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)

See this 1948 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet V-12

The 1948 Lincoln Continental was a luxury car built by the Lincoln Division of the Ford Motor Company. The Lincoln Continental brand of automobile has always been thought of as the top of the line in luxury and prestige. This automobile of course did compete directly against General Motor's Cadillac and Chrysler's Imperial. The first Lincoln Continental introduced to the public in 1940 was available as a coupe and cabriolet.

1948 lincoln continental

1948 Lincoln Continental Mark I

As the story goes, the first Lincoln Continental was a one-off build expressly for Edsel Ford and to be used for an upcoming vacation. With that being said, most auto historians believe that this car was planned all along to go into general production which it did. The basis for the design was taken from the Lincoln Zephyr blueprints with some changes. Design credit went to Bob Gregorie, head stylist at the Ford Motor Company.

The automobile featured in this article is a 1948 Lincoln Continental Mark I Cabriolet V-12. This car is from the first generation of Lincoln Continentals which were produced from 1939-1948. These cars were considered some of the very best built in their era. To own one was expensive but to their buyers it was an investment in luxury transportation. Two important things to note about the 1948 Lincoln Continental are that this was the last year for the Lincoln V-12 engine and the Continental model itself would not be seen again until the 1956 model year. In 1956 the automobile would be named the Continental Mark II.

lincoln continental mark ILincoln Continental Early Years and the War

The models from 1939 through 1941 were generally of the same design with few changes. The 1942 Lincoln Continental did receive design changes which largely consisted of squared fenders and a new grille. The 42 models of course had a limited production run because of the U.S. entrance into World War Two. All civilian auto manufacturing was suspended in February of 1942. The Lincoln Continental would not be seen again until the 1946 model was introduced. It took until the 1947 model year for production to return to more normal levels.

The Lincoln Zephyr V-12

Our 1948 Lincoln Continental was powered by a 306 cubic inch Lincoln Zephyr V-12. This engine actually was used for about one month for the 1942 model before production was cut off. The engine was reintroduced for a short time beginning with the 1946 model year but was changed to a 292 cubic inch version during that production run. The 306 versions were having problems with too thin cylinder walls. The 292's would be used from that point up through the 1948 Lincoln Continental models.

1948 Lincoln Continental Specifications

As mentioned above, the 1948 Lincoln Continental was built with a Lincoln 292 V-12 L-Head engine. Horsepower was rated at 125.

Available transmission was a three speed manual with overdrive and a three speed automatic.

lincoln continental mark iDimensions for this model included a wheelbase of 125.0 inches, an overall length of 219.6 inches, a width of 77.8 inches and a height of 63.0 inches. Curb weight came in at 4,320 lbs.

Total 1948 Lincoln production was 43,950 vehicles. Out of that number there were 1,300 Mark I Continental's produced and out of that number there were only 452 convertible Continental models built.

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Lincoln Collectible Cars

Vintage Lincoln Continentals and Lincoln Zephyrs are both popular collector cars. Lincoln Continentals are designated as Full Classics by the Classic Car Club of America which helps keep their collector value up.

48 lincolnThere are car clubs for Lincoln Continental enthusiasts including the Lincoln & Continental Owners Club. For those taking on the challenge of restoring one of these vintage models, parts are not necessarily hard to find. The older the model the more difficult it may be but there are several outlets found on the internet.

As of this writing, values for the 1948 Lincoln Continental Mark I are reasonably solid. With all things being equal, the convertibles are priced much above the coupes. Collector car prices at this time have the mint condition cabriolets valued at a range of about $85,000 to $110,000. Values for daily drivers with visible flaws might be priced in the $30,000 to $40,000 range. 1948 Lincoln Continental Coupes in like condition are valued at roughly 60 percent of that of the cabriolets.

(Article and photos copyright 2015 Auto Museum Online)