By on June 13, 2014

11 - 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz was made for the 1976 through 1991 model years, but the real Biarritz existed only through 1985. Today’s Junkyard Find is a final-year example of the proper, stainless-steel-roof-equipped Biarritz.


This car is best-known as the Ace Rothstein‘s exploding Cadillac in the opening sequence of the film Casino.
02 - 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Eldorado Biarritz was a very expensive machine in its day. How much? $35,500 in 1985, which is close to 80 grand in inflation-adjusted 2014 dollars. For that kind of cash, Ace Rothstein could have had, say, a new BMW 735i ($36,680), a Mercedes-Benz 300CD ($33,750), or even a Porsche 911 Cabriolet ($36,450). But hey, check out that stainless-steel roof panel!
12 - 24 Hours of LeMons Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 2012 WinnersIn my role as Chief Justice of the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court, I hectored teams about the need for an Eldorado Biarritz race car until one team finally put together the “Ace Rothstein Special” ’84, complete with the appropriate suits.
13 - 24 Hours of LeMons Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 2012 WinnersNow that’s a race car!
16 - 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is pretty well used up, but you can still see flashes of the casino-manager-grade luxury here and there.
07 - 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe chain-based front-wheel-drive system developed for the original Toronado back in 1966 was still being used in 1985.
03 - 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOpera lights, landau roof, and all.

The car that dreams are made of.

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135 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Yes just thinking of driving an Eldorado makes you an old man.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’ll be that old man if I could get it in a 360 or 350.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        This variation never did much for me, nor the one from 86-89 where they were small. But I dig the Riv (with CRT) for 90-93 and the 90-92 Toro.

        It’s surprisingly easy to find those Riv’s in good condition, and surprisingly difficult to find the Toro. Rivs are cheaper as well. I suspect because old ladies like Buick.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Last years FWD E-body were def superior but there is something very “Cadillac” about these.

          I’ve only seen two of this gen Toro in the past eight years. One was used up but running in the as-is section of a BHPH. The other was a gorgeous mint condition MY85 with the “Caliente” package (inc E&G grille and half padded roof) inherited by my former boss in my first job.

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          It’s too bad the Riv lost the CRT after 89.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Bah, you’re right. I was putting the digital cluster from the post-89 models with the CRT in my mind.

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          I think the later cluster with the CRT included would have been a better looking package than the early cluster/crt. By that time only Old’s held the candle for the CRT. It even went color in (I think) 1990

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      LOL! The elapsed time between him valeting the ’67 and him plopping down in the ’85 was about 14 days.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The old man thing wasn’t the case 30 years ago. In urban areas, these were the cars that strivers drove. The same type of people leasing BMWs today were trading in their Eldorados and Coupe De Villes every two years then. Makes sense, when you look at how BMW’s have changed over the same period.

      • 0 avatar
        Winston Braithwaite

        “The old man thing wasn’t the case 30 years ago. In urban areas, these were the cars that strivers drove. ”

        That’s patently bullshit.

        Strivers drove Mercedes, Peugeot, BMW, Saab.

        Down a rung, they drove Honda.

        Cadillacs were for old men, old men in training, and the disgusting barber my father used to go to.

        • 0 avatar
          lurkerdurker

          My super-yuppie CPA aunt in Houston had this generation Biarritz new. She fell asleep and totalled it, but she definitely fits the striver description. afaik, after the Eldo she had a W124 Benz and then a bunch of Lexuses. I was surprised she would have driven something so gaudy, but she said they were the car to have back then. At least in fly-over country, I guess

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          30 years ago was 1984. Maybe the imports had already caught on with poseurs in California, but in the outer Burroughs of NYC, for example, Cadillac was still the car of people in their 20s with something to prove. There was a punk leaning on the armrest of his Coupe DeVille while steering with his left wrist draped over the wheel on every block. The meat-heads in those neighborhoods have fake orange tans now, but they’re otherwise indistinguishable from their fathers. Except that they all drive German cars instead of Cadillacs, of course. The transition happened fast, when Cadillac compounded years of bad engines with downsized cars that looked like bad jokes in 1985.

          • 0 avatar
            MattPete

            In 1984 I lived in Knoxville Tennessee. Strivers drove Mercedes, SAAB, BMW, Audi, Volvo turbos, even the odd Alfa GTV. Slightly down the food chain were VWs and Hondas. Higher up the chain were Porsche 928s and Jaguars.

            Cars like this were for old men or tacky Guidos from New York (or at least that was our image back then). Nobody, and I mean nobody, I knew in middle school or high school wanted to to be seen in a Cadillac.

