WINNER OF THE 1998 WORLD'S MOST BEAUTIFUL CUSTOM AWARD
THE EX-JOHN D'AGOSTINO
1953 CADILLAC ELDORADO MARILYN CUSTOM
Pastel Ivory and Gold Pearl custom paint with white leather interior
Engine: V8, 331ci., c.210bhp at 4,400rpm; Gearbox: three speed Hydramatic column shift automatic; Suspension: custom air rise rear lift suspension with stock front coil springs and shocks; Brakes: four wheel drums. Left hand drive.
In 1953 the Cadillac Motor Car Company introduced the Eldorado line of cars. Original sales brochures described the car as dramatically styled by Fleetwood to capture the heart of all America...the standard equipment list on the car read like a menu and it was far and away the most luxurious car America had mass produced in its long automotive history. The Eldorado came complete with a heater, signal seeking pre-selector radio, vanity mirrors, fog lamps, spotlights, windshield washer, power steering, wire wheels and of course, whitewall tires. The cars featured jet age, body integrated dual exhausts and hydraulic windows, as well as slipstream styling with distinctive dropped door panels. The car was pure Hollywood engendering names for the Eldorado's distinctive exterior trim and chrome - the rear bumper protuberances became known as Dagmars after the curvaceous TV starlet of the day. It was no wonder why America became even more infatuated with the Cadillac name as the Eldorado became the favorite car for some of America's most loved personalities, including Dwight D. Eisenhower and Marilyn Monroe. The cost of this car? How about five times that of a Chevy and twice as much as a Cadillac Convertible of the same year, $7,750 (and the Continental Kit was extra!).
Harley Earl could not have guessed the cars would be met with such widespread acclaim, or that they would be in such high demand. As a result, production was very low, with only 532 Eldorados being built. There is perhaps no more special and memorable year for the American auto manufacturer than 1953, when the Eldorado was introduced. The car on offer here is the realization of these combined factors and is undoubtedly one of the most impressive visions to have adorned the 1953 Cadillac chassis since the model year itself.
This 1953 Eldorado was the conceptual design of its vendor who, with the assistance of world renowned custom car builder John D'Agostino, assembled a team of skilled professionals to create one of the world's most spectactular custom cars in existence. This Eldorado was built as a tribute to actress Marilyn Monroe who could often be found behind the wheel of her 1953 Cadillac Eldorado. The vendor had owned this Eldorado for seventeen years prior to commissioning the custom work. We are told that the Cadillac was in excellent overall condition and was a genuine and smooth running 57,000 mile example. The car was built at Acme of Antioch by John Aiello and features a Carson fully removable top as well as custom extended side scoops and lengthened fins. Constructed in the spirit of 1950s style custom work, this Cadillac is true to much of its original design and has retained a significant amount of the original Eldorado's unmistakable shape. The paintwork on the Eldorado is one of the most remarkable features of Marilyn's appearance to the credit of David Hollenbeck. The Dupont Custom Finish Pastel Ivory paint is attractively blended with the Gold Pearl color to produce a faded, opalescent, high gloss look. The sculptured white leather interior was carried out by Craig Willits of Craig's Interior Design. The flawless brightwork, including all the chrome and gold plating, was done at Sherm's Custom Plating of Sacramento at a cost of nearly $22,000. The Cadillac's original engine was fully restored and detailed by the team of Brian and Randy Fealy. The engine bay and motor were detailed with some chromework applied however it was kept original retaining its original components. Following the completion of Marilyn, the Eldorado was debuted at the 1998 Grand National Roadster Show where it was received as the crowd favorite.
The Eldorado has won multiple Best of Show awards at competitions and events throughout California, and has been featured both nationally and internationally in a multitude of magazines and calenders. Notably, this Cadillac Eldorado custom has also won the coveted Sacramento Most Beautiful Custom Award in 1998. It is the poster car for exquisite customs and is undoubtedly one of the world's most impressive custom creations. Christie's highly recommends close examination of this tribute car for its amazing attention to detail and quality throughout.