Motor City | Lot 118
1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
$125,000 - $175,000 USD | Not Sold
| Plymouth, Michigan
25 July 2015
- An early example of the ultimate post-war Cadillac
- One of only 704 built over two years
- An impressive example; a well-sorted driver
- Finished in its original colors
- Documented by a copy of the original build sheet
Series 70. 325 bhp, 365 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, coil-spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel power hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126 in.
It is hard to imagine an American automaker today building a four-door sedan that would be priced higher than a new Ferrari or Rolls-Royce. In the 1950s, it was a different time. Glitter was good, bigger was better, and too many accessories was just right in the age of neon and chrome. It was an era ripe for the ultimate Cadillac: a car heaped with everything that General Motors’ engineering and styling gurus could throw at it.
Harley Earl’s styling team contributed multiple new ideas, including four-door hardtop sedan bodywork with side windows that disappeared completely, frames and all; rear-hinged rear doors, a throwback to the 1930s; and a broad expanse of sparkling, brushed stainless steel roof. Quad headlights were exclusive to the model—and still illegal in most states. The engineering staff worked out a litany of power accessories so numerous that “power everything” wasn’t just a convenient phrase, it was a reality. Naturally, there was air conditioning as well.
All of this high living came at a cost of $13,974, which was twice the cost of the Eldorado Biarritz. In fact, one had to look long and hard to find a production car anywhere in the world that was as expensive as an Eldorado Brougham. Cadillac reportedly lost $10,000 on every car built, which is why the original “Eldo Bro” lasted for only two years and 704 examples. As such, this dream machine was GM’s “halo model,” meant to dominate the American luxury market as their pre-war V-16 models did so effortlessly.
The car offered here was the 16th Eldorado Brougham built, making it one of the earliest known to exist. It was originally finished, as it appears today, in the striking color of Lake Placid Blue with a Medium Blue “bayou” cloth and leather interior, and it was delivered to a dealer in Oregon. The current enthusiast owner notes that the car has been well preserved with regular pleasure driving since its older restoration when, presumably, the notoriously troublesome hydraulic, self-leveling rear suspension was replaced with the simple and reliable standard Cadillac leaf springs, an adaptation common to most survivors. It is still a marvelous ride. Significantly, the myriad of electrical features are properly functional with the exception of the electric seat switches on the door panel. (A new switch for the seat has been installed on the seat itself to move it up and back.) The car has undergone extensive recent sorting, including replacement of the wheel cylinders, brake shoes, master cylinder, and other brake hardware; fixes of numerous small details; and fabrication of correct brackets and linkages for the rear fenders. Chrome was also re-plated as necessary. It now runs and drives well and has been enjoyed by the owner for numerous 100-mile drives.
It is hard to find a more opulent cruiser than an Eldorado Brougham!