1958, 1959, 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham

The 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Broughams didn't have nearly the sales impact on Fleetwoods as did the 1957s -- 1958 Fleetwood Sixty Special production tumbled to 12,900 units. Perhaps the sudden, unexpected "Eisenhower recession" that took hold late in 1957 was the major reason.

About the only ways to tell a 1958 Brougham from a 1957 from the outside were the changed wheel covers and some new exterior colors. Inside, there were quite a few minor differences, such as upper door panels that went from a metal finish to leather. Under the hood, the compression ratio was upped to 10.25:1, and Rochester triple two-barrel carburetors replaced the Carter dual quads. The net result was a rousing 335 horsepower.

1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham rode a short (for Cadillac) 126-inch wheelbase and measured 216.3 inches overall. And at 5315 pounds, it could hardly be considered a lightweight.

The year 1959 heralded a changing of the guard at GM design, and the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham took the styling lead, though few realized it at the time. After an illustrious three-decade career, Harley Earl retired at the end of 1958. He was succeeded by William L. "Bill" Mitchell, and all 1959 Cadillacs showed his influence. Ed Glowacke moved up to become Mitchell's assistant, while Charles M. "Chuck" Jordan became Cadillac's chief designer.

Jordan, assisted by Dave Holls, was primarily responsible for the 1959-1960 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, first seen at the Chicago Auto Show in January 1959. The styling engineer was George Ryder, who followed the project abroad into production.

While the 1957-1958 Broughams were built with a "hang the expense" attitude, the 1959-1960 models were much closer to production Cadillacs. Dollars and sense finally prevailed over nonsense, although the price to the buyer remained at a sobering $13,074.

The Brougham was now made a Fleetwood sub-series, carrying a Fleetwood chassis with a 130-inch wheel-base, same as all other 1959 Cadillacs save for limos. Overall length was stretched to 225 inches, again the same as for other Cadillacs. Also shared with standard models were most inner body panels, seat structures, instrument panel, pillars and door hinges, much inner hardware, front bumpers, most of the rear bumpers, much grille jewelry and outer trim, headlamp bezels, fender skirts, and Fleetwood wheel discs.

What made the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham appear different? Outer body panels were completely changed, although one could argue they hardly looked it. The lowered fins were more like those soon to be seen on the mainstream 1960 Cadillacs, the rear deck was more sloped, the grille was revised, and the front-hinged hood was much smaller. Most noticeably, the greenhouse was completely different. First off, it no longer had a Panoramic-style windshield, which not only eliminated the annoying "dogleg" but made Cadillac the first GM division to begin to back away from wraparound glass.

The new windshield also swept up three feet into a roof that was flatter and squarer than on other 1959 Cadillacs, and completely restyled at the rear. Designed by Dave Holls, the new upper structure appealed so much to top management that it was adopted for the 1961-1964 C-bodied Cadillacs, Buicks, and Oldsmobiles.

To learn more about the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham from the years 1959 and 1960, continue on to the next page.

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