Project Land Yacht: 1978 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

The owner of this 1978 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz refers to this car as coming from the final year of the “land yacht” era, which when you consider that the car is over 18′ long and weighs in at 4,900lbs, is a pretty fair description. Barn Finder Roger referred this giant to us, so thank you for that Roger. The Biarritz is located in Battle Ground, Washington, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The price for all of this steel has been set at $3,999.

I’ve never had the privilege of driving one of these, but I can’t help but think that as you sit behind the wheel looking out over that hood, it must feel like about the only vehicle of any description that would feel bigger would also have aircraft landing on it. If ever a car defined the term presence, then this would be it. The car itself looks like the sort of vehicle that needs not much more than a cosmetic restoration. The paint looks to be pretty baked, but if the owner is correct, then the only rust present is some surface corrosion, particularly around the edges of the padded Landau top. There are a few minor marks and dings in the panels, but the external trim and chrome look to be in really top condition.

The 1977 and 1978 model years saw the use of that amazing “pillowed” seat upholstery, which looks soft enough to sink into. This has actually survived fairly well, although there is some discoloring visible in a few spots. Some of the other trim, most noticeably the passenger door trim, is beginning to deteriorate, so this will probably need attention. Luxury items abound in the Biarritz, and you will find yourself surrounded by power windows, power locks, power seats, cruise control, a tilt wheel, and air conditioning. One of the cooler optional features on this particular car is the factory Cadillac AM/FM 8-Track player with CB radio option. I wonder how many of those are kicking around out there today.

With such a heavy car to move, the Cadillac was always going to need a pretty decent engine. The 425ci V8 only packs 180hp, but it does provide some slightly surprising performance figures. The fact that such a big and heavy car can achieve a ¼ mile pass in under 20 seconds is actually quite good, although fuel consumption figures of around 11mpg tend to tell the other half of the story. The Biarritz sends its power to the front wheels via a 3-speed automatic transmission, while it should be no surprise to learn that the car also features power steering and power brakes. Apart from a custom exhaust, which the owner says sounds very nice, the Biarritz is basically stock. He does say that while it is a fun weekend cruiser as it is, it isn’t mechanically perfect, and would be a great project for an amateur mechanic. This sounds like a car that you could enjoy during the Summer months, and then take the time to iron out any bugs when the weather turns colder.

While there has been a focus in past years on muscle or pony cars in the classic car scene, luxury cars like this Biarritz have really started to carve out their own little niche in the market. That doesn’t mean that these are now “big ticket” vehicles, but that they are developing a stronger following. Where a few years ago you could have bought a pretty nice example for under $8,000, the same car today will command $11,000 or more. If this one is as solid and mechanically strong as the owner indicates, then it could well be a project car that makes decent financial sense.

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Comments

  1. RedBaran

    I’m pretty sure there’s more room in this car than I had in my dorm room at college…! Awesome ride!

    7
  2. Brakeservo

    Get out your best Boss Hogg suit and prepare to pass everything but the gas pump!

    5
  3. Gaspumpchas

    Saw one like this go thru Me-cum Portland, I don’t think it brought 2500. The auctioneer worked his @$$ off and nobody was buying. This one was immaculate.
    She’s on the downturn, Bud—get ready—-

    Cheers
    GPC

    3
    • Brakeservo

      Yeah, and Portland isn’t that far from this car either.

      2
    • Angel Cadillac Diva

      I had a 1975 baby blue with white top convertible around the early 2000s. Spent a lot of time in the junkyard looking for parts.
      I liked the car, but I have a very heavy foot and the front wheel drive was a little annoying.
      I also had a 1976 Coupe de Ville, at the same time and when parked next to the Eldorado, the Eldo looked very small.

      • Ralph

        There’s only a few inches difference between either one, the Eldorado is 225 and the deVilles are 229, so it must be in your head.

  4. R Soul

    I’d rather have the whiskey orange Harley-Davidson parked beside it in the first picture.

    • Angel Cadillac Diva

      @ chrslful
      1976 was the final year for the Cadillac Eldorado convertible. GM celebrated with the final 200 cars made to all be identical white, with white top, white interior and red and blue pinstripping and accents.
      Many investors thought these would bring lots of money in the following years. And some did sell for over $100,000. But prices plummeted when Chrysler brought back the convertible in the 1980s.
      The 1978 Eldorado is practically identical to the original 1975.

      1
  5. Miguel Member

    I am not sure why the size of these cars gets mentioned so much when people are driving now larger 4 door pick ups.

    I had one of these for a short time. it was an impound special and when I put it up for sale, it sold fast. I was shocked. I think it was a 1977 model.

    2
  6. DayDreamBeliever Member

    *Yawn*

    Two evenings ago I was lucky enough to have been able to spend a couple of hours at the GM Heritage Collection. One of the cars set out with enough room to easily walk around was the Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, from 1959.

    I’m sorry, but after 19 years of “development”, this car is hugely deficient in so many ways. That ’59 is, at nearly 20 feet long, a true statement of luxury. The 1978 coupe doesn’t come close.

    2
    • Ralph

      And you know what, for many years the 1959’s were worthless tacky trash too…..selling for a few hundred bucks….they made couches from the back halfs they were so worthless…..

      And V16’s were turned into tow trucks…..

      Potato, Potato…….and so on and so on and scooby doobie doo……

  7. DETROIT LAND YACHT

    Love these beastly hunks of metal…but only in ragtop.

  8. Chris H

    When I see this car…although red…I think of Whisper in the Bond film “Live and Let Die” rolling in his white Biarritz with the dart launcher in the mirror able to hit the neck/head of the driver at speed in another car. I dunno. Just me I guess.

    1
    • Ralph

      That was a Corvette though and in 1973, 3 years before the Biarritz option appeared.

      The car was something called a “Corvado” made by Dunahm Coach in New Jersey(of course) they “added” Eldorado body work to a Corvette to make essentially the first XLR’s……

  9. Jack Quantrill

    This is a real “Jungle-Cruiser”!

  10. chrlsful Member

    isn’t that make/model also holder of the title “last convertable made in America” during the mid 80s? I remember the vert was deemed ‘unsafe’ for a half doz years, no?
    Will it fit in most garages?

    • Ralph

      No.

      Convertibles were exempt from roll over standards, which really were never enacted anyway…..convertibles were dropped because they cost money to engineer and people were buying less and less of them.

  11. Southbound

    Its a lazy boy recliner with a steering wheel. I had a 75 rag top medium blue with a white top and interior. Loved it.
    The hood would of decapitated you if a hinge failed.

  12. Pyrobill

    I used to work for someone here in Portland that had a few Eldos like this and for a lonng time had one for a daily driver. This about 18 years ago. All this is now gone and so is he. A couple were nothing more than parts cars. He also had a half dcent 70 Coupe Deville and big 76? Buick wagon. All gone don’t have a clue what happend to all of this?

  13. Ralph

    If you’ve never driven one and want to feel what its like to sit behind the wheel, get a pool table and a kiddie chair set the chair down at one end of the pool table and sit down, thats sort of what it looks like to look down the hood from the drivers seat……

    1
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Seems about right…..

      :-)

  14. Stevieg Member

    I am not believing the story about the miles. Those seats look pretty “broken in” for the miles. These cars can be expensive to restore. Nice cars though. The other reader who stated that sitting in the car is like looking over a pool table while sitting in a kiddie chair is spot on. That better be a plush kiddie chair lol
    I had one, in yellow a number of years ago as a winter beater. I should have put a snow plow on the front of it lol. Nothing would stop it! I sold it in the spring for $500.00. Shoulda kept it. About the same condition as this one lol.

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