By on March 16, 2011


Before GM delivered a one-two-three punch to Cadillac’s image with the Seville, V8-6-4 engine, and Cimarron, the first of the front-wheel-drive Eldorados attained some sort of zenith for strip-club-owner-grade, ridiculous-yet-awesome Detroit Iron. Here’s a ’68 Eldo that will never drive the Las Vegas Strip again.

It’s very rough, though the only severe rust seems to be concentrated beneath the vinyl top— a common GM problem of the era.

You’d have to be really motivated to spend what it would take to fix this rot, and this car’s last owner probably saw that scrap steel was going for $250/ton and decided he or she would take the 600 bucks rather than try to fix the Cadillac.

472 cubic inches driving the front wheels via huge chains! Amazingly, this system worked quite well.

I think I’d prefer a Coupe de Ville, were I going for a late ’60s Cadillac, but the Eldorado of the era made the kind of statement that GM hasn’t been able to make for decades. This car will be missed.

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61 Comments on “Junkyard Find: This One Really Hurts...”


  • avatar
    Jedchev

    It definitely does hurt. Although it doesn’t make sense to restore a car this gone, It would be a great parts car. The body panels and chrome look to be in really good shape. It’s strangely befitting that it’s parked right next to a 70-72 Monte Carlo, a car that it inspired. These are the equivalent of “save the children” pics to a Cadillac fanatic like me. It hurts to look at them, but please keep taking them.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Flying down the super-slap, pearl pink Cadillac,
    Redhead riding shotgun, guitar in the back
    Got the radio up, top rolled down,
    Cleanest Eldorado around… – Southern Pacific, Reno Bound

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7ktEYvzRqQ

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      Dan – I like this song much better….
       
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DDoN56jziQ&feature=related
       
      When it comes to music, to each his or her own.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      These songs are the only reason that this little piece of me still wants a Cadillac.  Imagine if the brand still made cars that were worthy of being memorialized in song.  (Yeah the V-series is desirable but once upon a time almost every Cadillac was lust worthy.)

  • avatar
    georgie

    Just an observation………..
    It’s actually a 1967 Eldorado. The 68′s had side marker lights on the rear fender quarters and as an element in the cornering lamps.

    • 0 avatar

      I thought the ’67s didn’t have the leading-edge marker lights on the front fenders.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      The build plate has “10C” embossed which is the third week of October and the model year on the plate states “67″ which tells me that it was built in the third week of October, 1966; makes this one of the earliest of the FWD Eldorado’s.

       Also, the engine has an open breather system which puts it at ’67 or earlier. The earliest of “Health, Education & Welfare” smog requirements (pre- EPA) required closed breathers on ’68′s and later. Assuming it is a ’67, I believe that makes the engine a 429; I think the 472 was introduced in ’68 (not positive however). 

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      This one seems to be a patchwork car. The 1968 models were the first to have the parking lights at the front edges of the fenders like this one, but the ’68 also had the rectangular lights removed from the front bumper below the grille. In addition, the ’68s had round side marker lights on the rear fenders, but they’re lacking on this car. This looks to be a ’67 Eldo with ’68 front fenders put on somewhere along the way.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      That is correct: the first FWD Eldos were fitted with the 429 engine and I believe the 500 didn’t become available until 1970, which makes it easy to externally ID which engine these have by checking for the presence of the headlight covers, which were gone by 1970. The 472 was also an intermediate step prior to the 500, so the first few years of Eldorados sport different engine architectures. For 1975-76 the 500 was fitted to every big Cadillac, but until that time the largest displacement was reserved for the Eldorado line.

