Enough Overhang? 1981 Cadillac Eldorado

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When designer Pierre Cardin wasn’t creating wild AMC Javelin interiors, he was creating equally as wild late 1970s and early 1980s Cadillacs. One vehicle he was let loose on was the Cadillac Eldorado. Find this 1981 Cadillac Eldorado Evolution in Philadelphia, PA for $25,000 here on Craigslist or here.

From 1979-83, Pierre Cardin further luxo-upped many a Cadillac, with lots of tweaks and modifications both inside and out. Think Liberace, gold plating, and plastic surgery. Between 100 to 300 Eldorados were given the Evolution treatment in the 1980s. Most noticeable is more than a foot of front end was added to the already substantial overhang of a regular FWD Eldorado. The grill and hidden headlights are said to mimick the original 1967 Eldo, and to make the snout look even bigger, the rear end cap was shortened by a small margin. Chrome trim was tone down, ribbed cladding was added, and aero mirrors helped to erase Biarritz from the look.

Not just a quickie fiberglass job, the Pierre Cardin Evolution’s received 30 coats of hand rubbed lacquer, here in Black Cherry, English wool carpeting, mahogany steering wheel, dash, and door trim, 22K gold plated accents, a bar with Waterford crystal decanter set, refrigerator, TV with Sony Betamax player, hand sewn leather, and so much more for you $63K in 1981. And for those needing to save a little cash after having purchased such an extravagant chariot, the V8-6-4 should consume a little less petrol, when it is working. Just be thankful it isn’t a diesel or HT4100!

Whether the cylinder deactivation and all the gadgets still work isn’t divulged, but the condition looks very nice from the few pictures shown. The two-tone leather looks like it has been conditioned and still cushy, the real wood trim is still shiny as is the gold plating, the wide WWs look very pimp on the aluminum wheels, and the dark paint still looks like you could dive into it. Nice to see someone took care of what was essentially an American Rolls Royce. Not a car for everyone, with edgy styling looking like Cadillac meets Knight Rider, but you definitely won’t see yourself coming or going. In fact, when have you ever seen or heard of a Cadillac Eldorado Evolution by Pierre Cardin? And do you think the modifications Mr. Cardin performed are tasteful or tasteless?

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  1. jw454

    As if the front end didn’t already look too long with the truncated rear body? Seems redundant.

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    • Jerry Brentnell

      don’t look run as far as possible from this excuse for a caddy! that 4x6x8 engine was junk the day it was built! I remember a write up in popular mechanics that a gm dealer in florida got his customers caddys in for service and replaced the engines with to get rid of this mess on his dime to keep his customers. it took chrysler engineering to make 4x6x8 work right! and good luck finding cv joints for this!

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      • Miguel

        That was not the experience I remember. If you bypass the 4-6-8 system, which most did in the first year of ownership, the engine was a very good strong engine.

        Maybe you are confusing the 4.1 aluminum engine with this one.

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  2. Phil

    I love Cadillacs but I would rather walk !

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  3. Nova Scotian

    Sure, early 80’s were a bit awkward for everyone…but come on!…

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    • SRyan


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  4. sir mike

    Thankfully I never saw one of these….

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  5. Anthony in RI

    Looks like it might understeer a bit….

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  6. Bob

    Has anyone got an icepick, my eyes are hurting.

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  7. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    The Cyrano de Bergerac of automobiles.

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  8. Coventrycat

    Jimmy Durante or John Holmes, depending on how far you dip your toe in the gutter.

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  9. DolphinMember

    Love the lead-in, Corey. That was definitely hoot-worthy. But I think lots of cars from back in the ’70s & ’80s had more than just a little too much front overhang.

    I am partial to a certain German brand that has very little front overhang on just about all of its models, with a front-mid engine placement as a result. But I digress……

    Sometimes I wonder what’s in that enormous front overhang. Maybe a BIG A/C condenser? …but those are flat and thin. Maybe extra hidden storage? Help me Guys, I’m having trouble figuring this out….

