Cadillac Eldorado ESC
History of the Eldorado...
Cadillac selected the name for a special convertible show car built in 1952 to celebrate the company's Golden Anniversary. It was suggested in an in-house competition by Mary-Ann Marini, now Zukowsky, of Cadillac's merchandising staff [now retired].
The company adopted the name for the limited-edition, top-of-the-line Cadillac convertible of 1953 of which only 532 units were built. Body #1 of the Eldorado production is known to have been damaged or destroyed but it is not clear if that was the special Salon car. It was standard practice for GM to have these "show cars" and "dream cars" crushed following the "Motoramas" and other auto shows ...although a number are known to have survived, thanks to some far-sighted blue-collar worker at the Warhoops crushing yard near Detroit! It is believed that two Eldorado prototypes were built. One of them survives; it is currently in Australia.
The first Cadillac "Eldorado" (the prototype) was shown on the American Salon circuit in 1952, together with another "custom" Cadillac, the special Sixty-Special "Townsman". With these cars "Golden Anniversary" models Cadillac celebrated its first fifty years of production.
The press release had this to say about the Eldorado "prototype":
January 22, 1953
Cadillac has created two special auto-mobiles designed and appointed to symbolize its Golden Anniversary. The motorist who shares the craftsman's pleasure in exquisite handiwork will instantly find kinship with Cadillac's fabulous Eldorado. This exotic convertible dramatically blends two great fields of human endeavour. In an expression of the ageless arts, Eldorado reveals a treatment of gold on a gleaming ivory-like surface. For appointments of the future, Eldorado presents an aircraft-type crash pad and jet-like rear fender air scoops and dual exhaust openings in the rear bumper. A sports car in character, the long, low body of the Eldorado is finished in a dazzling, white lacquer. Specially designed, the vertical pillar windshield houses extremely curved, tinted, heat-resisting glass. Rectangular wings of the same material are installed on the upper leading edge of each door. Radio antennae are mounted just forward of the tail-lights on Cadillac's now traditional rear fender fins. The antennae raise and lower automatically, depending on the "On-Off" position of the car's radio. Bright, East Indian red pepper leather heightens the enchanting effect of the artistic interior. Seat cushions are stitched in parallel three-quarter inch rows with a heavy, white waxed cord. The seat backs are piped in modern horseshoe pattern with door inserts of the same theme. Crash pad and instrument board top are of an expanded Royalite base covered with Royalite skin, perfectly matching the leather. The steering wheel carries on the theme with its covering of hand sewn, East Indian, pepper-red leather, which is baseball stitched on the back. Floor coverings are a modern texture weave backed with deep, foam rubber. The Eldorado's instrument board inserts, door moldings and kick strips are of 14-Karat, gold-plated, ripple-patterned metal.
The First Production "Eldorado"
Early factory publicity shot in color
[Photo: ｩ 1953, GM/Cadillac]
Some songs featuring 'Cadillac' in the title include...
"Brand New Cadillac" (The Clash)
"Cadillac Ranch" (Bruce Springsteen)
"Guitars, Cadillac's and Hillbilly Music" (Dwight Yoakam)
"I Want a Lavender Cadillac" (Maurice King & His Wolverines, with Bea Baker)
"Life is a 59 Cadillac" (Fabulous Thunderbirds)
"Pink Cadillac" (Arethea Franklin)
"Slick Black Cadillac" (Quiet Riot)
"Wanted: a Solid Gold Cadillac" (The Aquatones)
"You Call Yourself a Cadillac?" (Robert Nighthawk)
Thank you to Yann Saunders and the Cadillac-LaSalle Club