Series 62. 210 bhp, 331 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126 in.
• Cadillac’s prestige convertible
• First year of Eldorado
• High-quality, body-off restoration
Based on the production Series 62 convertible, Cadillac’s new Eldorado differed in that it had a wrap-around windshield, a portent of GM’s future, as well as a distinctive dipped cockpit contour, and it came with a hard “parade boot” to cover the top when lowered. Standing just 58.8 inches high, it sold for $7,750, which was 90 percent above the sticker on a standard Series 62 convertible and nearly $2,000 more than the next most expensive model, the Series 75 Fleetwood Imperial Sedan.
The chassis and powertrain were basic Series 62: 210 brake horsepower, 331-cubic inch overhead valve V-8, and GM’s excellent Hydra-Matic four-speed self-shifting transmission. The compression ratio had been increased for 1953, and all Cadillacs had a 12-volt electrical system, a preview of things to sweep the industry during the next three years. New for ’53 was the optional Autronic Eye, an automatic headlight dimming device that responded to oncoming lights.
Eldorados came with a host of features as standard equipment: whitewall tires; wire wheels; a power seat, windows, and steering; a signal-seeking radio and fog lights; an automatic heating system; windshield washers; and license plate frames. The model gained additional exposure when Dwight Eisenhower rode in one during his January 1953 inaugural parade. Just 532 were built for the model year, this example being the 156th.
This early Cadillac Eldorado was purchased from the second owner in 2006. A rust-free car, it had been repainted in attractive but non-original red, and the interior, although original, showed considerable wear and deterioration. The current owner embarked on a full body-off restoration. The chassis was meticulously disassembled and all parts were rebuilt and refinished. After preparation and priming, the body was painted in the original Alpine White color. The interior was redone in correct red leather by Cadillac specialist Jenkins Restoration, of North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, and a black Haartz cloth top was installed.
Completed three years ago, it has been driven but 200 miles since. At the July 2012 Grand National meet of the Cadillac LaSalle Club, it was judged a 93.75 out of 100 points. It was also named Best of Show at the Buick-Oldsmobile-Pontiac-Cadillac Southeastern Nationals in May 2012.
Eldorados came loaded with nearly all imaginable accessories: power windows and seat, a heater, a signal seeking, pre-selector radio, a windshield washer, an oil filter, power steering, wire wheels, whitewall tires, a license frame, fog lights, and an outside mirror. In addition, this car has the optional E-Z-Eye tinted glass and Autronic Eye headlight dimmer, the latter fitted to just 14 percent of production. It also has the correct-type “Continental” external spare. All Cadillac Eldorado convertibles are special. This one, with known history and the original factory order showing delivery to Los Angeles is certainly extra-special and will be an excellent addition to any collection.