• The 9th generation Eldorado was a symbol of wealth and success when it was new, especially in full-fat Biarritz trim, but its appeal faded and many were scrapped in the 1990s.
• This low mileage coupe is for sale now Bring a trailerThe auction ends on April 25th.
You’d never guess this by walking through a traffic jam of classic European economy bins in my garage, but I love American land yachts. My parents owned a series of deal-like GMs when I was a kid—I remember my dad had to park his 1985 Oldsmobile Delta 88 diagonally to fit it in our garage—but none were as special as the Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham my dad worked for. These massive Cadillacs have amassed a following in recent years, and there’s what looks like an extraordinarily well-kept 1978 El Dorado Biarritz that’s currently living on bringing a trailer—which, like car and driverwhich is part of the Hearst Autos program.
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Finished in Ruidoso Saddle Metallic, this vintage coupe easily demonstrates what Cadillac stood for in the ’70s. She says “I made it” without trying or leaning too much towards the ostentatious side of the scale. She didn’t need: Everyone knew what they were looking at. In a way, the place that Cadillac occupied in popular culture during the 1970s was like where Mercedes-Benz currently has. It’s not the Chevrolet Chevette or Chrysler Cordoba that Johnny Cash made “one piece at a time.”
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The lavish El Dorado was a big deal, too; It was the epitome of the personal luxury car, that obscure part that started out in the ’80s and crashed hard during the ’90s. The seat included on the Bring a Trailer costs $15,074 new, which is about $66,700 in 2022, and is selected with a six-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, tilt steering column, cruise control, and a cassette player. And look at the Biarritz cushion seats! I bet the inflation-adjusted cost of the optional rear window defogger is at least as comfortable as the seats Cadillac puts on its 2022 CT5.
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Insert your head into the cavernous engine bay and you’ll find a 425 cubic inch (that’s 7.0 liter) V-8 that developed 180 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive, which El Dorado adopted for 1967, and a three-speed automatic transmission came standard.
Calling the 9th-generation El Dorado rare wouldn’t be accurate: Cadillac produced 46,816 units during the 1978 model year, which was the last call before the 10 was significantly downsized.y-Generation model landed in showrooms. But two things make this example special: First, it survived. By the 1990s, this large coupe was widely considered anachronisms, not too outlandish, and many were pushed to the ground by a succession of increasingly careless owners. Growing up in Utah in the 2000s, when Cadillac was taking advantage of art and science to distance itself from land yachting, El Dorado was a familiar sight at self-catering scrap yards or on the beach next to barns in rural parts of the state, Landau’s roof—deepened In weeds with rust holes big enough to push a press through. Second, it survived amazingly low mileage. The odometer shows just under 20,000 miles, which is an annual average of about 450 miles.
What are the odds of finding another big body Eldorado Biarritz of 20,000 miles without going back to a 1980’s used car dealership? Bids are currently $12,500, in a sign of growing interest in these cars.
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