Rare Rides: A 1983 Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe, Looking Sinister in Black

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Believe it or not, a long time ago the Cadillac brand was associated with elderly, moneyed customers. They chose Cadillac for comfort, luxury, and for the stately vulgarity which came standard when you purchased the pinnacle of General Motors. And as the pinnacle personal luxury offering from the Cadillac brand, an Eldorado was the de facto choice for many an American septuagenarian.

But Cadillac desired a younger customer, and a change was due for Eldorado. Presenting the 1983 Eldorado Touring Coupe.

First, a brief history. Cadillac’s first attempt at getting younger buyers into its cars (to rescue a shrinking market share) came with the brand new Seville for 1976. A midsize offering that was light on brougham but not on performance, the Seville was GM’s answer to the threatening sporty sedan offerings from German manufacturers Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The plan worked, and the Seville was a success. Perhaps then, more traditional Cadillac offerings could also appeal to younger buyers, if given a sporting chance. Time for trim!

The eighth-generation Eldorado debuted for the 1979 model year, replacing the much larger and more thirsty seventh generation (1971-1978). New engines powered tidier proportions in an Eldorado which shrunk in length by 20 inches. Starting in 1982, the standard and full-fat Biarritz trims were joined by the Touring Coupe.

Other models in the Cadillac lineup would wear a Touring trim at various points in time, but the Eldorado was first to get such a treatment. Exterior ornamentation was minimal, and chrome was found in many less places than the standard version. Buyers selected from a limited number of paint colors; it seems most of them picked black. A formal, upright hood ornament was not welcome here, so Cadillac created a flush, cloisonne badge just like one would find on those sporty BMW cars.

Special alloy wheels held up the newly sport-ified body, and a sports suspension helped keep the tires planted to the road in the corners. Said tires lacked Cadillac’s hallmark whitewalls, but would generally have the white letters showing.

This earlier ETC has the HT4100 engine, and that’s all we really need to say on the topic of engines.

A reworked interior featured plush bucket seats, reflecting the sports-oriented nature of the ETC. Notably lacking is the staid button-tufted seats of other trims. A center console pulls the front room together. How European.

The Touring Coupe trim initiated here became a staple of the Eldorado, paving the way for other “sporty” Cadillac offerings like the Seville and DeVille Touring Sedans. The trim carried all the way through to the final generation ETC, which wrapped up production in 2002.

Today’s sample is located in Connecticut, and an optimistic owner is asking $17,500.

As a bonus, you can watch this review of the ETC by MotorWeek, where the sporty coupe found the slalom to be a bit much.

[Images via seller]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Delerium75 Delerium75 on Apr 24, 2018

    I love how these looked. These along with the Buick T-Types ushered in a whole slew of low volume special editions of various GM cars. While some of these specials received meaningful power train and suspension upgrades (Century T-Type with 3.8L, Ninety-Eight Touring Sedan, Ciera International Series, Celebrity Eurosport VR, Deville Touring Sedan for example), they had to make due with their donor cars basic shape and dash which, while it was an interesting look, kinda nullified whatever upgrades the driving dynamics received. The specials were priced notably above standard models to the point that, say, a loaded '86 Taurus LX was priced neck and neck with an '86 Century T-type...basically a much older design. They did provide some much needed flavor to whatever vertical rear-windowed car they were applied to but it just underscored how wrong the basic car was.

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Apr 22, 2020

    We always laughed at the name...The Cadillac Etcetera. Definitely a name that says unique and individual. Clearly that was the guy who now names Caddies with odd alphanumeric combinations, good to see he moved up in the company. Cadillac should just go back to actual names and stick to them. Leave the random scrabble letters and numbers to the euros....whose random stuff no longer makes any sense either....

  • Dartdude They need to rebrand the models, The standard model should be Wagoneer and long version should be Grand Wagoneer. There should offer the Ram Rev powertrain in these
  • Irvingklaws Seems more like they're adopting Honda styling queues. Now if they would just adopt their reliability...
  • FreedMike "Obsidian Edition."Oooooh, obsidian is really, really hard stuff.
  • John The awesome Infiniti G series saved this company 20 years ago, but they are right back on track to obsolescence. (yawn)
  • Teddyc73 White with black wheels, I'm so sick of. Or dull grey and black wheels. Just stop.