Rare And Unique: 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

With only 1,320 cars rolling off the production line, the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz offered an air of exclusivity when new. Today, that level of exclusivity has grown, as noted Cadillac historian Bill Refakis has been able to confirm that only around 325 examples still exist. Of those cars, this particular example is unique in that it is the only known car which carries a specific combination of colors and trim. If this is a car that appeals to your taste, then you will find it located in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and listed for sale here on eBay.

This Biarritz has led a pretty colorful life, both literally and metaphorically. It was sold new in Butte, Montana in December 1958. The original owner kept it for 12 months, before trading it in on a new 1960 Biarritz. In 1960, it made its way to Australia. It was then converted to right-hand drive at enormous expense. It went through the hands of a number of owners, and at one point it was repainted red and was decorated with more lashings of chrome than Cadillac provided on the car when new, especially under the hood. This chrome even extended to the upholstery piping on the seats. In 2002 the car’s next owner had the Biarritz restored to its original color and had it returned to left-hand drive configuration. What makes this car unique today is the color and trim combination. Persian Sand was not a rare color for the Biarritz, but this is the only surviving example that combines this paint color with the matching Prairie Plum top, and Bronze Metallic interior trim with bucket seats. The owner has a copy of the original build sheet for the car, which confirms that this is the original combination. The car presents really nicely, with only a couple of small marks on the otherwise glossy paintwork.

Under the hood is the factory Q-Code 390ci V8, which is backed by a 4-speed Hydra-Matic transmission. The owner doesn’t actually say that the car is a numbers-matching car, so we’re a bit in the dark on that. Typical of the Biarritz, it’s a car that comes with everything, including power steering, power brakes, and in the case of this car, factory air conditioning. When this car went through its “chrome plating” era, a lot of components under the hood received the treatment, including pullies, hinges, and just about anything else that could be physically removed. Thankfully, it has since been returned to its original state, and the engine bay now looks nice and clean, and free of the excessive “bling.” Everything on the car works as it should, with the exception of the airbag suspension, which is currently disconnected due to an air leak.

When the Cadillac emigrated to Australia in 1960, the car’s second owner had it converted to right-hand drive. The cost of this conversion was enormous. He purchased the car for $8,000, but the conversion cost an additional $10,000. This was on a car that when it rolled out of the showroom only a year earlier, had cost just shy of that $8,000 price that the second owner paid. It was left in this guise until 2002, when one of the car’s subsequent owners had it returned to its original specification, including returning it to left-hand drive using all original parts. The car recently received new carpet and mats, and judging by the photos, the quality of these items appears to be first-rate. The presentation of the interior is very impressive, with all of the toys and gadgets that you could expect to receive in a Biarritz when it was new. The only deviation from standard is the fact that while the original radio is present, it doesn’t function. The owner has fitted an aftermarket CD player, but this appears to have been concealed quite well.

If the supplied information, combined with the information that I have been able to obtain from my own research is correct, then this Biarritz is a unique vehicle. The color combination, bucket seats, and air conditioning, all seem to back the claims that have been made by the current owner. Can you place a price on exclusivity? Apparently, you can. The owner has set a BIN price of A$340,000 for the Cadillac. With the current exchange rate, that equates to a price (in US dollars) of around $241,000. If someone in the USA decided to buy it, they would then need to factor in shipping to return it to its homeland. Is this a Cadillac that is set to come home, or is it one that will remain Down Under? What do you think?

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Comments

  1. NotSure Member

    Although I am not one of the folks that has the coins that wouldn’t be missed were I to buy this there are enough people that if they have the money and the perceived need to buy a one-off with a great history then I see no reason why this Caddy shouldn’t fetch the price. Or at least get close to that. And if you’re spending that kind of scratch what’s another $20,000 to air freight it back? I certainly wouldn’t want it stuffed into a forty foot container to travel back by sea. Iconic with really classy colors it’s certainly a looker! I see no reason to think the owner will have a difficult time selling it.

    12
    • John Taylor

      We pay just under $5,000 to have cars container shipped out here which includes all of the service charges from the shipping company.

      • Seth Member

        John, do you have an associate that will ship alaska to the lower 48? Please let me know. Thanks.
        Seth

        Seth.j.ware@gmail.com

  2. JACKinNWPA Member

    That would draw a crowd all day at any show, Introverts need not apply.

    15
  3. DayDreamBeliever Member

    I first passed over the feature page, because the car looked lavender. Kinda purple/pink. Saw it again and thought: “Maybe a dusty rose”.

    Anyway, I took a look, and it is “Persian Sand” paint, with a “Bronze” interior, and a “Prairie Plumb” convertible top.

