The 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible / Specs and History

The beautifully restored automobile featured in this article is the 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible. As you can see the car is absolutely stunning inside and out.

1958 cadillac eldorado convertible

1958 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

The Cadillac Motor Company

An interesting piece of automobile history is that Cadillac was formed by the breakup of Henry Ford's company in 1902 due to a dispute between Ford and his investors.

The investors were trying to sell the assets from the closed factory when instead they decided to continue making automobiles by the urging of Henry Leland a Detroit manufacturer who also happened to have built a new engine. Leland convinced the investors that his new engine was stronger than that of Olds and he could produce them cheaper. The Cadillac name chosen for this new venture was the namesake of the explorer and  Detroit's founder, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.

General Motors would go on to purchase Cadillac in 1909 and eventually Cadillac became the luxury automobile and SUV division of General Motors Corporation.

cadillac eldorado convertibleThe Cadillac Eldorado

The Cadillac Eldorado was a top of the line model. The Eldorado was introduced in 1953 and lasted continuously to 2002. The 1953 Eldorado was a limited edition convertible.  The 1958 Cadillac Eldorado shown here is of the third generation models which were built from the 1957 through 1960 model years.

The Cadillacs of the 1950's are remembered by their vast display of chrome.

Harley Earl and the new 1958 Cadillacs

Automobile design historians are well aware of the long tenure at General Motors by design chief Harley Earl. In short, Earl was hired by Alfred Sloan to be in charge of the styling section to design LaSalles. That worked out well and Earl was then put in charge of GM's new "Art and Styling Studio" where he would head design for GM's entire line. Essentially Harley Earl joined General Motors as a head designer and remained so for over thirty years.

Harley Earl was the head designer of the team working on the new 1957 Cadillac designs. These designs would mark the 1957 and 1958 Cadillacs. One of the major changes to these third generation models were the double headlights on each front side. The 1959 models would have much larger tail fins and perhaps the largest ever.

The 1958 Cadillacs received a modest facelift. Cadillacs for 1958 were basically carryover models from 1957 with a facelift on all but the Brougham. There was a new grille with multiple round "cleats" at the joining of horizontal and vertical members. The grille was wider and the bumper guards were set lower to the parking lamps. New quad headlights were seen on all Cadillac lines and small chrome fins were placed on the front fenders. Tailfins were somewhat less pronounced in 58 and trim attachments were revised. The Cadillac name was seen, in block letters, on the tailfins of Series 62 base models. On the sides of these models were five longer horizontal windsplits placedahead of the unskirted rear wheel housings.

The 1958 Recession Automobile Market

Sales were relatively poor in 1958. The reason was not the automobile itself but rather a recession that the country was in. Cadillac produced a total of 121,700 vehicles for the 58 model year.

The 1958 recession brought about the worst car sales year since World War Two. Overall American new car sales decreased 31 percent from 1957 levels. Fortunately, the recession ended during the last half of the year and sales picked up for 1959.

1958 Cadillac Eldorado Specifications

The 1958 Cadillac Eldorado had a 365 cubic inch V-8. The engine delivered 312 HP and was used in all Cadillacs that year. Eldorado performance was substantially improved with the adoption of three two-barrel carburetors, which boosted output to 335 HP.

cadillac tailfins

The 58 Eldorado's distinctive tailfins

Transmission was a 4 speed Hydra-Matic.

Wheelbase was 129.5 inches with an overall length of 221.8 inches.

A total of 7,825 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible Coups were produced for 1958.

See additional Auto Museum Online articles found on the links below...

The 1951 Cadillac Series 61 Sedan

The 1958 Cadillac Coupe De Ville

The 1931 Cadillac V-16

The 1958 Cadillac Collector Car Values

Cadillac has long been a popular collector car. The Cadillac's of the 1920's and 1930's have very distinctive and luxurious styling of that era.

1958 eldorado prices

58 Eldorado dashboard

Cadillac during the 1950's were known for plenty of chrome and some of the most advanced accessories available. Many of these accessories that were optional on most automobiles were standard equipment with Cadillac. Power windows and seats, power antennas were what the 50's Cadillacs offered as standard equipment.

The 1958 Cadillac found itself in the era of tail fins. Some larger than others but the tail fin was a common theme in almost all American cars from 1956 to 1960 and Cadillac was the automaker with some of the biggest tail fins on the road.

Current values for 1958 Cadillacs remain strong, in particular with the convertible models. Top end prices for the restored original Eldorado Biarritz Convertible can be in the $150,000 area. For the Series 62 Eldorado Convertible about half that at $75,000. These prices reflect models in perfect condition inside and out. Series 62 hardtops and coupes may be found in the $25,000 to $38,000 range for top priced models.