        • 0 avatar
          chicagoland

          So ’1980′s yuppie’ drove a Peugeot, those were uppity college professors, if that. They were gone by 1992. Caddys were oldie cars then, still. But now, there is no justifcation for trashing, since Beemers are common HS kids’ cars now.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Funny to think that’s the sort of revulsion with which BMW’s and the people who drive them will be viewed in 30 years.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      My dad had an ’80, when he was a bit over 40, and I can assure it wasn’t an old guy’s car. If so, then I guess his other cars around the same time – a ’73 Citroen SM, a ’76 Mercedes 450SL, an ’81 BMW 733i – were old guy cars too.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Also, how much less expensive was the 99% the same Riviera?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Which at least picking the Riv or the Toro got you a dead reliable cast iron small block V8.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Yes, but in most years it was the snoozer Olds 307-Y.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Still better than having to swallow the 4100 HT (High Turd) V8.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I say swap ‘em if ya got ‘em.

          • 0 avatar
            skor

            Man, you ain’t kidding. The 4.1 Caddy V8 was a piece of shiat. The 4.1 morphed into the 4.5, which was slightly less shiatty. The 4.5 transformed again into the 4.9 Caddy, which was actually quite good. The 4.9 didn’t last very long until it was replaced by the 4.6 overhead cam Caddy which was an even bigger piece of shiat than the 4.1.

            Cadillac went from the “Standard of the World” to “Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory”

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “The 4.9 didn’t last very long until it was replaced by the 4.6 overhead cam Caddy which was an even bigger piece of shiat than the 4.1.”

            I don’t think there was ever a sh1ttier Cadillac engine than the HT4100. Not only did they incessantly leak oil and blow gaskets no matter how many times you resealed them, they were pitifully slow.

            While the Northstar has it’s head bolt problems, once resolved, they are a sweetheart of an engine.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            @Danio: Don’t forget about the displacement-on-demand “V8-6-4,” which was about twenty years too early! (Although, correct me if I’m wrong, the 6.0L engine was OK once the DOD crap was disabled.)

        • 0 avatar
          raresleeper

          The 307:

          Wheezy? Yes

          Reliable? YES.

          I remember Grandpa’s 84 Delta 88. What a big, smooth, slow, rattletrap it was :)

          I’ll be damned if after a few pumps it wouldn’t start, though.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    _LOVE_ the pic with suits & trophy girl ! .

    Now , that’s racing ! =8-) .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    I would say save that transmission, but it’s not nearly the same grade as the earlier TH425.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    I’ve got a “thing” for the last generation Eldorado’s, and would have no issues keeping a clean, low-mileaged Eldo for my garage. (Although I’d prefer the 4.9L over the 4.6L Northstar.)

    Why? Because it’s a man’s car, that’s why.

    The 4.1 “digital fuel injection” is an agonizing mess to sort out, I’m sure. But STILL better than the: (drum roll please…..) 350 Diesel!!!!

    Although you can’t go wrong with a stainless roof.

    And Sammy Rothstein made that car look good. DeNiro was my hero way back when. Afraid he hasn’t aged well.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That movie isn’t THAT old, 1995.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      If you’re gonna go for a last gen Eldorado, you gotta go full ETC and just accept the Northstar for what it is. It’s not a real luxury car if it doesn’t have periodic dabilitating engine problems. Your ability to persist and pay for expensive repairs shows prominence!

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        I’ve seen the occasional, Northstar-equipped Seville on Ebay or even on Craigslist with over 200k. Of course, they always list an insane amount of new parts.

        That said, I’d hate to continue to nurse it, new parts be damned.

        4.9L for reliability, but only adequate power.

        4.6L for power, but iffy reliability. More like “when it rains, it pours” reliability.

        It should be noted that the Northstar makes a sweet, sweet sound. :)

        HOWEVER- I give the 4.6L Intech V8- Ford’s 4.6L- props for better reliability and close enough power characteristics.

        The Conti’s and Mark’s with the 4.6′s were certainly no slouch.

        By the way: why does every ETC seem to be a “Collector’s Edition”?

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          When it comes to late 90s/early 2000s FWD V8 luxo cars, I much prefer the Continental to the Seville. Similar performance, accomodations and transmission life, but the 4V modular Ford definitely held up much better. If we’re talking Eldorado vs Mark VIII, no question the mark is the better car.

          The Northstar is a sweet engine once the problems are fixed. Back when they were worth something, I fixed a few of them with the head bolt issue. Wasn’t too bad once you got them on the ground.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Sure about that Ford FWD and V8 combo? Those were the same auto’s they put in the SHO at the time and they SUCKED. Like every other Taurus transmission of that era you expected to replace it by 80 or 90K miles regardless of how it was treated. At least the 4t80 was a pretty robust unit.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Yep, neither transmission was the pinnacle of reliability in my experience. If you want to split hairs talking about which sucked worse than the other, I’ll agree it’s the AX4N.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            I’m intrigued.
            I’ve never seen, heard or experienced any issues with the 4T80.

            What did you see with them?

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Lots of solenoid and speed sensor issues. They’d periodically burn up clutches for a variety of reasons. It wasn’t uncommon to see either the 4T80 or AX4N need a rebuild at 120k miles or so for whatever reason.

          • 0 avatar
            jhefner

            Thankfull I have 190,000 on my original AX4N with no major issues.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Thankfull I have 190,000 on my original AX4N with no major issues.’