    Well, that sorts that out.

    Yea, well, I go back and look at more photos, and Yikes!
    This car is special, desirable as hell.

    Except…. I wonder if Bruce Terry did the deed while sitting in the car? Um, yea… I dunno…kinda creeps me out a bit.

  4. ken tilly

    From a Brit. Who was/is bruce Terry, and what deed did he do?

    • RK

      He’s the guy that was trying to teach you people not to drive on the wrong side of the road but failed.

    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      The story of the car says he did himself in.

  5. Mark

    It is not a car. It is a rolling masterpiece of fine art.
    Where have all the chrome days gone…..long time passing……

    11
    • Frank Sumatra

      @Mark- Agree 100%. This is above and beyond just being a car. This is art, industrial design sculpture, an era, and an optimism that will never exist in the USA again. And I totally get there are a multitude of reasons why that time could never, and should never come back, but DAMN!, WHAT A CAR!!!!

      10
      • gepops58

        Definitely was built way before it became a crime to work hard and make lots of money

  6. JBP Member

    Is it a barn find? Soon not even half the cars here is real find’s imo.
    Am i the only one there is missing barn find cars?
    This is more a car for Barret Jackson.

    11
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Submit a few, We would like to see them.

      17
    • Ensign Pulver

      That’s why I come here. I almost can’t even read Hemmings anymore. Between the “auction” and “dealer” ads along with 10 extremely rare Duesenbergs all in a row …nope there no place for a poor slob like me to have a realistic dream…almost in reach…other then craigslist which is filled with serial killers and painted rust.

      23
    • Andre

      🙄

    • gepops58

      Me thinks there were no barns involved and no barns were harmed in the writing of this drivel

    • Jbp Member

      Its a really cool and nice car. But like with other high end cars its torture to look at.
      But i almost better like that Pontiac Bonnewill from yesterday. Maybe becourse its a more realistic price, at least for a back yard mecanic like me.
      I even have to sell another car, for buying and ship that Invicta there is on the way. Not that i dont like this, but real barn finds is more me.
      Have a nice sunday!!

  7. Keith

    I like it!

  8. Seth Thomas

    I am a contractor and was working on a gentleman’s home in Findlay, Ohio While working on this mans home we became friends , one day he took me in his garage where you showed me his hobbies . He like to build and fly gas powered air planes , as he was showing me the planes I noticed a car under a car cover and asked “ what’s under the cover “. He responded that there is a car that is very rare ! He said he bought it a Barret jasckson auction it was a 59 Cadillac Biarritz. I being somewhat of a car buff could not recall a Biarritz, then he told me what he paid for it and I almost fell over .

    • gepops58

      It must be nice to have lots of money…..something I’ll never know

  9. Bob Member

    LOVE IT, but way more than I would be able to pay. I miss the days when these were $1500. But back then, I was making $2.00 per hour, so $1500 was a fortune.

    10
  10. Pete in PA

    An iconic car for sure in a wonderful paint and interior combo. I’m not as keen on the plum top color though…
    About 30 years ago I had the opportunity to buy a 59 Eldo Seville in the Philly area. It was persian sand as well with a matching vinyl top and interior.
    It ran and drove but needed extensive body and interior work. I was interested but not ready to take on such a large project. Asking was about $5k IIRC. LOL
    I noted the VIN as 59 11314 but that is clearly wrong. It must have been 59H11314X and I can’t remember why I didn’t get it right.
    I’ve always wondered what happened to that car.

  11. Mountainwoodie

    I just can’t imagine the level of work and the amount of money this cost to return to its original configuration. An undeniably beautiful and obviously rare car. But really, things are getting out of hand. On another note, I’d like to observe that one of the beauties of the Barn FInds folks is their interest in and curiousity about undeniably odddball cars that they can come up with. I like that. Of course they are not all “barn finds” but in another way they are. The barn finds of the vehicle imagination.

  12. canadainmarkseh Member

    Absolutely stunning car I guess I could sell my house and live in the car, that would be the only way I could afford this car. So I guess it’s a pass for me, besides I’d rather have the hard top version. For me if I want the sky over my head when driving I’ll just take my sidecar bike out. It might not come out of a barn but it’s still nice to have a look at it on barnfinds.

    • Tony

      The Eldorado Seville would likely cost you far less. Saw a pristine 1960 Seville go on Barrett-Jackson several years ago for about US$30,000.

  13. the one

    An investment. It will not drop in value.Hmm let me check my couch cushions…Nope nothing there. Oh well..

