I drive past this car almost every day. I’ve gotten into a habit of quickly glancing in the direction where she’s usually parked. She’s almost always there. A pristine time capsule, the kind you expect to see at some classic car show. Maybe tens of thousands of dollars poured into it with a single goal in mind: to win the top prize. The kind you expect to be not just a garage, but a trailer queen, massaged with the best of paint scratch removers and hauled around for show. Not sitting by the curb a few blocks from where you live.
Basking in the sun like it’s 1967.
As I stood in front of the car songs from the classic vinyl era surfaced in my mind. I have a song for every antique car I get to be in or near. And when I say “near” I mean close, reeel close.
At first I thought this would be “Terminus Eldorado”. You know, by Teddy Nugent (my favorite one of his songs, btw). But somehow that just didn’t… quite suit this car or what I was feeling at the moment. I shifted to my right, out into the street, to take the next picture ? from what has to be my favorite angle to photoshoot classic cars. You can almost never go wrong with this one. If there is any menace, any muscle there, this angle is going to show every last inch of it and put it all squarely in the spotlight.
And then I realized. You see, I am a Lincoln guy first and foremost, the Mark series in particular always spike my interest. Any GM, let alone an Eldo, is like a walk on the dark side. From what I do know about them I am fairly convinced that I wouldn’t much like it over there. Front-wheel drive anyone? On a big boat? Come on. Sounds like wrong-wheel drive to me. But now I stood in front of a creature of such style and grace, all of a sudden I didn’t really care which wheel drive it was. All I could do was stare at those curves. Or that…
tastefully sculpted rear end. Pure poetry. Pure lust.
Yes, I’m still talking about cars.
Cue John Cafferty. That’s the song for this car, and no other will do.
1967 was the first year of the radically redesigned 4th gen Cadillac Eldorado, now moved to a front-wheel drive platform. They only made these for four years, 1967-1970. And ladies and gentlemen, this girl is a 1967. One of the first ones. You can pin it down to the first two years of production because 1969-70 didn’t have the hidden headlamps. This one does.
Did you know that for three out of its four production years (with the exception of 1967, when this was an option) the 4th gen had the disc brakes standard? And that acceleration with the 429 cu in V8 was 0-60 in less than nine seconds? No, wait, let me put it this way, did you know that the “compact car” 7th gen Eldo (1986-91) armed with the best 80s technology that GM could muster? also had a 0-60 of 9 seconds, which is to say that under WOT the heavier and in every way bigger and by then some twenty years older 4th gen would probably beat it in a straight line?
Hell, the 7th gen would probably blow a gasket just trying to keep up, while our graceful prowler would barely break a sweat revving her (without a doubt clean) 7.03, or for the final year of production, in 1970, 8.2 liter V8? The sound you hear is that of my laughter, echoing down the corridors of time. Put John Cafferty aside for a minute, this car is to the 7th gen like Led Zeppelin is to Duran Duran.
I’ll leave it to Paul to educate us about how the mighty had fallen (that 7th gen Eldo is in my top 3 all-time not just GM but Detroit sins in general). Let’s just spend our final minute together discarding the images of the ugly from our minds and focusing on one of the last badass cowboys to roam this great land with style, grace, and substance.
The car’s owner, Kurt, with whose kind permission these pictures were taken, told me the car still runs with no known serious issues. The vehicle’s cosmetic condition leaves no doubt in my mind that it is true. It fills my heart with joy when I drive by and once in a while I look to the side street to check on this girl, and she won’t be sitting there.
Kurt, who is not the original owner, noted that these might be the original whitewalls. This vehicle is show ready folks. Even the interior is in excellent condition.
As I said goodbye to the gracious host and his beautiful car, I wasnt feeling sad inside. My faithful girl was waiting, fresh with a full tune-up and new brakes, eager for us to take the streets in what promises to be a very exciting summer. But something made me turn around and look at the chick in black satin one last time. Actually it wouldn’t be the last time, as I am destined to drive past this car every day, simply by virtue of how the streets are laid out here. And so as I looked her up once more before walking away I knew that each time when I drove by I would be reminded there are times in life…
…when the dark side is calling.
Related reading: 1967 Eldorado vs. Renault R10: An Unfair Comparison Thanks To A GM Deadly Sin
In a world of look alike luxury cars, this one really stands out. It is waaaay cool in its wretched excess. Imagine a car with a huge V-8 being FRONT DRIVE? Who the hell thinks this stuff up? I mean, really, you have to give GM credit for evening doing it.
Where I live,every second car is a luxury brand. Heck, I drive one myself but if I had my druthers, and a place to park it, I would have a land-yacht just like this one just to show I could do it.
