Junkyard Find: 1989 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

The Eldorado got downsized for the 1986 model year, as part of GM’s doomed 1980s efforts to beat Mercedes-Benz and BMW (which included such interesting-but-deeply-flawed money-losers-with-vaguely-European-sounding-names as the Cadillac Allanté, Buick Reatta, and Olds Troféo), and of course you could get this car with the tufted-button upholstery and padded roof that made it a Biarritz. Not many of these cars were sold in 1989, so today’s Junkyard Find is another one of those rare-but-not-so-valuable ones.

The price of a base ’89 Eldorado Biarritz with leather seats was $30,240, which comes to about 57 grand in 2015 dollars. A BMW 525i listed at $37,000 and the Mercedes-Benz 280E was $39,200, so any car shopper who felt the Eldorado Biarritz measured up to those two machines was getting a good deal with the Cadillac (though the ’89 Acura Legend LS coupe was a mere $28,377).

Sans-serif fonts make cars look more European, right? Right?

We can make fun of these cars now, but the ride on these cushy seats was very comfy.

The 4.5 liter version of the HT4100 V8 wasn’t quite as sophisticated as the luxury-car powerplants coming from across the oceans in 1989, but at least it wasn’t a Buick V6.

“Its driver-oriented engineering brings the road alive!”

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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29 of 184 comments
  • Kevin Jaeger Kevin Jaeger on Mar 11, 2015

    Just say no to transverse-mounted FWD V8s. That's a brain damaged layout to begin with. Other than GM who else has ever tried this? There's so much comprised to begin with - torque steer, chassis weight distribution, access for maintenance, etc.

    • See 12 previous
    • Sundance Sundance on Mar 20, 2023

      Lancia did it, too. 1987 they introduced the Thema 8.32 with a transverse mounted Ferrari V8 (only 215hp) and FWD.

  • Nels0300 Nels0300 on Mar 11, 2015

    The thing that really bothered me about any 80s-early 90s GM cars was that the two doors felt like the doors weighed 1000 lbs each and the door hinges were made out of paper clips. So you open the door and the door drops down and you have to slam the hell out of it to get the door to close properly. It really made the cars feel like junk. Just compare a fox body Mustang vs an 80s F-body. The Mustang just felt MUCH better built, not to mention that most V8 F-bodies had that turd 305 vs the solid 302 in the Ford.

    • See 13 previous
    • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Mar 17, 2015

      @Corey Lewis WD-40 is *barely* a lubricant, and certainly not intended for anything that sees any sort of stress. The correct lubricant is usually one of the greases that goes in as a liquid for penetration then sets up into a grease. Wurth makes a great one. WD-40 was intended as a water displacing spray initially. Just about anything would be better in a hinge, unless you are applying it almost every day. And lubricating the hinges is one of those things that is supposed to be done at every service that usually isn't. Right up there with clearing the various drain holes in the car.

  • ToolGuy I AM PLACING [sic] NICELY. There is NO NEED TO BAN ME. Personally I do lots of things which DON'T MAKE SENSE, sometimes to myself, often to others. WHO ELON MUSK ENDORSES is really kind of NONE OF MY BUSINESS. It is a FREE COUNTRY, in some ways, still. I wish I knew how to FORMAT MY COMMENT better. I USED TO KNOW HOW, maybe I am losing it slowly (lot of that going around, JUST SAYING).
  • Aja8888 I can't read those whole thread without throwing up....
  • ToolGuy Maybe I will GIVE IT A LISTEN. Probably when I'm MOWING THE LAWN. Probably with a BATTERY OPERATED MOWER. (There are also batteries IN MY HEADPHONES. And IN MY PHONE.) Does anyone remember how to make a NEW PARAGRAPH?
  • ToolGuy I am NOT SURE WHAT TO SAY. In fact I'M NOT EVEN SURE WHAT I JUST READ. I paid a premium for my last cordless drill/driver because it has a hydraulic front end which PRODUCES LESS NOISE AND VIBRATION.
  • ToolGuy Tim, THANK YOU FOR THE ALL CAPS. I think it ADDS A LOT to the discussion. I might USE it MYSELF in the future. Have a GREAT WEEKEND.