            Not sure which engine you have, but I’m guessing the vulcan 3.0L V6. They seem to hold up alright under those conditions in post AXOD applications.

          • 0 avatar
            jhefner

            “Not sure which engine you have, but I’m guessing the vulcan 3.0L V6. They seem to hold up alright under those conditions in post AXOD applications.”

            Correct.

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          I always thought the Ford InTech engines felt stronger all the way around compared to the Northstar, which seemed to lack some grunt off the line. The Northstar has a sweeter song, but just about any 32v V8 sounds great to me.

          The initial Continental redo (96?) to FWD/V8 power was better to me. The last car with its Jaguar mixed with Taurus cues didn’t do it.

        • 0 avatar
          RHD

          That’s because you would invariably have a collection of two or three parts cars out back to keep your Cadillac running.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I remember these from my 1970s stint as a toll collector. Those wire wheel hubcaps did NOT mix well with the nine inch high concrete curbs in the toll lanes! One silver haired lady wiped out both hubcaps on the driver’s side, and asked me, “Who’s going to pay for that?” I told her, “The driver of the car, Ma’am.” The casino manager driver was just in the movies. In the real world, it seemed to me it was mostly silver haired ladies.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That’s right, it was just old ladies. And even in the movie (which I watched for the first time just about 3 weeks ago) it was a mockery of sorts. Rothstein was tacky and flamboyant.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      A better video clip from _Casino_:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNyAsdhG_Yg&t=4m3s

      “Whoever it was, they put the dynamite under the passenger side. But what they didn’t know, what nobody outside the factory knew, was that _that_ model car was made with a metal plate under the driver’s seat. It’s the only thing that saved my life. The bombing was never authorized, but I suspect I know who lit the fuse….”

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Riviera was the best looking of this bunch. They also had real front leg room (no hump). I dug ‘em when they first came out in 79. Wouldn’t own one but a friend who is in his 30′s bought an 85 Eldo and has been driving it as his pleasure car for the past three years!!! He loves it! He is not a wrench and amazingly, has had zero issues with it. Yes, I said that.

  • avatar
    SteveMar

    Crazy to say, these were considered classy cars in their day. I have a soft spot for all of the E bodies, although the Riviera is probably my fav. As luxo-barges go, this was actually among the least barge like.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m partial to the Riv as well–especially the convertible, which they made in limited numbers for those years.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I never cared for the curvy beltline on the early 80′s Buicks, including the Riv. Give me an Eldo any day, although I do slightly prefer the Riv’s front end

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      All the 80′s GM I ever wanted.

      http://clunkernation.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/DSC09847.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Very tidy!

        I just cannot get into most Olds of that time. The Cutlass never did anything for me, and the proportions of their larger 88/98 were awkward compared to the more blingy Cadillacs or more practical looking Buicks.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Ah a G-body man? You were born at least a decade too late for those (if not two).

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          I would “resto-mod” a car like that all day. Fuel injected crate motor, T56, and then just incorporate the nicer bits out of more modern cars into the interior, while keeping the general style.

          • 0 avatar
            ex-x-fire

            You might find hard as these were FWD.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            The 80-88 Cutlass like the one I linked is RWD.

          • 0 avatar
            ex-x-fire

            Alright, yeah a g body with those parts would be a great car.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I thought maybe you missed my link :)

            I don’t know what it is about G-bodies, if it is their suspension geometry or weight distribution, or what, but when made into drag cars they win “most likely to lift the nose”.

            Great fun to watch.

      • 0 avatar
        PunksloveTrumpys

        At first glance I thought it was a Grand National! Very, very cool.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Just f***in’ WOW!

        I’d have a last-year Cutlass Brougham Sedan with all the boxes checked (including the aforesaid wheezy 307 and AOD automatic) for summer running around to car shows and whatnot! Sadly, as I’ve stated in this space, I’m sure all the remaining 4-doors of this ilk are either Chinese appliances, or have been bought up and ghetto-fied by a certain demographic with a predilection toward tires stolen from the maintenance hangars at the local international airport (a 747 with 15″ rims, really??!! ;-) ) and sound systems that will shatter skyscraper windows a half-mile away!

        My “dream garage” would have one of each Buick, Olds and Caddy E-body from 1985, including the white-over-burgundy Riv convertible, a nice Caliente Toro in the dark brown-ish Firemist, and a nice Eldo!

        (OT, my county’s sheriff has a 1976 Eldo convertible which looks just like the one driven by the father/son duo who put up the freight for the Coors haul in the original “Smokey And The Bandit” movie. “Immaculate” is an understatement in describing this vehicle!! :-) )

  • avatar
    mjz

    Miss the days when Cadillacs had REAL names instead of the alphabet soup they use use for naming the models now. Fleetwood, Eldorado, Seville, Sedan/Coupe de Ville.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Agreed.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yep, back in the day, Cadillac had great names, but crappy cars. Opposite problem today – the cars are good, but the names are ridiculous.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        You really think old Caddies were bad ? .