Nice piece! Looking forward to more!
My much beloved ’01 Conti was FWD 4.6L 8-cylinder. But, it certainly didn’t have that beautiful rear end.
At least the V8 in the Eldo and the Toronado front drives from the 60’s and early 70’s was put in North-South as God intended, not East-West which is straight from the Devil’s own drafting board.
Man, that is cool. I can’t stand a modern FWD heavyweight but this and the Toronado will always be cool in a way that no modern car is – and it’s not so much the excess, but the shape of their bodies (all hood, all trunk, barely a cabin to be seen [like an aircraft carrier]) that just makes them look powerful, even if by modern standards they’re ponderous – if I could pick anything to drive across the entire country, disregarding the cost of fuel, this would be it.
Also, it’s kind of mind-blowing to think that this and the ’66-’67 Toronado and Riviera have the same body shell. They really don’t look much alike, particularly the Eldorado and the mechanically similar Toronado.
Agree on all 3 milestones!
And….WHAT does GM have in 2014 to compare to these fine automobiles?
Small wonder GM is in the Shioty Shape it’s in today.
I like my 2013 ATS. Having owned a 71 Riviera, and a number of FWD GM cars, I don’t think cars from the late 60’s are all that great. We are of course in a completely different era now, and what was good then is not the same as now.
Most of the stuff in the current GM line is very good at being the type of car it is – even the barest Chevy Spark has gotten positive reviews for being more go-kart than penalty box. It’s just that they keep getting dragged back by the ghost of their phoning-it-in years.
I have the same Eldorado and Toronado
Well, I think I do see a crack in the dash, but no matter–that’s in excellent shape for a ’67 anything. That car, the ’63 Riviera, and the ’66 Toronado all look like they were designed with no compromises, nothing extraneous and nothing cheap or underdone (unlike their later-generation counterparts, which all look like junk). Those three cars have always seemed timeless to me and I’d love to have any of them.
Agreed. The Riviera, Toronado, and Eldorado are like the Holy Trinity of the 60’s.
I see what looks like a major crack, too.
You know, I keep running into these cars for some reason. My profile pic was taken when my car was in this huge storage hangar awaiting major repair, and it was just filled with classics and supercars there. It’s like a friggin place out of the final sequence in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, only filled with cars. Anyway, there was a Toro from that generation setting nearby. Another beautiful, beautiful car. As I said, I just keep running into them…
Agreed. Fabulous design. Especially the ’67s! These things are cavernous inside, handle well for what they were and felt pretty quick too. Back then Cadillac had the prestige of what BMW and Mercedes have today. Whahappened?
Caddy jumped the shark with the Eldorado in 1971. Instead of being cutting edge and “sporty” they bloated it into a parade car. They got some mojo back with the 1979-85s although the V8-6-4 and “HT4100” mucked a lot of that up. They went south completely with the little Eldos (blecch) from 1986-91. Actually, they did stretch em out a little starting in 1988. The dreadfull 4100 got punched out to 4.5 liters in 1988 also so it performed better but the magic was gone. The ’92-’97s were great cars but the allure of the brand was gone.
Gone like a ’59 Cadillac. -Montgomery Genty
Oh man, it was definitely all downhill from there. When I hit the salvage yards I like to “browse”… one day I compared a 6th gen Eldo (1979-85) to its econobox successor (1986-91), and just sitting in each one tells you everything you need to know. The 6th gen still feels like a premium car, a spacious interior, a tasteful use of fabric and wood accents, it has just the right sitting position too, the thick C pillar is still that classic American luxury, and it’s actually not a small car. The 7th gen just feels like a compact, the interior is insanely crammed, the C pillar is nonexistent, the dash is atrocious, the sitting position is… compact car once again, the application of leather and plastic just seems garish and tasteless. It’s an embarrassment of a car in its segment. To me, THAT car was the end of the old Cadillac. The 90s were little more than slow and torturous death.
As I mentioned in my comment on the CC Clue, I had a scale model of a blue Eldorado in 1967 and it became my absolute favorite car style-wise.
Tasteful application of chrome on stunning lines will do that. Every subtle change they made to it in 1968-1970 was a downgrade. The 1971+ was fairly putrid.
I wonder if this was the inspiration for Cadillac’s recent ‘Art & Science’ design language (not that anything recent comes close, but they’re getting better)?
Sadly, there does appear to be a major crack in the middle of the dash top, but that’s fixable.
