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

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides a 1983 cadillac eldorado touring coupe looking sinister in black

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]

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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....

  • YellowDuck Wait...how do you make a mid-engine crossover? Or even a 4-door coupe? Me not get.
  • 28-Cars-Later Thanks Corey. The head stud job on NOrthSTAR-T was $3K *years ago* as it involves an engine pull so rear wheel arch rust in and of itself isn't a show stopper. I'll be sure to check out the trunk as it may start to add up on deferred maintenance. Supposedly this was garaged so the underneath the rockers etc. should be decent but if those are shot its not gonna work.
  • Mark 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, G4NG engine with connecting rod bearing issues. Engine needs to be replaced, but Hyundai is denying warranty claim. I have all maintenance records from mile zero. It has been in Hyundai Service department 5 time in 4 months. They added the knock sensor and software update to let you know the engine is about to blow up. They kicked the can down the road doing patch work until the car was past the 120k extended extended warranty. I have that documentation too. So how can I join the class action law suit or find a Lawyer that handles these types of issues?
  • Wolfwagen Always loved the late 70s and very early 80s Scout II and Terras.This resurrection will be nothing like those. SINO - Scout in Name Only
  • Redapple2 AGREED. Crap. Why is this so difficult ? !