1960, 1961, 1962 Cadillac Eldorado
Cadillac tempered its outlandish fins for the 1960 Cadillac Eldorado, the year that marked the division's last use of triple two-barrel carburetion as standard Eldorado issue. For the remaining six years of its production life, the rear-drive Eldo would have the same engine specs as its less exotic linemates. As mentioned, air suspension was also abandoned after 1960. So was the Eldorado hardtop.
Model year 1960 marked the end of the more powerful Eldo engine. Styling was less garish, via shorter fins and more restrained ornamentation
With lower sales than the Biarritz for the second year in a row and with two other hardtop coupes in the Cadillac line, the Seville had by now become superfluous. So, too, had the Brougham, and Cadillac rang down the curtain on its super-luxury flagship after building only 200 of the 1959-1960 models.
After riding a 130-inch wheelbase for 1959-1960, all 1961 Cadillacs except the big Series 75 dropped back to the 129.5-inch length of the 1957-1958 Series 62. Though they weighed about the same, the new models looked tighter and crisper, with even less prominent fins and -- for the first time since 1954 -- no wrapped windshield.
Unfortunately, the Eldorado seemed to be in a state of decline. There was now only one model, the Biarritz soft-top, a situation that would hold through 1966. The Biarritz name itself would be phased out after 1963 in favor of Fleetwood Eldorado.
Along with a reduction in horsepower from 345 to a still ample 325 horsepower, 1961 brought a substantial reduction in the Eldorado's price. At $6,477, this year's Biarritz was $924 cheaper than its 1960 counterpart, though that still represented a premium of more than $1,000 above the less prestigious Series 62 convertible. One almost had to look for the nameplate to distinguish the Biarritz from other Cadillacs.
Yet even if it had lost much of its former distinction, this remained a top-quality automobile characterized by such luxury touches as a premium interior lined with ostrich-grain leather. Production rose slightly, presumably in response to the reduced price, but the '61 was hardly cause for excitement.
The 1962 Biarritz was somewhat more distinctive, thanks to its thin upper body side moldings, but it was far from striking or individual. Production remained at 1,450 units, exactly the same as the year before, while the division's overall production rose substantially.
Our story wraps up on the next page, with the last model years of the Eldorado.
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