The Cadillac Eldorado story actually begins way back in 1952 with the Series 62, which followed the lines of many post-war American models of a rounded plump body. The most famous incarnation of the Eldorado is often cited as the 1959 Eldorado, with its long smooth body, dripping with chrome and powered by the finest engine General Motors could dig up, even if it did consume gasoline like it was going out of fashion, but that of course was very much the fashion at the time! Over the years though the Eldorado’s beautiful contours and lines gave way to the angles of the late 60’s and 70’s. In this period size was everything, and a whopping great coupé at a length of 18 feet was just what the road going United States wanted, fuel crisis or not!
The 1980’s, like with seemingly all big American cars, brought this trend to an end, and the model prior to this one, the 1986 edition, downsized the car heavily as the desire for smaller, less consumptive vehicles was desired. Even engine sizes went down, from a hulking 6.0L V8 from the previous model, to a 4.1L V8 in the next.
The Eldorado for the 1992 Model year, the 10th Generation, was to be something completely new. Angles were no longer the order of the day as these were the happy-flappy 90’s (for a while), and so the style became a mixture of curves and angles. Design was carried out by Dick Ruzzin in 1990, with styling cues taken from the 1988 Cadillac Solitare show car. It was significantly larger than its predecessor – approximately 11″ longer, 3″ wider, and substantially heavier. Window glass was once again frameless, and shortly after introduction Cadillac’s new Northstar 4.6L V8 became available in both 270 and 295hp variants, replacing the 200hp 4.9L. In comparison to the previous generation, the new Eldorado was comparitavely a hit in the sales, but not in the same way as those golden oldie’s of the 1950’s and 60’s.
The Eldorado continued for the rest of the decade with incremental changes and tapering sales. A passenger side airbag was added as standard equipment in 1993. Styling was freshened in 1995, with updated bumpers front and rear, side cladding, and a new grille. In 1996 the interior received attention, with a new upholstery style, larger analog gauge cluster, relocated climate control system, and updated stereo faces.
In 1997, the Integrated Chassis Control System was added. It involved microprocessor integration of engine, traction control, Stabilitrak electronic stability control, steering, and adaptive continuously variable road sensing suspension CVRSS, with the intent of improving responsiveness to driver input, performance, and overall safety. Similar to Toyota/Lexus Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management VDIM.
In the wake of declining sales, circulating reports that the Eldorado would get a redesign for 1999, similar to that which the Seville underwent for 1998, would prove false as the car soldiered on largely unchanged into the new millennium, although it did get some upgrades from the 1999 Seville.
In 2001 GM announced that the Eldorado’s 50th model year (2002) would be its last. To mark the end of the nameplate, a limited production run of 1,596 cars in red or white – the colors available on the original 1953 convertible – were produced in three batches of 532, signifying the Eldorado’s first year of production. These last cars featured specially tuned exhaust notes imitating their forerunners from a half-century earlier, and a dash-mounted plaque indicating each car’s sequence in production. The end of the road for the Eldorado range came on April 22nd, 2002, with the Lansing Craft Centre retooled to build the Chevrolet SSR.
In my honest opinion this car is sensational to look at, a true staple of its early 90’s time with a mixture of wind-tunnel curves and some angles from the 80’s to give it that novelty touch. A luxury coupe that can barely be matched, the Eldorado of this year I personally consider my favourite, even above the 1959 model, which, although a classic and still a beautiful car, is somewhat impractical due to its gigantic size. This Eldorado is a car you could use daily, a bit thirsty perhaps, but still something for you and your girlfriend to cruise the country in on a romantic evening.