Off-Season Buy: 1974 Cadillac Eldorado


After one of the best Indian Summers we’ve had in years, a blustery day in New England this morning has revealed that winter is indeed coming. I loathe the winter months, but they do represent a potentially good time to buy a convertible project on the cheap, such as this 1974 Cadillac Eldorado soft top here on craigslist in Illinois for just $2,800. 


These Eldos were large vehicles when new and even today remain a challenge to park and/or store. The seller mentions the words “on storage” which don’t make much sense, but it may be a reference to having lost storage and now needing to unload his Cadillac. The car is located in an area known for liberal use of road salt, so you’ll want to be sure to check for rust. It looks fairly solid in this photo.


The interior photos aren’t the greatest, so it’s hard to be sure – but is that a cloth bench seat? It sure looks like it, which would either make this one heck of a stripper Cadillac or more likely the bench has been swapped out at some point. Things inside look largely presentable, which is good given the interior of a drop top can be one of the areas most vulnerable to sun damage. The seller does mention, however, a new top is needed.


An 8.2L V8 that generates a whopping 210 b.h.p. – what a year to be a car lover. This Cadillac also arrived in showrooms at a time when the oil embargo in the Middle East wrecked havoc on car sales and shook consumer confidence, meaning land yachts like this one became more of a luxury than they already were. These days, gas is cheap and roads are congested, so what better than a high-consumption drop-top that doesn’t like to be hurried?




WANTED 1979 Chevrolet Monza Looking for the Town Coupe version, brown, ideally California but willing to buy from anywhere. Contact

WANTED 1968-1972 Buick Sklyark, etc. Looking for a grandma/grandpa 1968-1972 2 door Buick Skylark/Special/LeSabre, V8, original. (No GS) Contact

WANTED 1965 Oldsmobile 442 Project car auto hard top Contact

WANTED 1973-1974 Chevrolet Corvette Looking for a 4-speed convertible with A/C in the Los Angeles, CA area Contact

WANTED 1983-1986 Pontiac Grand Prix Looking for (White) preferably Grand Prix – Bucket Seats – Console – Maroon interior – Original Contact

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  1. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Wow. Always loved these…these and the ginormous Lincoln Townie yachts, but these because 8.2 freaking litres! End of an era for sure…if this was closer, as the saying goes…

  2. Tony S

    IMHO “500 cubic inches” sounds more impressive than 8.2 litres, at least on this side of the pond! That and 380 lb-ft of torque at only 2000 RPM!

  3. Rich 1

    These Eldorado Convertibles (1971 through 1976) are great cars–fun to drive and eye-catching! Of course, a ’71 would have the highest horsepower and lacks the plastic body fillers to deal with–but ’74 was last year for the “fender skirts” and featured a nice grill treatment and the newest instrument panel design. Always buy the best example one can afford–and this one looks fairly priced for its condition–and it will require efforts but those will yield a classy ride!

  4. roselandpete

    According to the map on CL, it’s not in Illinois. It’s north of Green Bay in Wisconsin. $2.8k does sound cheap but the interior looks like it’s been a somewhat rough 103k miles.

  5. whippeteer

    I don’t agree with “doesn’t like to be hurried.” Despite the horsepower rating, they are very deceptive. Years ago I had a beat up 73 Sedan DeVille. I thought that traffic was being unsufferably slow as I passed and went around the slow moving traffic. That was until I looked at the speedometer and realized I was doing 90. You just don’t feel it.

  6. packrat

    Not out of line if it’s only got surface rust. How crunchy are the floorboards? It’s hard to escape terminal tinworm in an old northern convertible subject to leaking from above and below. Since I am several notches down from Cadillac Style, did anyone ever come up with a fair repop for the various crumbly plastic bits right ahead of the chrome taillight spears? They used that design to separate the chrome from the sheet metal for over a decade, and all seem to suffer the same fate.

    • ags290

      They have quarter panel fillers available in ABS plastic now that are fairly reasonable. How long they will last is anybody’s guess.

  7. Dennis M

    That looks like a ’74 Cad interior, very similar to that shown in the brochure … BUT the Eldo convert should have a leather interior. Looks like it was swapped for a coupe interior.

  8. m power

    At that price, I’m sure there’s some rust hiding. As tempting as it maybe, I’ll have to pass on this one.

  9. DJS

    Had a 78 what a boat but it was a runner and was like driving a sofa,

  10. rmward194 Member

    The first car I ever drove when I received my permit at 16 was my parent’s ’75 Eldo convertible. Let’s just say it was a good thing the top was down when I backed it out the driveway.

    My parents loved these things. We also had a ’71 Eldorado Coupe which became my car to drive to high school every day. Man did I take crap for that, but that car could go through anything with front wheel drive and 500 c.i.

  11. Howard A Member

    Oh, come on, doesn’t anybody think this car should go down to Texas with big bulls horns on the hood??? YEE-HAW ( firing pistols in the air)

  12. Car Guy

    If you figure by the pound, this is a great deal!

  13. john C

    I also have a ‘Das Boot’ … a ’74 Thunderbird. Smooth ride, Exterior color, Blue Starfire.

  14. Michael Dawson

    Appears to be a reasonable price for a nice fixer-upper. Undercarriage rust would be my primary concern. I don’t think cloth interior was factory-available on convertibles, was it? Would make a nice restoration to driver status if one had a nice garage and several years to accomplish it, taking one’s time and not busting the budget.

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