The Radically Different 1967 Cadillac Eldorado

1967 Cadillac Eldorado Luxury Sport Coupe
1967 Cadillac Eldorado Luxury Sport Coupe. Photo by Mark Gittelman

The Cadillac Eldorado is one of those cars that almost everybody is familiar with. Even if you're not a die hard classic car fan you've probably seen a white convertible Eldorado with a set of bullhorns mounted as a hood ornament on a TV show or movie. Sidebar: If you already own one of these cars and you're looking to set it up Texas style, there's a company called bum steer that sells ready to mount horns.

In this article we're going to review a brief history of the two door Cadillac Coupe. However, the main Focus will be on the sixth-generation Eldorado. For me this is one of the sportiest looking full-sized personal luxury cars produced in the late 60s. When this model launched in 1967, Cadillac rolled out a bunch of new technology in an effort to reclaim the lead position in the luxury market.

Brief History of the Cadillac Eldorado

Cadillac built Eldorado's from 1953 through 2002. In the beginning these cars represented some of the most expensive automobiles available in America. They launched a hand built Brougham special edition in 1957. You can see these cars coming a mile away as they featured a unique, highly polished stainless steel roof.

The Eldorado brougham targeted celebrities and the ultra wealthy. With a price tag ranging from $13-$15,000, which was a massive amount of money in the late 50s, sales were limited.

They built the special edition for two years and produced less than 800 total units. This makes them highly collectible. As the Cadillac Coupe moved into the late 50s and early 60s it would remain instantly recognizable with its overall length, radical shark style rear fender fins and rocket shaped taillights.

Many Cadillac mechanics consider the early 80s the most problematic years for the Eldorado. Although the car continued to offer an impressive level of luxury, especially on the 1984 Eldorado Biarritz, the engine was trouble. First the company tried the four, six, eight engine. GM designed it to meet stricter fuel economy requirements. This led to recalls and unhappy customers. Next, the all aluminum V8 HT 4100 would prove to be an ambitious project not ready for prime time.

The all aluminum V-8 eventually turned into the North Star series and provided much improved service. As the Eldorado headed towards retirement in the early 2000's they contracted the historic nameplate into three letters. You could find the ETC emblem, which stood for Eldorado Touring Coupe, on the right rear portion of the trunk. This was a sign of things to come as Cadillac continues to use three letter designations on all models.

Sixth-generation Cadillac Eldorado

In 1967 Cadillac restyled the Eldorado Sport Coupe. Built on the same platform as the bullet back Buick Riviera and the Oldsmobile Toronado, it managed to maintain a distinctive look. We can credit the cutting edge styling to William L Mitchell one of General Motors most respected automotive designers.

He also worked on the Camaro and Corvette projects with Harley Earl.

A unique exterior feature included the vacuum operated hideaway headlight doors. This is the first Cadillac model to incorporate the popular feature. Interior appointments remained at a high level with reclining seats, headrests and power everything. An interior lighting package became a standard feature on the sixth generation cars. Interior lamps now illuminated the glove box, interior foot well area and the trunk compartment automatically using pin switches.

What sets the 1967 model apart from the year before it is the standard engine and transmission. For the first time Cadillac went to a front wheel drive set up borrowed from the Oldsmobile branch of General Motors. The modified Turbo 400 automatic transmission used a chain drive to rotate a front mounted differential.

This allowed for a flat floor pan in the front and rear passenger compartments.

The sixth generation cars would see some of the largest displacement engines ever produced by an American automotive manufacturer. In 1967 they installed the small engine. The 429 cubic inch engine produced around 375 HP. The following year the Eldorado got the new 472 CID and in 1970 Cadillac introduced the 8.2L or 500 cubic inch V8. The motor advertised a torque rating of 550 foot-pounds and horsepower output in the 400 range.

The idea of using a chain to funnel power from the biggest V-8 ever produced to the front wheels of such a large automobile scared a lot of people. In the end, this massive engine and the front wheel drive THM-425 transmission combination proved to be reliable. The car had a top speed of 125 MPH and went on to become the best-selling Eldorado in Cadillac history up until that point.