No other car captures the essence of the “jet age” quite like the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado, with styling that could have been copied from a fighter plane. While many believe that Cadillac’s tailfins were a product of the 1950s, their use actually dates back to GM’s 3/8-scale “Interceptor” design studies of the early 1940s, which were inspired by the radical P-38 Lightning fighter aircraft of World War II.
Available in Biarritz convertible and Seville hardtop form, along with the hand-built Brougham four-door hardtop, the Eldorado was Cadillac’s undisputed image leader for 1959. Standard Eldorado equipment included a heater, fog lamps, air-assisted suspension, a radio with a rear speaker, power windows, a six-way power front seat, power door locks and whitewall tires. Power was provided by the top Q-code 390 cubic inch V8, which thumped out 345 horsepower with a trio of two-barrel carburetors, teamed with a four-speed Hydra-Matic Drive automatic transmission.
Just four options were available for the Eldorado – air conditioning, cruise control, the Autronic-Eye automatic headlight dimmer and E-Z Eye glass, along with a no-cost bucket seat option for the Biarritz. Both the Biarritz convertible and the Seville hardtops carried a lofty base price of $7,401 when new, with only 1,320 examples of the Biarritz produced.