The feature-laden, super-luxurious Cadillac Eldorado Brougham made its public debut at the National Automobile Show in New York in late January 1957. Public introduction at dealerships was held in key U.S. cities in February. At that time, orders were taken, although very few cars were actually delivered before March.
Surprisingly, the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham received only passing attention in the motoring press, and was given pathetically few drive reports. For reasons never fully explained, the factory public relations effort was practically non-existent compared to the monumental press buildup that had preceded the introduction of the Continental Mark II.
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After running off just 400 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Broughams, Cadillac fielded an almost identical model for 1958.
One publication that did road test the Brougham was Motor Trend. But the magazine only checked out the car's new suspension system, not the total performance and personality of this new breed of Cadillac. Reporter Joe Wherry wrote, not altogether enthusiastically, that "A rough, busted-up three miles of ancient concrete road provided a good place to drive both a conventionally suspended Cad 60 Special and the new airborne Brougham.
There is no doubt that the ride is amazingly improved, but riders and driver too (through the entire structure) felt shocks; the edge or sharpness of the bump and rebound is taken away. Cornering under power produces as much heeling over as in a regular line Cadillac and more than in some current domestic cars with suspensions engineered specifically to maintain a level cornering attitude, regardless of the stresses imposed by the centrifugal action of a fast turn. Nose dipping on fast stops is still present."
Without coming right out and saying it, Motor Trend must have concluded that the Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special, reported on separately in another issue, was by far the better value at a base price of $5,614. Praising the Fleetwood for quality, fuel economy, and overall economy, MT said that the riding qualities were "just about the best found on any present day automobile."
It has been contended that one reason the Mark II failed in the marketplace was because it was not offered in a four-door version. If this was the case, then the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham should have fared better. Truthfully, it met a more resistant market than the Mark II. At $10,000, the Mark found only about 1200 buyers.
Discounted to around $8,000, another 1,800 customers were found. The Cadillac Eldorado Brougham was pegged at $13,074! There were no additional accessories needed, and no discount was offered. At this price, only 400 buyers were found in 1957 and 304 in 1958. With the Mark II, price was the entire story. With the Eldorado, price was only a part of it.
When Cadillac had introduced the Eldorado convertible in 1953, the division was satisfied to sell only 533 examples. Even at this level, there were a lot of quality complaints coming back from the dealers, particularly with regard to the air suspension. While Cadillac has never offered any explanation for the low production numbers, it seems that the Eldorado Brougham was more of a token promotion effort than anything else -- a token to Harley Earl's ego and to the intensive Mark II exercise over in Dearborn. And the bottom line was that the Brougham effort seemed to do a good job of selling the upmarket Sixty Specials, which hit a production record of 24,000 in 1957 -- 7000 units more than in 1956.
To learn about the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham in the years 1958 through 1960, continue on to the next page.
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