Shameless plug department: I did an updated and very lengthy article on this generation Eldorado back in December, including some photos of the styling models that preceded the production car: http://ateupwithmotor.com/luxury-and-personal-luxury-cars/185-1967-cadillac-eldorado.html
And earlier I did the Toronado, including how the concept evolved from a V6-powered compact family car into a big V8-powered personal luxury car: http://ateupwithmotor.com/luxury-and-personal-luxury-cars/95-out-in-front-the-front-wheel-drive-oldsmobile-toronado.html
GM really knew how to style a 2-door in the 60s.
Sorry guys, missed that crack when I was taking pics. I just now noticed it, along with the rest of you. I agree that it’s definitely fixable, with all the stuff they’re selling these days. No need to get a new dash for this baby just yet. Anyhow, I tried editing it twice, and when I hit “update” it refreshes the page but the content remains the same. Once I figure out how to do this, I’ll have the mistake corrected, and also the two places where the punctuation got messed up in transition cleaned up. It is quite a car, guys. And the owner is awesome.
Paul, thank you for the opportunity to post here. I really enjoyed preparing this one.
I wouldn’t be so sensitive about it–great car and a great report. The crack was easy to miss given how well the rest of the car has held up.
Thank you!! And yeah, a decent size crack, but still nothing that some Eastwood won’t fix 😉
The 67 Eldo was one stunning car. And it is at its best in black and without the vinyl roof. That must have been one heckuva fwd transmission to stand up to the Cadillac 429 (and presumably 472 starting in 68). IIRC, when Cadillac went to the newer Eldo in 1971, Oldsmobile inherited this body for the 71 Toro.
I recall riding in one of the Toros (maybe a 72 or 73) back in the late 70s. One of the selling points with that car (and I believe the Eldo too) was that the front floor was flat all the way across. GM made this maybe the best 3-across front seat ever with the elimination of the transmission hump.
The wipers are interesting to ponder on this car (or maybe its just me). On this 67 are the opposing action wipers that slightly overlapped each other at the tips, which had been the Cadillac style going back to at least 1963 and probably 1961. In 68, the car used a whole different wiper system which appears to have involved a new cowl and hood as well. I believe these to be the parallel wipers that the big Cadillacs used through the 70s. I started to say that only GM in the 60s would have done this, but then I remembered that this was the best way to tell the 68-9 Mark IIIs from the 70-71s – exposed vs. concealed wipers.
All in all, the 67 Eldo is my favorite of the lot, and this is the prettiest one I have ever seen.
Ah, the trans tunnel discussion. There are certainly good arguments for both sides to make. I prefer the tunnel not just because I love the RWD, but because it immediately gives the driver more of an impression that (s)he is in a muscle car. To me it has to have the tunnel and then it has to have a complete (and elevated as high as possible within reasonable limits) middle console. But that, then, is a driver’s car.
No trans tunnel/console means better nights at a drive-in, without having to deal with the limited rear bench. So… the argument goes both ways 😀
How often did three people actually ride in the front of a Toro or Eldo? In a personal luxury coupe?
GM had it all backwards: they should have made the Vega FWD, not the Toro/Eldo. I’ve got a Toronado CC coming on the subject.
While we’re on the topic of Cadillac, someone needs to find an Allante! To my mind, the best and certainly most interesting 2-door Caddy since this one.
Oh where to begin with the benighted Allante.
Allante was overpriced, front wheel drive, featured the dreadful 4.1 aluminum Cadillac engine, and suffered from major design problems regarding the roof. Oh, and it had to be flown across the Atlantic during the manufacturing process. Twice.
Yes, the 4.1 and 4.5 were inadequate for the Allante in all regards (from power and reliability to style), but thankfully by the last model year Allante got the Northstar engine, which actually provided the performance it deserved. Sadly by then the 80s had been over for a while and Allante was hopelessly outdated.
Still have to agree with phoenix, the best and most interesting model since the 67-70 eldorado. Sort of hints how dreadful and dull the models in between them were.
The irony is that Oldsmobile’s interest in FWD was initially for the senior compacts (a FWD F-85); it morphed into the Toronado, and spawned the Eldorado, for cost reasons. (The ’66 Riviera was originally supposed to get front-wheel drive as well, but Buick management successfully resisted.)
“The wipers are interesting to ponder on this car (or maybe its just me). On this 67 are the opposing action wipers that slightly overlapped each other at the tips, which had been the Cadillac style going back to at least 1963 and probably 1961. In 68, the car used a whole different wiper system which appears to have involved a new cowl and hood as well. I believe these to be the parallel wipers that the big Cadillacs used through the 70s. I started to say that only GM in the 60s would have done this, but then I remembered that this was the best way to tell the 68-9 Mark IIIs from the 70-71s – exposed vs. concealed wipers.”