Reference material for this article and some good reads include...The Cadillac Story: The Post War Years by Thomas Bonsall.....Cadillac: A Century of Excellence by authors Robert Leicester Wagner...Cadillac: The Tailfin Years by Robert J. Headrick Jr.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1955 Chrysler 300 / Specs, Photos, Model History

In 1955 Chrysler restyled it's models and a great example of this restyling is the 1955 Chrysler 300 featured in this article. The model is also referred to as the C-300 designating the coupe. The 1955 Chrysler 300 is what writer, Karl Ludvigsen, called the "Beautiful Brute". Karl Ludvigsen had a 50+ year career as a journalist, historian, consultant and author on the automotive industry. He also did a stint in the 1950's  as a designer at GM.

1955 chrysler 300

1955 Chrysler 300

The Powerful 1955 Chrysler 300

The story of the 1955 Chrysler 300 is an interesting one. This automobile delivered 300 horsepower.

While Chevrolet had their Corvettes and Ford their Thunderbirds, Chrysler put so much of their resources into new styling and did not put out a two seater like those from GM and Ford. What they did introduce was America's first 300 horsepower automobile. The last vehicles to deliver that kind of power were limited production 1930's Duesenbergs which were only affordable to the very wealthy.

The Chrysler Hemi Engine

When car enthusiasts speak about Hemi engines they most frquently refer to Chrysler. Other automakers did have Hemi's but Chrysler is the one that marketed the name most.

The 1955 Chrysler 300 was powered by the most powerful Hemi V-8's to date. Chrysler produced three types of Hemi engines with the first being designated FirePower which ran from 1951 to 1958. When the 1955 Chrysler 300 was introduced it was the most powerful production car in the United States.

1955 chrtysler hemi

Chrysler 300 had Imperial grille

Hemi engines essentially are built with a hemispherical cylinder head. There are two valves per cylinder with intake and exhaust stems pointing in different directions. One attribute of the Hemi is minimal heat loss and better compression ratios from higher octane fuel.

Chrysler Engineering and Styling

Chrysler had a reputation for solid engineering and the Chrysler 300 was a perfect example of that. This model increased dealer showroom traffic which was the intention and therefore helped sell all models of the Chrysler line. Here you had a muscle car for the older generation which offered a luxurious interior with leather upholstery. This was something unique.

The Chrysler 300 was really created for NASCAR racing an it dominated that venue for several years. In 1955 Chrysler won the NASCAR Grand National and the AAA Championship. These kind of successes really helped push sales.

Credit Virgil Exner's design team for fine body styling. The goal for the design team working on the 55 models was to achieve a complete break from the past. As a result, the Chrysler 300 was somewhat a combination of a New Yorker Newport hardtop body with an Imperial egg crate grille. The Imperial grille helped give the 300  a different look from the New Yorker and Windsor models. While the 55 Chrysler 300 is noted for it's power and competition successes, as stated above, it was also luxurious inside with leather seating and other luxury appointments.

1955 Chrysler 300 Specifications

As mentioned above, the 1955 Chrysler 300 was equipped with the most powerful Hemi engine to date. The engine was a Chrysler FirePower 331 cubic inch Hemi V-8 delivering 300 HP. As a side note, the 1955 New Yorker had a 331 cid Hemi which put out 255 HP. Not the 300 HP you'd attain from the C-300 but a very respectable horsepower for it's year.

Transmission is a two speed automatic. Brakes are four wheel hydraulic drum.

Dimensions included a wheelbase of 126.0 inches and an overall length of 218.6 inches. Vehicle weight was 4,150 lbs.

As another side note, the Chrysler 300's length was increased to 220.4 inches in 1956 and the horsepower was also increased up to 355.

chrysler 351 hemiProduction numbers for the 1955 Chrysler 300 was 1,725 units making the automobile quite rare today. Today there are something over 200 that are registered.

New car price was about $4,100.

You may also enjoy the additional Auto Museum Online articles found on the links below...

The 1936 Chrysler Convertible Sedan

The 1939 Chrysler C-24 Custom Parade Phaeton

Reference materials include...Chrysler 300 "America's Most Powerful Car" by author Robert Ackerson.....The Chrysler 300 Anthology by Harry W. llaeia...Complete Book of Collectible Cars by the Editors of Consumer Guide.

chrysler 300 dashboard

55 Chrysler dash

The 1955 Chrysler 300 Collector Car

These original models were fast cars and fun to drive and popular with collectors.

