Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2
When GM's full-size cars were redesigned for 1971, the Eldorado regained both a convertible model and its fender skirts. The 126.3-inch (3,210 mm) wheelbase version of the Eldorado would run through 1978, receiving facelifts in 1973
The Cadillac Eldorado was chosen as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in 1973
. All in all, Cadillac produced 566 of these special pace car convertibles. 33 were used at the track during the race week and the remaining 513 cars were distributed to the U.S. Cadillac dealers (one for each dealership), which were then sold to the general public.
A redesigned instrument cluster was phased in during the 1974 model year (known as the 'space age' instrument panel from Cadillac literature), also shared with Calais, DeVilles and Fleetwoods. For 1977, the Eldorado received a new grille with a finer crosshatch pattern.
The convertible was canceled (although Custom Coach of Lima, Ohio took a few brand-new 1977
and 1978 Eldorados into their coachbuilder facilities and converted them into convertibles using salvaged parts from 1971-76 Eldorados; Cadillac did not produce convertibles after 1976). The 8.2 litre V8 of 1970-1976 gave way to a new 7 litre V8 with 180 bhp (134 kW). Minor changes followed in 1978.
This generation of Eldorados produced between 1971 and 1978 were sometimes customized (as stereotyped "pimpmobiles") (bro cars) and seen in blaxploitation films like Dolemite, Superfly, The Mack, Willie Dynamite, (the pimped-out Eldorado seen in Willie Dynamite is similar to the one seen in Magnum Force) and even the James Bond film Live and Let Die. An Eldorado was also used in Rob Zombie's second film, The Devil's Rejects as the car that the character Charlie, also a pimp, drove.
Eldorado Convertible for 1976
In 1976, when all other domestic convertibles had vanished, GM heavily promoted the American industry's only remaining convertible as "the last American convertible". 14,000 would be sold, many purchased as investments. The final 200 convertibles produced were designated as "Bicentennial Edition" commemorating America's 200th birthday. These cars were white with a dual-color red/blue pinstripe along the upper bodyside. In 1983, when GM reintroduced convertibles, 1976 Eldorado owners, who felt they had been deceived, launched an unsuccessful class action lawsuit.
Unlike the Fleetwood and de Ville models, Eldorado didn't have a unique luxury package to provide it with a title change (such as the "d'Elegance" package). This was rectified in 1977
with the "Biarritz" package. The most unique feature of "Biarritz", a name that hadn't been used since 1960, was a brushed aluminium roof covering the front passenger compartment. This was a styling cue reminiscent of the 1957/58 Eldorado Brougham.
The rear half of the roof was covered with a heavily padded landau vinyl top accented with large "opera" lights. The interior featured "pillowed"-style velour or leather seating. A few options were included with this package as well. The Biarritz option stayed with the Eldorado through the 1991 model year. Some of the original styling cues vanished after the 1985 model year, such as the brushed aluminium roofing and the interior seating designs, but "Biarritz" remained unique just the same.