Elegant, sexy, “golden” ․․․ Not literally, of course, but true to the picture of luxury cars, the Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz is the finest example of the classic American sophisticated car. It combines aesthetics, performance, and class that has stood the test of time.
In the 16th century when Sir Walter Riley (England) and Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada (Spain) set out in search of the mystical golden city of “El Dorado” nobody could predict that the name itself would become a legend as a synonym of wealth and luxury. Since then, the legend of El Dorado has expanded to our days becoming a cliché referring to the futile pursuit of wealth for almost 400 years.
The iconic Eldorado line was launched in 1953 and lasted till 2002 including 12 generations of elegant luxury cars that have been (and still are) the dream of thousands of car collectors. It was a real symbol of luxury and prestige: a car that everyone turns around to follow. The brand name translates from the Spanish “el dorado” as “golden” or “made from gold”, referring to the mythical South American “lost city” El Dorado, in the pursuit of which many desperate travelers died.
The story behind choosing a name for the legendary brand was not without due luxury: The company chose the name for the concept car, on the occasion of the Golden – 50th anniversary of the company. The name was suggested by the company’s merchandising department secretary Mary Ann Marini, which was later adopted for a limited edition 1953 car. Further, Cadillac chose the names “Seville” and “Biarritz” for the Eldorado hardtop and convertible models, respectively, after the Spanish city of Seville and French Biarritz. While the “Seville” name fell into disuse with the discontinuation of hardtop models in 1961, the “Biarritz” name was used until 1964, then was reinstated as the high-end trim of the 1977 model.
It’s remarkable, but to bring a bit of a “feminine eye” to car making, General Motors designer Harley Earl hired female graduates from two of the most prestigious art academies in the US. “Damsels of Design” were 20 professional girls who created the interior of the legendary Eldorado and other iconic models of the 50s. At the time of its release, this model became a business card for GM’s’ design ideas and innovations, which inspired various companies to adopt exterior and structural elements.
The history of this model transformation in the 80s was closely connected both with the technological development of that time and many other factors. Gradually, under the pressure of the fuel crisis, the power and volume of engines were reduced, and, accordingly, the size of the cars. However, Eldorado of the 80s has not lost the aesthetics, class, and elegance characteristic of the brand. Interestingly, the price of the car also never decreased, since there was always demand from buyers.
Launched in 1979 the 10th generation continued as an upgraded version of Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile Toronado. The model set the model sales record in the mid-80s with 77,806 sold units (coupe and convertible) and was successful in terms of annual production. In terms of innovation, the 10th generation, and particularly the 1982 release, featured independent rear suspension, to have a rear seat and trunk space in a smaller body. However, the most notable styling touch was its extreme roofline.
Biarritz produced from 1982 to 1985, was equipped with a heavy-duty suspension coupe, large tires, cloisonné hood ornament, aluminum alloy wheels, body-colored headlights, wide rocker ribs, and saddle leather interior. Well known as “drivers’ cars” these vehicles included reclining front bucket seats with lumbar support, a leather steering wheel, a standard digital instrument cluster, and a center console. The Biarritz got a unique stainless steel roof similar to the first-generation cars and frameless door glass and rear windows. In 1982, Cadillac introduced the 4.1 L HT-4100 with 127 hp. (93.4 kW; 125.3 hp) which allowed the car to reach the speed of 171 km/h (106 mph). All full-size 1982 Cadillacs used this lightweight engine with cast iron heads mated to an aluminum block.
Source: Hagerty Agent
As an iconic production model, the Biarritz constantly appears in movies and music videos, representing a true luxury aesthetic and the embodiment of the American dream. One of the iconic appearances of the Eldorado 1982 release was the crime comedy “Cadillac Man” starring the brilliant Robbie Williams. Brand’s several models appeared in the film, including a 1982 model. The film is the story of a car salesman whose life has gone downhill.
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