1976 Cadillac Eldorado

The 1976 Cadillac Eldorado was America's "last convertible," but not for long. Speculators rushed to buy, only to lose big once ragtops returned in the '80s -- including a new Eldorado.

1976 Cadillac Eldorado
The 1976 Cadillac Eldorado was believed to be an "instant collectable."
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The 1976 Eldorado is the most famous "last convertible," mainly because it wasn't. Cadillac's personal coupe had been redesigned in a new jumbo size for '71, when a convertible returned for the first time since Eldorado went front-wheel drive four years earlier. The convertibles attracted 7,000 - 9,500 yearly sales, but Cadillac wanted more for '76, knowing ahead of time that it would own Detroit's only remaining ragtop.

1976 Cadillac Eldorado
The 1976 Cadillac Eldorado featured white leather upholstery with red piping.

Accordingly, Cadillac announced "no more convertibles" while upping the '76 run to 14,000 from the previous year's 8,950. Included were a final 200 "last convertibles" with white paint and top, red pinstripes, and white leather upholstery with red piping. Though any '76 Eldo convertible cost $11,049 base, some sold for up three times as much in the "instant collectible" buying frenzy created by all this carefully calculated PR.

Come 1984, however, Cadillac introduced a new Eldo convertible that not only prompted a lawsuit (for deceptive advertising) but lost a bundle for those who overpaid for '76s. So much for clever marketing.

For more classic convertibles of the 1970s, see:

1960 Dodge Polara
1960 Edsel Ranger
1961 Ford Galaxie Sunliner
1962 Dodge Polara 500
1963 Chevrolet Impala SS
1963 Ford Falcon Futura
1963 Plymouth Sport Fury
1963 Studebaker Lark Daytona
1965 Chrysler 300L
1965 Rambler American 440
1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza
1968 Mercury Park Lane
1969 Plymouth Road Runner
1969 Shelby GT-500
1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7
1975 Chevrolet Caprice Classic
1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale
1975 Pontiac Grand Ville

For more information on all kinds of cars, try these:
  • Classic Convertible Cars: See profiles on more than 70 classic convertibles.
  • Muscle Cars: Get information on more than 100 tough-guy rides.
  • Consumer Guide New Car Reviews: Looking for a new car? Get the Consumer Guide rating.
  • Consumer Guide Used Car Reviews: Considering a used car purchase? You'll want to check the Consumer Guide used car rating.