The 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible was a behemoth of a car that moved like a tank and guzzled gas at a rate of 13 miles per gallon despite raised compression ratios and a recalibrated carburetor. A long-running luxury line that spanned half a century before being discontinued in 2002, the convertible marked the end of an era: it was the last American convertible.
Meaning the “golden one”, the last 200 convertible brought a buying scramble. They were designated as “Bicentennial Edition” commemorating America’s 200th birthday. They came in white with a dual-color red/blue pinstripe along the upper bodyside. In 1983, buyers sued GM when the automaker reintroduced Eldorado convertibles, arguing that they were deceived.
That year, when all other domestic convertibles had vanished, GM heavily promoted the America’s only remaining convertible as “the last American convertible”. 14,000 would be sold, some were bought at $20,000, double the list price, where buyers hoped to cash in on their investments.
The car was powered by a 500cid V8 but could only muster 190 horsepower, with a top speed of just 109 mph. Its large body measured 225 in long and 80 in wide. These Eldos were dressed in 21 different body color, with six convertible-top color selections. Merlin Plaid, Lush Velour and Mansion Knit for non-leather interiors and 11 leather choices of Sierra Grain leather were available.
Eldos came with an airbag, Dual Comfort front seats with folded-down armrests, and a six-way power seat. The Twilight Sentinel headlights came in as an option. They operated according to outside conditions.
1976 was to be the final year for the Eldorado convertible and the car was heavily promoted by General Motors as “the last American convertible”. Some 14,000 would be sold, many purchased as investments. The final 200 were designated as “Bicentennial Edition” commemorating America’s 200th birthday. These cars were white with a dual-color red/blue pinstripe along the upper bodyside.
When GM reintroduced Eldorado convertibles for the 1984 model year, owners of 1976 Eldorados felt they had been deceived and launched an unsuccessful class action lawsuit. Having received a major facelift the previous year, the 1976 Eldorado received only minor styling changes, including a new grille and revised taillamp lenses.
In 2002, GM announced the end of the Eldorado line. 1596 red or white convertibles were produced in three batches of 532.