    • 0 avatar
      wannabewannabe

      Murilee,
      It looks like it’s a 67.  Like everyone said, the 68 gained the fender leading edge lights but lost the rectangular turn signals in the front bumper.  You see that quite often that 67 Eldos had the 68 fender lights installed later (maybe to make it look like a year newer model back in the day).  In truth, it seems like it would be a fairly simple change because the front fender edges of the 67s were actually a small separate piece of metal which is easier to see on lighter colored cars.  Also, the placement of the A/C compressor is the key to quickly telling the difference between the 429 used in 67 and the 472 in 68.  The 429 had the compressor slightly off center like seen here with the thermostat housing just to its side.  The 472, on the other hand, had the compressor dead center over the engine, and the radiator hose wrapped over it to the thermostat housing just below it.
      I’m a huge fan of the 67s, and it’s always a real shame to see one in this condition in the junkyard.  But the cost of restoring this one properly would far outstrip the value of the car when done, so sadly, it sits…
      Good find!

    • 0 avatar
      doug-g

      Glad I did a search to see if anyone else noticed that we have a ’67 Eldo here.  The outside rearview mirror was the first thing I noticed – ’67 used a round one and they were rectangular from then on.  The front fender tips contained “plugs” in ’67 so it would have been easy to upgrade to the ’68 parking lights.  It looks like they did that rather than replace the front clip because it has a ’67 bumper.  There’s overspray on the cornering lamp so. at the least, it had one repaint. 

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    should be given a decent burial, or at least a requium mass.

  • avatar
    relton

    Murilee,

    Any chance you could get the taillights from this for me? They would retrofit to my 70 Eldorado. Give me a call, (734) 663-1032, home, or (734) 404-0160, office.

    This car is most definately a 68 model. 67s had fillers in the front of the front fenders, instead of lights.

    69s had a different grill.

    The first project I ever worked on in the car biz was the front wheel drive transmission for the Eldo and Toronado. I was a coop student at Hydramatic.

    Bob Elton

  • avatar

    Breaks my heart, actually.  When I speak of being honest about your brand, cars like these always come to mind.  And boy, is this car ever proof that today’s Cadillac people have thrown away their brand for V6 powered Infiniti wannabes with too much plastichrome for their tiny little bodies.
    Because that right there is a real Caddy. The first Eldo was always the best.

  • avatar
    italianstallion

    These early Eldos had really nice, clean lines and were considerably LESS pimptastic than the mid to late 70s iterations.

  • avatar
    Superboy

    I swear I’ve seen Caddys of this era with the Park position for the tranny all the way up at the 12:00 position on the steering wheel.

    Has anyone else seen this, and if so, can you shed some light on it?  It’s literally haunted me for years.

    • 0 avatar
      lmike51b

      Yea, I always thought that was cool.  I’m not sure it was as upright as 12, but it was close.  Not sure why they did it, but it kept the handle from being so far down for the rare occasions it was selected to a position other than “D”.

    • 0 avatar
      Superboy

      I always thought it was cool, too.  Good point about not having the handle essentially hit your knee if you were using low.

      I also always loved the curvier column shift levers that GM used…particularly Chevy and Cadillac.  So much more interesting than the usual straight lever typically employed by Ford.

  • avatar
    John Fritz

    Am I not seeing things correctly or does that car have straight pipes on it? I don’t see muffs/resonators anywhere under that car.

  • avatar

    If you see one of these 67-70 Eldorados in person you can’t help but be impressed with the proportions and detailing. I love the first Toronado too. If I were an upscale kind of dude in the late 60′s I’d love to have one of each in my driveway. And a BMW 3.0 Csi just to keep people off-guard.

  • avatar

    Fantastic car. Or it was. Shame it is so far gone. I hope someone can use parts off it.

  • avatar
    relton

    Actually, the 67 wasn’t the first Eldorado, just the first front wheel drive one. Eldos started in 1953.

    The muffler is tucked up behind of the rear axle, which is why it looks like straight pipes. The pipes run outboard so there is no tunner inside. The floor is completely flat.

