Curbside Classic: 1979(?) Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Diesel – A GM Deadly Sin Rides Away On A Diesel Tow Truck

(submitted by CC reader Osella)  A lot happened in 1979. Michael Jackson released Off The Wall. Margaret Thatcher & the unions laid the groundwork for a very confrontational approach to tackling the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation. It was Soviet Russia’s turn to stabilise Afghanistan.

And Steely Dan hadn’t yet finished ‘Gaucho’.

I’m unqualified to comment upon the vicissitudinous demands of governments’ desires to spend their citizens’ money, imposing better living standards upon them – in the UK Blair imagined that this may be facilitated by unmitigated casino-building and the establishment of a ‘European-style cafe culture’. Maybe he had Biarritz in mind. The US had enforced CAFE regulations long before this.

Imagine my surprise at finding a Diesel Biarritz on a tow truck a mile or two from my part of North London – the perfect combination of luxury, and dependability (in the form of the host Ford Transit)…perhaps you too are also reminded of 1979’s Boeing 747 with a Space Shuttle on its back?

Given their undisputed status as a GM Deadly Sin – I know nothing of this first-hand and am entirely indebted to the University of Curbside for the lectures I’ve attended – what on earth is this doing here? It’s been in the UK since 1992 and has (by my estimation) racked up an average of 1.2 miles per day. In its 15557-odd days on planet earth, this yacht has sailed 19,044 miles.

The UK part of its life is detailed here – mileage over time- and your eyes don’t deceive you – 3028 miles between April 2012 and May 2013. Even if you chose Land’s End and John O’Groats as your termini, that’s enough to drive to the coast, and drive right back again.

Suffix-T-registration in the UK denotes the year from 1st August 1978 – and wikipedia, and tell me this a series 10 Eldo from its launch year. I think the styling is pretty sharp for the time – and has aged remarkably well. The Volvo 760 presumably had things like this in mind when it too settled on a hewn appearance. Yes we have the vinyl fauxbriolet-demi-roofette, with contrasting stainless steel band, opera lights (whatever those are) – but the single most indefensible feature is the fixed rear side glasses (assuming I have that right). What a waste of frameless doors. Has anyone else ever done that?

Some argue that the Eldorado digger wouldn’t know which end of the car was driven – but by this, the tenth generation, it is being touted as contributing to space efficiency. I’m slightly confused by the 50/45 seat – what happened to the other 5? And I’m willing to speculate further that this (and its Riviera and Toronado siblings) is unique for its time in being a diesel engined coupe too.

And then last Monday – the Transit has somehow crawled out from underneath leaving this little yacht tied up at the quayside alone.

And as a footnote: ‘Off The Wall’ and ‘Gaucho’ have some personnel in common: Patti ‘Austin Marina’ and Larry ‘Vauxhall’ Carlton and on an even more serious note, for fans of unintended consequences, I’d recommend ‘Faster, Higher, Farther’ by Jack Ewing (on the VW emissions scandal and as an interesting primer on the interplay between the regulators and regulated) and ‘Afgantsy – The Russians in Afghanistan 1979-89’ by Sir Rodric Braithwaite