St. John's | Lot 117

1953 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

$148,500 USD | Sold

United States | Plymouth, Michigan

30 July 2011

Chassis No.
Body No.

210 bhp, 331 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission; coil spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126"

- From the Estate of Don Kizziar

- Cadillac’s prestige convertible

- High-quality restoration

- One of only 532 built for the first year of the Eldorado

General Motors scored a hat trick with the 1953 Motorama traveling shows. All three of the upscale divisions, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac, had prestige convertible “idea cars,” dramatic in design but close enough to production models that they were ready to manufacture. Named Fiesta, Skylark and Eldorado, respectively, they entered limited production during the year. Based on the Series 62 convertible, the Eldorado differed in having a wrap-around windshield, a portent of GM’s future, and 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 bhp, 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 sign 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, power seat, windows and steering, signal-seeking radio, fog lights, 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.

Purchased by Mr. Kizziar in 1992, this car was given a complete restoration, completed the following year. The body-off renovation took 3,600 hours of work. Striking in Aztec Red with a black convertible top, it has a red and white leather interior and the characteristic chrome wire wheels. The car presents very well for an older restoration, and cosmetic issues are very minor and only visible upon very close examination. The paint, however, is all in good condition and exhibits a nice shine.

All chrome on the car is good, as is the interior. The seats are red with ribbed white inserts, a theme repeated on the door panels, and the upper dashboard is leather padded as well. The leather is all in excellent condition, complemented by matching red carpet and nice sill plates. The odometer shows 388 miles, likely the distance traveled since restoration. The engine compartment is clean and nicely detailed but not over-restored.

The car was honored with a First Place in Cadillac LaSalle Club national competition in 1996. It has been well cared for, and it should be very competitive today, as well as an excellent pleasure or tour car. Eldorado owners were style-setters in 1953. The next owner of this car will surely be as well!

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