        In about 1962 ~ 1966 I spent much time riding in the back of ’51 ~ ’55 Caddies , always the factory stretch models , often with a divider window , they were old standby Funeral Cars , battered and beat but not bowed ~ they easily handled 10 kids in the back all year ’round in Boston , swallowing up bad pavement (lotta cobble stone streets back then) and put holes that’d swallow a Buick , never complained , always started , no squeaks / rattles and that original Broadcloth upholstery took everything we gave it in stride .

        Not a car I’d want personally but sturdy and reliable , yes .

        To my eyes then as now , very stylish too ~ I liked the stubby tail fins and ” Dagmars ” in the front bumpers too .

        Flip up left side taillights to access the gas filler .

        -Nate

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    The weather gods were kind to this car. Here in Florida most half and full padded roofs split or peal up around the edges within a few years.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      It also has bumper fillers. In Ohio it wouldn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        It would also be missing the stainless rocker panels and/or every edge around the car would be rusty.

        Judging from the damage, it looks like they hit something with a high bumper or such while braking. Sever nosedive during hard braking? Yep, this car had it!

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    IIRC, this generation Eldo was offered with a 6.1 or 6.2 liter… ?

    Heard good things about that offering, not so many good things with the 4.1L or 5.7 diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I think it was:

      MY79 350
      MY80 368
      MY81 368 as V8-6-4 or Olds Diesel
      MY82 4100, Olds Diesel, or Buick 4.1 V6
      MY83 4100
      MY84 4100
      MY85 4100

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        Applause for you, Sir.

        Thank You kindly.

        Sheesh. Lots of eggs in that 4100 basket.

        Tisk, tisk.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          For me I love the styling of this sheer look Eldorado but none newer than 1981 for me.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          You’re quite welcome. The too many eggs in 4100 basket is why all of these cars are long gone. Excepting 350/368 unicorns people kept well, you’ve got a better chance of spotting a big-ass Eldo 500 than these. Northstar did the same thing, I rarely see MY96-00 Cadillacs of any moddel. When I do see older Cadillacs they are almost always 4.5/4.9.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        4.1 Buick V6 was also offered in 1981 and even late 1980 but those are rare to see. We just rebuilt the quadrajet carb on a pristine white 1981 Eldo coupe with the Buick 4.1 and 325 trans with 120K miles. The crap ethanol gas does a number on these old carbed engines. It is actually surprising how well this little mill moves these cars around considering there girth and the rather low output 125 horses.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Thanks for the correction I couldn’t quite remember how long the Buick 4.1 was offered for, but I do recall it being a “credit”.

          • 0 avatar
            bomberpete

            My mom’s cousin had an ’81 Sedan De Ville with the 4.1 V-6. The Cadillac dealer — who got a lot of referral business from him — was honest about the V8-6-4 being a disaster and talked him out of it.

            Good move. Still, that said it was a slug and it was replaced by an ’85 Electra T-Type (very sweet ride) and a ’90 Sedan De Ville, which was a huge improvement over both and perfect for trolling around Greater Dade.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I had an 84 Eldorado in 1996. The 18-19 year old me managed to finish off the gutless 4.1 V8, which was then rebuilt. The 4.1 was better than my first car, a gutless 81 Regal with 3.8 V6. My Eldo was white with a blue 1/4 vinyl roof and blue interior. It was a pretty car and my friends loved it. But soon, the rebuilt engine began to die, right after the shop that rebuilt it went out of business.The Eldo was replaced by a pristine 89 Acura Legend L.

    The Acura had leather like my Eldo, had more power and actually handled! Almost totally swore off domestics at that point, but in a few years I had a 95 Cougar V8. That was my final “personal coupe”, though I wouldn’t mind a late build Mark VII LSC to keep.

    I had no idea this car was that expensive in 1985, though my non Biarritz probably was a bit cheaper, but only just. Great memories of that car though.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      The 3.8 Gs, IMHO, were OK–not barn-burners, but not bad either! And as been stated in this space before, the Gs equipped with the heavy-duty/F41/Gran Touring suspension options handled very nicely, thank you, for a car of that size. (Could even kick the tail out — even with the 3.8 under the hood — if desired!)

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    This one is screaming out for me to write about it, I’m too familiar with 80s Cadillacs.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    For me this represents when Cadillac went into decline.

    My old man loved large American luxo barges. Early 70′s Sedan de Villes. Then Lincoln Mark IV’s. Then a Lincoln Town car. Then a Fleetwood. Didn’t like these early 80′s ‘small’ Caddy’s. Returned to Cadillac when they came out with the STS and remained true to them.

    Regarding the price, remember that throughout the 50′s, 60′s and up until at least the mid 70′s to the public a Caddy or Lincoln represented far greater prestige than any Euro car except a Roller. The interiors of the Europeans were considered too plain, their engines were considered to be too small.

