1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible / Model History, Specs, Photos

It has been said that this is the largest car ever built. The 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Barritz is truly a very large automobile and represented the pinnacle of automotive elegance in 1960. The decade of the 60's for essentially all automakers represented a change from the excessive chrome and tail fins of the 1950's and ended up with the powerful muscle cars during the last half of the decade.

1960 cadilllac barritz

1960 Cadillac Eldorado Barritz Convertible

The 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Barritz

Legendary General Motors head designer Harley Earl absolutely loved big tail fins.The inspiration for tail fins on automobiles came from the aircraft of the 1940's.The story is that Earl was impressed with the Lockheed twin tail P-38 fighter from World War Two and the rest as they say is history.

Auto tail fins beginning around 1948 generally kept getting larger and larger through the 1950's and reached their largest in 1959 with the Cadillac. Tailfins actually grew bolder and larger until they became almost outrageous. The fins were certainly large on the 1960 Cadillac but toned down from 1959. It has always been a given that the 1959 Cadillac receives the credit for the largest fins.

It should be noted however that beginning with the 1960 Cadillac line-up, the design excesses of the 1950's decade were being downplayed. During the fifties it seemed that each year brought a new twist on longer, lower, wider, along with the ever-taller tail fins and in addition to that ever more chrome.The Cadillac of the 1960's didn't usher in many new engineering advances but styling did take on a more conservative approach.

Anyone who visits the "Cadillac Ranch" on Interstate 40 just a few miles west of Amarillo, Texas can see how Cadillac tail fins progressed through the 1950's. This is the site where the front end of Cadillac's are buried in the ground and the rears with their fins are sticking up in the air. Ten Cadillacs buried nose down in a field at the same angle as the Cheops Pyramid. Nobody had the idea that the art installation from 1974 they named Cadillac Ranch would become the roadside attraction it is today. If you happen by Amarillo on the Interstate it makes for an interesting stop and some great photos.

classic cadillac barritzWhat Harley Earl did with the Eldorado was one of the most exciting designs to hit the automotive world, and by 1960, everyone knew that if you were driving Harley Earl’s Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, you were driving a great automobile with all the comforts available.

Among standard equipment was air conditioning, power brakes, power steering, automatic transmission, dual back-up lamps, six-way power seats, heater, fog lamps, remote control trunk lock, radio with antenna and rear speaker, power vent windows, air suspension, electric door locks. Basically, just about anything you would want or need for this car was standard equipment.

1960 Cadillac Eldorado Barritz Specifications

The 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Barritz was produced with a 390 cubic inch V-8 engine. This engine with three carburetors delivered a very impressive 345 horsepower.

Brakes were hydraulic power and transmission was a Hydra-Matic automatic with four gears.

Front suspension were independent coil springs with coil springs in the rear along with air-ride.

Wheelbase was 130.1 inches, overall length 225.0 inches, height 59.1 inches, width 79.9 inches. Curb weight was 5,058 lbs.

Only 1285 units of this particular model were produced which makes it a very rare car today.

This 1960 Cadillac Barritz would have cost you about $7,400 when new.

Of significance with the 1960 Cadillac Eldorado, the engine for the 1961 model would be a bit less powerful with a 390 cubic inch V-8 with 325 HP. The air-ride suspension and three carburetor arrangement would be gone after 1960.

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classic eldorado barritz

Luxurious seating in the 60 Eldorado Barritz

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.

The 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Barritz Convertible Collector Car

1960 cadillac eldorado specs

Tail fins somewhat toned down from 1959.

As mentioned earlier, only 1,285 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Barritz Convertibles were manufactured. These are true classic automobiles and make a statement about the era of which they were designed and created.

Cadillac is a classic brand of American luxury automobiles and is a true icon of the American automotive industry.

Values for these very rare 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Barritz Convertibles are in a range of about $70,000 to $220,000.

(Articles and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

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.

