Cleared for Takeoff: 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible

  • December 02, 2020
Why We Like It

No other car captures the progressive attitude and optimism of America during the 1950s quite like the Series 62-based 1959 Cadillac Eldorado, with “Jet Age” styling cues including massive tailfins and commanding proportions that remain astonishing today. Available in Biarritz convertible and Seville hardtop forms, along with the hand-built Brougham four-door hardtop, the Eldorado series was Cadillac’s undisputed image leader for 1959. Abundant standard features and passenger amenities on the Eldorado include a heater/defroster, fog lamps, air-assisted rear suspension, a radio with rear speaker, power windows, a six-way power adjustable front seat, power door locks and whitewall tires. Power is provided by Cadillac’s top ‘Q-Code’ 390ci V8 engine, delivering 345hp with a “Tri Power” triple two-barrel carburetors, teamed with a four-speed Hydra-Matic Drive automatic transmission. Just four options were available – air conditioning, cruise control, Autronic Eye automatic headlight dimmer and E-Z Eye tinted glass, along with a rare, no-cost bucket seat option for the Biarritz. Both the Biarritz convertible and Seville hardtops carried lofty base pricing of $7,401 when new, with only 1,320 examples of the Biarritz produced for 1959.

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Our subject 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible is one of the few bucket-seat cars built, and it features a spectacular black paint finish and convertible top over Red upholstery. Wonderfully restored, it’s stated by the seller to look and drive like a well-restored car should. In addition to the standard power convertible top, the Eldorado is very well equipped for enjoyment with the proper 390ci/345hp V8 engine sporting “Tri-Power” triple two-barrel carburetors, Hydra-Matic Drive automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes with upgraded front discs, wire wheels with white sidewall tires, cruise control, power front seat, leather bucket seats, power windows and a newer/upgraded stereo unit with power antenna. Other highlights of this sophisticated late-1950s cruiser include front arm rests, sun visors, courtesy lights, dual outside mirrors, turn signals, dual reverse lights, rear fender skirts, a “parade” hard top-boot cover, a covered spare tire, windshield wipers, and clock. The recent restoration is reported to have been a total job, performed down to the nut-and-bolt level of detail.cleared-for-takeoff-1959-cadillac-eldorado-biarritz-convertibles-l1600-17

cleared-for-takeoff-1959-cadillac-eldorado-biarritz-convertibles-l1600-22Aside from obvious references to the grandeur of these cars and of course, their aircraft-like tailfins at the rear, the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible is pure collector-car royalty. They also epitomize the design leadership of GM’s styling studios as their iconic founder, Harley Earl, finally handed the reins over to Bill Mitchell, his handpicked successor. These cars are also incredibly sophisticated underneath to match, marking one of the many heights of GM’s engineering prowess, regardless of the era under consideration. This seasoned Zero260 contributor has only encountered a couple of bucket-seat ‘59 Eldorados in recent memory, including one bought by the late novelist Clive Cussler at auction in early 2017 with the able assistance of a friend and colleague.

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Even if you’re not a Cadillac fan, there’s absolutely no denying the appeal of the 1959 Eldorado and its slightly less-flamboyant 1960 successor models. Rightly, the Biarritz leads the three-model Eldorado attack from 1959, with values assigned by Hagerty ranging from $94,800 for a #4 driver with some flaws all the way to a whopping $254k for a full-on #1 concours-worthy example, although one sporting the same color combo as this one on offer sold at auction a couple years ago for a whopping $324k!! Finished in outstanding colors, our freshly restored subject car could be the start of a value breakout for the best examples at a healthy bump over Hagerty’s #1 suggested value. We’d like to ensure the color combo is original per the car’s trim tag and inspect it prior to investing that much money, but assuming all checks out, this car is quite likely worth the premium and possibly the fulcrum needed for continued upward price movement on these unequaled classic legends.

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