    Personally, I still prefer large V-8′s, with little to no road noise or feel and a New Orleans boudoir interior.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The base price for a 1985 Eldorado was $21855 US. The convertible started at 32605. The Biarritz was an option package on the base car and added about 3-4K to the base 21855 price. Used a Biarritz typically sells for 500-1000 more than the base version in cream puff condition.

    There are still a surprising number of these showing up on Ebay and craigslist from the 1982-1985 time period despite the obvious issues with the 4100. Many were swapped out early on by the dealer and some I understand got a GM Goodwrench updated 4100 that bulked up and reinforced the block, head bolts and seals with updated parts and these last quite a bit longer.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That ’85 price translates to $48,152 today. You can get a Cadillac CTS coupe for MSRP $41,085. However, the cost of gas in ’85 was $1.20/gal and that’s adjusted to $2.64/gal today. Cars are cheaper, but the cost of driving them isn’t, in raw numbers. Fuel mileage of 16/22 for the ’85 vs 18/27 for the 2014 doesn’t make up for the higher price of gas.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    It seemed like these and their BuickOlds relatives belong to cheapskates around where I live.

    I remember car shopping and trying out a Toronado, it was abused pretty badly with dings everywhere, yet it drove okay for being a battered boat (far better than the competing 80′s-early 90′s Marquis), a week later I called the guy up wanting to buy it but I heard that the engine had seized.

    The other time was Buick Riviera, not in nearly bad as shape, still the same 307, and still on its way out thanks to an owner who used water in the engine during warm climates, effectively slowly killing it.

    Never did get to experience the caddy, but I see one around town on occasion with a sagging rear suspension, always holds up traffic at stoplights.

    One common issue with these is the plastic trim and such around the bumpers, it will crack and fall off no matter what.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You didn’t miss much, smooth ride but the 4100 was very underpowered on this platform (slightly better in C-body FWD).

      You heard correct on the trim, it disintegrates on every Eldo I’ve seen that had it, from the early 70s to mid 80s. I don’t believe FWD E-body had this trim.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        And the final run of Eldorado/ETC had the door panel issue, where there wasn’t enough reinforcement on the integrated door pull on the long @ss door. Eventually the foam weakened and the whole thing warped inward. The pull was literally not mounted to any metal in the door, I believe. Hard to find one without a ruined door panel, as it was the only way to pull the door closed with the windows up.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Beautiful. That’s one Cadillac oopsie i was not aware of, I wonder if the previous E-body suffered from the same affliction (prob not).

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          its an easy fix for under $10.00 and about an hours worth of time. not a big deal at all.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It’s -not- an easy fix when the door panel has warped from being pulled, and there’s foam bits coming out because it’s cracked around the pull handle.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Like any other car on the road, especially those that are at least 12 years old (the newest an Eldorado can be) if the owner has taken even a sliver of care with the car, then the panel would not have cracked like that and it would be an easy fix…even the warping goes away.

        • 0 avatar
          gearhead77

          Not sure about the mounting, but those long, wobbly, shaky doors were a hallmark of GM two door cars. The all sounded like garbage as everything internally shook when you closed them.

          They sagged after awhile because of the crappy hinges. My Buick and Eldorado, the low mile 85 Caprice Coupe we inherited from my grandfather (only 21k by 1996 and garaged kept, never in snow.), every G body I ever rode in, had those awful ,heavy, wiggly-jiggly doors. Same with the F bodies.

          I remember sitting in one of the last Eldorados at the auto show. 2002 and they still had that awful door!

          The Lexus SC cars had been and( I think) were gone by that point.
          My 95 Cougar had doors as long as my Buick or Eldo, but at least Ford figured out how to make a decent hinge.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            Keeping the doors serviced and making sure everything is tight and properly adjusted goes a long way here folks. The door pin needs grease and nobody every greases them so they wear and then your door sags. Also the frame less door glass on the F and G bodies rattles if the adjusters aren’t right so those are the two main areas your hearing noises when the doors are opened and closed. None of my F or G bodies ever had this problem BTW.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            LOL @ “doors serviced.”

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            By the time my friends and I had our G and E bodies, they were old cars with at least two previous owners, so I’ll chalk up some of the door awfulness to that lack of maintenance and care. Same with my grandfathers two door Caprice, since it basically just sat.

            But I distinctly remember sitting in the last year of Eldorado at the auto show and that door had just as much heft and wasn’t as solid feeling as it should have been. Not considering how much it cost and that it was solidly up against the Lexus SC cars, let alone the Mark VIII.

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        My favorite epic fail part on Caddy exteriors were the tail light fin fillers on the late 70′s-91 Fleetwoods (and Devilles through about 84, if I recall correctly)

        I especially like it when people stuff trash and various junk in there.

        You should definitely have that fiberglass replaced. And hopefully, painted too.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        From my experience I have to agree, the Toro was pretty slow, never bothered to drive the Buick as smokey as it was.

        At Corey: I dont remember from the Toro, but I know that the Riviera had some weird door things going on.