    Bob

  • avatar
    cfclark

    “Ridiculous-yet-awesome” is just about right. It’s ridiculous that we ever felt the need to build cars like this, but awesome that we did. Didn’t the Eldo wind up with a 500-cubic-inch engine at one point (the largest GM V8 outside a medium-duty truck)?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Yup you’re right the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_V8_engine#500
       
      Hot Rod Magazine did a feature story on them back in the late 1980s declaring “They’re not ‘boat anchors’ like all of you think.  They’re torque and hp monsters waiting for you to wake them up!”

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      The 501 series V8s (in 472 and 500 cubic inch displacements) were also one of the lightest big blocks GM ever created. Replace the cast iron intake manifold with a decent aluminum dual-plane unit and suddenly you’re within a dozen pounds of an iron-head SBC – and there are a few aluminum Cadillac head sets available now for those who really want to wake up their power potential. Non-siamesed intake and exhaust ports allow for maximum porting potential, and the oversized rod journals mean you can readily regrind the crank to create displacements which break the 9 liter mark. The weak point is the valve train. Undersized cam bearing journals make for tiny cam lobes: custom machining to accept larger camshaft journals or very careful regrinding of the stock base circle are required to extract good power. Notoriously weak stock valve springs make it impossible to perform the “brick on the gas pedal” engine-killing maneuver: its natural 4,200 rpm valve float limit just means you’re going to be making a lot of noise until the engine runs out of fuel. Most of the big money spent on making power from the 501 goes into ensuring the valve gear is up to snuff.

      The position of the A/C compressor is a giveaway as to why the big Cads never received any hot rodding attention in their early days: no one in their right mind was going to savage their new luxury car’s climate control system just to muck around with experimental intake manifolds. The advent of compact compressors and trick block-hugger bracket and belt drive systems occurred about 10 years after the last of the big Cad V8s had left the factory, which only served to keep the power potential of the 501 a little known secret for another decade.

  • avatar
    carve

    I just don’t get what you guys see in these old barges.  Gaudy, poor performing, inefficient, big on the outside/small on the inside heaps.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, at least they are distinctive. Not practical for today, but it’s fun to look upon them and reminisce about a bygone era of limitless resources.

    • 0 avatar

      I also like 60s sports cars with 80 horsepower and 70s Japanese econoboxes with styling by pocket-protector-wearing engineers. Cars don’t have to be good to be loved.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      @ Murilee, Amen, Brother.  I profess a love for all things wheeled and driven by a motor.

    • 0 avatar
      Jedchev

      Hey Carve, you pretty much summed up the reasons I love them. I love these cars because in the automotive world, they were the best luxury cars regardless of the year.
      Think about it for a second. Today, you can get a car that is faster and handles better than any performance car ever made up to that point. They just keep getting better and better. With luxury cars, there was definitely a cutoff date where they started becoming less luxurious. Plush interiors with lots of chrome became firm interiors with lots of plastic. The bench seat was sacrificed so that the new Cadillac driver can have a wall between his partner. “Ride” became “handling,” styling became more conformist and the cars got smaller. Maybe it was due to the yuppies’ preferences over their WWII parents, but I don’t see any luxury in modern luxury cars. 1969-71 was the pinnacle, 1977 was a slight renaissance 1996 was the end for GM luxury and now Ford has abandoned the concept.
      So you can gloat, you and your ilk have won. Just let us have our real cars.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      That interior looks pretty awful by today’s standards.  Very cheap.  Some real chrome, but lot of chrome plastic, and bare, hard plastic, too.  Rubber on the floor.  Plasticy steering wheel.  Exposed screw heads all around.  Fake looking fake wood. I’d take a modern Infiniti or BMW interior any day of the week.  This is well into the downfall of Cadillac as a Chevy with thicker leather.  There’s nothing special about this car.

      For luxury, it has power windows and mirrors…two ashtrays…AC…a radio.  Column shifter slushbox.  Probably a soft, floaty ride.  I don’t see what makes that the pinnacle of luxury.

