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51k Mile Survivor: 1971 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

I love nothing more than to slip behind the wheel of some classic high-performance car and be allowed to appreciate impressive levels of acceleration or handling. However, maybe I’m showing my age a bit because I feel some real attraction to this 1971 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible. The thought of wafting down the road with the wind blowing through what’s left of my hair all sounds pretty tempting. This Eldorado is a tidy and original survivor that makes that entire idea seem all the more attractive. If it sounds okay to you, you will find the Cadillac located in Marion, Iowa, and listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding currently sits at $7,600, and the reserve has been met.

Cadillac came up with some great names on its color chart, and Chalice Gold Firemist is among the best of the bunch. It isn’t just a name that sounds good but is also a color that looks very classy. That is what graces the flanks of the Eldorado, and it is in good condition. The owner acknowledges that it wears a few minor dings and marks, but not many of them are visible in the wide array of photos that he supplies. There is also a walk-around video that I have included at the bottom of this article. What it shows is a classic that is extremely clean for its age. The tidy presentation extends to the White power top. This is free from any rips or stains and fits as tight as a drum. There is no evidence of any rust in the Convertible and no sign of any previous accident damage. The chrome shines beautifully, and there are no problems with the glass. The inclusion of whitewall tires adds the perfect finishing touch to this classic’s exterior.

White upholstery can look magic when it is new, but no color fails to hide its age like it. This color is also perfect for showing neglect, but neither of these seems to be an issue. There are no signs of the type of yellowing that can afflict this upholstery, while the leather on the seats looks soft and supple. That leather does have some wrinkles, but that is to be expected in a car about to celebrate its 50th birthday. The dash appears to be perfect, and I doubt that anyone has ever used the rear seat. The carpet shows some slight staining and wears around the edges, but the rubber mats should have kept the worst of that in check. A meticulous owner might choose to replace the carpet, but that would seem like an unnecessary expense to me. Being a luxury car, it does come with a few creature comforts. As well as the power top, there is climate-control air conditioning. Add in power windows, a power front seat, cruise, remote mirrors, and an AM/FM radio, and life would be pretty cushy in this classic.

It’s a shame that the owner doesn’t supply any engine photos. This is especially true for our younger readers because it isn’t every day that you pop the hood to find a 500ci V8. That is precisely what the buyer will get with this car, which is hooked to a 3-speed automatic transmission. Power steering and power brakes are also included as standard. The flat floors in the Eldorado serve as an indication that this is not your average luxury car. Even today, there are plenty of prestige brands that maintain the front-engine/rear-drive philosophy. That makes the Eldorado different, and when it was new, it was also quite revolutionary. The 365hp from that monster V8 is fed through the automatic transmission to the front wheels. Cadillac achieved this by utilizing the same Unified Powerplant Package used with some success in the Oldsmobile Toronado. This wasn’t a new development for 1971, as the company had been using it since the 1967 model year. What it did allow were those flatter floors that I have mentioned, which increased interior space. When you think about the potential for torque-steer with such a configuration, it is easy to see why power steering was a standard feature. It does provide effective isolation from this issue. It’s also worth noting that at 4,872lbs, this is a hefty piece of machinery. Couple that weight with a front-wheel-drive platform, which makes the 17.1-second ¼ mile ET seem extremely impressive. The owner states that the Eldorado has a genuine 51,000 miles on the odometer. He doesn’t mention whether he holds any evidence to verify this, but he does list recent work completed. This includes replacing a faulty thermostat housing, new belts, new hoses, plugs, plug wires, rotor, and cap. He says that the vehicle runs and drives very well, and even encourages potential buyers to inspect the car.

It seems that today, most people work longer and harder than they have at any time during their lives. Pressure can take its toll on us, so sometimes we need that opportunity to step back, take a breath, and smell the roses. This 1971 Eldorado Convertible is the automotive equivalent of that philosophy. This is not a high-performance sports car. This is a luxury car that allows its occupants the opportunity to experience travel in relaxed comfort. The fact that 11 people have been bidding on the car suggests that they like that Idea, and I can’t say that I blame them for feeling that way. Can you?


  1. Mitchell Gildea Member

    That’s a certified beauty right there

    Like 5
  2. alphasud Member

    That’s a perfect cruiser to get out and enjoy the fall scenery. However in America we don’t waft we float down the road. Back then the name of the game was total driver isolation. Zero road feel, overboosted steering and brakes, incredibly comfortable seats, and a soft suspension with minimal dampening. A Jaguar of the same period has its own feel allowing you to waft down the road.

