America’s favourite personal luxury coupe, the Eldorado, wasn’t even supposed to see the light of day. It was just a concept car marking Cadillac’s 50th anniversary but people liked what they saw and so General Motors put it into production in 1953. Just 532 were built in its debut year and it was during the following generation that really saw the model come into its own. Indeed, the Fifties and Sixties had been great for the model but the Seventies and Eighties were a struggle. The final 10th generation saw a return to form; built from 1992 to 2002, it once again became a large and ostentatious car just like the early versions.
The styling had changed drastically and boasted a more modern appearance albeit with some classic Eldorado cues (the frameless windows of the past made a welcome return) and the interior got a good going-over too. Even though it retained a front wheel drive platform — adopted back in 1967 — its transversely mounted 4.9-litre V8 mated to a four-speed 4T60E automatic made 200 horsepower and more importantly, it afforded a stately ride.
Power was gained mid-year in 1993 as buyers had an option to upgrade to a new 295 horsepower 4.6-litre Northstar V8 and aside from the new motor, it got a special road-sensing suspension and traction control not to mention a host of extra features such as a passenger air bag, speed-sensitive power steering, remote keyless entry and automatic door locks.
The popular Northstar became the only option in 1994 and was available in two states of tune; the base Eldorado got a 270 horse engine while the Touring Coupe packed a more potent 295 horsepower version. The following year, the handsome two-door was given a facelift which brought with it new front and rear treatments and more technological advances while the Northstar’s power on the top spec was increased to 300 horses (the base model saw its power rise to 275 horses). Also new was ABS and traction control but in 2001, GM announced that the Eldorado’s 50th model year in 2002 would be its last. The much-loved model was given a final hurrah in the form of the Eldorado Collector’s Series; just 1,596 of these were built with 532 — in honour of the first gen — painted white and with their exhausts tuned to sound like the ‘53 cars did (each had a plaque mounted on its dash noting its sequence in the production process) and without a doubt this was the best one since before things went downhill in the Seventies and it is these that are sought after and valued most by collectors today.
Good condition models with low-mileage Northstar V8s can be found pretty easily and they don’t break the bank either with typical values hovering around the Dh25,000 mark while mint condition cars are still a bargain at Dh35,000.