Celebrating the 50 years of the 1967 Eldorado


Publish date: 2016-10-14 10:22:58
1967 Eldorado

The Cadillac Eldorado was first released on October 6, 1966, which was Cadillac’s brand new class that became a very popular classic. It was designed to be Cadillac’s representative for the personal luxury car market. The E-Bodied Eldorado was marketed as “the first motor car in the world to combine the precision of front-wheel drive with the manoeuvrability of variable ratio power steering and the balance of Automatic Level Control.” To celebrate the 50 years of the Eldorado, we take a lot at its history and how it came to be Cadillac’s successful luxury car and the first model to have a front wheel drive.

*Check out this stunning “Cadillac Chrome Logo and Name on Chrome License Plate*

67 Eldorado

During the late 1950s, Cadillac started to consider having a “personal car” to follow the steps of the Eldorado Brougham. Although not all Cadillac executives were not too confident with the idea, GM was already working with a new front- and rear-wheel drive platform which would be a perfect for the proposed design. In late 1959, the results of an experimental front-drive platform looked promising under low-traction conditions. The test showed that the front-drive chassis was able to go twice the speed of a rear-drive chassis on glare ice. But even after its potential application, the front-wheel drive was still not a done deal for Cadillac.

During the same year, Chuck Jordan, his team, and the leadership of Bill Mitchell started the exterior designs for the proposed model. It took a few years before the project started to gain some ground. In 1963, Cadillac finally gave the go signal to build a new personal coupe with a front-wheel drive but the final exterior design was only approved in May 1964 which eventually became the 1967 Eldorado.

1967 Eldorado interior

Oldsmobile and Buick were ahead in completing their E-bodied personal luxury cars, the front-wheel drive Oldsmobile Toronado and rear-wheel-drive Buick Riviera were both first introduced in 1966. Cadillac knew that they could not compete with Buick and Oldsmobile so they took their time and improved the Eldorado. The Eldorado’s ride was smoother and reduced the noise inside. Cadillac also installed the Automatic Level Control, an automatic pneumatic rear suspension system that could handle up to 500 pounds of cargo in the trunk.

Similar to the E-body Oldsmobile, Cadillac also took a drastic approach to their front-wheel drive model. The transmission and engine were mounted longitudinally and side by side. It was powered by a 429 ci V8 engine that is measured to produce 340 hp and 480 lbs.-ft. of torque. All the power is directed to the Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission through a heavy-duty enclosed chain drive which has a challenging task to fit all of the parts into the allowed space. The oil pan was redesigned to fit between the axle shaft and transmission. Engine mounts, a redesigned accessory drive, and new exhaust manifolds were also installed.

1967 Eldorado engine

Cadillac’s was a bit shy with their sales predictions at 10% of the overall production volume. On its debut year, 17,930 front-drive Eldorado were sold which is a huge leap from the last year of the Eldorado Brougham that only sold 2,250 cars. The all-new Cadillac Eldorado was heavily praised for its interior design, smooth ride, and great handling. Automotive Quarterly even gave the “Design and Engineering Excellence” award to the Eldorado, they also added “that the traditional unpleasant characteristics of front-wheel drive cars had been eliminated” in the Eldorado.

The E-body Cadillac Eldorado was so successful that it continued production up to 2002. In 1986, the original longitudinal position of the engine was changed to a transverse position. It was able to outlive both the Buick Riviera (ended in 1993 but was revived for a short while in 1995-1999) and the Oldsmobile Toronado (Production ended in 1992). You could say that the E-body Cadillac Eldorado had some influence in the American automotive industry.

1967 Eldorado seats

At present, most of the American motor companies have used the front-wheel drive, they advertised the comfort of their interior designs and the advantages of front-wheel drives on frigid weathers. Ironically, Cadillac has drifted from this trend that they themselves started. From a motor company’s point of view, a front-wheel drive car is usually cheaper to manufacture and has better weight distribution which improves fuel economy. This is probably why the majority of automotive companies favor this design.

*Check out this stunning “Cadillac Chrome Logo and Name on Chrome License Plate*

1967 Eldorado dashboard

References & Photo Credits:
https://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2016/10/06/cadillacs-first-front-wheel-drive-production-car-the-1967-eldorado-turns-50/

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