1957-1960 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham

The 1957-1960 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham has often been compared to the 1956-1957 Continental Mark II. It has even been said that the Brougham was GM's response to Ford's second-generation Continental. Truthfully, about all the two had in common were great styling and poor sales. The Continental Mark II was planned as a reincarnation of the original 1940-1948 Continental, later known as the Mark I. Built by the entirely separate Continental Division of Ford Motor Company, the Mark II was offered only as a two-door hardtop.

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1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
As of January 25, 1955, the basic shape of the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham had been decided upon, but much detail work remained to be done. The 1955 Brougham show car wore different side trim and fins than the production version. See more classic car pictures.

The Eldorado Brougham was a four-door hardtop derived from a very different school of styling thought. Ironically, it was first delivered in any numbers in April 1957, just one month before the Continental Mark II was taken out of production. The Mark II had a "Modern Formal" look, the result of many months of styling exercises by Ford and four outside styling consultants. The Eldorado Brougham, on the other hand, was "Modern Baroque," one man's dream intended to play upon the fantasies of the American car-buying public.

That man was GM's autocratic styling boss, Harley J. Earl, who paid a lot more attention to Cecil B. De Mille and Al Jolson than to the great coachbuilders of the Classics of the Thirties. To Earl, showbiz sold cars. The more chrome, the better; the more a car looked like it was ready to blast off for Mars, the more buyer appeal. This isn't to say that Earl encouraged bad design. Many of his Fifties efforts -- including the Eldorado Brougham -- were quite good. But the thinking behind these designs had a lot more to do with playing to an audience than to blending the best elements of the past with the present.

1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham was a four-door hardtop designed under GM's Harley Earl.

The General Motors Motoramas were extravaganzas conceived by Earl to test public reaction to GM's wildest styling dreams. The Eldorado Brougham slowly evolved through three years of Motoramas, leading Earl to the inevitable conclusion that while the well-heeled public might applaud a dashing open two-seater, it was far more likely to shell out the big bucks for an equally glamorous chariot with four doors and a permanent top.

The origins of the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham can be traced back to the Orleans show car seen at the 1953 Motorama. This was a standard Series Sixty-Two Cadillac made into the decade's first true pillarless four-door hardtop. Also featured on this car was the 1953 Eldorado convertible's wraparound windshield.

While the concept of a four-door hardtop intrigued buyers far more than the racy Le Mans roadster at the same show, the Orleans' stock 1953 lines didn't lend themselves very well to four-door hardtop styling. Still, Earl carefully noted the buyer preference for four seats, four doors, and a metal roof in a GM dreamboat. He particularly observed that this preference came from those who could "back up their approval with a check."

To learn more about the 1957-1960 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, continue on to the next page.

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