        Another issue with these cars during testing was that they’d go to the right a little, GMs solution? Stick a weight under the drivers seat, this saving Ace from the bomb.

        Halicki of Gone in 60 Seconds used an Eldorado like this for Junkman with a few fake RWD-burnout-imitating shots. Several were wrecked during filming.

        At Poncho: The door sagging shouldn’t have been an issue from the get go, other non-GM coupes from that time and earlier hardly got sagging doors. Both GMs and AMCs of tha time had terrible hinges.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Hell yes, north-south front wheel drive.

    Also, those back seats are insane!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Grandma had a 1985 Buick Riviera (also an E-body), which I affectionately dubbed “The Brown Car”.

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    Why stainless steel roof panel?

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      The original Eldo Biarritz had one in the 60′s. It was one of those ” because we’re GM, that’s why” things.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      Because in 58 the super exclusive and expensive Eldorado Brougham had a stainless roof as standard equipment.

      https://www.google.com/search?q=images+of+1958+Eldorado+Brougham&rlz=1C1EODB_enUS584US591&espv=2&tbm=isch&imgil=srhWE1nliwQ3SM%253A%253Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fencrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9GcTMRST8_wJiYrcoJIW0fD0H6jeUVDrvlHRAisuy-Z25R04k0eQexg%253B800%253B572%253BnLx9kdqDd5BNPM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.cromoclassico.com%25252Feng%25252Fcadillac.html&source=iu&usg=__701Rq_suAqSVtPemb6IC1D3YL7Y%3D&sa=X&ei=z1qbU4j1LpC_sQTlyILwAg&ved=0CCIQ9QEwAA&biw=1600&bih=837#facrc=_&imgrc=srhWE1nliwQ3SM%253A%3BnLx9kdqDd5BNPM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.cromoclassico.com%252Feng%252Fimmagini%252Fcaddy3.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.cromoclassico.com%252Feng%252Fcadillac.html%3B800%3B572

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Ok, how in the h-ll does the HEADLINER fade? GM was amazing.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Musical accompaniment.
    youtube.com/watch?v=gyzSKQ9dqG4

    Al was a sentimental guy.

    The long smooth lines of the Eldorado caught his eye on the dealer lot. He had just driven his retirement truck out to California to be with his daughter and grandchildren, but he loved the idea of a real Cadillac as a Sunday car. Biarritz package, digital dash, working A/C, and sixty thousand miles, she was quite a looker. Al was able to walk away with it for $3500 with some haggling. There was just something about it, he thought. Real. American. Steel.

    Al started his career in the Pittsburgh steel industry right as it began to unravel. He was fortunate though, as his employer was one of the few mills which were able to stay in operation through the 1980s denouement. For thirty five years he worked in a rolling mill and watched molten steel was poured into a cooling bed to produce long smooth lines. He looked down the long hood of the Eldorado Biarritz as he drove and he thought of the mill. The chromed hood ornament glistened in the California sun, and he enjoyed how the fenders blinked when he engaged the turn signal to head back to his new home. Janie didn’t understand of course. “You bought a what, dad?” She kept repeating. She also pointed out his townhouse garage was too small for him to wrench it, let alone his Silverado. While she was right, Al didn’t care. The smooth ride of American steel made him feel young again.

    A few weeks later, Al was going to head down to a car show two towns over. The sky was cloudless but the temperature was fair, he decided to take his prized Biarritz. Janie was supposed to have brought his grandson Derrick but Al had already been waiting for a half hour. Eventually, he noticed the cell phone she gifted him on the kitchen counter shaking. The phone indicated he had a new text message, which after some fumbling Al was able to read.

    “Cant come Der is 2 tired” it read.

    “Why didn’t she just call the house phone” he begrudgingly said aloud as he placed the cell in his pocket.

    He left his townhouse, pulled open the long heavy door to the Cadillac and felt his bottom sink into the rich leather seats. Sure the leather had seen better days, but it was still comfortable.

    “They don’t make ‘em like this anymore” he said aloud to himself.

    The car fired up, Al clicked his belt and decided to fiddle with the door mounted seat control before putting the car in reverse. When he turned his head, his glasses drooped off of his bulbous nose which required a correction from his left hand. He backed out and then watched the sunlight bounce off of his door mounted mirror as he put the car back into drive and smoothly pulled out of the townhouse complex. His placed his worn hands at 10 & 2 and proceeded to slowly drive down the country road with his window cracked a few inches. He enjoyed observing the trip computer read out “99” miles per gallon when he headed down the hills into town and muttering comments to himself. He passed an ARCO on the left as he approached the intersection. The car was traveling about thirty miles per hour, Al noticed the red light turn green as he approached and slightly accelerated. He saw the sun gleam from the de La Mothe crest for the last time when the CR-V ran the red light while in the middle of a Facebook post.

    BAM!