The wiper layout, in GM cars, seemed to be a divisional thing during the 1960s.
In the era of wraparound windshields and dogleg A-pillars, the opposed action wipers were necessary for maximum sweep of the glass. Even Ford, which had parallel wipers in its trucks in the 1950s, went to the cross-in-the-middle design.
With the de-emphasis on wraparound windshields, Chevrolet went to parallel-action wipers in 1961. And stayed there, alone…Pontiac kept the crossover layout well into the era of hidden wipers, 1970 or 71. Olds, Buick, and Cadillac also.
With the increasing standardization of the lines, of course, the wipers also became a singular design for similar models. A small thing; but of these small things were the character of these car-lines lost.
Olds also went to parallel sweeping wipers in 1961, at least on the 88 models, and they continued for years. Dad’s 1963 Dynamic 88 had them.
I was always puzzled why there would be two different wiper systems for the exact same windshield in those early to mid ’60’s GM full sizers. Shows the strong level of independence the GM divisions had at that time. Another case in point is the ’66 Riviera remaining RWD when the new FWD Tornado debuted. What an expense that must have been to develop that V-8 FWD platform for only one, limited production model.
Pontiac, with their full-sized cars, was the pioneer with “hideaway” wipers in the GM family, circa 1967. Cadillac couldn’t be left behind with this new more streamlined styling gimmick, hence the switch starting with the 68s.
The Toro/Eldo FWD platform used a modified Turbo-Hydramatic 400 transmission, which was called a THM 425 in these cars. The gearbox was located alongside the engine, and both were installed longitudinally. The engine torque was sent to the transmission by means of a special 2-inch wide Morse Hy-Vo chain which connected the torque converter to the gearbox input. The front drive shafts to the wheels were un-equal length due to the placement of the transmission and differential. The only other platform which used this engine-transmission layout was the GM Motorhome produced until 1978.
The ’66 Toro had an Olds 425/385 HP motor which could take this 5000-lb vehicle from 0-60 in 7.5 sec.
67 is the best year I bought this one and it has a rare sunroof option 50 out of 17930 drIves like a dream also have a 67 Toronado
Great post. Before I could drive, or was into cars at all, Lincoln was always my favorite brand. Then I got an 86 Thunderbird for my first car, and of course I became a big fan of the personal luxury coupes, the Mark series, and particularly the VII. When you look at the Eldorado, Toronado, and Riviera of the same vintage, it’s no contest, Lincoln rules. But the 67’s were, and still are, some of the most gorgeous examples of beautiful big coupe evil. A 67 Eldorado in black is one of the deadliest looking cars I can think of.
Though it’s certainly no replacement, I think today’s CTS makes a sharp coupe, though when compared to this Cadillac, is about as menacing as a black kitten with milk under its nose. I’m still holding out some hope for a Mark IX, or whatever they’ll end up calling it.
Thanks! Did you say that you like the Mark VII? And yes, “deadly” is a good way to describe this Eldo.
Yes, I love the VII. Such an underrated car. Very unique. When everything else was boxy lines and wedges, this looked like a fortress carved from the side of a mountain, yet somehow smoothed over enough to look quick.
I’m with you one Mark VII’s. They have such an elegant yet athletic look to them. Had a ’90 LSC some years back and regret selling it.
I’ve always loved the ’67 Eldorado. The tail is my favourite part about it. Eldorados that came after it just weren’t the same clean design – that is until the ’79 which I also thought was a great looking car.
My favourite of the Mark series was the V. Outrageous in so many ways and to top it all off they put shark gills on the side – but that was what made car design through the 70’s so interesting…
I love the CTS coupe as well. But to be honest, my single favourite current Cadillac design is on the SRX – I love the tailights! What a great homage back to the tail fin era.
On a final note, I love this website and visit every day for updates. The background stories are interesting not to mention the intelligent comments that viewers add. Thank you for putting it together!
While I agree with everyone else that the sixties’ Eldorado (along with the Riviera and Toronado) were high-water marks for GM personal luxury styling, there’s an issue (and, to me, it’s a big one): no convertible. It would have been perfect timing, too, since Ford did away with the Thunderbird convertible in the new 1967 model line (although there was a four-door!). At least there was the Grand Prix and Chrysler still had upmarket convertibles during that timeframe. The ’71-’76 Eldorados might have been quite a bit lesser in virtually any area, but at least there was a convertible.
It’s a shame because a ’67-’70 Eldorado convertible would have been stunning. But, then, I also think it was a huge mistake not having a sixties’ Riviera convertible, too.
Just an awesome find. I love that car.
