Arizona Biltmore
28 - 29 January 2016
Lot 263

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz


$390,500 USD | Sold

United States | Phoenix, Arizona



Chassis No.
  • Comprehensive seven-year restoration; just 22 miles since completion
  • Equipped with the highly desirable bucket seat option and air conditioning
  • Presented in stunning Ebony over white leather

345 bhp, 390 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, three-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live-axle rear suspension with air-assisted coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 130 in.

Without a doubt, the pinnacle of 1950s excess is the 1959 Cadillac styled by Dave Holls. It featured Detroit’s highest fins, which, according to the late Holls, were the result of a directive from top management at General Motors that the company was not to be outdone by anyone!

Originally inspired by P-38 Lightning aircraft and a trademark of acclaimed designer Harley Earl, the ever-increasing size was in response to Virgil Exner’s Chrysler styling, known as the “Forward Look,” that sent the rest of Detroit back to the drawing boards.

Like its sisters, the Buick Skylark and the Oldsmobile Fiesta, the first Eldorado was shown to the public at GM’s Motorama in 1953 as a limited-production convertible available in small numbers and at a lofty price. Initially, the Eldorado was nearly twice the price of its Series 62 stable-mate, demonstrating just how special the model was in the Cadillac lineup. Cadillac called the new Eldorado, “The new Standard of the World in Splendor!”

Despite building over 138,000 Cadillacs in 1959, less than one percent—1,320—were Eldorado Biarritz convertibles. Eldorados boasted a special version of Cadillac’s 390 V-8, producing 340 horsepower through triple carburetors, and virtually every power convenience of the era was included as standard or available optionally, adding to the exclusivity of the top-of-the-line model.

The consigner describes this Eldorado as “quite simply one of the finest and most stunning examples extant.” It has been treated to a lavish, seven-year concours-quality restoration by well-known expert Rick Adams of Milwaukee, finished in its original shade of Ebony (code 10) with a white leather interior (code 10B) and black Haartz convertible top. As the only concession to modernity, the black top was fitted in lieu of the original white vinyl top for the sake of durability. Paintwork is described as “impeccable, unmarked, and virtually flawless” and the bodywork as “laser straight with exemplary panel fit.” The consigner adds that every piece of chrome and stainless has been polished or plated to concours standards. The lovely white interior was done by Jenkins Restorations & Interiors of North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, to factory standards in Corinthian and Florentine leather, and the dazzling interior chrome is as meticulously restored as the exterior trim.

In addition to a full array of power accessories, this Eldorado is equipped with a Wonderbar radio, the highly desirable bucket seat option, and air conditioning, which is believed to have been added by a dealership early in the car’s life, so well-performed is the installation. The red taillight lenses are N.O.S., as are the hubcaps and other parts used wherever possible. Details of the interior were taken as far as the gold-anodized hardware, correct red heat distribution duct, and even the correct “Eldorado loop” carpet.

The undercarriage and underhood detailing are peerless as expected from a seven-year restoration with every fitting and piece cad plated, anodized, or repainted as per the original factory specs. Just 22 break-in miles have been traveled since this comprehensive restoration was completed.

Presented in a stunning color combination with desirable options, this car is ready to show at Cadillac-LaSalle Club meets or on the lawn at major concours events. The Cadillac enthusiast should not miss this opportunity to own a special example of Cadillac’s finest that many consider the ultimate expression of lavish Fifties chrome and fins.