For Cadillac, the front-wheel-drive 1967-1969 Cadillac Eldorado was a revolutionary development, as important as the 1915 V-8, the 1930 Sixteen, the 1938 Sixty Special, and the 1949 V-8. It was the first Cadillac with FWD; moreover, it was an entirely new approach to the Eldorado's marketplace.
Its technology wasn't new. Oldsmobile, traditionally the "experimental division" of General Motors, had launched the Toronado the year before. But the Eldos' styling was quite different from the Toronado's.
This followed a dictum laid down by chief of design Bill Mitchell (and too often ignored by GM since) that there must be specific "images" for the products of each GM division, regardless of how much technology they might share under the skin.
It was the first time Mitchell had applied his five-seat "personal car" theme to a Cadillac (his major past works in this field were the Buick Rivieras of 1963 on).
The result was certainly one of the great shapes of the 1960s, completely lacking in rough spots, good looking from every angle, yet sufficiently "formal" to be consistent with Cadillac's current styling.
The name packed appropriate tradition: Cadillac had launched its first Eldorado, a limited production "personal" car, in 1953. Interim Eldos were somewhat less special, their goal being profit more than just pizazz, yet the Eldorado nameplate always retained exclusivity.
Briefly during development, management in the grips of nostalgia had considered calling the new car "LaSalle"; but then someone pointed out Jeff Godshall's LaSalle chapter in the Cadillac marque history, dubbing that make "Cadillac's only failure."
That, according to Cadillac insiders, made them unanimous for "Eldorado." The one thing lacking was a convertible version -- GM didn't have one yet -- but it would come along in the next design generation.
Continue on to the next page to find out about the engineering and styling of the 1967, 1968, 1969 Cadillac Eldorado.
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