Garage Find: 1974 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

By the mid-70s, the U.S. auto industry was looking at change. Indifferent build quality seemed to plaque many brands and the cost of fuel was spiraling upward, causing owners to change their buying habits. Yet, this didn’t seem to affect the Cadillac Eldorado much, as they still sold nearly 33,000 cars that year, including 7,600 convertibles like this one. This ’74 Caddy has likely been off the road for more than two decades, and a little effort could get it running again. Located in Palm Coast, Florida, this Eldorado is available here on eBay where the bidding stands at $1,475. But the reserve is probably several more bids away.

How well do you remember 1974? Besides rising gas prices, cars built that year had the poorly conceived passenger restraint system that prevented you from starting the car without your seat belt securely fastened. I worked at a gas station then as a teen and saw more than my share of these cars not start because the owners couldn’t outsmart Detroit. Thankfully, that piece of engineering disappeared quickly. Bumpers were getting huge to withstand low speed impacts, and no one had bumpers bigger than Cadillac, with the plastic wraparound pieces that inevitably cracked and fell away. These autos had the biggest passenger car engines of the day, a 500 cubic inch V8 that sadly only put out 210 hp due to detuning and the method of reporting output.

You could still get an Eldorado convertible in 1974, but they would be gone after 1976 as interest in those kinds of cars had been on the way out. This particular ’74 is a one-owner car that started out in Pennsylvania and then ended up in a retirement move to Florida. The seller is listing the car of behalf of his neighbor, who hasn’t touched it in more than 20 years. Her brother would come over and start and drive it every now and then, but even that stopped some time back.

The only signs of rust are what you often see in captivity in a humid garage in Florida – surface rust. Along many of the surfaces that come into contact with other surfaces. The seller believes the car received a quality repaint sometime in the 1980s, so what’s here is at least 30-35 years old. The Caddy has not been up on a lift, so there is no representation that the chassis is clean. Much of the chrome has oxidized and a purist will want to replace those pieces. The fender skirt not visible in the photos in on top of the truck lid and the wheel covers are inside that trunk.

Other than the leather on the seat bottom in front starting to crack, and other places being dirty, the interior as well as the convertible top seem to have held up. For the first couple of decades it was used, this car saw some road time as the odometer reading sits at 104,000. The seller postulates that perhaps this won’t be a difficult project in terms of getting it going again. Change all the fluids, flush out the fuel system, change out everything rubber including the tires, and you might have a street worthy runner on your hands.

This car could serve as a weekend cruiser without the expense of a paint job or interior work. Afterall, they’re only original once and you can chalk up its condition to being 47 years old. But it will be quite a car to navigate through traffic at just shy of 5,000 lbs., a wheelbase of 126 inches, and an overall length of better than 20 feet. Just plan on taking up two parking spots at the car show. Hagerty says one of these land yachts in Fair condition is worth $6,900 (perhaps that describes the seller’s car) and $31,600 if you can’t find one any nicer. It’s going to drink some gas, but at least it will be regular unleaded!


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  1. 8banger 8banger Member

    Not too sure about an inexpensive paint job – it looks like it’s getting measle spots…

    Like 2
  2. Joey

    What happened to the rear bumper, bumper extensions, quarter panel extensions and taillights … ???

    Like 2
  3. Ted-M

    The green dash doesn’t go with the car!

    Like 7
    • dwcisme

      Seat belts and (it appears) carpet are green too. Back in the 70’s you could order a non recommended paint/interior combination from GM (if you really, really wanted a red car with a blue interior they would build it if you insisted). But, I’ll bet the green interior was a standard combination.

  4. Engident

    Who on earth would pay 32k for a 74 caddy, even if it was mint? I sold a 70 Calais in better condition than this 6 years ago, and interest was nearly nonexistent. The guy I ended up practically giving it to said he was going to swap the perfexy fine 472 for a Cummins.

    Like 1
  5. normadesmond

    Yellow car, green dash.

    Like 7
  6. daniel wright

    If you have to inquire about the gas mileage you can not afford to drive it. About 8 gallons per mile.

    Like 4
  7. Skorzeny

    As flash as a rat with a gold tooth. In other words, yuck.
    A note on fuel mileage, an M1 Abrams tank is said to get 4 gallons to the mile with its gas turbine engine.

    Like 1
  8. Steve R

    The Trans Am parked one spot over, which is also listed for sale, is garnering much more interest that this rusty Cadillac. So far the high bid for the Trans Am sits at $5,150 vs $2,025 for the caddy, I wouldn’t be surprised if they finish with a similar proportion.

    Steve R

    Like 1
  9. ClassicCarFan

    hate to pile on …but I have to agree with other posters here.. by 1974 they had already fallen a long way from the glory days when Cadillacs really were worthy of the “standard of the world” legend.

    This one it too rough. you’d be stuck with the dilemma…You could do the minimum and make it run and safe to drive and just use it in a rat-rod kind of state. but really that seems kind of wrong, a “beater Cadillac” ?

    Alternatively, you could invest in restoring it properly but it will cost vastly more than it will ever be worth. it needs interior work, re-paint, and chrome (which is extremely expensive these days, especially if you really want show quality work).

    Like 2
  10. dwcisme

    Couldn’t have been too many of these that weren’t turned into Pimpmobiles. Get yourself a purple velour suit and fedora. You’d be ready for stepping out on the town.

    Like 1
    • 1Ronald

      And cops watching your every move wondering where your workin’ wimmen are.

      Like 1
  11. DON

    I’d bet nearly every 1974 car that had that seat belt issue had them bypassed quickly ; I had several 74 cars as a teenager, and they all ran without the belts hooked up ; in fact I never even heard of the mandate until many years later !

    Like 1
  12. John Member

    Don’t remember the year but had aa Caddy CV , came out and anti-freeze all over the ground, the block and heads parted company. Then the doors started to bump the posts, the frame was bending..shook it.

  13. Jermaine I. Longmire

    Is that 1974 Cadillac Eldorado convertible still available?

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