Stylistically, Cadillac could never trump this ever again (and if you look closely you can see how much of this design the 1992-2001 Eldo/ETC apes this car in an “aero” way, Especially that C-pillar).
In a lot of ways, like Jaguar, Cadillac painted itself into a corner with these cars, So distinctive, so top of their form. Where was there really to go? Although my favorite Cadillacs are the 1962 models, there’s no other Cadillac (even the Allante, sorry) that exuded as much Power and class all at once. Although I’ll give the Allante and 1992 Seville props for holding some of that grace in the modern era. And then I get in the debate with myself whether the CTS is a worthy style leader, or just a bit overblown?
I finally broke down and created a login for this one. When I was in high school rolling in my namesake, I would occasionally see a certain dark blue 67-68 Eldo. Pretty much the only ride I’d encounter that trumped mine, to my 17-year-old eyes.
A point about tires: those are not original. 60s cars had thin whitewalls, .75 to an inch wide. Those are 1.5-2″ “wider whites” that Caddy used mid 70s-early 80s. Find a factory photo of a 1st-gen Seville and you’ll see what I mean. The thin whites were still more common then and now. Those may be 20 years old, I hope Kurt can spring for new ones soon.
You had an Imperial in high school? I would have died and gone to heaven…
An older gentleman at my church has a 67 Tornado in turquoise blue that he occasionally brings out for the Church Fiesta. He is the original owner and the car is beauiful. It makes me mourn for Oldsmobile.
Could you put a picture of it up in these comments?
As for those opposed-action wipers, the Corvette has kept them to the present day. And the GM10 Grand Prix had them too. BTW, the tires on the Eldo are BFGoodrich radials of a recent vintage. Bias-play tires were still the rage in ’67, radials a few years away.
As for the Eldorado, it suffered from the decontenting that plagued all of GM from 1971 onward. Which is a shame because there were legitimate engineering improvements in the 1970’s. Safety regulations bred structural improvements and better brakes, while lessons from the Corvair resulted in better handling across the board. And rust resistance improved steadily to the point where it became a non-issue by the 1980’s.
But the quality of materials and overall finish took a big hit, partially by design, partially by consolidating all production into the GM Assembly Division and taking control of the plants away from the car divisions. Consolidation saved money initially but killed the product lines.
And then there’s this:
This just pisses me off. Total idiocy.
Oh no. I can understand doing that to a ’71-’76, they were a caricature of a luxury car, but not to this beauty.
Why didn’t the ‘gracious’ owner open the hood or doors for you? Not too gracious, if you ask me. Sounds like the car is no big deal to him. Someone with a passion needs to purchase it.
Those luscious tail lights back then up to the present create near-orgasmic delight when they enter my visual realm.
All it’s missing is a GNX behind it, a 1994-96 Chevy Impala SS in front of it, and Darth Vader in each car:D
Anyways, I’ve always wanted a 68′ Eldorado hardtop in red on red, all options, with the 472 “mega-block”.
I’ll take it on the original rims please.
Jeeze! Sometimes the contributors need to bring the saccarine level down a few tablespoons. Diabetes anyone? Just say: “No!”
Almost every submission feels as though it was last night’s homework assignment in a high school creative writing class. In general, allegorical technique is overused and distracting. I appreciate that contributors try to inject each piece with humor, cultural references and (most importantly from their perspective I guess) as many personal reminiscences of suburban Americana, circa 1960 as can possibly be crammed into a piece. Many times the hackneyed phrase, the taking of poetic license and relying on excruciatingly trite expressions substitutes for good writing. For the reader, it’s a real turn-off and obscures the fact when you boil down a piece, you guys actually know more than a thing or two worth sharing; primarily those interesting and little known facts about a car or manufacturer. And these are the bits that give spark and animate an era and industry that we all find so endlessly fascinating.
I don’t mean to pick on this particular author because this submission isn’t any more offensive than the others, it just happened to be the one that put me over the edge. Why? Here is a sample:
1. “as i say good bye to my gracious host and his beautiful car…”
2. “laughter echoing down the corridors of time…”
3. “this girl…” (used no less than three times)
4. “chick in black satin…”
5. “how the mighty have fallen…” (tired and over used even back in 1967)
and the biggest offender:
6. “discarding the image of ugly from our minds and focussing on one of the last badass cowboys to roam this great land with style, grace and substance…”
Now the car’s a dude? You mixeth your metaphors and I’m reaching for the barf-bag.
