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Dean Martin’s Custom Ride! 1969 Cadillac Eldorado Sport Wagon

My mother was a huge fan of entertainer Dean Martin – and I suppose I am, too. But I didn’t know he was a car guy (though perhaps not to the extent of Jay Leno). He owned all sorts of interesting and exotic cars, — and had famed customizer George Barris build this 1969 Custom Sport Wagon out of a Cadillac Eldorado. After it parted company with Dino, it ended up in Australia (where it is now) and fell into a state of disrepair. It will be auctioned off here on Donington Auctions in Sydney where it’s expected to fetch between $16,500 and $23,000 USD on February 25, 2024. Kudos to Aussie Dave for this cool tip!

The Eldorado nameplate became a new Cadillac personal luxury car in 1967. Like the Oldsmobile Toronado that debuted the year before, it had front-wheel-drive, something out of the ordinary for U.S. cars in those days. And they had plenty of power to boot with a 472 cubic inch V8 under the hood. As the story goes, George Barris pitched the idea to Dean Martin to build a custom version of the automobile, making something of a wagon out of it (or “shooting brake” in some circles). Apparently, Dino bought into the pitch, and this vehicle was born as a one-off.

A lot seems to have been written about the car, but mostly the same stuff. We don’t know how long Martin owned it or how it got shipped halfway across the world to the great Down Under. And, over time, the cosmetic condition of the car has deteriorated rather badly (study some of the photos). It almost looks like it may have been in a flood given the rust and the shape of the interior, particularly the door panels.

We don’t know if the Caddy runs, and it would look to be an expensive undertaking to restore it to the condition it was in when Dean was tooling around. But it’s certainly an interesting vehicle, though the styling might not be to everyone’s taste. It’s certainly over-the-top, like many of Barris’ creations (who doesn’t remember the Batmobile he built for the 1966 TV show Batman?).

Comments

  1. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    “Everybodyyyyy needs a 1969 Cadillac Eldorado Sport Wagon sometiiiiime…”
    Nice one, Russ and nice find, Aussie Dave!

    Like 19
    • 2VT

      Jeannie Martin picked up me and two friends as we hitch hiking from Beverly Hills to Sherman Oaks back in ’69
      She apologized for the toy poodle having bad breath. I never forgot that or the car.

      Like 29
      • Philip

        Are you saying she picked you up in this Eldo/Barris Shooting Brake?

        Like 5
      • 2VT

        I saw Walt Disney drive by once,
        driving a rather plain Edsel wagon in blue.

        Like 3
      • RICK W

        LOL. But did the dog leave a Vermonturd for you as a souvenir? 😮 As Bette Davis said in one of her films, WHAT a DUMP! 🤣 😂

        Like 2
    • RICK W

      🎵 When this 🎶car HITS your eye 🎵Like a big pizza 🍕pie 🎶 I’m not really 🎵in LOVE! 🎵.👎 🤔 Dino must have had too much vino when he bought THIS! But then 🎵Everybody loves SOME 🎶Caddy 🎵Sometime! 🤣

      Like 15
      • Fred

        Remember that your not to drunk when you can lay on the floor with out holding onl 😂

        Like 3
  2. alphasud Member

    I’m a fan of long roof cars but I think I’m going to take a hard pass on this creation.

    Like 6
    • Aussie Dave Aussie Dave Member

      Nice write up Russ.
      I kinda like it, I’m a fan of wagons, is this a wanna be caddie nomad? Lol.
      The only thing I’ve got against it is, it’s FWD.
      So a no from me.

      Like 1
      • RICK W

        It’s definitely in NO Mads Land! 😉

        Like 3
  3. Pat P.

    Ok, but what’s with the humps? “What humps?”

    Like 5
    • Steve RM

      That’s what I was going to ask. What’s with the super ugly humps on the front fenders? The only thing I can think of is that they are supposed to represent dual side mounts. Whatever they’re supposed to be they look stupid.
      I’ve always been a big Dino fan. When I was a kid my Mom would let me stay up after my bedtime to watch his show. Love Dino. Hate this car.

      Like 4
      • Fred

        “i think i’m gonna go to the couch now!!!! rip dino

        Like 1
      • Jon Rukavina

        I’d keep the humps and find a couple of trunk lids from a late ’50s-early 60s Mopars, peel off the spare tire images and slap ’em on to complete the look!🙄🙄🙄👎👎👎
        “They’re coming to take me away, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!”

        Like 1
      • Leo C.

        wolver buys the car may want to do the body work to remove the fender humps I would.

        Like 0
  4. John Member

    What a unique and rare vehicle. I hope someone saves this unusual vehicle and preserves that time capsule. Not a fan of all the vinyl, but as a previous owner of a couple of Cadillac conversions, that vinyl hides the aftermarket seams from poor body work. Nonetheless, very cool!