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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)

Beautifully Restored 1941 Cadillac Convertible Coupe

The automobile featured in this article is a beautifully restored 1941 Cadillac Convertible Series 62 Coupe. The car is a real head turner and sports classic lines starting with the chrome grille and domed hood. The entire Cadillac model line for 1941 really had terrific styling.

1941 cadillac convertible

1941 Cadillac Convertible Coupe

1941 Cadillac Styling

Styling was all new for Cadillac in 1941 and the automaker also offered their Hydra-Matic automatic transmission for the first time that model year. This was also the first year that air conditioning was offered.

Designing for the 1941 Cadillacs was led by Bill Mitchell who became Cadillac's chief designer at the age of 24. Mitchell's designs helped Cadillac make it's way through the Great Depression with it's distinctive look. If you had the money to purchase a Cadillac during the Depression, the car stood out in any neighborhood.

If you look for the designs that set Bill Mitchell apart from the others it would most likely be the 1938 and 1941 Cadillacs. The 1938 Cadillac Sixty Special caught everyone's attention with it's crisp new look. He followed that up with his all new 1941 Sixty Special which some might say is the best looking Cadillac design ever.

1941 cadillac convertible coupeLooking back, you might say that master designers like Bill Mitchell would have a tough time plying their trade with all the regulations we have today. These regulations would have put too many handcuffs on a designer that wanted nothing less than being highly creative. This could be one of the main reasons why so many of today's automobiles look alike. Mitchell had the opportunity to design automobiles for General Motors during the heyday of creative innovation.

1941 Cadillac Convertible Specifications

There was one engine available for the 1941 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe and that was a 346 cubic inch L-head V-8 that was rated at 150 horsepower.

Standard transmission was a three speed manual but a Hydra-Matic automatic was available for the first time in 1941. The automatic transmission option cost a bit over $100.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

The 1941 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible weighed 4,250 lbs. The dimensions for this vehicle included an overall length of 216.0 inches. Wheelbase was 126.0 inches.

Like with prior year models, Cadillac was known for it's outstanding and up to date engineering. The 1941 Cadillac was no exception with a Deluxe heating system, day / night rear view mirror, clock, rear seat dome light and more.  Options included a factory radio and vacuum operated power antenna, fog lights and a spotlight just to name a few.

The new car price for the 41 Cadillac Convertible was about $2,000 which was a costly auto price in 1941.

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An excellent book for Cadillac enthusiasts is...Cadillac: 100 Years of Innovation by Angelo Van Bogart. Long before the BMW, Lexus, Infinity, etc., the Cadillac was considered the standard. After surpassing Packard, it was the preferred luxury car for more than 50 years, reigning supreme among American brands. This book presents a light history capturing important names and dates in Cadillac genealogy.

41 cadillac coupe

Bill Mitchell's sharp styling

The 1941 Cadillac Convertible Collector Cars

All of the 1941 Cadillacs are popular collector cars. The Convertible Coupe is especially coveted for being one of the last convertibles produced prior to World War Two. It's estimated that there were approximately 3,100 1941 Cadillac Convertible Coupes built.

When war broke out and civilian auto production was halted in February 1942, the two leading luxury car brands were Cadillac and Packard. An interesting side note is that the Cadillac 346 cubic inch L-head V-8 was used in some army tanks during the war.

1941 cadillac convertible

41 Cadillac Coupe deluxe interior

1941 Cadillac Convertible Coupes have seen solid prices at auction. As of this writing, restored and mint condition models have sold in the $70,000 plus price range. We have seen one great looking Convertible Coupe with an asking price of $83,000 and another with a $139,000 price tag. The 41 Cadillac Hardtop Coupes we have seen have had asking prices in the mid $40,000 range. With all of these cars, originality will mean a higher valuation.

As mentioned above, the 1941 model year saw a very short production run due to the war and most of these vehicles are quite rare.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)