The Classic 1953 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

Cadillac produced the Eldorado model from 1953 until 2002. That was a pretty good run. The automobile featured in this article is the 1953 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible.  The 1953 Eldorado name was introduced to mark Cadillac’s golden anniversary.

1953 cadillac eldorado
1953 Cadillac Eldorado

A Unique Production Roll Out

For many Cadillac enthusiasts, the Eldorado represents the most popular and in-demand model of the decade. In what could only be one of the most effective public relations coup,  the first production Cadillac Eldorado literally rolled out with the president of the United States in the backseat.  Dwight Eisenhower used the Cadillac Eldorado for his inaugural parade in January 1953.

As a side note, GM’s CEO,Charles Erwin Wilson, would be nominated in 1953 by Eisenhower for Secretary of Defense.

The Eldorado that Eisenhower rode in was sold several times after the Inaugural event and it’s said that the vehicle is still in a collection today.

The name El Dorado is connected with Coronado’s expedition through the southwest searching for the fabled “City of Gold“. This was the city that was sought after for decades. This was the destination that was never found by all those who sought fame, fortune, and plunder. The 1953 Cadillac Eldorado may not have been the City of Gold but the automobile was the most glorious model Cadillac ever produced. It was the first production Cadillac to carry a name that would continue to mean the finest in American luxury for generations to come.

53 cadillac eldorado convertible
Distinctive front end of the 53 Eldorado

The Cadillac Eldorado and the 1952 Motorama

It was one of the 1952 General Motors Motorama dream cars, or sometimes referred to as show cars, that were ushered, largely unchanged, into limited production the following year. The car was essentially, a Series 62 Convertible Coupe; however, the body was radically reshaped, sporting a wraparound windshield, Packard Darrin-like “dips” in the doors, and an acrylic fabric convertible top that disappeared behind a metal boot when lowered.

1953 cadillac eldorado interior
53 Cadillac Eldorado interior and dashboard

The 53 Eldorado had the comfort that buyers desired in the 1950’s. Some might say that the 50’s were the age of glittering excess. This comfort included power seats, windows, and steering and these were all standard in the leather-trimmed cockpit.

Also standard was a signal seeking radio, an automatic heating system, and windshield washers. The package also included wire wheels that featured wide whitewall tires.

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1953 Cadillac Eldorado Specifications

The 1953 Cadillac Eldorado came out with a 331 cu. in. overhead-valve V-8 engine delivering 210 horsepower.

Transmission was a  four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic. As special note, because of a catastrophic fire at GM’s Hydramatic factory in Livonia, Mich., late in 1953, some 1953 Cadillac Eldorado’s were fitted with Buick Dynaflow automatics.

1953 cadillac eldorado convertible styling
1953 Eldorado Convertible rear view

The automobile had  a coil-spring independent front suspension and a  live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs.

Brakes were four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes.

The 1953 Eldorado had a wheelbase of 126.4 inches, a length of 220.9 inches, a width of 80.3 inches and a height of 54.3 inches. The car’s weight came in at 4,784 lbs.

Only four colors were available in 1953 for the El Dorado. These included,Aztec Red, Alpine White, Azure Blue and Artisan Ochre. Convertible tops were available in black or white orlon.

The 1953 Cadillac Eldorado new car price was about $7,750. Even with this price the company sold 532 models. If you wanted a somewhat lower priced 53 Cadillac Convertible you would have opted for the Series 62 that sold new for about $4,150.

Prices came down in 1954 and production went up The 1954 Eldorados were again sold as convertibles only. The base price for the 54 model  was about $5,735 A total of  2,150 Eldorado Convertibles were sold that year.Costs were able to come down in 1954 because retooling costs were saved. The 54 model used the same body shell as other models in the standard line.

Another bit of Cadillac Eldorado trivia includes the 1954 model that Liberace ordered that included upholstery designed to represent a piano keyboard. Also there was a special 54 Eldorado Hardtop built for the president of Reynolds Aluminum.

1953 cadillac eldorado dashboard
Another interior view of the 53 Eldorado dashboard

The 1953 Cadillac Eldorado Collector Car

Talk about rare vehicles. The 1953 Cadillac Eldorado was an expensive limited production model with only 532 vehicles built. While you may hear that only a few of these cars still exist, the facts are somewhat different. It’s thought by some researchers that perhaps 200 of the vehicles still exist today. This number still makes the 1953 Cadillac Eldorado a rare automobile.

You’ll likely find the price of a museum condition 1953 Cadillac Eldorado Convertibles with an asking price in a range of about $140,000 to $200,000 plus. We have also seen a 1955 Eldorado Convertible with an asking price of $110,000. The very limited 1953 production run however makes the 1953 model a standout milestone car and not an easy one by all means to acquire.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)