Cadillac has been busy making motor cars for an incredible 116 years – and now that I have said the ‘C’ word you’re thinking of an enormous chrome clad tarmac denting behemoth, probably the Ghostbusters Ambulance-right?
This is understandable because the coincidentally 59-year-old 59′ is an design icon for good reasons and bad. It’s the pinnacle of sheet metal usage and the extreme of how much design you can really fit onto any one object.
It is a real achievement for any company to make something that sticks so firmly in people’s memory, but it does suggest that they have never made anything interesting since then, but I’m going to nominate what I think is the best car in their history which is unfairly overshadowed by its loud and brash siblings.
In 1967, Cadillac made a very bold move and launched the 4th generation Eldorado as a smaller ‘personal coupe’ with the added shock of front wheel drive! It was lean, low, clean and handsome and I think it’s one of the best looking American cars to date, styled by Bill Mitchell who also gave us the 63 Buick Riviera, so he was clearly on a roll.
The model makers must have been just as impressed as I am because it’s well represented for a car that was only on sale for 3 years.
Dinky launched their 1:42 scale model in 1969 and while its appropriately imposing in size and weight it is a bit clunky and with some serious panel fit issues that British Leyland would have struggled to match! Sadly, Dinky managed to miss out one of the cars most interesting features which is the rear windscreen which should come to a point but is just a regular curve on their version. There was a special feature on the Dinky though, and ‘interior bonnet release’ which they proudly tout in the advertising, but it was just a big plastic rod sticking through the dashboard which pushed the bonnet, sorry hood up to reveal a big shiny V8. That big V8 was to get even bigger in 1970 when it grew to be the world’s largest capacity production V8 engine at a whopping 8.2 litres, a record that stands to this day.
The lesser known Gamda Koor Sabra company which sometimes went under the name Cragstan produced a better version in 1:43 which captured the real cars lines and details much more successfully. This is quite a rare model and when found usually has collapsed suspension and chipped bumpers as the plastic they used on the base is rather fragile.
If your pushed for space, then Husky/Corgi and Hot Wheels came up with versions which emphasized different styling features to give both a very distinct but pleasing look and both came in a wide range of colours. The Marx Toy Company version was the smallest and the most basic in being a single casting with no base, interior or windows but they got the shape of the car just right, the banana yellow paint is not very in keeping with the subtle style of the original though!
The ultimate model must be the 1:18 scale resin by BoS which looks amazing, but I have yet to get my hands on one and as they are currently retailing on line for over $250 I might not. This makes the full-size version on eBay for £8000 look like excellent value, but you would need a very sturdy shelf in your bedroom to take a 2.1-ton 18-foot 4 inch ‘Golden One’ – that’s what Eldorado means in Spanish, but you knew that of course.
So, there is my nomination for best ‘must have’ Cadillac Eldorado! Who said Escalade? Don’t be ridiculous!
Does anyone make a model of the Cimarron? Now there was a fine idea….
Leave a reply in the box at the bottom of the page and tell us what would be your choice of ultimate ‘must have’ Eldorado in diecast. We’d love to hear from you!