      The exterior, while distinctive, isn’t nice.  That squared off hood bulge and front-fins are very awkward.  So is the boroque grille.  The rear fenders look like a fat woman’s hips.  The padded vinyl roof is something that should’ve never happened.  Then we have the torsion beam rear axle…on a “luxury car”.

      At least your 80 hp sports cars had interesting styling and handeled well.  70′s Japanese cars were ugly, too, but at least they represented a new paradigm in quality and efficiency.

    • 0 avatar
      relton

      Actually the rear axle is not a torsion beam axle, it is a solid axle mounted on leaf springs. And, they’re single leaf leaf springs, the steel rolled to a variable thickness. 4 shock absorbers, too.

      The front torsion bars are variable rate. They are mounted to bend as well as twist, to give a rising rate.

      From the driver’s seat, there are no visible screws in my 70 Eldo. This one has an earlier style instrument panel, and the pictures are taken from a lower angle than normal viewing.

      The 70 Eldo was the first Cad with the 500 CID engine. There are 2 little emblems that say “8.2 litres”.

      It’s easy to make fun of old cars like these, and overlook the real engineering that went into them.

      Bob

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      Relton- look at the pic of the switchgear on the armrest.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      carve:
       
      I can assure you from experience that every bit of brightwork in that interior was metal, not plastic. Plastic chrome was not being used yet in 1967, especially on premium cars.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      If I recall correctly, these came with real wood for the interior. The “rubber on the floor” that I see is the built-in mat on the driver’s side, which buyers expected at that time. These cars were otherwise built with fully carpeted floors.

      Comparing this Eldorado to a modern-day BMW or Inifinti isn’t fair…ANY 1967 car, short of a Rolls Royce, is going to have a spartan interior compared to new cars.

      The real comparison is to other 1967 cars, and the Eldorado comes off quite well. A contemporary Mercedes was rather spartan inside, and its air conditioning and sound system were jokes compared to what Cadillac offered. Cadillac was the world leader in automotive HVAC systems at this time. The power accessories on a Cadillac were reliable and efficient, while many imports only offered these as options (if they were available at all), and they usually weren’t particularly reliable.

      Jaguars offered real wood and leather, which you could admire while waiting for the tow truck. Which happened quite often with those cars.

      GM’s TurboHydramatic transmission was the best in the world at that time…the automatics on imports were generally unreliable, seriously sapped engine performance and shifted roughly. While posters here may prefer manual transmissions, in 1967 buyers of luxury cars – including most “luxury” imports – had no interest in shifting for themselves. They wanted automatics, and GM’s TurboHydramatic was the best in the world.

      Cadillac’s V-8 was reliable and handled the strain of all the power accessories and air conditioning while cruising at 80+ mph (which was legal in many places in those days) without breaking into a sweat. Most of the imports that got better mileage were also seriously underpowered, didn’t handle freeway speeds well, and didn’t have automatic transmissions and air conditioning, which luxury car buyers expected in 1967 (as they do today).

      This car was quite an achievement for its day, and, in many ways, marked a high point for Cadillac. The sad part is what happened later…park a 1971 and later Eldorado next to a pristine 1967-70 model. It’s no contest. Cadillac really began sliding downhill in 1971.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @carve- you really ought to drive a decent one before you condemn them. When Olds built the ’66 Toronado, which Eldo is derived from, they used a then current Ferrari to establish acceleration and top speed bogies for the car. These things were no slouches!

  • avatar
    skor

    I can tell you the story of this car…it’s the same story for every classic car that was let go for too long and ended up in the junk yard.  This car changed hands several times, eventually ending up with someone without two nickles to rub together.  The last owner was going to restore it, “someday”, but these people usually lack the cash, or the talent or….in most cases….both.  The erstwhile restoration dreamer had numerous offers to sell the car while it could still be restored, but refused every offer, because, “These people are tying to steal my car.”  Eventually, the loon…owner dies, or ends up in jail or a nursing home, or foreclosed and people who are in touch with reality discover that his “treasure” has largely returned to its base elements.
     
