With Cadillac settled into its new life as a downsized premium car, a successful change that began with the 1977 model year, it turned its attention in 1979 to its personal-luxury flagship, the Eldorado.
The redesigned 1979 Cadillac Eldorado lost 1,100 pounds, 20 inches in length, and 12.3 inches in wheelbase. Corporate siblings Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile Toronado were similarly slenderized on the same new 114-inch E-body platform.
The 1979 Cadillac Eldorado also shared with its cousins an unusual touch for an upmarket domestic: independent rear suspension. This setup was more compact than the previous beam axle, and helped make it possible to trim wheelbase without losing much passenger room.
Every 1979 Cadillac was available with several new linewide options. These included dual electric remote-control door mirrors, plus an integrated 40-channel CB radio (reflecting a period fad).
Another new option available on every 1979 Cadillac was Cadillac's Tripmaster on-board travel computer. First offered on the 1978 Cadillac De Ville, Tripmaster provided digital readouts for average miles per gallon and speed, miles to destination, and estimated arrival time. It also displayed engine rpm, coolant temperature, and electrical system voltage. This basic system would evolve with newer technology, but has been a Cadillac staple ever since.
A second energy crisis erupted in spring 1979, damaging car sales and slowing the national economy. That energy crisis helped depress calendar-year volume for the 1979 Cadillac line, but Cadillac kept its usual 2-3 percent of the total American auto industry, the share it had claimed for many years
Perhaps equally distressing was another 1979 development, the introduction of the Cadillac diesel V-8 as a linewide option. Learn about that debacle on the next page.
For more information on Cadillac, see:
- Cadillac: Learn the history of America's premier luxury car, from 1930s classics to today's newest Cadillac models.
- Consumer Guide New Car Reviews and Prices: Road test results, photos, specifications, and prices for 2007 Cadillacs and hundreds of other new cars, trucks, minivans, and SUVs.
- 1960-1969 Cadillac: See how Cadillac maintained its hold on the premium market by adroitly addressing changing consumer demands.
- 1980-1989 Cadillac: America's top luxury brand was in crises in the 1980s. Learn about how it weathered the storm.