I can’t say that I am on board with you here, Ken. This is a format that cannot do hard, in-depth automotive history as can, say, Ate Up With Motor, a site which I read and enjoy a lot. On the straight history pieces that we do cover, you can only go to that well so many times. I have done at least 4 pieces on early-Iacocca era Mopars, and have probably repeated some of the basic facts more than enough by now. Also, there are a bazillion old car sites out there with either just photos, or that will run you through the same facts and figures that were in the sales brochures. Frankly, I find those boring.
Even before I started contributing, I enjoyed the writing here as much as the cars. The motto is that Every Car Has a Story. The story requires someone to tell it, and a given car will bring something different to mind to most people who will look at it. Some are factual, some are funny, some are poignant, and some are just out there.
If I recall, what you found here was the first piece this author did for the site. I thought that he found a really cool car, and I enjoyed hearing how he felt about it. We do not profess to be professional authors. It is great to have knowledgeable contributors, and we certainly have that, as you recognize. But what I find more important, is that (at least speaking of the others) we have a group of contributors who are interesting people. I look forward to hearing what they have to say, whether it be about the cars themselves, or how the cars figured in their lives.
jpcavanaugh has already said just about everything I would. I’ll add this: to the best of my knowledge, this author is not a native English speaker. We accept submissions from all over the world, with varying education levels, and reflecting a wide range of backgrounds and writing abilities. They all have something to say about their experiences and emotional responses to any particular car, and we honor that here.
That’s what CC is about; we’re not the Automobile Quarterly of the web (perhaps somewhere between that and Car Domain:) ) And as you noted, the depth and range of knowledge and experience is often quite deep. Which is why folks keep coming back to read them.
As an automotive engineer, part of what attracted me to this site was I was curious and interested in the ‘human’ side of car ownership. Spending a lifetime on the mechanical side of things, I have definate opinion on cars when it comes to their design, mechanics, and serviceability but that is not always directly compatible with Joe Schmo who knows little about cars (or otherwise does not care to). Cars have become something of a necessary evil for a lot of people since the US public transportation is abysmal (coming from someone in the car business I *support* mass transit) and most people look at a car as merely a utility device.
I understand your comments, however that’s not what this site is all about.
I find the imperfect writing style at worse entertaining and almost always enlightening, genuine and passionate.
May I respectfully suggest: Relax and enjoy.
SHAMLESS PLUG SEGEMENT: Please check out my 1978 Toronado (The Last Big Full Frame of this Model) Posted 01/06/32014. Can you believe this babied Cream Puff is 36 years young? Contact Greg: 503-643-4236
I love the ’67 and ’68 Eldorados, but favor the ’68 for two reasons: 1) The front turn signals look like they belong in the fenders, whereas the ’67 has body colored caps in that location that look cheap; and, 2) The 472 cu. in. engine. After ’68, Cadillac got rid of the hidden headlights, which ruined the design.
A matter of taste. Or not.
On the matter of relative beuty of the Eldorados of 67, 68 and 69 I would like to argue the following. I can understand if one prefers the 68 to the 69 or vice versa. Sporty grill and hub caps versus more elegant ones. The 67 however has a major flaw in its appearance. The metal caps instead of the turn signals. It is an obvious makeshift solution. Is the reason that they quite simply didn’t get the lights ready in time?
That has been my thought ever since I saw an Eldorado 67 for the first time. Which by the way was in 1967. It instantly became my favorite car, despite the flaw. A year later the 68 became my favorite. Another year later it was the 69. Forth-five years later… it’s still the 69.
In later years I have had the idea that perhaps there was some law or regulation that prevented GM from building the 67 in the way it so obviously was meant to be built. After 45 years perhaps I have at long last found the right forum for comments and even an answer.
Swede m 54
The ’67 is likely the designers original vision. Two things were going on with those cap on the fender and rear quarter tips.
By the mid / late ’60s most U.S. cars had caps at the ends. They made annual updates much easier. Re-shape them, change the bumpers, grill and tail lights and you next year’s look.
A government mandate said all cars should have front and rear side marker lights in 1968. The fender tip lights tripled as turn, park and side markers. The designers apparently had the 1968 refresh already in mind when the ’67 went into production. They could have cut those tips further back in a straight line, but the approach they took made the ’68 a clean design.
The ’67 is a beauty, but changes to the ’68 were worthwhile. The better handling of the fender tips you mentioned, the hideaway wipers, and most important, disc front brakes.
Not to mention the 472, which was supposed to debut in the 1967 Eldorado as a special Eldorado only engine before it became the standard Cadillac engine across the board in 1968, but it got held up and the 67 Eldorado ended up with the old 429. To me, the little fixes on the 68 Eldorado make it the ultimate 1st gen FWD Eldorado, I love the 1967, its very pretty, but everything they did to the 1968 makes it better, I like the 1969 and 1970 versions version, but to me that are 3rd in the looks category after the 1968 and 1967 Eldorados.
