1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (RHD)
Cadillac has represented the pinnacle of American luxury motoring for the past century and their products have always reflected the mood of the nation - witness, for example, the rise of the fins and other styling excesses in the booming 1950s and the more sober, restrained elegance of the early 1960s as the Cold War era began in earnest. Cadillac's first Eldorado was a 1952 Dream Car, entering production as a limited edition model the following year. The Eldorado became Cadillac's range-topping convertible before being joined by the Seville hardtop coupe derivative, with the open version thereafter badged the Biarritz. Succeeding generations saw the Eldorado grow in size and stature until the arrival of the radical sixth generation in 1967, becoming Cadillac's first personal luxury car to feature front-wheel drive, with the driveline borrowed from the innovative Oldsmobile Toronado. In 1971 the seventh generation E-body Eldorado arrived, retaining the front-drive platform but with a much longer 126.3-inch wheelbase and was substantially restyled. The Eldorado became a unique model line and enjoyed excellent sales through the early 1970s despite the Oil Crisis. Offered in both coupe and convertible versions, the Eldorado was facelifted in 1973 and 1975, with the final open-air versions offered in 1976. Indeed GM promoted the 1976 cars as ?the last American convertible? and many of the 14,000 sold were purchased as investments. The final 200 made were a limited edition celebrating America's Bicentennial, featuring white paintwork decorated with red/blue pinstriping. The 1976 model saw few external changes apart from a revised grille, new tail lights and Opera windows in the padded vinyl 'half roof' on hardtop models. Inside the simulated wood dash had a new carved 'gunstock' pattern and power disc brakes were standard equipment. The 1976 Eldorado was powered by a massive 500-cid (8.2-litre) V8 coupled with GM's smooth three-speed automatic transmission, affording effortless performance despite the Cadillac's prodigious girth. This was Cadillac's final full-size Eldorado, with the succeeding eighth generation a downsized, more fuel efficient model, reflecting the changing attitudes of American motorists.