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Droptop Survivor: 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

The 1976 Cadillac was supposed to be the last American convertible. They were thought to be an instant classic so some were put away as an investment. Cadillac couldn’t keep up with the demand and managed to build 14,000. Unfortunately for investors, it wasn’t the last convertible. Chrysler introduced a convertible Le Baron in 1982, Ford introduced a convertible Mustang in 1983 and in 1984 Cadillac was back with an Eldorado Convertible. The last 200 Bicentennial edition cars, all white on white, do sell for a bit more, especially if they have low miles, like this one Jesse wrote up about a year ago here. This Cadillac is for sale at the California Automobile Museum here in Sacramento. It is completely original except for a repaint, a new top and an AC conversion to R-134. The $15,000 asking price is a bit below average and this droptop has less than 60,000 miles and looks a bit above average.

The interior looks really nice for a 41-year-old car. The carpet is a bit faded and the door panels need a little work.

The top was replaced about 7 years ago and still looks really nice.

It could use some detailing, but all looks well under the hood. This 500 CID V8 will get you to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds and then go as far as 10 miles on a gallon of gas.

It does look like a grand old sled, even up close. The color is certainly not for everyone, but the repaint appears well done. This Cadillac wuld have more appeal in Calfornia if it had been one year older because 1975 and older vehicles are exempt from SMOG inspections. It looks ready to drive and enjoy. It’s certainly not the car for everyone, but for someone looking for their own deoptop land yacht and a big garage, this will be a really nice car.

Comments

  1. TriPowerVette

    Ours had the same color interior, and metallic silver exterior, with body-color hard parade boots (2-piece). This was a critical year for emissions, and Eldorado was going to fail to meet California standards. Soooo since LaLa Land is a substantial part of Cadillac sales, GM decided that all Eldos destined for Cal would be fuel injected. This was big, for the time. Roughly 10% of all Eldorados that year were so equipped, all that were sent to the Land of Fruits and Flakes, and ours was one of them.

  2. Russ sherry

    My friend had one not a drop top same color had a half vinyl top.I bleive the motor was larger564 maybe something like that. He use use to do burnouts all the time in it.one end of the block to the other.It was fun until the front axle started to come out on passenger side wile I was in it on the way home from the city to the island on the long island expressway. I said hay PAT the front axle is coming out.he said hold on!! The axle,wheel attached hubcaps gone do to burnouts. It made for an interesting ride. He managed to get it on the side of highway no brakes brought it to a stop(sparks flying everywhere)no one injured no other cars involved. Needless to say PAT had some driving skills. It was a long walk to a pay phone (1987) lol.

  3. TriPowerVette

    Oh. I forgot to mention, that if you are looking at one of the F.I. cars, there are 3 exterior emblems: 1) Trunk lid right side centered-ish 2) One on either front fender, about at the character line.

    They say “Fuel Injection”, or “Fuel Injected”, I don’t remember which. Pretty much just like the old Corvettes.

  4. HeadMaster1

    @TriPowerVette, where did u get the info about the fuel injected Eldo’s? I have been looking for production numbers everywhere and have never found anything. I have a 76′ Eldo, that I bought 10 years ago in CA an it is fuel injected. I looked at many Eldo’s before buying mine, all of them in CA and it was very are to find one with injection. It was my understanding that Fuel Injection was just an option for all 500 engines? I love it, starts at the turn of a key, idles smooth at 10 degrees or 100 degrees, and my mpg’s are almost twice what is claimed here……

    • TriPowerVette

      +HeadMaster1 – Well, sir, you a corresponding with an old man, who relies almost exclusively on his own experience, and I will admit that my memory isn’t what it used to be.

      However; after you asked your questions, I did some internet research and spoke to my brother. It is our opinion that the information about the California Emissions came to us from the dealer, sometime in 1986 or so, where we bought it second hand.

      It was badged as I described. I looked for evidence of the badging arrangement I described, as well. You should know that NONE of the cars I found online, that claimed to be Fuel Injected were so badged. Could it be that the cars I have found were all repainted, and the badges left off? They were stick-on only, not drilled. Or possibly individual dealers added them, and I was fooled.

      The closest I got was one, and it only had the F.I. badge on the trunk (in exactly the place I said it was, of course. But it didn’t have the side badges). I have attached the picture.