Also, this car desperately needed discs, which were available in ’67 but not standard. Both this and the Toronado were so heavy that they could probably have used four-wheel discs, but even front discs was better than drums.
Designers always have the next year’s refresh in mind before the first version goes on sale. In fact, the lead times are such that the styling studio is often working on the next generation before the current one debuts. There’s a popular misconception that automakers wait to see how the current model goes over and then make styling changes, but that’s largely impossible. You can shuffle equipment and model offerings, but the lead times in doing anything in metal are pretty much prohibitive.
Obviously, there are running mechanical and trim changes, but even a lot of those have to be planned well in advance.
I’ve never been a big fan of front-wheel drive. It’s fine for small cars, the size of a Mini Cooper or a Volkswagen Golf. But for a large car, the size of this Cadillac, no thanks. Unless the engine is big enough and has enough horsepower and torque to pull the behemoth up to speed.
The engine in these cars has more than enough horsepower and mountains of torque available and is more than adequate to pull these behemoths up to speed.
I remember that the car magazines would do comparison tests between the Eldorado and Lincoln Mark (whatever) in the late sixties. Neither car handled well as I recall. I think the winner shifted from one to the other from year to year. The concept of a sports sedan was yet to be defined in the late sixties and luxury cars were expected to ride softly first and handle well last. Full size cars from this era were soft riding with poor handling in standard form. Some offered optional ride and handling upgrades that were seldom ordered by dealers.
Jason, Not being a fan of front wheel drive too I find the front wheel drive models of this era much more comfortable and fun to drive than the more modern front wheel drive domestics.
This car and the same era Thunderbird were such handsome cars.
Mechanically, these cars are radically different from most modern FWD cars in pretty much every respect except for which wheels are driven.
I found your poetic prose quite entertaining. I often talk about cars this way, because they are in effect, rolling sculptures. Keep up the good work.
Nice to see the CC on this car again. The owner of this car is my cousin. He has loved these cars since I was a kid, as he was a transmission mechanic specializing in this transmission. He always had one of these and other unusual, but neat cars ( Buick Skylark California, Mid ‘s Dodge with the original Hemi).
“No, wait, let me put it this way, did you know that the “compact car” 7th gen Eldo (1986-91) armed with the best 80s technology that GM could muster? also had a 0-60 of 9 seconds.”
Not that any of these Cadillacs are drag racers but a 4.1L and early 4.5L Eldorado would be slower than 9 seconds, a later 4.5L would be around 9, and a 4.9L would be about 8.
I fairly confident that my 4.5L Allante (the Allante got more hp and torque than the regular 4.5L) could best any showroom stock ’60s Eldorado in pretty much any acceleration test unless a trailer was hooked up to both.
After some Googling I found some data on a 1970 “King of the Hill” Motor Trend comparison test of the 500 CID 400 HP Eldorado and a Mark III. Also Wiki has numbers from Car & Driver for the Allante. The 70 Eldorado would do 0-60 in 8.8 seconds while the 4.5 Allante does it in 7.9. The quarter mile numbers are nearly the same at 86 MPH in 16.4 seconds for the Eldorado and 83 MPH in 16.3 seconds for the Allante. The results seem to show that the Eldorado is going to steam by the Allante before they each get to 100 MPH.
Well the 500 wasn’t available until 1970 (that’s I was sure to exclude it in my original comment 🙂 ). Was there a KOTH test in ’69 with the 472?
Anyway, if someone is out there with access to a big cube Cadillac and an airport runway, I’m game to go heads up and see what happens.
I did find a test of the 472, which was a bit slower in the quarter mile. However, 1970 is technically the end of the sixties, not the beginning of the 70’s. Anyway, the Allante is quicker through the quarter mile than the 70 Eldorado, and I am not sure what happens as both cars shift into third gear.
The “engineering” feature of these cars that always stood out for me is that the small rear windows (power, natch) retracted *back* into the C-pillars, rather than down in to the quarter panel.
For some reason, that always blew me away.
I agree those windows that go back instead of down are very cool.
Great pictures and writeup on a beautiful car, thanks! Thanks also to Paul or Perry for the repeat, missed this first time around.
Looks like it oughta be “parked” on a sidewalk next to a “social club” in Queens or Brooklyn.
Folks probably wouldn’t consider it a “muscle car” but of all of this general style cars of that era, this one is the best looker hands down as far as I’m concerned. It also sounds like its performance was nothing to sneeze at either. It looks positively mean, especially in black. Its the type of car that says, “Yep, I can smoke you off the line but I’ve got too much money to car about such cheap thrills.”
