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1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham : Classic Cars

Announced in December of 1956, the Eldorado Brougham is among Cadillac’s most exclusive and memorable automobiles ever produced. Everything about the car was aimed at providing the utmost in luxury and exclusivity. Just 704 examples would be built, 400 for the 1957 model year, and 304 for the 1958 model year, an unsurprisingly low volume considering the fact that it was the most expensive production car in the world at the time. At over $13,000 or twice as much as the next most expensive Cadillac, the Eldorado Biarritz, and $4000 more than a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, the car was astronomically expensive, which ensured its rarity and thus its collectability.

The car was created in response to the enthusiastic reception of Cadillac’s four door Motorama Orleans and Park Avenue concepts from 1953 and 1954. In both years, a four door concept was displayed alongside a convertible, and the four door car was always better-received. With this information in mind, Harley Earl set about creating the ultimate Cadillac, a hyper-luxurious and exclusive car that would represent the epitome of jet age luxury automobiles, Motorama style.

Despite its high price, each Eldorado Brougham sold is reported to have cost Cadillac over $10,000 thanks to the uniqueness and extraordinary features of the Eldorado Brougham. Firstly, the car shared very few parts with the standard production Cadillacs. The body was completely unique, being about four inches lower and a couple inches narrower than a 60 Series, and the trademark suicide rear doors and full stainless roof further differentiated the Eldorado Brougham. The car also had unique quad headlamp treatment, the first time such a feature appeared, although it would be standardized on most American cars for the 1958 model years.

The specification and feature list of the car was tremendous. On the technical side, the car featured the first ever production application of air suspension, unique pillarless hardtop body with rear-hinged back doors and stainless steel roof, and standard 365 cubic inch V8 with two 4 barrel carburetors and a 10:1 compression ratio. The car came with just about every accessory and option standard, including power steering, power brakes, air conditioning, power locks (which locked automatically when the car was put in gear), power seats (with memory feature when opening the driver’s door to aid ingress/egress), electric windows (including the vent windows), autronic eye (self-dimming high beams when oncoming cars were detected), electrically opening and closing trunk lid, dual heating systems, and fully transistorized radio with automatic antenna. Additionally, each car came with a full vanity set, including a magnetic tray in the glovebox, to which magnetic drinking cups could be affixed, tissue holder, cigarette case, and Evans compact case which included a comb, mirror, cigarette case, lipstick, coin holder, and powder. In the rear, a special compartment contained a small leather notebook with Cross pencil, beveled mirror, and Arpège atomizer with Lanvin perfume. A wide variety of exterior colors and interior trims were available in several materials.

The 332nd of 400 examples built, this particular car is a wonderful, show-winning, matching-numbers example that has covered just 52,000 miles from new and is still finished in its original color combination of Fairfield blue with turquoise leather interior. Never completely disassembled for restoration, it has been sympathetically maintained, rebuilt, and renewed over the years to bring it to its current outstanding condition. It has won the following awards:

Niello Concours at Serrano 2006, 2nd in Class
Niello Concours at Serrano 2007, 2nd in Class
Niello Concours at Serrano 2008, 2nd in Class
Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance 2008 Franklin Templeton Investment Award
Presidio of San Francisco Concours d’Elegance 2009, 2nd in Class
Marin Sonoma Concours d’Elegance 2009, 1st in Class
Presidio of San Francisco Concours d’Elegance 2010, 3rd in Class
Palo Alto Concours d’Elegance, 2010, 2nd in Class
Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance 2012, 1st in Class

The car’s current owner bought it in Gilroy, California in 1995 after responding to an advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle. Prior to his ownership, the car was in storage for several years in Sacramento. The car is extraordinarily complete. Not only does it have all its vanities, but it also has its owner’s manual, shop manual, service information book, extensive service records, as well as a March of 1958 issue of Fortune Magazine (the only place the car was ever advertised). There is also a framed copy of the same advertisement.

