Cadillac is desperately trying to get its mojo back. The plan announced this week to move the GM luxury division’s headquarters from Detroit to New York City for inspiration is part of the effort to lift Cadillac in the firmament of world luxury brands.
But instead of changing locations, Cadillac’s design and marketing people probably would do better by looking into the marque’s illustrious past, back when Cadillac had the guts and audacity to create something like our Pick of the Week.
The 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible, advertised on ClassicCars.com by a Canadian collector-car dealer, is a masterpiece from this baroque era of automobile styling. It’s a mighty craft with a pair of gracefully towering tailfins sprouting from its luscious flanks, which are thick with chrome.
The bright-red convertible is a wonderful piece of excess that epitomized the automaker’s hyperbolic slogan of the time: “Magnificent Beyond All Expectations!” In those days depicted in the TV show Mad Men about life on New York’s Madison Avenue, this would be the premium ride for someone wanting to show the world how very successful he is.
Eldorados were limited-edition cars for Cadillac, and this top-of-the-line Biarritz convertible version would have sold at a lofty asking price of more than $7,000.
Today’s lofty asking price reflects the rarity and apparent excellence of this Caddy, with the seller setting the value at $198,000. So the Eldorado Biarritz continues its role as a trophy of top-drawer success.
In the lengthy description, the seller claims that the Eldorado has been masterfully restored to “show-quality in every regard and properly executed down to the smallest details.” It’s a multiple award winner at prestigious shows and “is among the finest examples available,” according to the seller. It’s also loaded up with luxury features and powered by the high-performance 325-horsepower, 365 cid V8 fitted with two four-barrel carburetors.
“Cadillacs of this era remain as works of art, as their sculpted bodies and intricate styling remain desirable to collectors around the world,” the seller states. “This Cadillac Eldorado will forever have a place in the history books of the automotive world, and this timeless beauty is just as collectible today as it was a half century ago.”
Indeed. Hopefully the new leadership at today’s Cadillac will succeed at reaching that pinnacle with its next generation of luxury cars.
And that move to New York might be a fine idea, but it seems weird when New Yorkers are more likely to be hurrying to the subway or catching a cab than worrying about how the next luxury automobile might look.