My favorites are actually the 70s Eldos, but that’s because I’m firmly in the Brougham camp when it comes to what is aesthetically appealing. I’d much rather have a in your face gaudy drop top.
the black on black menace of this cries out for the Clash. Brand New Cadillac. Last verse in particular:
Baby, baby drove up in a Cadillac
I said, “Jesus Christ! Where’d you get that Cadillac?”
She said, “Balls to you, Daddy.”
She ain’t never coming back!
I dont care that it is not rwd. this thing has a big engine, an edgy style and street presence.
This car is not a “she”, “her” or similar. This is a male car; young de Niro in a dinner jacket or maybe Lee Marvin. An elegant, refined remnant of Mid-Century aesthetic, along with the ’63 Riv and the ’66 Toro.
I never drove my father’s 68 Eldo, but I put many thousands on his 66 Toro; let me assure you- while they may be “front wheel drive”, they bear nil resemblance to today’s ubiquitous FWD products. These are solid, well-engineered (425or472/THM425) predators that will eat up the interstate (or Pike’s Peak). Bill Mitchell and team at their height.
Let me say I agree that, while some of the writing is a bit over the top, it is better than dry numbers. A little creative license is no bad thing, and I speak as a retired newspaper editor with more than 40 years in “the game.”
From some of the comments, it is apparent some of the correspondents have never had the pleasure, as I have had, to drive some of the torque-monsters from that era. As they say, horsepower wings you along, but torque is what gets you off the line — effortlessly. And the Eldos and Toronados had boatloads of both.
What a car! I am happy to read poetic language about anything as beautiful as this.
Clean, simple and elegant and in the perfect colour too. Why did Cadillac go so far downhill from here?
One thing – in the article it said the whitewalls could be original – is this possible? If so that car must have been very lightly used.
If they are original they would not be safe to use at any speed. I suspect they were replaced sometime in the last 10 or so years, and are probably not all that safe now if they are 10 or more years old.
+1 – Tires will definitely deteriorate over time and they should be replaced even if they still have acceptable tread depth. My aunt has a 1996 Grand Marquis with 32k miles (it was purchased to be the road car and then just didn’t get used that much). A couple of years ago my cousin replaced the tires on the GM as they were starting to seriously crack. He said the tires still showed considerable tread but were definitely not safe to drive on.
Like the unit body construction on the 58-60 Lincolns, FWD on the Eldo/Toro didn’t make sense. It seems Ford and GM wanted to use modern technology on their top tier cars, but no gains were made. Unit body should be lighter, but the Lincolns were actually heavier. FWD, as in the original Mini was a space utilization marvel. Eldorado was bloated by any FWD standards of it’s day. Americans were more concerned with excess and ostentation…….which I love too!
As a previous owner of a Mark III I also thing the 67-70 Eldorados were beautiful cars. The current Art and Science styling at Cadillac is a definite nod to these cars.
The engineers who came up with the powertrain for these cars originally wanted to use it on what were then the Y-body “senior compacts” (F-85/Cutlass, in this case), but the corporation decided that would cost too much, so the system ended up in these expensive specialty cars instead.
The problem for GM with regard to FWD in this era was something like this. To get any substantial packaging advantage from front-wheel drive, you really need to design the car around FWD. Since companies like GM derive their ability to sell cars affordably from widespread sharing of bodies and components, that means to continue to get those economies of scale, they would have needed to convert a bunch of models to FWD, which would have represented a really massive investment in new tooling. Hence the hesitation. (Toyota, incidentally, went through the same thing when it started switching to FWD in the early ’80s.)
I saw my first ’67 Eldorado shortly after its introduction. I remember that night like it was yesterday. Its sheer beauty hit me like a ton of bricks. And to think I was impressed when the Gateway Arch opened.The only better looking Eldorado was the 1968. I haven’t owned one, yet
E.Leroy Kriner, I had one but it was silver. I was in Florida in a Grey Coupe Deville. I was in Melbourne and saw this puppy sitting along side the Caddy dealership. I did a U-ey walked in and asked about the car! It was the owners wife’s! Long story short I drove it off the lot! I had fallen in love! I drove it home to Ohio only to find in the glove box a set of prints! They were of this Beautiful car! When you go into a dealership and they have the Brochures for the car’s! It was this one along with a stack of the Brochures! I was elated! I had it for about 5yrs. when a man stopped and wanted to buy it! After a long time haggelin we came to a price! God it was like i lost my wife! Well I did not have one but you get my drift! I am still looking for another one! Any out there?
Love them Caddy’s!