagnon Murder Car" to see the lowest mileage 1959 Eldorado in existence.

     The tall finned Eldorados came in two models. The Eldorado Biarritz is the convertible. I've owned several, including Dagmar's Persian Sand car. They are stunning collector cars, Sunday drivers or parade cars. Very good looking 1959 Biarritz models sell in the six-figure range. The Seville is the two door hardtop coupe, and it has important display advantages as a show car or museum car. The smooth, sweeping, pillar-less roof line of the Seville compliments the styling contours of the body and fins -- and styling is what 1959 Cadillac are prized for. Furthermore, the Seville is the rarest of the tall finned Cadillacs (Broughams were shorter-finned models). Eldorado Seville production totaled only 975, and models in excellent condition are rarely found today.

Click For A Larger View THE SWEEPING LINES OF THE SEVILLE (Click photo for larger view)
Click For A Larger View THE KING OF FINNED CARS
(Click photo for larger view)
Click For A Larger View GRILLS ARE MADE OF MORE THAN 500 PIECES (Click photo for larger view)

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