One-Owner Survivor: 1972 Cadillac Eldorado

In the 1500s, Spanish conquistadores heard tales of a South American king who regularly covered his body in gold dust before washing it away in a nearby lake. They named the town he ruled El Dorado, which literally translates as “gilded one.” Today, the expression is used to describe any place of enormous riches, making it the perfect name for one of prestige manufacturer Cadillac’s most iconic models. This 1972 Eldorado is a one-owner vehicle that presents superbly. If you prefer luxury motoring, finding a Cadillac from this era so nicely preserved is like striking automotive gold. It needs a new home, with the seller listing it here on eBay in Granada Hills, California. Bidding has raced to $10,600 but remains short of the reserve.

Careful ownership, especially long-term, shows on a classic car. That is certainly the case with this 1972 Cadillac. It has remained in the custody of its original owner since Day One, and they stuck rigidly by a policy of garage-storing the car during its downtime. Therefore, its overall condition is unsurprising. Its Sable Black paint shines richly, looking deep enough to walk into. The Black vinyl top and fender skirts accentuate the lines of a car that is more than 18½ feet long. The panels look laser straight, and there’s no evidence of rust. The trim, including the damage-prone hubcaps, looks excellent. The glass is spotless, and a set of narrow whitewall tires round out this classy classic’s exterior.

The Eighth Generation Eldorado marked a significant change in the company’s design philosophy. The original Oldsmobile Toronado broke new ground with its front-wheel-drive system labeled the Unified Powerplant Package, or UPP. This system offered more efficient mechanical packaging and increased interior space, although few Cadillacs ever lacked in that latter quality during the company’s illustrious history. For 1972, Cadillac adopted the UPP to send the 235hp from the car’s enormous 500ci V8 to the front wheels via a three-speed automatic transmission. Considering the Eldorado’s luxury credentials, it is no shock that it rolled off the line equipped with power assistance for the steering and brakes. Although most owners were more concerned about the isolation a Cadillac offered from the outside world rather than outright performance, a ¼-mile ET of 17.2 seconds is nonetheless impressive for any car tipping the scales at 4,881 lbs. The seller indicates this Caddy is in sound mechanical health and has recently received new tires and brakes. It runs and drives perfectly, ready to head off into the sunset with a new owner behind the wheel.

The all-black theme continues when we open the doors and examine this Eldorado’s interior. Its overall condition is impressive for a fifty-year-old classic, and I had to scrutinize the photos to spot any faults worthy of mention. One of the few problems is some wear and fading on the carpet by the driver’s left foot, which is common in a vehicle of this type. It probably hasn’t deteriorated to the point where replacement is necessary, although, with a carpet set only costing around $200, the outlay may prove tempting for an enthusiast craving perfection. Otherwise, there’s no physical damage or crumbling plastic that could cause the new owner sleepless nights. In a 1972 context, this Cady’s interior is well-equipped. The buyer receives climate-control air conditioning, power windows, a power front seat, cruise control, a tilt wheel, and an AM/FM radio/8-track player.

Any triple-black classic will resonate with enthusiasts, especially when the vehicle is as well-preserved as this 1972 Cadillac Eldorado. It is one of the nicest examples I’ve seen in a while and has no apparent needs. Its overall condition makes it easy to understand why it has attracted ten bids, and I suspect it will need to attract plenty more to reach the reserve. I won’t be surprised if the seller set it around $20,000, although I wouldn’t rule out a higher figure. Are you planning to bid, or will you remain an interested spectator?


  1. alphasud Member

    I think 72 marks the beginning of the end of Cadillacs presence and style as they moved to compete with the mainstream instead of remaining a exclusive brand. You can’t be everything to everyone. Something that many auto manufacturers have fallen victim to. The car has a hood as long as a time zone. Class and style.

    Like 15
    • Mike

      I would agree with that assessment. Especially now. I once saw a Cadillac XT4 small SUV and to me it just looked like a nicer Chevy Equinox. That could be because it was the Sport trim with the huge blacked out grill. To me this begs the question: Would you rather buy a top trim level of any Chevy or a base trim level of the Caddie? Especially if the price is the same.

      Like 6
    • Emel

      Don’t think 1972 represented the beginning of the end. 50 years later Cadillac is still putting out very nice vehicles and probably still the most luxurious car made, as far as the interior and the most comfortable to interstate cruise in.
      As well as the nicest most luxurious large SUV in the Escalade.

      And it’s still exclusive, drive a 2022 or 2023 and you’ll see.

      Like 9
      • Brian C

        Caddy lost their prestige when they started chasing BMW in 08. The new shifters from 18 on are IDENTICAL to BMWs. Plus their reliability has severely waned. Not to mention… while the Escalade is big, the Lincoln Navigator is still bigger, more reliable, and with a much more luxurious interior than the Caddy. Cadillac lost their identity trying to chase the Germans and it truly does show.