    Al felt as if a wall had hit him when he woke up. His chest hurt but he seemed otherwise unharmed although his glasses were missing. He struggled to see what had happened but everything was such a blur. The hood was bent up in front of him pushed against the side of a light blue Honda. He couldn’t see much of the other car but it looked partially smashed on the driver’s door, but his foot blocked a clearer view of the Honda’s fender. Al was not sure how long he was out but he noticed an ambulance parked behind him and a gurney being brought out on the Eldorado’s passenger side. A police officer approached him from what looked like a parked motorcycle. Al unlocked the driver’s door and swung it open.

    “Sir, are you alright” the officer asked.

    “I think so, what, what happened?”

    “You were involved in an accident, sir.” The officer responded as a medic approached them.

    “Is anybody hurt?” Al asked.

    “Not sure yet. Three passengers in the other car, it appears one may not have been wearing a seat belt.”

    * * *

    What a rolling mill is:
    youtube.com/watch?v=2n6r6Ilbc64

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      “Al started his career in the Pittsburgh steel industry right as it began to unravel.”

      Used to see quite a few of these(and bustle butt Seville) on the road in Pittsburgh as a kid, along with their E-body brethern. Retirement cars for the steelworkers and others who’d made their money while Pittsburgh was making money.

      My Eldo only had 69k on it when I got it in 1996 and was fairly well cared for. I did take pride in it, certainly was nice all clean and waxed and the blue leather interior was clean. The headliner only started to sag slightly when I got rid of it.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I did as well, they are almost completely gone now from a combination of 4100itis, road salt, and overall iffy build quality.

        The character is loosely based on my gf’s father who recently retired from AK steel after 40 years. Although he acquired a truck in retirement and isn’t into Cadillacs.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      I don’t think anybody ever worked in a rolling mill for 35 years. Rolling mill operator was a plum, top job at the upper end of the pay scale, like job classes 18 and higher in the US Steel scale. The young control room guy in the video would’ve been a 45-60 year old version of Al in a USW plant.

      You usually paid your dues coming up through basic steel production, open hearths, BOP shops and then onto finishing/specialty/testing jobs. A rolling mill operator had a control room as cushy as that Eldorado; like the one in the video sans computers. The guys doing grunt work in the rolling mills were general laborers around job classes 3-11 and could be sent anywhere in the mill depending upon need. You didn’t just stay in one facility and work your way up to the cushy room. By the time you got to Al’s final position, you effin’ knew steel production. Depending upon the company, you may also have taken one of many management training opportunities.

      Nitpicking aside, great job of portraying one of my “homies”. And I’m glad you had him surviving the T-boning. Just for the sake of appreciating what has been lost, that Pacific Steel operation is of a midget scale compared to all ops including rolling processes you’d have found 50 years ago in Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Loraine or Gary.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Thanks for the detailed reply, my father and uncle also worked in the Steel industry in the 70s, thus I could never harm my “homies”. When I see him next I’ll have to ask my gf’s father what his exact role was at AK Steel as he just retired from there after 40 years. She mentioned he ran a rolling machine (rolling press maybe?) since she was born but earlier today I couldn’t remember the wording and Googled “rolling mill” which worked for the story. Being born here, I was able to see the remnants of the great steel industry such as the Jones and Laughlan works and the US Steel Homestead works before the were torn down and replaced with… empty consumerism!

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          After I posted that I realized how didactic I was thinking everyplace else must mimic the capacity and structure of the biggest plants.

          It may be that your folks worked in any one of a number of auxiliary type plants that may not have done basic steel making but specialized in things like sheet, tube, plate, rails etc. and the job structures could have been radically different from such a vertically integrated mega-plant like Gary Works. We even had our own oil refineries.

          Oh, well, just interesting history now.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    That stainless steel roof would make a good island table in the kitchen of a McMansion home with the stainless steel clad industrial appliances.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    I still have my 1985 Cadillac Eldorado Business Coupe (base leather, no vinyl top, and wire wheels (replaced by Cadillac discs right away!)). At 93,000 miles the HT4100 gave up. The coolant sensor was too low in the radiator so by the time the light came on the engine was done. We had a new HT4100 dropped in and the car runs great at 112,000 miles.
    I was a bit younger in 1987 when I bought this two-year old car. I was virtually ignored by sales staff at five Cadillac stores, even managing to walk down through the underground storage area at one store without being acknowledged.
    When I stopped at McLean Cadillac in Tustin I was approached by V. Ray McInnis (you always remember any professional saleperson who really cares!) and bought the 1985 Academy Gray Cadillac Eldorado in ten minutes.
    After I got the car home I found several credit cards belonging to the previous owner. In those days you had to rely on the phone book to find someone. He was a physician and I asked him why he traded the car in. His answer: “It was two years old.”
    Since that time I also bought a 1985 Toronado Caliente (for $1,700 at my Oldsmobile dealership) and found the 307 to be just okay but very reliable. My 1969, 1972 and 1974 Toronados all have 455s.
    My latest purchase is a 1975 Riviera (for $305) with the “bustle-back” design 25 years before the BMW 7-series and five years before the 1980 FWD Seville.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Excuse me, are you a clone of me by chance?

