1974 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe: Nimitz-Class Luxury

Michael Risatti

I have my friend Mike Risatti to thank for the fantastic pictures of this beautiful Eldorado. Labor Day weekend always means a lot of car shows, and sometimes you can’t get to all of them. Previously, the Cadillac & LaSalle Club show at Ettleson Cadillac in Hodgkins, Illinois, was held in mid-June, but this year it was moved to the holiday weekend.

1974 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe top
Michael Risatti

I wanted to go, and initially planned to, but the excellent Grape Festival show in Nauvoo, Illinois—just a short hop across the Mississippi River from Fort Madison, Iowa—is held the same weekend, and I have been attending it since 2006. My aunt and uncle, Lori and Dave Klockau, are always there (they have a house there as kind of a weekend getaway) and it’s always fun to drive up, visit, have a most excellent picnic lunch outside, attend the Labor Day Parade, then go to the show and gawk at the cars.

1974 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe emblem
Michael Risatti

The problem was, Ettleson was Saturday and Nauvoo was Sunday, and attending both would have meant six hours of driving Saturday and four more on Sunday, which was a tad too much, even for a rabid car show attendee like me.

1960 Cadillac Sedan de Ville
Mike’s pride and joy, Estelle, a 1960 Cadillac Sedan de Ville. Thomas Klockau

Fortunately, many of my Chicago-area Cadillac friends were at Ettleson. Mike owns a fantastic 1960 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, and he brought it to the show.

1974 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe interior
Michael Risatti

And luckily for me, he also posted many pictures online. At that time, I was on the couch at home, drinking coffee. There were so many nice Cadillacs, including a Mandarin Orange 1975 Eldorado convertible—with a matching orange top! But the one I really zeroed in on was this simply fantastic Cranberry Firemist 1974 Eldorado coupe.

persian lime firemist cadillac
Thomas Klockau

This color and Persian Lime Firemist are my favorite 1974 Cadillac colors. There were so many great ones back then! None of this black, silver, and gray nonsense. I will posit that a ’70s Cadillac color chart was more extensive and impressive than any specialty, uber-expensive luxury car of 2023. Things weren’t perfect in 1974, but car-wise things were pretty impressive on the color and option scale.

1974 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe rear three quarter
Michael Risatti

I now know many folks of a certain age are just going mad, ready to say 1974 … really?! Seatbelt interlocks! Gas crisis! Etcetera! But I’ll always love the year for the sheer variety of cars. Luxury gunboats like this, Saab 99s, Fiats, Alfa coupes, Pinto woody wagons, Citroëns! It was a vast smorgasbord for those who were new-car shopping. And it was the year my parents were married. So there!

1974 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe stickers
Michael Risatti

Cadillac was doing just fine, thank you, in 1974, despite gas prices and other things. Still all-car, no SUVs yet—thank heaven! The lineup began with the Calais coupe and four-door hardtop, moving up to the Sedan de Ville and Coupe de Ville, the personal-lux Eldorado like our featured vehicle, the incomparable Eldo convertible, top-of-the-line “owner driven” Fleetwood Brougham (with even more sumptuous Brougham d’Elegance and Fleetwood Talisman versions), and the top of the heap: the Fleetwood Series 75 limousine and nine-passenger Sedan.

1974 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe interior seats
Michael Risatti

And the colors! Did I mention the colors? Well, I’m going to do it again! So many fabrics, leathers, top colors, and paint choices! It was wonderful. And the names themselves just made you want to run into a Cadillac dealership and hand them a blank check: Victorian Amber Firemist, Terra Cotta Firemist, Regal Blue Firemist, Pharaoh Gold, and on and on!

1974 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe interior front dash full
Michael Risatti

And did I neglect to mention all the comfort, convenience, and appearance options available on 1974 Cadillacs? Well, buckle up! Available niceties included a power sunroof, Stereo with tape deck (no subscription claptrap then, no sir! You bought your 8-track tapes and that was that!), tilt/telescope steering column, Track Master (an early form of anti-skid braking), outside thermometer (mounted on the driver’s side mirror), extra brilliant Firemist paints, and more.

1974 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe front quarter
Michael Risatti

Our featured car also has the Custom Cabriolet top option, which retailed for $385 ($2409 today) as seen on this Eldorado, but was $1005 ($6287) with the power sunroof. The Custom Cabriolet roof “features a padded elk grain roof haloed by a sheer chrome molding,” per my 1974 brochure. The ’74 Eldorado started at $9110 ($56,991) for the coupe and $9437 ($59,037) for the convertible. A total of 32,812 coupes were built.

1974 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe front three quarter
Michael Risatti

Interiors were suitably sumptuous. Remember when luxury cars had rich fabrics and velours, and everything wasn’t just black or tan leather like now. In 1974 alone Eldorados came with a three-tone Mohawk fabric with Meridian fabric bolsters. Leather of course was an option, as well as Medici crushed velour, available in Dark Blue, Amber, or Terra Cotta.

1974 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe interior steering wheel
Michael Risatti

I was just smitten with this car, with its Cranberry paint, white Custom Cabriolet top, and white leather with Cranberry dash, carpet, and seat belts. What a magnificent ride! Cadillac, bring back the Eldorado already! Please.

1974 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe interior dash vent and controls
Michael Risatti



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    You do realize that this was the shortest Cadillac in 1974, a full 6 inches shorter than a Calais or DeVille?

    Often when I’m out in my 1970 El Dorado, people marvel at how big it is. Few of them believe me when I tell them it was the shortest Cadillac of 1970.

    What are you asking for your Eldorado. Do you have pictures, and how many miles are on it. A re you in Illinois,

    I had a ’76 Cream with Beige leather interior Eldorado . . In 1979-83! My brother in-law had a body shop and would find me good deals at the auctions- This one with body work & paint cost me $3000. Looked New inside and out- with that distinct smell of Cadillac Leather. I sold it for the same 3g’s in 83!

    My parents had a 1974 Eldorado …Cranberry Firemist, white leather, white cabriolet roof! At 12 years old? I didn’t really care 😂 At 62, I’d love to have it back…

    These looked bulky and garish, compared to the 1967-1970 Eldos. The only saving grace for the 1971-1978 Eldos was that a convertible was available – thru 1976. If not wanting a convertible, I would buy a 1967-1970, or move ahead to a 1979 or 1980 (before the era of lame Cadillac engines – happily now long over).

    I’ve never been a fan of the second-generation Eldo. It was impossible to improve the looks of the 1967.

    I worked at a suburban Pittsburgh Cadillac dealer in 1975 that had various showrooms. At one time we had 6 used Cranberry Eldos ( 2 conv) all with white tops & interiors scattered about the “pre owned area”. I convinced the sales manager to try putting them all in one small showroom reserved for the very best used cars. I should have taken a picture! All that Cranberry beauty in one space. Unfortunately it did not spur sales and the Cranberry fleet was again scattered. What a color. What memories.

    I noticed a hitch ball on the back. Looks like maybe this beauty still serves as a car and is not just a trailer queen. I love it. Cars were meant to be driven!

    I have a 1973 Cadillc Eldorado elClasico. This one has been in my family all of it’s life . I’m not sure what it’s worth 🤔 can anyone give me a idea. I think this special edition may sell for 50,000.00 or more. Or am I mistaken. Any thoughts for me.

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