1 Of 138: 1973 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

The Cadillac Eldorado was the Official Pace Car for the 1973 Indianapolis 500. Cadillac produced a total of 566 Pace Car editions, of which, 513 eventually found their way to Cadillac dealerships across the country. These cars were used for promotional purposes and were usually then sold through their dealership. How many of these cars now exists is a matter of conjecture, but the owner’s claim of 138 seems to be close to the mark. You will find this Cadillac listed for sale here on Craigslist. It is located in Red Oak, Iowa, and has been advertised with a clean title. The owner has set a price of $7,500 for the Cadillac. Barn Finder Pat L located this Cadillac for us, so thanks must go to Pat for that.

Leaving aside the Indianapolis links and considering this car purely as an Eldorado for the moment, the car appears to be in reasonable condition. There are no obvious rust issues in the car, although it does appear from the photos that there are quite a number of chips in the paintwork. The soft-top looks in reasonable, although not perfect, condition. The owner does say that the soft-top works well, and it has the parade boot, which means that you can sit on the folded soft-top if that’s what your heart desires.

The interior is finished in the original Medium Red leather. The interior seems to be complete, and most of it appears to be in reasonable condition. The leather upholstery on the seats is looking a bit dry and cracked, and it would probably be a good idea to have this treated by a leather specialist. The plaque is also attached to the dash, identifying this car as an Indy Pace Car.

Under the hood is the 501ci V8, which drives the front wheels via an automatic transmission. The car is also fitted with power steering and power brakes. The seller states that the car drives well and that he would drive it any distance with complete confidence. The car is also fitted with new tires, and while he doesn’t mention it, it looks like the car has also been fitted with a new radiator.

The owner states that this Eldorado is confirmed as being a Pace Car, so you then have to ask how that impacts on the value. Two cars have recently gone through auction houses, but sale prices have not been disclosed. There are very few currently out in the market, so this leaves me to consider what NADA have to say on the matter. They state that if the car’s identity can be confirmed, then a Pace Car is worth a 25% Premium over a standard Eldorado Convertible in similar condition. They list a low retail price of $13,687 as their valuation. I’ll leave the final decision on this up to you.

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  1. Jeff

    If anyone is interested in the Eldo note that the A.C. Compressor and associated hoses etc, are missing.

    • Jim in AL

      For the sake of accuracy, there is a lot more than that missing.
      You will also need the POA valve, the Condenser, Muffler, Dryer, and ALL of the related hoses and tubing

  2. Rustytech

    Seems like a fair price for a Elderado conv. Even without the race heritage. A/C is an easy fix. As long as it is not rotten underneath, I’d have no problem paying this price if it would fit in my garage.


    Like the price.
    IIRC…1973 was the last year for big horsepower (375)…and connecting body panels without the plastic fillers at each end. Never understand the thought process behind those plastic fillers. Had to be some bean counter input. Gorgeous weekend cruiser.

    • Jim Z Member

      Detroit, my ’74 Eldo-Camino 2-door has the 500ci and (had) the plastic fillers. Since replaced with ABS versions, all looks pretty good!
      Showing it at Turkey Rod Run next weekend at Daytona Raceway.

    • Ralph

      These had about 235 net hp, those figures your quoting are 1971/72 and down gross numbers and really don’t have any basis in reality.

  4. normadesmond

    Plastic rear window, not original.

    • Ralph

      That’s the least of its issues……

  5. Chuck Dahl

    My first impression was the rear window was not plexi, but could be reflection. Price is reasonable.

  6. Ralph

    Can we please stop calling this a 501? Its not, its a 500, 501 is an GM emission designation that was used on the tune up tag, its not the cubic inch displacement of the engine.

    These are neat cars, but this one is a bit of a dog, that underhood shot is…..ughhh…….

    Other than than they were all this color combo there really isn’t anything special about them, you could have gotten this color combination on a regular Eldorado convertible anytime.

    Cadillac also provided several color matching deVilles and one Fleetwood, the 2 actual pace Eldorado convertibles had built and blueprinted 500’s that were tuned to make about 400hp, sans emissions controls of course.

    • Big Fun Member

      Here’s an ad for it. Check out the Firestone 500 tires!

  7. Will Fox

    These `73s are probably the most plain-looking of the Pace Car replicas produced. As mentioned, nothing special about the color combination, as it was common at the time to see these. IMHO, the `75-`76 models are far better looking. The tired front seat will need more than ‘conditioning’. No ointment will make those huge cracks disappear. Better plan on replacing the leather which wouldn’t be cheap by any means. Hope the seller has the factory air cleaner; that perf. unit doesn’t cut it at all. Also, if there are any problems with the early emissions equipment these were mandated with, they can be next to impossible to locate, short of a junkyard donor.

  8. BOP_GUY Member

    Well, if she runs as good as the seller advertises, it’s a decent price for something to just cruise around in. If you were thinking about fixing it up, it just needs paint, a top, carpet, leather treatment, a/c system, and whatever engine work and detailing, whatever rust repair, etc. You’d be under water fast.

  9. chrlsful

    this may B the ‘eldie’ model/gen folks @ the time were touting as “last of the American convertibles”? We didn’t know ‘they’d come back’ (only 5 or so yrs later?).

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