Cadillac Eldorado Origins
The name "Eldorado" derived from urban legend. "El Dorado" was referred to as "the golden one," a name given to the chief of a South American Indian tribe and a wealthy kingdom in South America. Sir Walter Raleigh of England searched for this legendary wealthy city but like others, returned empty handed. General Motors adopted the name, and the Cadillac Eldorado was born.
Known as the longest-running personal luxury car in America, the Eldorado outlived much of its competition throughout its long life from 1953 to 2002. The vehicle remained one of the top Cadillac choices and was introduced in 1953 as a convertible with a focus on luxury. It suffered a slow start, however, mainly because it was priced $2,000 higher than the expensive Fleetwood 75 Imperial eight-passenger limousine and $4,250 more than the Corvette.
The lack of sales prompted Cadillac to tone down the Eldorado in 1954 and offer it at a more reasonable price point. Sales increased dramatically as a result of this strategic decision.About the Cadillac Eldorado
Over the years, the Eldorado developed a following of car enthusiasts who appreciated the power of its V-8 engines along with Cadillac's luxury and sophistication.
Some of the greatest achievements as well as failures will forever be etched in Cadillac's history. In 1981, Cadillac introduced its V-8-6-4 variable displacement V-8 engine, which was a new technology that shut down individual cylinders based on engine loads. In theory, the idea seemed successful, but in reality, it led to an embarrassing fiasco and a mechanical nightmare for Cadillac.
Despite its failures, the Cadillac Eldorado is also known for its career highpoints. From 1957-58, Cadillac manufactured one of the most treasured cars in its lineup, the Eldorado Brougham, of which only 704 were manufactured.Cadillac Eldorado Features
The 2002 Cadillac Eldorado was manufactured as a "Collector Series" to commemorate its 50 year history. The vehicle was built on its ETC trim option and available in two colors, Alpine White or Aztec Red. The colors were a tribute to the original 1953 model that introduced the Eldorado to a large market of future, loyal customers. They included monogrammed seats and two-tone interior trim.
The 2002 Eldorado two-door coupe boasted high luxury with solid performance. The 4.6-liter, twin-cam Northstar V-8 engine provided a powerful yet silky smooth ride and standard features like CVRSS (Continuously Variable Road-Sensing Suspension), and the StabiliTrak stability control system paid homage to Cadillac's success with introducing new technology into its vehicles.
Only 1,600 of these special 2002 models were manufactured. The models signaled a farewell to the brand that will forever be recognized for bringing luxury to convertibles and performance to the refined vehicle market.Cadillac Eldorado Evolution
The 1953 Cadillac Eldorado was the first model to hit the assembly line, and though it failed in sales due to its high price, it set the standard for the next 50 years. Mechanical, interior, and exterior revisions to the car helped the Eldorado redeem itself in 1954, and by 1958 it reached a pinnacle with the manufacture of its limited edition Brougham.
The year 1959 will forever be an iconic year for the Eldorado with its large tail fins, long hood, heavy chrome, and clunky exterior. The 1959 model also included a 390-cubic-inch V-8 engine that was also seen in its 1960 model.
Some of the biggest changes to the Eldorado came in 1967 with front-wheel drive. For the first time in Cadillac's history, this coupe was not accompanied by an identical sedan. This vehicle was the only Eldorado coupe that was not manufactured as a convertible and is touted as one of the most beautiful Eldorado designs, credit to General Motors designer, Bill Mitchell.
The next 25 years were successful for the Cadillac Eldorado even with some bumps along the way. Towards the end of the 1980s, the Eldorado lost steam, and by 1992, Cadillac decided to give it a major overhaul. The 1992 Eldorado had a modern and stylish feel and received some high marks in the performance category with the addition of the DOHC 32-valve all-aluminum 4.6-liter Northstar V-8.
Despite the fact that the end was near, Cadillac went out with a bang by manufacturing a limited number of 2002 models to augment its half century of success in the automobile industry.