1974 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible: Cranberry Firemist for the win!
Another ’70s Cadillac? You betcha, as they say in Fargo. What can I say, I love these cars. Always have. I think it started when my parents started buying me Pocket Cars when I was two or three. Amongst the BMWs and Fiat X1/9s and Porsche 928s were a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, Cadillac ambulance, and Lincoln Continental Mark IV.
The Mark and the Fleetwood were two of my favorites, and my mom will attest that I carried them almost everywhere, along with a Matchbox Mercury Cougar Villager station wagon with an opening tailgate. I carried them to church, in the car, to the grocery store. They were always in my mitts. To the detriment of my own personal well being.
I didn’t remember this, but Mom told me one time I was running down the short flight of four or five steps from our back yard to the path to our garage, slipped, went down, and scraped up both my hands. Because I didn’t want the Caddy and Lincoln scratched, I didn’t drop them when I fell, to the detriment of my hands.
But the cars were OK!
Ever since, I’ve just loved the domestic luxury cruisers from the 1970s. Sure, they had their faults. Strangled engines, cheap plastic here and there, arguably chintzy décor in some cases. But for all that, I still love ’em.
Which brings us to the near-present. It was May 31, 2015. A Sunday. Bright, sunny, and pleasant, as most days in late May are. I ‘d seen on our local car show event website that there was an event in Sterling, Illinois, about an hour away via Scenic Interstate 88.
There were a lot of interesting cars there. A good turnout—a 1959 Thunderbird, ’77 Plymouth Volare Road Runner, and a Bradley, a rare fiberglass sportster from the late ’50s and early ’60s. But if you’ve read enough of my stuff (or simply this column), you’ll know which cars caused my eyes to bug out and my Brougham radar to chime “Awooga, awooga, awooga!”
Yes, a 1974 Cadillac Eldorado convertible in aforementioned Cranberry Firemist with white Sierra grain leather and matching cranberry dash and carpeting. This was the one and only drop-top American luxury car in the Year of Our Lord 1974, the Continental convertible disappearing after 1967 and the Imperial Crown convertible after model year ’68.
But, of course, as a luxury conveyance, it was not cheap. The ’74 Eldorado convertible retailed for $9437 (about $56,000 today) before options. Each one weighed in at an impressive 5019 pounds; 7600 were built. As a Cadillac, much was standard (leather was standard on the Eldo convertible but optional on all other Cadillacs), but available extras included Trackmaster skid control ($214), a theft deterrant system ($80), and Automatic Climate Control ($523). A newly available option was front-seat airbags, which GM termed the Air Cushion Restraint System, for $225. Although it was available on most 1974 Cadillacs, you could not get it on the Eldorado convertible or the Series 75 limousines.
As the 1974 Cadillac brochure (of course I have a copy) extolled, “This one stands alone. As an Eldorado, it has the maneuverability of front-wheel drive, variable-ratio power steering and Automatic Level Control—coupled with that exclusive Eldorado engine, quieter and more responsive than ever.
“As a convertible, it is a car unique unto itself … starting with the fact that it is the only luxury convertible built in the land … From its new superfine grille to its beautifully beveled rear deck, this is a unique driving experience.”
And it’s so pretty! I just loved the colors on this one. Say what you will about modern luxury cars. I’ll freely admit they are safer, more efficient, and with more whiz-bang modern gadgets than any ’70s land cruiser could hope for. But …
These are just so pretty! And I miss when one could decide if they wanted a coupe, convertible, pillared sedan, or hardtop sedan. And there was such a variety of colors. While it was an era I just barely missed, I go back in time whenever I spot a fine relic like this … or dive into my vintage car brochures!
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