In our last installment of Rare Rides, we checked out the interior changes Cadillac’s engineers and designers made for the new and improved third generation Eldorado in 1957. And while the interior of the standard Eldorados that year was largely shared with the rest of the Cadillac lineup, there was an exception: Eldorado Brougham. Like we saw previously with the Brougham’s mix-and-match approach in use of old and new exterior styling cues, the interior went its own direction as well.
We spent our last installment reviewing the more modern exterior styling of the 1957 Eldorado Seville, and new-yet-dated looking Eldorado Brougham. Those two followed our coverage of the Eldorado Biarritz, which was unable to adopt Cadilac’s 1957 roof and pillars design because of its canvas roof. This week we step inside the Eldorado, and see how removed it was from the 1956 models.
Last week in our Cadillac Eldorado saga, we covered the visual updates in the new-for-’57 Eldorado Biarritz. Part of a styling revision across the line at Cadillac that year, the Eldorado in particular drifted away from the bulbous fenders and tall hood shapes that were a hallmark of post-WWII American car design. But there were two more Eldorados in 1957! One of them looked more daring than the Biarritz, and the other looked almost like it was from the past.
Despite previously having committed itself toward a future where it builds all-electric vehicles, General Motors has made plans to bring plug-in hybrids back to our market. That’s according to CEO Mary Barra, who announced on Tuesday that the automaker would be leaning on hybrid vehicles to help contend with increasingly strict emission regulations.
As we learned in our previous installment, the third generation Eldorado debuted in 1957 with a daring new X-frame chassis design. Launched across the entire Cadillac lineup that year, the X-frame would become controversial in short order due to safety concerns in side-impact crashes. Up top, Cadillac decided to make less controversial styling changes on the 1957 Eldorados. Designers advanced a styling theme that would reach its fin-happy and chrome bedazzled crescendo a couple of years later.
As we learned in our last installment, the Cadillac lineup was revised visually for 1957, and would be revised again in 1958 once quad headlamps became legal. Fins grew, hoods smoothed, roofs leaned backward, and there were more Eldorado variants than ever before. But styling and lineup changes weren’t the only new features in 1957: Cadillac was also eager to tout its Standard of the World engineering, safety, and engine advancements!
The second generation Cadillac Eldorado was met with immediate sales success after its repositioning from a halo vehicle to a more affordable upmarket trim package in 1954. Expanding upon the success in its third and final model year, the second-gen Eldorado sprouted a new body style (a hardtop coupe) called Seville in addition to the mainstay convertible sibling christened Biarritz. In 1958 it was time for all-new Eldorado(s), in a moment that would see the nameplate expand into a small lineup in two very distinct price brackets. Time for model range detail!
The product people at Cadillac made a crucial decision early in the Fifties with regard to the positioning of the second generation Eldorado: It would be less expensive, and less special. The unique content of the exclusive limited-run 1953 Eldorado meant it had a stratospheric price that put it out of reach for the vast majority of consumers. The subsequent 1954 Eldorado appeared with a more reasonable price, and was a fancy trim package atop the new Series 62 convertible. Sales skyrocketed, and the trajectory for the remainder of the second generation was set!
General Motors has issued a stop-sale order for the all-electric Chevrolet Blazer. As previously reported, the model has been criticized for presenting reviewers with electrical problems. That’s not what you want to see from any vehicle and absolutely intolerable on an EV. Even worse is the fact that the Blazer EV uses the Ultium platform GM claims is about to underpin its future lineup.
Sacrificing much, GM spent billions and billions of 1980s dollars on technology and engineering entities at the behest of CEO Roger Smith, who wanted to transform The General into a company more resembling a conglomerate like GE. Half a decade later Smith was gone, and the remaining brass began to unwind the costly EDS and Hughes deals and return GM to its standard operating procedure. But behind the layers of finance and paperwork, Guidestar GPS was developed. And the first time the public got to see it was in 1994 in a very exciting debut.
As we learned in our last installment in this series, the lowering of the digital and governmental barrier between civilian and military GPS assets in 1996 was a boon to the consumer side of navigation, and (per our comments) land surveying as well. It was a timely turn of events for General Motors after the Orlando area TravTek experiment of 1992 proved either too costly to scale, or alternatively not valuable enough in the eyes of consumers. Before we get to GuideStar, we need to cover much context around why GM was so keen on high-tech things in the Nineties, and the massive amounts of money it spent in its pursuit.
When it debuted in its second generation guise for the 1954 model year, the Cadillac Eldorado changed its approach from low-production halo car to expensive trim package. The new take and lower price resonated with consumers and sales jumped immediately. Boldened, in 1955 a refreshed Eldorado appeared with a new rear end treatment that featured large fins not found on other Cadillac models. Upon the Eldorado’s return to (partially) unique styling, sales nearly doubled. Cadillac wanted more, and so for its final second generation outing in 1956 Eldorado was expanded into a new body style and two luxurious new trim names.
We return to our Rare Rides Eldorado coverage this week, after a thorough review of the exterior and interior of the new-for-’54 Eldorado. The new model was meant to continue the excitement of the limited-run, very expensive 1953 Eldorado at a price that was notably more affordable to the American luxury car buyer. A more cynical take on a halo convertible, the 1954 went without any unique styling and instead focused on trim and badges to differentiate it from the garden variety Series 62 convertible upon which it was based. Normally this is the point where we’d talk about trims, but there weren’t any at the second Eldorado’s debut. It was not until after the model became a sales success that Cadillac debuted more variants.
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- Wjtinfwb Funny. When EV's were bursting onto the scene; Tesla's, Volt's, Leaf's pure EV was all the rage and Hybrids were derided because they still used a gas engine to make them, ahem; usable. Even Volt's were later derided when it was revealed that the Volt's gas engine was actually connected to the wheels, not just a generator. Now, Hybrids are warmly welcomed into the Electric fraternity by virtue of being "electrified". If a change in definition is what it takes, I'm all for it. Hybrid's make so much sense in most American's usage patterns and if needed you can drive one cross-country essentially non-stop. Glad to see Hybrid's getting the love.
- 3-On-The-Tree We also had a 1973 IH Scout that we rebuilt the engine in and it had dual glass packs, real loud. I miss those days.
- 3-On-The-Tree Jeff thanks. Back in 1990 we had a 1964 Dodge D100 with a slant six with a 3 on the tree. I taught myself how to drive a standard in that truck. It was my one of many journeys into Mopar land. Had a 1973 Plymouth duster with a slant six and a 1974 Dodge Dart Custom with 318 V8. Great cars and easy to work on.
- Akear What is GM good at?You led Mary............................................What a disgrace!
- Randy in rocklin I have a 87 bot new with 200k miles and 3 head gasket jobs and bot another 87 turbo 5 speed with 70k miles and new head gaskets. They cost around 4k to do these days.