1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
Ed Ewing Collection
Lot No. 5122
Auctioned on Saturday, August 31, 2013
Sold for $220,000
- Well-equipped including factory air conditioning, parade boot, Autronic Eye and cruise control.
- Dual-quad equipped 345hp 390cid V-8 provides plenty of power.
- One of just 1,320 Eldorado Biarritz Convertibles produced for 1959.
- The pinnacle of Cadillac post-war style and design with iconic Fifties Fins styling.
Chassis no. 59E075432
390-cid, 345-hp OHV V-8 engine, four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission; coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four -wheel power hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 130-inches
Cadillac’s 1959 models grew in length and width, and while overall the cars were lower the hallmark tailfins reached new heights, their tips 45-inches above ground level. Since 1955, the Eldorado had had its own distinctive fins, but anything larger than the standard ’59 fin would have been impractical. Instead, a unique trim scheme was adopted, less gaudy and thus more refined than the basic Series 62. In fact, a whole Eldorado series, designated 64, was created for the Biarritz convertible coupe and Seville two-door hardtop. A broad molding at the rocker panel left the body sides plain and distinguished, while a jeweled grille motif was adopted at the rear.
This car, in Seminole Red, will never be overlooked. Its contours, paint and brightwork are excellent, and the white leather interior shows beautifully. It is well equipped, with power steering and power brakes, power windows, factory air conditioning, Wonderbar signal-seeking radio, heater, windshield washers, parade boot, Autronic Eye automatic headlight dimmer, power door locks and cruise control, the latter a seldom-seen option that was standard on Eldorados.
Cadillac sales improved in 1959, after the disappointing recession year that preceded it. Still, Eldorado Biarritz production remained modest, with 1,320 built, barely ten percent of the Series 62 soft-top. No doubt this reflected the $7,401 price tag, which was exceeded only by those of the Series 75 cars and an ultra-luxury Eldorado Brougham.
The tail fin beat a hasty retreat in 1960, becoming just a simple blade of modest height. Thus it is the 1959s that we remember, from the height of excess. We’ll never see the likes of it again.