  14. Kenneth Carney

    Was that paint available on ’59 Chevy
    Impalas? I seem to recall such a car in
    my neighborhood growing up in the early.
    ’60’s. It too was a ragtop that also had
    this plum colored top along with that very
    distinctive paint. It looked to be a mild
    custom as it also had Appleton spotlights
    twin antennas and fender skirts. Still a
    nice car though.

  15. mlm

    First the ’60 Eldorado Biarritz in Colorado and now this and BOTH of them are real beauties and they said nothing coming out of Detroit you can’t hang in the Louvre.

  16. RK

    Sounds like it’s been to hell and back and all hootched up in between. $1,000. Final offer.

  17. gepops58

    My grandfather had a 59 el dorado with the exception his was a hardtop but the same color with a white roof. I can remember riding in it with old GB, he was some kind of fussy about that car. unless u were spotlessly clean u weren’t riding in it rule #2 u did not touch anything in it and rule #3 u didn’t push on the backs of the front seats…… that one got u an immediate spanking and it didn’t matter much to him where he was when u got it.

  18. Craig M Bryda Member

    At least they didn’t call it a
    “Survivor”.

  19. Bob Member

    Seth Thomas. I have property in Findlay, Ohio and go there summers. Can you tell me the approximate location of this place in Findlay? I would love to look this guy up and see his car…and planes.

    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Unethical to pass information like that, without asking the owner first. But you know that, Bob and Seth. Right?

  20. Jim Z Member

    While this car has impressive imagery, the exercise of converting to RH drive, then back to LH certainly has created some unknown stresses. I cannot image having to swap everything from Dash to Pedal Box to Steering Gear to…well, you get the idea. And then back again? Me thinks it’s a $50k buy at best…and leave out the questionable historical insinuations….just appreciate it for it’s looks.

    • Paul

      Hi, I’m the previous owner of this car (I owned it for 18 years – currently assisting the current owner who I sold to, sell the car).

      The conversion back to left had drive was easy. It was less than a day, as all the factory original holes and parts slotted straight in.

      It drives like new.

      Paul

    • Paul

      Hi Jim,

      I’m the previous owner who did the conversion back to original left hand drive.

      The conversion took less than 1/2 day, as all the factory components bolted into the original position.

      Your other comments aren’t accurate either.

      Best regards,

      Paul

      • Paul

        Sorry for the dual post, Jim.

        My reply didn’t appear when I posted the comment so I considered that it did not go through, so I re-wrote and posted again.

        Regards,

        Paul

  21. Stephen Brodie

    Had an old friend who owned a ’59 Cadillac convertible, white with a red interior and he didn’t have a garage for it. As he was a farmer near Garfield Washington he cut one end out of a granary and drove the front half into that granary and there it sat along with at least thirty other cars, mostly Chevs, and the trees were falling down on his cars. and the weather and moisture from the vegetation was eating everything including the Cadillac. He wouldn’t sell anything.

  22. Clipper

    I wouldn’t own it..but, I LIKE this car. I appreciate that is EXISTS — and, there are those who are excellent stewards that care for and enjoy it.

  23. Marty Wilke Marty Member

    Fifty k at best? These have been bringing well north of $100k for a couple of decades now.

  24. Jim Z Member

    Marty, your comment about “Bringing $100k regularly”…Apparently I’m getting too old and not realizing the crazy money people are spending for nostalgia. (Sigh!)
    Paul, No worries about the dual post, happens to me, too.
    You stated “1/2 day to switch from RH to LH”?
    As a lifelong mechanic, I am finding that hard to believe.
    (Unless you had a dozen technicians swarming it simultaneously.)
    Still is a nice looking ride, regardless. (Double Sigh!)
    My nicest ride was a blue ’60 Imperial, currently residing in a Miami car museum.
    Regards…….

    • Paul

      Beautiful car, Jim.

      In regard to the conversion back to LHD, there were two mechanics who did the job in one morning. Finished by lunch time. Much simpler and easier than RHD, as all factory bolt holes etc are in tact.

      Regards,

      Paul

      • Jim Z Member

        Paul-
        Thanks for the flowers!

        I’m still mystified how changing steering positions from one side to other can be done in only 1/2 day. Especially knowing all that must be changed: Dashboard, speedo cluster, dash controls, turn signal lever, steering box, mechanical steering gear, speedo cable, wiring looms, etc etc. Amazing!

      • Paul

        Jim,

        All LHD components (Dash, speedo, turn signal levers, etc) were sourced prior to the actual physical labor/installation. Have you seen how easily and quickly this is done in the factory when all parts are available then slotted into place?

        Paul
        PS: Did you get the chocolate coated strawberries?

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