    One thing I have figured out is that Pierre Cardin or not, the ask on this is way too high on this Eldo.

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    • Mike W H

      My theory is you keep some designer Pierre Cardin luggage up there

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  10. Mike

    reminds me of a story about a pig and some lipstick…

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  11. Joey B
  12. Joey B

    Checkout the mini B.M.

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  13. Nrg8

    Eldorado Superbird

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  14. SubGothius

    Now I know where Zimmer found their inspiration for the Quicksilver’s proportions…

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  15. Leon

    If it has the V8-6-4 I wonder how many times it was in the shop? I thought GM did a recall and replace with normal V8 ???

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    • Steve

      My uncle had a sedan deville with the 8-6-4. He said after the dealer worked on it three times with no luck, they unplugged something to make it work like a normal V8 all the time.

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  16. Larry Q

    The only thing In that front end is air…they probably overheated like crazy and it looks stupid. Some people back then were on some serious drugs (psychedelic maaan)

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  17. Solosolo UK KEN TILLYMember

    “Tasteless” covers it perfectly. Yech!

    Like 0
  18. 86 Vette Convertible

    TV, Betamax, refrigerator, fountain bar – is that a fact? If everything works as it should, could be fun. Then again, with anything limited production parts would be a problem.
    The engine would be the biggest issue for me to consider. Heard too many horror stories about that one.

    Like 0
  19. Karguy James

    Ahhh the good old days when you could order a bar in your car. Love it.

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  20. JamestownMike

    Talk about a beak!

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  21. JohnMember

    Those dustbuster vacuum mirrors are a convenient option

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  22. Joe Haska

    My Mom said if you can’t say something nice ,shut the —-up! ,or something like that! I have to admit the side mirrors are a little much.

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  23. CCFisher

    Has increasing the size of a nose ever been the proper aesthetic choice? Certainly not in this case! I’ve always found these Eldorados to be formal and elegant. Attempts to “improve” the design always seem to end up like this – fake convertible tops, chrome grille caps, continental kits – they all seem to end up looking like the cheap add-ons they are. These, however, were expensive modifications. Kind of like going in for a nose job and coming out looking like Miss Piggy.

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  24. Stu

    I know a good body man that could perform the rhinoplasty.

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  25. Ric Parrish


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  26. RicK

    Back in the early 80’s I used to see one of these in pearlescent white parked at the local shopping center, couldn’t figure what it was exactly (and there was no internet back then to look stuff up) anyhow I had completely forgotten about an Evolution 1 Cadillac until I saw your post today, now I know. Let’s just say I wasn’t impressed much then, and nothing’s changed.

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  27. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    Perhaps inspired by the Bricklin?

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  28. Buick Fan

    80’s = excess…I know I had fun…

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  29. Rustytech RustytechMember

    Not one of Pierres better efforts.

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  30. Paul

    I always thought AMC had some very strange and ugly cars. I guess Pierre Cardin would be too radical for my taste……He certainly ruined this Cadillac.
    I wonder if he also work on the Nissan Cube design?

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  31. TR

    The sign behind it in photo 3 says it all

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  32. Adam T45Staff

    Car Designers design cars. Clothing Designers design clothes. And here is a demonstration as to why we should never stray from these rules.

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    Looks more like a Toro than an Eldo to me but I still like it.

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  34. Moparman MoparmannMember

    I’d like the concealed headlights/grille on a regular nosed Eldo! :-)

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  35. Steve

    Wow! $63k in 1981 was is the same as spending $170k in 2017 for this car.

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    • Corey KemendoAuthor

      Wow! How much was a Countach or Maserati back then?!

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  36. jaymes


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  37. Jon Tedesco

    You guys are ruthless. lol I owned the company that created and built these and I also was the designer with very little help from Mr. Cardin. Some people love ’em and some hate ’em. You seem to have a lot of the haters on this site which is OK but this whole project was fun while we made some money at the same time.

    Like 3

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