Open Roads, April | Lot 294

1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham

$125,000 USD | Asking

United States | Monkton, Maryland

21 - 29 April 2021

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  • Limited-edition, hand-built luxury sedan brimming with the most advanced features of its time
  • Number 29 of 400 produced for 1957
  • Dual four-barrel carbureted 365 cubic-inch V-8; four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission
  • Brushed stainless steel roof; 15-inch Kelsey-Hayes forged aluminum wheels
  • Accompanied by vanity kit

Aptly named, the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham—“el dorado” means “gilded one” in Spanish—was perhaps the most superlative ultra-luxury sedan of its day. Hand-built in limited numbers with every conceivable option and accessory as standard equipment, its starting price of $13,074 (about $123,500 in today’s money) eclipsed even that of contemporary Rolls-Royces by several thousand dollars .

Penned by Cadillac Studio design head Ed Glowacke, the Eldorado Brougham was considerably lower and narrower than the Series 62. It was an amalgamation of forms and cues from previous concept cars, such as the 1953 Cadillac Orleans and 1954 Cadillac Park Avenue. Notably, it was the first American four-door sedan designed without a center door frame and the first production Cadillac to feature quad headlights.

Power came from a dual four-barrel carbureted 365 cubic-inch V-8 mated to a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. Meanwhile, the Eldorado Brougham’s self-leveling air suspension and Autronic Eye headlights that dimmed automatically for oncoming traffic were years ahead of their time. Likewise, its Kelsey-Hayes forged aluminum wheels wore low-profile tires with thin whitewalls. The ostentatious interior was chock full of luxury and technology features, including power operated front seats with memory function, a Signal-Seeking radio, cruise control, air conditioning, automatic trunk-lid opener, and polarized sun visors.

The example shown here is number 29 of 400 produced for 1957. It left the factory finished in Wimbledon Gray. The seats were originally trimmed with light gray Bayou cloth cushions and light gray leather bolsters. The door cards were trimmed in a similar light gray leather, while the carpets were done in mouton and the headliner in a light gray cloth.

Today, the car is presented in maroon, having benefitted from a repaint some years ago. It is presumed the interior was also converted at that time to its current presentation in two-tone tan leather. A Ridetech air suspension system is said to have been installed in 2015. It features a controller in the glove box with three presets. Cadillac’s air suspension was revolutionary in period, but many faced issues when it came to maintenance and upkeep, leading some to replace them over the years with either a traditional coil-sprung setup, or in this case, a modern air suspension. Perhaps more surprising is the accompanying vanity kit that came standard on Eldorado Broughams. It includes such items as a plastic cigarette case, metallic tumblers with case, note pad with Cross mechanical pencil, beveled mirror, Arpège perfume with atomizer (both believed to be replacements), and an Evans vanity case with coin and lipstick compartments, powder compact, Evans pink powder puff, lipstick holder, comb and holder, mirror in lid, and cigarette holder underside.

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