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      From experience driving many of these cars the 307 delivered a bit more punch than the 4100 mainly due to it’s extra torque which was 40 more with the 1984 and earlier 307′s and 55 more in 1985. The 4100′s were very smooth and the Digital FI system contributed to very good drive-ability but those engines were done in after about 40 MPH and out of breath.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    After listening to all the stories that my Uncle had being a service tech for Cadillac and being on the Cadillac Roadside team I wouldn’t in any good conscience buy any Cadillac from that period and certainly never anything with the Northstar.

    It appears that they still send them out, but now in SRX’s. He had a Surburban for many years, and eventually an AWD Astro. The Suburban (probably an 88 or so with the stacked headlights) looked classier in dark blue and gold lettering….and held his toolbox better.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Anyone wanting to see a decent car chase with one of these, watch this clip from Junkman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfUIrqCC9uk

    It even has the original soundtrack!

  • avatar
    salguod

    “The Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz was made for the 1976 through 1991 model years, but the real Biarritz existed only through 1985.”

    Actually, the Biarritz name goes back much farther. It was the original term for the Eldorado convertible in the late 50s, the hardtop was the Eldorado Seville.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    The price listed seemed a bit steep so I checked my “Standard Catalog”. The base price for the 1985 Eldorado hardtop was about $21,000 and the Biaritz package would add another $4,000 (approximately). There were no doubt a few other options so the car *might* have been around $26,000. For comparison, a 1985 Caprice two-door started around $10,000 and it would probably need $2,500 in options to make it livable. You *could* order the 1985 Biaritz convertible (basically a custom job) for around $32,000.

    I liked this generation nearly as well as the first generation, but as I get older I prefer them with steel roofs and more basic.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    Something weirdly ostentatious about all these cars from that era. They’re lovably loud, but by comparison if you worked in a field that required you to show your car to the public (i.e. small business owner) buying any of the alternatives would be arguing you’re too good for the customer’s money. But that’s neither here nor there, now buying a Cadillac is a wholly different affair.

    But still an interesting vehicle, very much of its own time in the 1980s. I’m genuinely surprised at how modern looking the commercial is for 1984. The fact it was probably filmed on tape hurts the overall quality but the graphics and the general appearance of things were quite up to date for the time. It’s aging surprisingly well.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Baby IKE pram. Chromed, schmaltzy peculiar only to the NA market.

    Early front-drive advantage in the snow belt. Profit margin advantage for GM.

    Nissan reboot failed.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Those inflation calculators are not ‘absolute’. No way was $35K the same as $80k for a car today.

    Even now, 80K is still exotic or fully loaded S class pricing. The $50K 1988 Allante’ was about same as 80K.

    Not every single price has gone up the same.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I think the MY73 Conti Mark IV was something like 8K, and the equivalent Coupe de Ville 9K (not inc options). So in twelve model years, a fully loaded Eldo could reach to 35? This in and of itself is disturbing to me. Close to 80K might not be that far off.

    • 0 avatar
      Mieden

      Chicagoland, just for reference, a fully loaded (non AMG) Eclass is $80K now (AMGs START at $80K). A stripper S-class starts at $93K. Most leave the door, lightly optioned, around $103K. A top-dog, “king of the castle” S65 starts at $222K and still has $13K in available options.

  • avatar
    SixDucks

    Uncle had a triple black ’84. Very pretty car that drove like a dream. Everything on it functioned perfectly except the HT4100 V-8. The first one blew up at @30,000 miles, the new (not rebuilt) replacement 4100 managed to make it to trade in time. I remember reading the benchmark for the HT4100 was the 3.8L alloy block Benz V-8. Yup, they nailed it………

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’ll take one of these in black, with no Biarritz package or vinyl roof. Sorry, folks, this is a handsome car.

    http://www.lov2xlr8.no/dailycap/bilder/cad6.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      That looks like a MY79 (or possibly an early MY80), which is the “good version” of this generation with a 4bbl Chev 350 IIRC.

      http://hooniverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Fullscreen-capture-432011-121358-PM.bmp-720×394.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “no Biarritz package or vinyl roof.”z

      So right. The simple black one is elegant and stately, the Biarritz is elvis.

      Aside from 28′s story, this thread has been liesure suits and pinky rings to me, but that is one magnificent slab of ‘Murica.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    If someone told me to chose one of these cars but it had to be from the 1982-1985 time period it would be the last model year 1985 in white complete without Biarritz package or vinyl roof, alloy wheels and touring suspension with blue or burgundy interior in cloth!

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I’ve always liked the Riviera more, especially in T-Type trim with the funky FWD offset version of the Grand National wheels and in all black just like a GN.

  • avatar
    flashbackwoody

    as for me personally I need to find this particular salvage yard as I need some of the Biarritz only door chrome that I see is in good condition

    who knows what yard this was taken in?

    anyone ?


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