1953 CADILLAC ELDORADO CONVERTIBLE
Chassis No. 536 282229
White with white interior and top
Engine: V8, pushrod overhead valves, 5,424cc, 210bhp at 4000rpm; Gearbox: four-speed automatic; Suspension: wishbone and coil spring independent front, half-elliptic leaf springs to live rear axle, telescopic dampers all round; Brakes: servo-assisted hydraulic drum. Left-hand drive.
Cadillac, as General Motor's top marque, was styling chief Harley Earl's preferred medium for introducing new styling and packaging ideas year by year. Cars such as the Cadillac Sixty-Special of 1938 with its integral treatment of the rear trunk and razor edge surfaces, the 1948 Sedanet with its tail fin, the 1953 convertible with P38 fighter aircraft-style swept-back windscreen and cockpit imagery, all tested themes that went on to be widely used in American automobiles. The Cadillac Eldorado first appeared in 1953, at the General Motors Motorama show where so many new ideas were floated. In it were to be found many of the developments that would appear in the following decade. Apart from the windscreen, aeronautical symbols were seen in the chrome-edged mouldings along the car's flanks and jet engine-shaped overriders on the massive bumpers. But the Eldorado had other claims to attention. It was longer, lower, wider, than any Cadillac had ever been, its 210bhp V8 powerplant was the biggest production car engine in the world.
In a period of excitement and pride in America, the Eldorado, 'now in limited production' said the brochure, could enable its owner to join in that excitement. There was comfortable seating for six on the two broad bench seats, '51 inches of hip room', tailored in leather. The panoramic windscreen, which gave its makers many headaches before manufacturing went smoothly 'gave both driver and passenger a feeling of freedom and openness on the highway'. Other details were the dropped door line, which at the rear of the door was only 37 inches high, or 3 to 4 inches lower than the standard Cadillac convertible. One well executed feature was the metal tonneau cover, which concealed the top when it was lowered. Wire wheels were standard, as were the fog lights, whitewall tires, spotlight and Cadillac Signal-Seeking Pre-selector Radio. Mounted vertically behind the trunk on an extended bumper apron, the 'sport-type' spare wheel was an option. The Eldorado was the colourful product of a fascinating time. An effortless highway cruiser which still had the capacity to amaze and delight driver and onlooker alike. 532 were sold, perhaps a reflection of a very high price $7,750 (a Chevrolet could be bought for $1,533) of which only a handful seem to survive. The few that remain are amongst the most collectable of 1950s cars.
This collection can boast two of these magnificent cars, this being the better of them in terms of condition, its stunning white livery being accentuated by the chrome and metal trim details. The passage of ownership is unfortunately not known at present, but it is imagined that the car would have spent most of its life in America, before being acquired here for the European collection in which it has been exhibited for the last 20 years.
It is anticipated that the Eldorado will be running at the time of sale, but the sensible precaution of a thorough re-commissioning prior to proper use is advised.