    Like 1
  5. Troy

    Weird

    Like 2
  6. ALKY

    hard….hard pass !

    Like 2
  7. Gerry

    I’m a wagon guy from way back, so there’s that. Nice use of the original “bent” glass rear window. Only thing I don’t like is the spare tire on the fenders thing.

    Like 3
    • chrlsful

      & front.
      Oz is the driest continent so we all know that’s the way the velour is Supposed To Look.
      As many know here I’m called Wagonman by locals due to 50 yr sw ownership. The fewest things I can say on this one: keep all but the velour & spare tyre simulation, & 6 planes to the rear? reduce them to 2, 3 max. Now not so bad. Close to the Cadillac Fleetwood Castilian (coach built in the 1/2 doz yr later era. Told ya I’m inta waggys). BTW: Dean was not into drinkin. I heard Sinatra was though (as bein a perfectionist it helped ‘relieve the pressure/stress’)…

      Like 1
  8. Chris

    Door panels: I’m thinking a drunk Deano left the windows open in the rain—or for a month.

    Like 4
    • Old Man

      Chris, I laughed out loud.

      Like 1
  9. Ain’t that a kick in the head (gr8 Song)

    wow.. the 1970’s era…. at least it was better than my parents Avacado green kitchen appliances….

    Good luck with Sale down under. :-)

    Dean was one of the cool ones back in the day. :-)

    Like 2
  10. Mike B

    Interesting integration of external hinge for hatch w/ roof rack.
    The outside could clean up nicely & easily with the removal of the fender humps, vinyl siding & roof, and the excess chrome grill before a repaint. Inside: the koala needs shaving.

    Like 5
  11. Mister Green

    So… for those of you looking for straight lines… are the humps functional?

    Like 0
  12. Wally

    Who’s Dean Martin ?

    Like 0
  13. Cam W.

    I have always found the custom Eldo pickup and wagon conversions intriguing. Over the years I have seen a huge variance in quality, execution, and style. While this one seems to have been well-engineered structurally, the over-the-top styling spoils it for most.
    The Dean Martin history is interesting, but I don’t think it will add much, if any, value. Apparently custom Cadillac wagons were popular with Dean, other Rat Pack members, and stars like Elvis through the 60s and 70s. Several coach-builders produced them. Barris is believed to have built several similar “Casa de Eldorado” wagons through 1972.

    Like 1
  14. PTCruiser06 Member

    I like it, apart from the front fender humps. Good on Deano and Barris for their creativity.
    Hope it finds a good home.

    Like 2
  15. OutToLunch

    No one can accuse Dino of having good taste.

    Like 3
    • jwaltb

      Really. Uniquely grotesque.

      Like 3
    • Poppy

      So many wealthy people with horrible taste in design – the gaudier the better in their mind. I think it comes with the territory.

      Like 1
  16. Jeff

    Very interesting car. I would have thought Barris could have come up with better items than the hardware store toggle switch under the dash for the rear hatch, and the fence gate hinges for the rear interior side panels. Also had some obvious shortcomings with sealing of the rear hatch around the roof, given all that rust up on the roof jamb and the water damage inside back there. Hard to imagine the rear floor under that carpet is not pretty rotten too. But hopefully someone saves her!

    Like 2
    • Philip

      Barris was a hack, the king of schlock.
      He only designed for the eye, not for integrity. Look at that silly rear hatch design, ever see the auto makers design a hatch like that? Imagine how much that rear hatch weighs, and when it’s fully opened what torque those hinges must endure. Also, they look stupid and they’re in the weather.

      Like 3
  17. Rodney - GSM

    MADD
    “Mothers Against Drunk Designing”

    Like 2
  18. Paul N

    I wonder if this was the inspiration for Clarks family truckster

    Like 3
  19. Darren

    This needs to be a HotWheels!

    Like 0
  20. Mike

    I’m liking it, but the humps have got to go. The tan accent stripe on the side needs a re-design or just removed all together.

    Like 1
  21. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    It’s nice that the auction house provided so many photos, but they shouldn’t have, if they want to sell it.

    Every next picture makes it look scarier and scarier – what a fright pig!

    Like 0
  22. 2VT

    I talked to George Barris once. I asked him why there were 10 intake stacks on the V8 powered Munster mobile. “He said looks cool huh?”

    Like 4
    • 2VT

      Form doesn’t always follow function, I guess.

      Like 1
  23. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    I have no problem with Cadillac station wagons, they’ve been around since the early 40s. What should be a Cadillac wagon is a 4 door Fleetwood or a Sedan de Ville, not a 2 door Eldorado. Every Eldorado station wagon I’ve seen they have messed up the rear, usually with a lift gate instead of a tailgate.
    I love the 1971 through 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood station wagons with the clamshell disappearing tailgate. And one of these days I’m going to get me one, if I live long enough.

    Like 0

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