Automobiles of Arizona

18 January 2008

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Lot 133

1953 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

  • Chassis no. 536282229

Sold for $165,000

Specifications: 210bhp 331 cu. in. overhead valve V8 engine, Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, independent coil spring front suspension, live rear axle, and four-wheel power assisted drum brakes. Wheelbase: 115"

For many of Detroit’s front-running car manufacturers, the early 1950s were among the most fertile years for automotive design. Cadillac, in particular, contributed to this stylistic Renaissance with such design developments as the ‘Florentine Curve’ roof, distinctive egg crate grilles, and ‘Dagmar’ bumpers. Such advancements found an eager audience in the thousands of Motorama show-goers who, since 1949, had attended GM’s traveling motor show to witness the latest in design and technological innovation. Cadillac was rapidly replacing Packard as a leader in the fine-car segment and was becoming the preferred choice of a new generation of affluent consumers and style-minded auto enthusiasts. Meanwhile, the stylistic influences of Harley Earl and his Art & Color Department contributed to an already formidable reputation enjoyed by Cadillac industry-wide. Earl’s tailfins and extravagant chrome trim simultaneously evoked a feeling of spaceflight and automotive progress.

1953 was especially significant for Cadillac as it marked the introduction of the Eldorado, an elegant, trendsetting convertible inspired by the futuristic automobiles on display at Motorama. Fitted with a unique wraparound windshield, a custom interior and daring beltline dip, the new Eldorado carried a staggering price tag of $7,750, the highest in Cadillac’s history and five times that of a contemporary Chevrolet. By comparison, a standard Series 62 Convertible Couple could be had for about $4,144.

For 532 fortunate buyers, such a staggering sum brought with it virtually every imaginable option and extra in Cadillac’s luxury arsenal and the exclusivity of owning a car that comprised less than one-half percent of Cadillac’s total production numbers for 1953. The 331 cubic inch overhead-valve V8 engine, introduced just four years earlier, was mated to Hydra-Matic transmission, while the supple interior was upholstered in leather and cloth. Wire wheels, white sidewall tires, vanity and side mirrors, metal tonneau covers, and a signal-seeking radio were all standard as well.

The striking Eldorado offered here benefits from a fresh, ground-up rotisserie restoration conducted to the highest professional and show standards. Finished in Alpine White with a white convertible top, the quality of the paint and exterior are exceptional; virtually every element down to the proper wire spoke wheels and wide whitewall tires is period correct and restored to a remarkable finish. The matching interior, with gray carpeting, adheres to the same standards, as does the engine bay, which is reportedly flawless. The undercarriage may in fact be one of this car’s finest aspects – professionally restored and detailed, it exhibits the professional workmanship of a high-point restoration and negligible road use.

A 1953 sales brochure issued by Cadillac declared the Eldorado as having been “dramatically styled by Fleetwood to capture the heart of all America.” This was, in many respects, no overstatement. The Eldorado, while exclusive in its distribution, was representative of a nation with a thriving economy and forward-thinking automotive tastes. In today’s collector car market, the Eldorado’s exclusivity is only enhanced by its relationship with the 1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta and Buick Skylark, of which the Eldorado was by far the most expensive. Together, ownership of all three cars constitutes a collector’s “Grand Slam” and a rare achievement of considerable historical significance. Handsomely finished in ‘triple white’ and showcasing a beautiful, high-point restoration, this Eldorado is an outstanding example of a certified Milestone Car and one of Cadillac’s most desirable classic automobiles.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more