    I’ve seen this story over, and over, and over, and over……….

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Ain’t it the truth. Sad…

    • 0 avatar
      Jedchev

      I’ve seen my share of hard-luck Lincolns and ghetto Cadillacs and it’s always a heartbreaker. Every car has a point where it’s value is at it’s all-time low. They stop stocking parts at the dealer, but the car is still too new for any aftermarket parts to be available. The first owner probably babied this car. Somewhere, down the line it was sold for peanuts, probably in the early 80′s. The paint started to dull, the vinyl top cracked and the beer cans and fast food wrappers began to fill the interior.
      The worst part is to see this before it happens and not be able to prevent it. In the mid 90′s, I used to go with my friend to look at cars that people were selling. He loved the 80′s Monte Carlo SS, so we would usually be looking at cheap Montes that were battered and rusted. One time, the family that was selling one of these heaps had a pristine 1971 Sedan DeVille, a car that I lust after. It was mint, down to the original paint. I asked them about the car and no it wasn’t for sale and yes it was going to be used int he winter. Someone had kept this car in pristine shape for 25 years so that it could get ruined by some white trash. On another trip, I saw a mint 1988 Town Car Cartier edition with the two tone white and grey suede/leather interior. Unfortunately, I could tell from the garbage in the interior, that it wasn’t going to be mint for long.  Too many nice cars, not enough people to save them.
       

    • 0 avatar
      Civarlo

      skor, you are so right. This Eldo and your comments so remind me of a situation that unfolded in a neighborhood just a few miles away from me. Longtime elderly occupant of a two-story suburban house was mentally circling the drain. A drunk who rode his riding lawn mower to the grocery store and hoarded objects that he picked up along the side of the road during those trips. His home was trashed accordingly. In his driveway slowly decaying and un-moving for many, many years sat…..a 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado. Olds’ version of this Eldo, and a similar milestone car as well all know. I’m convinced that his mentality regarding that car was exactly as you described, skor, and thus a fine machine went to horrific waste. Tragic.

  • avatar

    It would be interesting to drive one around now with $4/gallon gas. I think real world city mileage in the single digits.

    • 0 avatar
      relton

      Not only does it cost an arm and a leg to fill up, ith premium of course, but teh tank is rather small so you have to fill up fairly often.

      Despite that, I love to just go out in the garage and look at mine. The fine detailing and beautiful shapes make up for the pain of $4.00 gas.

      Bob

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    Torsion bar front suspension.
    His and Her ash trays.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    One thing I always dug about the Eldo/Toro was the nice legroom you get with the flat front floor. I always thought newer FWD cars would follow suit but nope.. less room than ever.. A friend of the fam had two of these years ago and they were very sharp..

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    No doubt about it, the ’67-70 Eldo was the best of the breed, pure (overkill) automotive art. Brash, innovative, over-the-top extroverted…and yet somehow, elegant all at the same time. Everything that a Cadillac should be, then and now.

    The flabbed-out, cost engineered ’71-76 successor was just a monument to excess without the prior gen’s sleek style and elegance…Everything a Cadillac needn’t be.  I wouldn’t be nearly as sad to see one them at the vehicular morgue.

    Prices/values for well-restored ’67-70 Eldo’s are finally starting to rise to the point where it’s beginning to be worthwhile to save even beaters like this one…hopefully we’ll avoid seeing premature death like this from being repeated.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      I agree, the 67 Eldorado, the 68 Lincoln Mark III, the Olds Toronado, were beautiful cars with excellent proportions, totally unlike the crap-tastic pimp-wagons that they morphed into during the 70′s.
       
