$650 Luxury: 1979 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

This is one for Scotty G’s “Good Buy or Goodbye” series. The eighth-generation Eldorado was downsized by 20-inches over the previous model and it was 1,100 pounds lighter, yet they were still luxurious, smooth, and quiet, all things that Cadillac cut its teeth on. This example is a 1979 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz and it was tracked down by Miguel. Thanks for the tip on this bargain Eldorado, Miguel! This one can be found here on Craigslist a few miles southeast of Tacoma in Buckley, Washington. The seller is asking a mere $650 for this ride! This could be the bargain of the month so far.

For a price reference, Hagerty is at $3,700 for a #4 fair condition 1979 Eldorado, this could be a flipper’s delight. If it wasn’t for $1,000+ in shipping fees I would be looking very hard at this car, very hard. Values on the smaller Eldorados are much less than for the previous-generation cars, up to 50% less, which I never understood. I think that these cars are easier to drive and park and are just as luxurious. And, the numbers don’t lie, they get 50% better MPG not to mention they’re faster. Is it build quality? Perception of luxury or of wealth? Why are these so much less valuable than the giant Eldorados that came before it? Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to cars.

The infamous bumper fillers would almost double the price of the car, but you can’t leave it like it is – get some replacement ones and get them on there, pronto.  And, that classic stainless steel top, that’s worth the price of admission alone. It’s a feature of the Biarritz model. The padded vinyl landau top will need some sorting out but your upholstery shop can tackle that, no prob.

Speaking of upholstery, this baby has the coveted and plush leather pillow-top seats. Ok, they’re as cracked as my fingers are in the winter, but still, they’re what you want to have in an Eldorado.

Here is the seller’s listing: “a little hard to start in cold weather but then it runs great. nice straight body nice interior good tires has a fuel injected 5.7 v8. auto trans. it needs a few things but overall a pretty nice car!” I agree, it does look more than pretty good, especially for a $650 car. I’ve spent more than that on shipping costs for every car that I bought in the last two years, $650 for a whole car, a Cadillac Eldorado no less, that’s a steal unless there’s major rust or some other huge issue going on here that I don’t see. This engine should be an Oldsmobile 350 cubic-inch fuel-injected V8 with 170 hp. No, it’s not a 500 cubic-inch monster Eldorado engine of yore, but it’ll move this posh little Caddy along very nicely. This era may not be “classic” enough for many of you but it’s older than a good percentage of Barn Finds readers and that’s classic enough for me. Any thoughts on this $650 Eldorado? Good buy or goodbye?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Goodbye,,,sorry, at one time, this was a nice car. I had a boss with a new one. This thing will drive you nuts with electrical bugaboos. Somebody put the miles on this gal. We just don’t need cars like this today.

    1
  2. canadainmarkseh Member

    Its a nice enough car and well worth the buy in and if it can survive for another decade or so than it might then be more collectable. The electrical gremlins that Hoard speaks of are still simple enough on this car to deal with. I’d hate to see what it’s like to deal with electrical in a 2018 caddy. As for the seats those are not threw cracks and a bit of die and a good leather treatment should revive them. Gas milage is it killer unless your fixing it up and are only using it ocasionaly. I think This car is a good deal you could fly in have it serviced and drive home.

    5
  3. Adam Wright

    It’s missing the signature chrome belts on the trunk, I always loved those.

    1
    • dweezilaz

      I think those were dealer added, Adam

      1
      • Ralph

        They were, as were the connie kits and Rolls grilles that were added to lots of these, I never liked all that crap. The cars got enough trim on it already.

        3
      • Daved

        Yes Ralph, the Biarritz trim alone was just right!

  4. Ron

    Hmmmm. I remember when these cars came out. I had a 76 Eldo at the time and thought these were junk at first compared to what caddy’s represented up until 77 and Eldos up until this year. Anyway as time went on as it always does I and I believe many others, (once we all got used to the idea that Caddy’s were no longer the biggest fattest cars with the biggest engines), I noticed that they actually were very good cars and they had sexy lines to them. Time has proven that these were actually quite good cars and the last of the cars to have good lines to them. After this era the cars no longer had any sharp lines in their features. This particular one is a bit ratty but if you can get one in good shape you will have a nice I believe classic cruiser.

    5
  5. Nessy

    The best year for the Eldorado was the new for 79 body style. Best looking grill, best drivetrain plus the Biarritz was the top of the top. Many collectors are now searching for 79/80 Eldorados and the optional wheels on this example are almost impossible to find today. It’s a fact, not just my opinion. The same for the 79 Toronado. Go look online, there is a showroom new 79 Biarritz with a sunroof right now for 15000. For those who know what this car is, 650 is a gift. This car was a winner from day one and still is today.