      • Brad460 Member

        Cadillac hasn’t made anything I consider luxurious or enticing since 1991.

        All their newer stuff are hard riding cramped cars that can’t figure out what they are. Gm mgmt read too many car magazines and decided that everything must be tested o. The nurburgring and it ruined the brand.

        They lost their traditional car buyers and have gained very very few of the bmw/Mercedes crowd.

        It’s sad really. I can’t figure out why anyone won’t build a decent luxurious American style automobile anymore.

        Want a 4 door race car with what nowadays passes for luxury, buy a bmw and pay the associated repair and maintenance bills.

        The escalade is in fact sort of luxurious but it’s a truck and still has the hard, narrow seats. I’m now middle aged and can afford a luxury car but nothing anymore interests me.

        Guess I will keep my 91 DeVille and keep looking for a late 80s Lincoln

        Like 5
      • Civileyes Civileyes Member

        Past 91 I would say the Eldorado drop top was enticing. Particularly the ETC

  2. CVPanther Member

    What a gorgeous ride. Condition looks amazing too, though to be expected for a well-cared for single owner car.
    A bargain at the $10K price.
    What a nice Christmas present this would make….
    (Especially for me)

    Like 12
  3. Ricardo Ventura

    Pretty pretty pretty !
    Wonder and nothing else.

    Like 3
  4. Gunner

    Wow. I am not a Cadillac guy, but I really love the styling and color combination of this one. It is so clean. Someone has really loved this automobile. Even if it does hit 20K, I still think the price is reasonable. At over 18ft, there are many garages that it will not fit in, including my own. Yes, the beginning of the end. Great find. 👍

    Like 5
  5. Steve Weiman

    And to think, just 10 short years later the owner could have traded for a new Cimmeron :(
    Little surprise they chose to keep…..
    That HOOD – Wow(!!)

    Like 6
  6. Emel

    Vinny my old bookie….use to have one of these. Same color, same everything. Go figure !
    Drove to AC more than a couple times in it on the White Horse pike.

    Like 4

    just looked on e-bay 18 bids, $12,601 reserve met. 2days-2 hours left, someone is having a great holiday. not me

  8. Steven Ramos

    Reserve Met it’s sitting above 14k

    Like 1
  9. TheOldRanger

    I loved the old Cad’s style and looks. I don’t like these newer models at all….. but then I’m an old ranger…. lol

    Like 2
  10. Robert. Levins

    Gorgeous car. I hope they get what they are hoping for. 50yrs is a lifetime of investment and dedication to preservation. I also hope the new owner realizes that this is a once in a lifetime event. Happy Thanksgiving.

  11. Johnny

    Nice looking Caddy. I wonder when you set the emergency brake. If you have to put it in REVERSE to RELEASE the emergency brake ? I backed my 89 Caddy upon some car ramps I have. I went to drive it off and their was NO RELEASE HANDLE. The brochure said either put it in REVERSE or take pliers and release it UNDER the dash. couldn,t believe Caddy made it like that. Then I wonder how much business they lost. When some ones wife found that out. Bet her husband heard a ear full.haha I

    • Chuck Dickinson

      Moving the lever out of PARK (with engine running) releases the E brake by vacuum off the neutral safety switch. If it doesn’t, there is a small handle under the left lip of the lower dash which releases it. It’s simple if you know how to do it.

      Like 3
  12. Noneya Bizinis

    A ridiculous luxo-barge. This was indeed the preview of the dark ages of American automobile manufacturing. Your nostalgia will quickly dissipate when you attempt to make a turn – hopefully, the body will stay attached to the suspension. You had better be the proverbial old lady who would drive it to church once a week. Compare this to the Euro cars of the same era. Heck, compare it to the 1962 Jet Age Series 62!

    Buyers for this specimen will die out soon enough.

    • Brad460 Member

      Couldn’t disagree with you more. These cars were solid, rode great, had true luxury, and cruised with ease. Asian and european cars, other than Rolls Royce couldn’t hold a candle to this kind of car. European and Asian cars back in those days were tin cans, buzzing along with their anemic 4 cylinder engines.

      If you want to buy a race car that corners, buy a sports car. A luxury car should isolate you in serentity and comfort. These did. While I don’t need anything this large, we’ve lost our way in this country. Nobody really makes a true luxury car anymore. Look what we call “luxury” nowadays. Cramped cabins, huge consoles, low roofs, hard seats, and harsh ride. Yes they handle and brake, but other than that, not much good anymore.

      I’m also only in my early 50s, so I and many many like me will be around for quite awhile yet. If I want performance and handling, I’ll take my Corvette. For general cruising, I’ll take my Cadillac or my 76 Lincoln and eat up the miles.

      Like 1

    I had a tricked-out ’72 in blue with a white padded landau roof and a sunroof. Blue leather interior. That car rode like a dream. Typical of the era, I had a number of mechanical failures, most notably, the transmission, with less than fifty thousand miles. But that car was gorgeous, as is this one.

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