National Award Winning Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
- 1 of 815 produced
- Frame off restoration
- Extensive documentation
- Award winner
- 365 V8 (335hp)
- Hydra-Matic automatic transmission
With elegant designs and chrome by the metric ton, Cadillacs of the 1950s were celebrities you could drive and, in turn, share the spotlight with as long as you remained behind the wheel. A year before the fin craze hit critical mass in 1959, Cadillac produced this stunning '58 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. Only 815 of these units were produced during the model year and very few received the high level of attention given to this Alpine White convertible. The car had been cared for by only two dedicated owners before undergoing an extensive frame off restoration in the late '90s. With an original drivetrain, all original sheet metal and extensive documentation this Biarritz is fully functional investment grade Cadillac worthy of any show field.
Even sitting still, this convertible makes a big impression. Approximately the same length as a modern Cadillac Escalade EXT, it takes some time to fully consider Harley Earl's design. From the graceful cut of the wheel arches to the dramatic tailfins atop the downswept rear fender line, absolutely every piece of this car was designed to appear in motion at all times. The flowing bodywork is covered in a smooth coat of Alpine White that enhances the cars luxury demeanor. As testament to both its pampered life and expert restoration, there is not a dent or ding to be found on the entire car – impressive given how much car there is. The paintwork shows well in even the harshest of lighting and provides a constant reminder of one of the reasons this Caddy has collected so many trophies.
Just about everything that left Detroit in the 1950s had a couple hundred pounds of chrome on it but very few automakers applied it with the same charisma Cadillac did. Up front, a full length grille incorporates a grid pattern with semi-rectangular parking lights under the rubber bumper bullets. Above the grille, a golden V sits under a Cadillac emblem centered between four headlights in elegant chrome trim that wraps around the side and extends to the middle of both doors. Behind the doors and above the rocker trim, a series of ten vertical chevron slashes guides the eye towards to extensive brightwork over the rear wheel arches. That trim continues and wraps around to the rear bumper where the vertical strips return to on either side of the license plate frame. Naturally, the taillights sit in chrome bezels and the legendary fins have their own chrome toppers as well. At the top, all glass looks factory fresh and a solid three-piece parade boot covers the convertible top.
Under that long hood lives the original 365 cubic inch V8. In its day, this was a top of the line motor utilizing a comfortable 10.25:1 compression ratio to produce an enviable 335hp and 405lb. ft. or torque. The bay has been restored to factory specifications with an eye cast toward contemporary drivability. At the top of the bay, three Rochester two-barrel carburetors bolted to the original intake manifold are hidden by the gold-colored two-snorkel air cleaner cover. The block, cast iron heads and intake wear their correct shade of blue well with the Cadillac name scribed across the valve covers. At the front, A Vintage Air compressor looks at home amidst other accessories including the power steering pump and the Delco-Remy 12-volt generator. Look closely and you can see the convenient front-mount oil filter as well. In front of the radiator, an electric fan has been installed to help keep temperature in check while idling. To the sides, cast iron manifolds channel exhaust gases out through a stainless steel dual exhaust system with angled chrome tips.
Behind that V8 is a Hydra-Matic 4-speed automatic transmission well suited to casual cruising. It channels power to the live rear axle which in turn spins those polished Sabre wheels wrapped in white-wall tires. The chassis has been rebuilt to factory specifications with a fully independent suspension up front and a four link with coil springs keeping the back end in place. A primitive air ride suspension was available this year but the system was notoriously quirky. Braking comes courtesy of large drum brakes at all four corners. The undercarriage is detailed but not over-restored to the point it can't be driven. As you would probably expect from a vintage luxury car with a 129.5 inch wheelbase, the ride feels cushioned in a way that even modern air ride setups can't replicate. No matter how rough the roads are, this cruiser simply floats over them.
Open the elongated doors and a luxurious interior awaits. With miles of red leather, it makes a strong statement when placed against the Alpine White exterior. A beautifully recovered red bench seat welcomes you into command central of this Cadillac. From left to right, the temperature and fuel gauges sit in chrome bezel above the defroster and heater controls. In the center, the speedometer, odometer and gear indicator all sit behind the red rim blow steering wheel. To the right, the clock measures time from another chrome plated surround that sits directly over the vent controls. Follow the chrome trim further and you'll find the original Wonderbar push button AM radio in its original home. Underneath the dash, vents from the Vintage Air system blend in well with the factory interior, leaving many to wonder if it's a stock system or not. Period correct passenger comforts continue in the backseat with individual cigarette lighters and ashtrays on both sides. From the Cadillac-branded floor mats up, every inch of the interior shows like a new car.
Documentation for this car is a treasure trove of Cadillac history. There are typical items such as receipts and an album full of detailed restoration pictures. An original owner's manual and separate booklets detailing how to operate the jack and power top are also included. From there, things go to the next level with two primary shop manuals as well as secondary manuals that cover additional information. A large three ring binder contains an original copy of the Master Parts List that details every square inch of this car in amazing detail. To verify its show history, there are two first place awards from the Ault Park Concours d'Elegance as well.
While it's difficult to point to any classic Cadillac as the defining Cadillac of its era, this '58 certainly has all the hallmarks. With miles of sleek lines, clean paint, brilliant brightwork, and an interior fit for royalty, luxury doesn't get much better. This example is an immaculately preserved and beautifully presented piece of Cadillac history worthy of any significant collection.
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