    16
  6. Ralph

    I thought the surprise would be a diesel engine…..but its gas, for $650, unless there is something bad hidden somewhere that is not being disclosed, this is deal. The lighting, blackwalls and photo quality do the car no favors, but this could be pretty nice.

    Good Buy!

    8
  7. notchback

    Good Buy. I just bought a ’94 Deville for the same price. Perfect upholstery and a dented door.

    4
  8. Ray Smith

    Love these cars. Five minutes from where I live. No way though. Any sort of restoration would have you upside down in a hurry. You can find these in real decent shape for a fraction of what it would take to restore this one to the same condition. That said, if you don’t care about looks and it is mechanically sound just buy and drive the wheels off of it.

    3
  9. Todd Priest

    It would make a great winter beater.

    3
    • Daved

      No, that’s why Camrys and Accords were placed on this earth for, to serve as disposal appliances

      1
  10. JoeNYWF64

    I applaud the hidden wipers, but odd it has a separate panel covering them, instead of the hood. hmmh. Other cars from back then don’t have that panel.
    Wonder if the rear bumper mounts can be shortened to bring the bumper closer to the body. Good luck finding the filler panel, unless something can be fabricated ez.
    I wonder how many people who owned older hardtops asked the dealer WHY those rear side windows don’t go down, at least partially, on this & similar sister cars.
    I sure would have.

    • Daved

      Actually, it rather well known that reproduction bumper fillers are readily available for this model as well as virtually every 70’s-80’s GM cars that came with them…..

      2
    • Tom

      Bumper fillers are readily available, but made in fiberglass and requiring some modification sometimes.

      2
  11. Del

    Looks worn out.

    Hard to start in cold because it needs a full tune.

    Ohhjh…wait…just worn out.

    Great parts car for 300 bucks

    1
  12. cmarv

    My Grandmother traded her 77 Eldorado on a new 79 Biaritz . The first summer she owned it I had my learners permit . I took her , my Mom and myself all up and down the East coast in it . Logged over 5000 miles that summer . It was brand new and so was I at driving . That MPFI 350 Olds ran great , for a 79 . It had a factory AM/FM 8 Track with a CB , I heard a bunch of Polka and Sinatra with a little Kenny Rodgers thrown in .I always liked the brushed stainless roof . This one is even the same color as Grandmothers was . I wish it were closer or in better shape to justify shipping. I would like to have it , at least for a little while .

    4
  13. Rock On

    This would make a good winter beater for not too much work. Prices for Cadillacs are dropping quicker than their previous owners are. Ask me how I know. I have owned a 1974, 1980 and 1985 Fleetwoods. Nice to drive, but good luck getting your money back out of them.

    1
    • Daved

      If you start out with a lackluster car and subject it to winter beater use, then of course, it won’t bring any return on investment. Well-preserved and pristine examples are not in this category- Cadillac or otherwise. The nice ones hold their values. Ask me how I know 😉

      • Ralph

        The thing is, Cadillacs are usually pretty abundant, with the exceptions of rare stuff like the 57-60 Broughams, mostly everything was made in pretty big numbers, average 20-30K for Fleetwoods, 100K on average for DeVilles, 40-60K Eldorados, 50-60K Sevilles etc, from the 60’s through the 80’s and lots of them were bought by old people that kept them in good shape.

    • Ralph

      Whoah sedans are not popular? Say it ain’t so…….

      2
  14. Mark

    Great deal, 5.7 not a 4100 junk. Nice cushy seats. Give him 500.00 fix it up for extra car, insurance will be very cheap.

  15. Miguel

    The only Eldorado’s I look at are the 79/80 models.

    My family had one for a while, a 1979, and I have bought a few over the years and they have always been good cars.

    You would need to take this on a test drive and do sharp turns to both sides to check the CV joints, but other than that there shouldn’t be too many problems.

    I don’t think the car looks bad and the seats are not all ripped up.

    The car has much more than the asking price in parts.

    3
  16. victor sanchez

    I had one that was white with red interior that thing rode like a dream but, when my wife wanted a new car we traded with a friend for a 1988 5th avenue which we traded in but we missed the Eldorado.

  17. Mitch Ross

    Sometimes I wonder if a Super it’s showed up on here for $10 how long it would take for someone to whine about how it’s only worth $5

    1
  18. russell spreeman

    Those late 70’s Eldos were ungainly, short and stubby looking with too much roof height. The best these cars ever were was in ’69 or so… miles long and utterly beautiful. No trying to shoehorn a big car into a box shaped package. And when you get down to it, these aren’t about handling or fuel economy, they’re about beauty and luxury.

    • Daved

      Actually the best ones were the early cars with hidden headlamps…..

      But the 79-85 examples, especially in Biarritz trim, are still beautiful cars, although everyone has their own taste and preferences. Downsizing was inevitable across the industry and no car the size of the original Eldorado would have survived the market or fuel economy limits.

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