The 1955 Chrysler 300 was a excellent dealer showroom attention grabber. With it's powerful 331 Hemi engine the car dominated NASCAR until 1957 when most automakers pulled out of racing competition.

Current valuation for a fully restored pristine original is in the $125,000 to $135,000 range.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1954 Nash Statesman Custom Farina / Specs, Photos, More

The great looking automobile featured in the article is the 1954 Nash Statesman Custom Farina Sedan. The Nash Statesman was manufactured by Nash Motors for the 1950-1956 model years. Nash positioned the Statesman mid level above the Rambler and below the Ambassador. The 1954 Nash Statesman was of the second generation models, 1952-1956.

1954 nash statesman

1954 Nash Statesman Custom

Nash Motors History

Charles Nash began building automobiles as early as 1903 and formed Nash Motors in 1916. Part of the early Nash history is that... the Mitchell Motor Car Company of Racine Wisconsin was acquired by Nash in 1923. Mitchell had been producing cars for twenty years under the Mitchell brand.

Nash Motors also went on to acquire Lafayette Motors in 1924. After beginning business in 1920 the company's majority stock was picked up by Nash Motors in 1924.

When Nash Motors was formed in 1916 World War One was not far away and during this war Nash was the largest truck builder in the United States. Over the next several decades Nash Motors would grow much larger due to several mergers and acquisitions some of which have already been mentioned.

Charles Nash was credited for two big accomplishments. He was able to keep his company competitive during the Roaring Twenties when competition was growing rapidly and Nash also was able to keep the company going through the Great Depression years of the 1930′s.

nash motors statesman

Nash covered wheel wells and somewhat bulky yet elegant design

In 1954 Nash-Kelvinator merged with the Hudson Motor Car Company which was then formed as American Motors Corporation.

Of special note is that Nash introduced the industry’s first heating/air conditioning system using a single unit within the engine bay.

The Nash Statesman

Nash put designer Pininfarina of Italy on contract to design the new 1952 Statesman model. The car was produced in three models...the Two Door Sedan, the Four Door Sedan and the Two Door Coupe. The finished design actually ended up being a combination of a Nash in-house and Pinonfarina design. These were popular automobiles and many were purchased by police departments across the U.S. Because of the Statesman's lighter weight, the car had very good fuel economy.

The last of the Nash Statesman models were produced in August, 1956. Starting in 1957 all full-size Nash cars were Ambassadors.

1954 Nash Statesman Specifications

The 54 Nash Statesman came with a 196 Cubic Inch L:-Head Inline Six engine delivering 110 horsepower. While this type engine was used for many years by Nash, the 1954 model had the highest compression to date as well as sharing the highest U.S. stock car compression with Buick. Nash eliminated the cast iron head and replaced it with a high compression aluminum one. The aluminum head  dissipates heat faster than the iron one.

Transmission was a three speed manual.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum. The front brake shoes were widened from 2 to 2 1/2 inch for 1954.

The Statesman rode on 114.3-inch wheelbase. Overall length of the model was 202.3 inches with the continental kits increasing that to 219 inches. Width 78.0 inches and height 61.75 inches. The top of the line Nash Ambassador had a 7 inch longer wheelbase. Estimated curb weight was 3,300 lbs.

See additional Auto Museum Online articles on the links below...

Restored 1948 Nash Ambassador Cabriolet

The 1927 Nash Sedan

1929 Nash Advanced Six Rumbleseat Coupe

nash statesman continental kit

54 Nash Continental kit

A few excellent books on the subject of Nash Motors and other independents include Storied Independent Automakers : Nash, Hudson and American Motors by author Charles K. Hyde... Nash: 1936-1957 Photo Archive by Byron Olsen and Charles Nash : From Buick To Rambler and Ambassador by Daniel Alef.

Nash Collector Cars and Values

During the early 1950's both the Nash Ambassador and Statesman models were volume and profit leaders for Nash.

nash statesman dashboardWhen you look at a model such as the 1954 Nash Farina Statesman Custom Airflyte sedan it appears somewhat bulky but it also has an elegant touch and the Continental kit, while there is some disagreement on what it adds to a car, it's our opinion that with it's rear spare tire it does add class. The Nash Statesman is a popular collector car and some of the fully restored models like the one featured here make good cars to begin a collection with. There are many automobile enthusiasts that are real fans of the old independents such as Nash.

The automobile model featured in this article has a valuation in the area of $15,000 with $20,000 plus being at the high retail end.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)