17K Miles! 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

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Remember when all of the regulations in the 1970s came to a head and convertibles were thought to be gone forever after 1976? Yeah, me, too. We know that it didn’t happen but it sure scared a lot of people with a lot of money into buying these cars. This 1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible is listed here on eBay in Indianapolis, Indiana and the current bid price is $14,300, but the reserve isn’t met.

Chrysler was the first to offer a convertible a few years after the world ended with the Eldorado, what a difference in cars. Although, coincidentally both of them are front-engine, front-wheel-drive “luxury” cars. That’s where the similarity ends. The ninth-generation Eldorado was made between 1971 to 1978 and they were a hair under 19 feet long. The ’82 LeBaron convertible was almost four feet shorter and over a ton lighter. Whoa.

This car appears to be in outstanding condition, right down to the flexible bumper filler material, which is often cracked or even missing after so many decades. The sun hasn’t wreaked havoc on this beauty as it has a mere 17,550 miles, so it must have been stored away from the elements for most of its life. The seller doesn’t go overboard with a lengthy description of the condition, saying only that the body is in great shape, and it has a new convertible top and rear window. Hagerty’s at $28,000 for a #3 good car and $49,300 (!) for a #2 excellent car, I’d bet that the seller’s reserve is between those two numbers.

The skinny steering wheels always seemed both somehow elegant and way too small to me, but as with everything else on this car that we can see, it looks like the entire interior is fantastic. The white leather seats look great, although we don’t see photos of the trunk or the underside – bummer. There is a parade boot that comes with this car and you will most likely be asked at some point to give rides in a parade if you own a big, beautiful car like this Eldorado.

The engine should be Cadillac’s 500-cu.in. OHV V8, which would have been factory-rated at 190 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque when new. The seller says “engine parts powder coated” but we don’t know which ones, and don’t know how it runs, or even if it runs. We have to assume that it’s in running condition, but a better description sure would have been nice. Any thoughts on this Eldorado ragtop?

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  1. Mike

    A low mileage ’76 Cadillac convertible? Was someone seeing big $$$ by buying one of the last convertibles and holding onto it for some big payday? Just like trying to buy the last VW convertible bug in 1979. More money could have been made by taking that cash, investing in something else and as a bonus, you get room in the garage.

    Like 6
    • nlpnt

      My 3 rules of cars as long-term investments.

      1. Buy at the bottom of the depreciation curve.
      2. Get what the kids want but can’t have now, not what’s selling in the present-day classic-car market which is what the people who were kids 30 years ago and couldn’t have wanted. Big open Cadillacs of the ’30s and ’40s were at the top of the classic car market in the ’70s, but that ’65 Chevelle SS at the back of the lot would’ve been a better bet to be worth more in 1995 than 1975.

      3. If you’re seriously *buying*, ignore #2 and get what you like, drive and enjoy. Cars aren’t investments.

      Like 4
  2. Jim in FL

    Nice to see one that isn’t white. I like the color scheme. This car does pose a dilemma. If you return it to service, all the “age not mileage” issues will surface. Hoses, belts, water pump, alternator, ac compressor. It’s probably got the original tires. But do you change them and drop the originality or wait until you have a blowout? I would would buy this with the plan of driving it. They are nice highway cars, definitely marine in feel. The argument is that I would start killing the value on day one.

    When I was living in Jersey, a guy I knew had one of these that was strictly a Parade Car. He maybe put 500 miles a year on it in parades and driving to shows. I thought it was kind of a waste of an expensive car, but different strokes. I had a 75 grandville convertible for 30 years and 200k miles. For me driving it was the fun part of owning it.

    Like 13
    • MoparDoug

      I totally agree and thought the same thing when I saw this one, nice to see one that isn’t white. i really like the color combo on this one, though I have to admit, I have a weak spot when it comes to cars with white interiors.

      Like 3
    • Vin_in_NJ

      I too knew a restaurant owner that had a white on white on white that he would drive in the Newark Columbus Day parade.

      Like 0
  3. Jolly Joe

    The following leave this as less than a confident bid.
    1) Powder coated parts. Why? Then no photo
    2) No under hood photos
    3) No under car photos
    4) No story why car has so few miles
    5) No ownership history
    At a minimum, the above is necessary to get the best dollars. You are selling a car. SELL it. Tell us the story so we can decide if it is for us.
    Of course, unless under the hood is a hot mess, the ownership history is full of holes – generally, that the answer to above will make a potential buyer nervous.

    Like 9
  4. Maggy

    After 72 they just got uglier by the year imo because of the 5mph bumpers these cars don’t wear them as well as other body styles imo. I’d cruise it though….with the top pulled back and the sunshine shinin.

    Like 7
  5. Bob Mck

    I have one with 12,000 miles. It drives like a dream and floats down the road.

    Like 4
  6. Rob Jay

    The 76 eldorado was supposed to be the last American convertible ever built so some folks did buy and store for future profits. At least until I believe the Lebaron convertible came out in the 80’s. I had one of these, they are huge and a bit too much plastic for my liking but they do have a nice look to them.

    Like 3
  7. Billyray

    On the plus side: There are pics of the top and windows both up and down. (very important when selling a convertible) Further, being an infamous “scissors-top” the fact that the top is new is reassuring. However, as already noted, a one line description is inadequate. Not enough pics either. A sensible buyer would look this car over personally.

    Like 2
  8. Johnmloghry johnmloghry

    back in the mid 80’s I worked for a fellow that owned a body shop in Miami, Florida. I did front end alignments and frame straightening. He had a very nice Hunter alignment machine and rack. He had a black on black 76 Eldo convertible that I played around with on slow days. It was a beautiful car and he had a cell phone in the car when they were new toys, not like the ones we have today, you couldn’t carry those around with you. There was a problem with the right rear brake, the emergency cable would stick locking the brake. It had the emergency brake designed as a drum brake inside the rotor for the disc brake. He owned body shops in New Jersey and brought the car down from there so the cable had some rust issues which I resolved. The car was always garage kept so was in near perfect condition. It was a great cruiser.

    God Bless America

    Like 1
  9. George Morrison

    Likely has a bunch of broken exhaust valves,worn out rocker arm pedestals and plugged up push rods,if memory serves me that was a problem for those 500 and 472 inch engines

    Like 0
  10. J.C. Conway

    I remember a guy in White Rock,British Columbia,Canada bought two ’76 convertibles and had them up on blocks for years in an underground parking lot which is now a thrift store. Don’t know what happened to the Cadillac’s.

    Like 3
  11. Connecticut mark

    Rather get an older one with a powerful engine, also filler plastic behind gas tank is broken , may be hiding more problems

    Like 0
  12. Robert Levins

    If the price is right, buy it, keep it beautiful, AND – drive it. Don’t worry about whether the value/ price will go down or not because it won’t be worth more in the future. These cars are are at best maybe 30k tops, it will never go much higher. It’s at its max now. You could have a lot of fun with this one provided you buy it for no more than about $20,000.00. Good luck to the new owner. Love the article too, great write up!

    Like 0

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