      It is from a guy who is trying to sell one. He is located at URL:
      http://car-from-uk.com/sale.php?id=73925&country=us

      He seems to have some production numbers, but I wouldn’t trust his figures, since some of his other information is purely incorrect.

      I’m sorry if my information turns out to be wrong, or we can’ t substantiate it at least. I only want to give you correct information. Maybe the other readers have more insight?

      Feel free to keep this going. A good, honest dialogue can only stimulate knowledge.

      Thank you for your question.

  5. HeadMaster1

    Tri Power, I’m sorry if you thought I was doubting you, I was just wondering where I could find this info. I’ve looking for years. My 76 is a factory F.I. car, it has only one badge on the trunk lid (lower right corner) and the air cleaner lid is blue with a gold ring. These were PORT INJECTED, not throttle body, so it was a BIG DEAL. They had 20-25 more hp than the carb engine. I would just love to know how many were actually produced, just to know for myself. My Convertible also has a full Biarritz trim (pillow seats and stainless spears)…..I know that makes it very “unusual”, but I’d love to know if its rare……..and if so, how rare….

    • TriPowerVette

      HeadMaster1- Not at all.The more we challenge each other, the closer to ‘right’ we get it. Until this very moment, I had never questioned the ‘information’ that came with the purchase of that car, nor my observation of it.

      It is good to know that you have the insignia on the trunk as well. Did you visit the site included in the last post? The information may not be trustworthy, but he might be willing to source his info for you? You never know.

      I will scrounge around for a pic of the old Eldo (may be futile). The F.I. caught fire and I sold it as a light fire-damaged project. The paint wasn’t even hurt. I’ll keep looking. Please let me (us all) know of any progress. Thank you, again.

  6. Dyver

    I believe the hub caps are supposed to match the body color?

    • HeadMaster1

      Only the Bicentennial models had body-color hubcaps in 76, others were blacks, but I believe it’s actually a decal, not paint s mine has all stainless caps. I thin the 77-78′ coupes had body color hubcaps, which I think look really good

      • TriPowerVette

        Thanks. Good info.

  7. TriPowerVette

    The body on my ’76 was Metallic Silver (as I noted elsewhere on this thread). The hubcaps had black centers. Just my $.02. Maybe it was an option?

  8. carbuzzard Member

    When Cadillac brought out a convertible again in the ’80s, someone who had bought a ’76 Eldo Convertible sued GM for breach of promise. They had advertised it as “the last convertible.” The judge threw it out, said it was advertising puffery and not a contract. So much for your fortune, dude.

  9. Rustytech Member

    The advertising was not puffery, when GM built these, they were intended to be the last. If Chrysler hadn’t brought back the convertible in 82, you may have never seen the 84 Eldorado convertible. You could understand the 86 buyers disappointment though, as most of them were purchased as investments, and more than a few well over sticker price.

    • carbuzzard Member

      They didn’t expect to make any more. They didn’t plan to make any more. But obviously they could make more. There was no contract, implied or otherwise. It was a broad statement that a reasonable person wouldn’t expect GM to be bound by.

      What GM did was make a broad generic claim…get ’em while you still can! It’s not saying “we’re the best.” It’s saying “this is the last.” Generic. Nonspecific. Eh. Still, he was laughed out of court. Today, he might not be, of course, with the wacky way things are. Seems that emptors aren’t supposed to have any caveat these days.

  10. Miguel

    Are you saying in the write up that Cadillac made 14,000 Eldorado convertibles in 1976?

    • Miguel

      I just read that there were 14,000 convertibles made.

      Now I wonder why I have thought for the past 41 years that there were only 200 cars made with that story that Cadillac had 200 extra tops after they discontinued all convertibles after the 1975 model year and made just that many cars.

  11. Miguel

    Of the two, which would you guys choose?

    The 1977 Eldorado or the 1977 Lincoln Mark V?

    I like the Mark V a little better.

  12. Dt 1

    Cadillac built that car as the last dinosaur now there really dinosaurs nobody wants theme

    • TriPowerVette

      Speak for yourself.

  13. Dt 1

    Cadillac built that car as the last dinosaur now they really dinosaurs nobody wants them

  14. Reid Hall

    Well I have to say l guess there are some Big Enos edition caddis out there,my aunt had one of these,and l remember what a blast it was on a long trip to Alabama. So if you’re looking for the best old school luxury car ,this is it.And although 15k-20k seems a bit high, it may be worth it.

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