Cadillac Eldorado - Market Watch

By: Cliff Chambers, Photography by: Cadillac

Cadillac Eldorado - Market Watch
How has it changed between 1967-78?

Do the words ‘Boss Hog Caddy’ mean something? They will to anyone who’s a fan of the Dukes of Hazzard TV series with its high-jumping Dodge and white Cadillac convertible with the little bald man in the back. And Boss wasn’t the only anti-hero to use an Eldo.

Open-top and fixed-roof Eldos served as transport for various wrongdoers in TV series like Lovejoy, Knight Rider and Matlock. One even made an appearance in a Phil Collins music video.

The design debuted as a US 1967 model, drawing on engineering pioneered a year earlier by Oldsmobile for its Toronado. 

Cadillac’s all-new Eldorado was a big car and room was easily found up front for a 429 cubic inch (7.0-litre) V8 plus Oldsmobile’s novel front-wheel drive transmission. It linked the main transmission body to the torque converter via a substantial chain and drove via the front wheels. 

That first FWD Eldorado was designed by styling guru Bill Mitchell and available only as a coupe. From 1967-70 the cars changed very little and are generally more attractive to collectors than later versions.

Convertibles became available in 1971 and sold until 1978 when a move towards more economical designs saw the big Eldos replaced by versions based on the smaller Seville.

Eldorados built during the 1970s used one of General Motors’ largest ever V8s, displacing 8.2 litres or 500 cubic inches. Gross output was a claimed 298kW, but once new rules requiring manufacturers to quote net figures were applied, that number slipped to a mediocre 156kW. One figure  the legislators couldn’t change was a diesel-like 468Nm of torque. 

Handling was, as might be expected from a front-wheel drive weighing around two tonnes, interesting. Pushing hard looked scary, but when driven at boulevard speeds the big Cadillac delivered on its primary task which was drawing attention to the high-value occupants.

Front-wheel drive Cadillacs have been coming here since the late 1960s and are still common sights in Australia. Only those in outstanding condition are likely to exceed $50,000 but be cautious of early arrivals with RHD conversions that might not comply with current engineering standards.   

If you’re looking for a car that might gain in value, pre-1971 coupes in original left-hand drive are the collectors’ preference. But make sure it has been maintained in excellent, original condition. 

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