      BTW, Elvis owned a gold 68 Eldorado that he used for about a year.  One day he couldn’t get it started, so he shot it in the right fender, and gave the car to his father-in-law.  Today that car belongs to a collector in down in Oz.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    This has always been my personal favorite of the sixties Caddys.  Just loved those see through tail lamps. I was unable to convince my parents to buy one (being 11 at the time), but I did convince them to go for the Toronado in 1970 as a successor to our ’64 Riv, which we kept for a few more decades.

    They Toro and Eldo were certainly powerful machines, and the brakes were better than on the Riv, but they were a handful to drive.  I remember that the steeing wheel locked on our ’70 Toro when the car stalled, not a desirable characteristic to have when going around a curve!

    When I see one today, though, I find them just too large for me to want to own one.  But I am sure happy to look at a restored one when I come across them.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      The steering wheel actually locked with the key in the ignition and set to run? Once I ran out of gas in Dad’s ’72 Marquis and the steering became extremely heavy due to loss of power but the wheel never locked. I could still wrestle the car to the side of the road safely. I would imagine the effort being even worse in a FWD Toronado.

  • avatar
    obbop

    I like the tail light styling.

  • avatar
    obbop

    Maybe it’s the car Johnny Cash assembled:
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4pAwosnIQE
     

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    But up there at the court house they didn’t laugh
    ‘Cause to type it up it took the whole staff
    And when they got through the title weighed sixty pounds.
     
    Well, It’s a ’49, ’50, ’51, ’52, ’53, ’54, ’55, ’56
    ’57, ’58′ 59′ automobile
    It’s a ’60, ’61, ’62, ’63, ’64, ’65, ’66, ’67
    ’68, ’69, ’70 automobile.
     
     

  • avatar

    I think it was Christopher Moore who compared a Cadillac of this era to a “whale covered in rhinestones,” and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more fitting description.
    My father owns a ’76 Eldorado convertible which he uses as a weekend car. Obviously there are bull horns on the front. Because it’s a late ’70s Caddy, it does have that “constantly falling apart at the seams” feeling, but cruising around with the top down on that thing totally makes it worth it.

  • avatar

    I think it was Christopher Moore who compared a Cadillac of this era to a “whale covered in rhinestones,” and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more accurate description.
    My dad has a ’76 Eldorado convertible as a weekend car. Of course it has bull horns on the front. As a 1970s Caddy, it has that “constantly falling apart at the seams” feeling. You know what though? Cruising around in that thing with the top down totally makes it worth it.

  • avatar
    relton

    carveIn a 70 Eldo, the door trim is different, and the 1 screw that holds on the switch plate is out of sight of the driver.A Chrysler of that vintage, though, has so many screws I lost count.Bob

  • avatar
    blowfish

    i had a 73 for a couple of yrs, thank God i sold her before the gas price went berzerk!
    It had 500 cu ins. what a little piggy for gas, i never calculated the MPG, i dont think it was very high. I sold her and bought a 300sd Merc, I never looked back.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Damn thats still way cool! Not even the brand new pink SRX I saw on the road out does it (it wasn’t actually cool for the record). Pink and Cadillac go together like a manual and my right hand ;)

  • avatar
    rpn453

    He’s a man-sized Eldorado, Hooved a doo
    and who could blame him. Where we going?
    What’s the ticket? Just the mention of Berlin makes me sexy
    and tired of thinking about drinking
    for thinking of drinking while thinking
    about drinking and thinking about drinking
    It’s man-sized inside

    Look in here it’s all hardwood.
    What’s that smell? Smells like coffee
    If you regret it please say something,
    I’ve got no genius for evil that makes me common
    and tired of loving, recovering, loving, recoveringlovingrecovering
    It’s man-sized inside

    -The Tragically Hip

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Noticed the Window Lock switch had three settings…Normal, Lock, and Emergency.  Anyone here know what the Emergency setting was for? 

  • avatar
    and003

    Given Jay Leno’s work on his RWD Oldsmobile Toronado, I could imagine him giving this Eldorado the ‘V-Series’ treatment with the E-Rod engine.


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