The Malaise Era wheezed into view in 1974. Interlocked seat belts had to be engaged before the car could start, the first airbag option was offered in a Cadillac, and high-energy ignition introduced. Bumpers got heavier and engine compression was reduced to accommodate lower octane gasoline.
The output of the 1974 Cadillac Eldorado’s 500 cid V-8 was now only expressed in net figures, a meager 210 bhp from 8.2 liters. Even so, sales stayed strong. Prices now began at $7656 for the coupe and $7873 for the convertible, though a huge mid-season increase raised those figures to $9110 and $9437. At that point, options could push final prices past $13,000.
The 1974 Cadillacs continued to use a combined in-and-out front bumper, and the Eldorado gained a new fine-mesh grille. The grille/bumper was attached directly to the frame via hydraulic pistons, and could move back in case of impact without any damage. Larger front parking lights wrapped around the corners. New chrome vertical taillights could also move with the rear bumper.
The Eldorado’s Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission still featured a unique side-by-side setup with the engine and a unique internal chain drive. Front suspension was by torsion bar with rear coil springs and a self-leveling option.
The Custom Cabriolet package continued for the Eldorado Coupe, with a “halo” half vinyl roof that featured a big chrome bar across the top. Behind it was padded vinyl and ahead of it was a sunroof, set in the painted roof.
The 1974 Cadillac Eldorado was available with an optional leather interior and a bench front seat with folding center armrest. Other popular options included automatic climate control, airbag, automatic leveling, power sunroof, tilt/telescopic steering column, remote trunk release, rear window defogger, crushed velour upholstery, special carpet package, AM/FM radio, AM/FM stereo with 8-track, vinyl roof, power seat, power door locks, power sunroof, cruise control, tinted glass, heated front seats, and hard boot cover for the convertible.
Cadillac sales dropped this year to 242,330, in part due to the oil embargo. However, Cadillac held on to 10th place in U.S. sales.