The car has been maintained regardless of cost and continuously improved over the last ten years. The service records show significant rechroming, a respray in 2005, engine compartment detailing, new carpets and trunk upholstery, restored dashboard, restored wheels, and much new weather stripping. The leather upholstery is in excellent original condition and was redyed. On the mechanical side, the rod bearings were replaced, a new oil pump installed, a transmission out service performed, the radiator rebuilt, new hoses fitted, the generator rebuilt, new ball joints, new control arm bushings, new shock absorbers and new power steering gears. The air conditioning was converted to r134a refrigerant and recharged, and blows cold. The car was also converted to coil springs from the notoriously problematic air suspension system. The air suspension parts are included with the car. Many other smaller tasks were performed as well, with total invoices on hand for nearly $54,000. Every system and accessory works, from the memory seat to the power trunk lid.

The car is in superb cosmetic condition, as evidenced by its numerous awards. The paintwork was done to high standard and the body is excellent, with straight panels and great gaps. The paint is especially striking, with a subtle metallic that is only visible upon close inspection or in strong lighting. The stainless steel roof is a stunning touch and is in excellent shape. The chrome is excellent across the board, being almost like new in some areas such as the bumpers and wheels, and in excellent older condition in others like the window trims and door handles, where there are light surface scratches. There is one small bubble in the chrome on the front right bumper. The glass and lights are generally excellent, although there is a small area of delamination on the left front vent window, as well as light wear to the panoramic windscreen, which likely original with 52,000 miles on it. The badges are excellent throughout and the car has correct gold-colored license plate frames with yellow Year of Manufacture California license plates.

The interior is in beautiful condition. The leather seats and armrests are original and are excellent considering this. They have been redyed and are beautifully preserved. The dashboard is stunning, with the dash top having been restored. The chrome on the dash is excellent, as are the instruments and switches. New mouton carpets have been fitted, which are like new, and the kick panels have been reupholstered as well. The detailing in the interior is extraordinary. For example, the rear view mirror is mounted on a chrome stalk whose contour matches that of the panoramic windscreen, but never touches it. The polarized sun visors are in place and are excellent, as is the headliner. The AC blows cold, and the Wonderbar radio works. The vanity set is extremely impressive and complete, with carefully designed custom storage areas in the glovebox and rear armrest to keep everything neatly in place. A 1957 nickel is in place in the Evans compact case’s coin holder, and there is also a 1957 one dollar bill, a 1957 nickel, and a 1957 penny with the rear vanity items. The memory function of the power seat works, as do all other power seat functions. The automatic door locks lock when the car is put in gear, and unlock when the car is put in park, just as they should.

The engine compartment is correctly restored and nicely detailed. Correct dark blue paint has been used on the engine block and head, and the air cleaner and valve covers have correct gold paint with black lettering. The correct decals and labels are in place, and all ancillaries are correct for the car. The blue paint on the firewall is the original Fairfield blue paint and has never been refinished.

The trunk is excellent with full carpeting, all of which has been replaced and matches the turquoise interior of the car. The power opening and closing trunk lid works correctly, and the trunk is complete with unrestored and excellent spare, spare cover, jack with label still attached, and even the Douglas fir tire chock.

This is an exceptional opportunity to acquire a wonderful example of one of the high points of Cadillac’s history, General Motors’ history, and the American automobile industry’s history. A low mileage example finished in a beautiful color combination, this car shows obvious pride of ownership bordering on obsessive, which is an ideal seller from which to acquire an Eldorado Brougham because it helps to ensure that the numerous accessories will be functioning. This is also important when the car is being shown, and this car’s high quality is demonstrated by its numerous Concours awards. Another wonderful characteristic of this car is the fact that it is so complete. Possessing its original jack, complete book set, extensive vanity set, and a tremendous box of invoices and reference documents, this car is exceptionally complete. It comes with a wealth of information accumulated by its fastidious owner and is a truly special example of a truly special car.


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Sources : 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Photo | 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Article | 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Rear Photo | 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Light Photo | 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Wheel Photo | 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Interior Photo | 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Engine Photo

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