    Like 7
  3. Big_Fun Member

    I really like this! I always wanted to own one of the each five GM brands, in convertible form, between ’71-’75 (sorry, ’76 Eldorado!). This would fill the ’71 spot well!
    It’s fall in the Midwest (well, everywhere, as Captain Obvious would tell me), where the Eldorado is is located, and those turning trees in the background really make the car’s earth tone colors pop! Thnk about it – green trees in the background wouldn’t do these colors justice.

    Like 3
  4. Jim in FL

    Although prices have been rising, these are still great bargains. Expensive when new, usually well taken care of. For me, the earlier 71-73 cars were prettier. They are more of a transition from the 60s to the 70s. The later cars were full on 70s machines.

    Love the color combo.

    Like 4

    Love these beauties. You wanna get them in this shape or better between the 1971-73 model years.Those had the big horsepower numbers…and no plastic body filler panels. Every time I see that on the 1975-76 models…I just face palm and wonder who let the accountant in on the design and assembly meeting.Again…this baby is gorgeous.

    Like 5
  6. Todd Fitch Staff

    A fabulous color combination on this well-kept beauty. Great find and write-up. The perfect ride for a top-down afternoon admiring the fall colors. Thanks, Adam!

    Like 6
  7. John

    I thought torque-steer mostly happened in FWD cars with a transversly installed engine– but I could totally wrong with that. Perhaps, it is more like torque-steer happens in all FWD cars but is more noticable in a car with a transversly mounted engine. I don’t remember people who drove Eldorados and Toronados back in the day complaining about torque-steer–but then again, I was young and not driving yet.

    Like 1
  8. Stan Marks

    True cream puff…..White interior really pops.
    Would have been nice to see under the hood & under carriage.

  9. John Oliveri

    70s movie fans, Ghetto Priest AKA Superfly drove this car in the movie Superfly from the early 70s, his was triple black convertible also, loved it since I’ve owned more black cars since that movie,anyway it’s a beautiful example, looks like a honest car, and they’re cheap

    Like 3
    • Gary D. Oliver

      I had a black one back in the day. Consistent 10 mpg @ $1.00 per gallon. If I was driving 30 miles I knew the roundtrip was going to cost me $6.00. The local Disco bar asked me to park it near the front door. What a beautiful car. Of course it was a big job washing or waxing that big car.

      Like 3
  10. Jack

    The lower portion of the seats and door jamb look a bit dirty, almost grimy like this car was in a flood. Just an observation and maybe it is old age.

  11. Pete in PA

    I feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t driven a car like this for at least a week or two. It’s an experience. In many ways. Floating down the road while sitting on a living room couch with gobs of torque at the tip of your toes.

    I had a 71 Toronado in a similar color combo and, whoa baby, that thing could haul azz. My boss had a 75 Eldo coupe with a sunroof and that was just as impressive. You could also watch the gas gauge drop if you held your foot in it.

    As I recall torque steer was an issue when you “got on it” due to the unequal lengths of the left and right halfshafts.

    Like 1
    • John Oliveri

      The early ones were the best for power, my buddy had a triple white 78 Biarritz , it was gorgeous, sunroof, but no real power, single exhaust, but nothing cruised like it at 85 on the Garden State

  12. bjames bjames

    This is a sharp convertible! Wish I room in my garage for it!

    Like 1
  13. Brian Weyeneth

    I drove a ’71 Eldo in college, green/gold mist, white top, green leather seats. Pile 7 frat bros inside, 5 cases of cheap beer and hit the south side of Chicago for some Whote Sox games mid week.

  14. Jim Z Member

    Great looking car! I’ve had a couple of these Eldo’s (a little later in the 70’s), but I think this year has the best look.

    However…I’m a little concerned the seller doesn’t show any ‘top-down’ or underneath pics and also gives no information on operational status of: Windows, Radio, A/C, Elec Antenna, Elec seats, Cruise, Exhaust, etc..

    Regardless of low miles, figure to go through the brakes, shocks, sway bushings, and possibly front axles.

    I describe the ebay listing as “Selling the sizzle instead of the steak”, and would want a WHOLE more bunch of info before bidding.

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