Stalled Project: 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Seville

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The Eldorado Seville’s of 1957-58 are perhaps the most spectacular cars that Cadillac built in that decade. Styling was bold, especially in the back half of the car, and they were loaded with creature comforts. This ‘58 edition gained an extra set of headlights over the ’57 but was largely the same car as the year before. This Seville, the 2-door hardtop version, is one of just 855 built and has been stalled twice in its restoration, but the first time was due to the death of its then-owner. Located in Hayward, California, this Caddy is available here on craigslist for $25,000. But these can be $100,000 cars when done right. Thanks, MattR, for digging this one up for us!

Beginning in 1956, Cadillac used the Seville and Biarritz to differentiate between the Eldorado hardtop and convertible models. This would last through 1960 when the hardtop was dropped. The third generation of the Eldo ran between 1957-58. Styling updates in ’58 included the addition of 10 vertical chrome slashes ahead of the open rear wheel housings and crest medallions on the flank of the bodacious tailfins. The split rear bumper assemblies were changed with a low-profile combined reverse light/grille unit that replaced the previous year’s separate, round exhaust exits, and reverse lights; the round brake/tail light units at the base of the fins remained unchanged. These were handsome cars by the standards of the day – and still are nearly more than 60 years later.

The restoration of this car started from the outside-in by the prior owner. He died after he had it painted but not reassembled so the seller bought the car intending to take it to the end. But after a year, little progress has been made and he realizes someone else needs to finish what once was started. This was a frame-on restoration that included a color change from black over white to Persian Sand. But there is evidence of the old color and some rust in the trunk and floorboards. Perhaps the better way to have done this was to start with the innards and work your work out, doing the paint last.

This Caddy has the 365 cubic inch V8 with the 3×2 carburetor set-up. The seller has managed to get it to fire using just one carb, but it won’t idle or stay running so more work is needed. No mention is made as to the status of the transmission, but we’re told the project is a fine roller. The chrome was supposedly redone, but some pieces need to be redone. The windshield is cracked and the interior a mess, but the seller has a roll of NOS fabric to go with the car. There are a few odds and ends that are also missing, mostly in the trim department. But engine stuff may be out, too, like the air cleaner for the triple carbs.

These were low production, expensive cars for their day. But Hagerty believes a Concours example could go for close to six figures. Does it make sense to try to finish what was begun or just go back to the drawing board and recreate how the car left the factory in 1958? If you’re going to change the color, wouldn’t you be better off taking everything down to square one?

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  1. JudoJohn

    yes, this could be a $100K car with $150-200K worth of work. Beautiful cars, but they are VERY complicated.

    Like 8
    • Will Fox

      No mention of it, but I wonder if this `58 still has it’s air suspension? Maybe it already got converted to coils?

      Like 0
  2. CCFisher

    Restoring a car from the outside in is like wrapping a box before putting the gift in it. It’s almost impossible to get the gift in the box without destroying the wrapping. I suppose it’s just as well, because it will give the next owner a chance to address the color change. This would be a stunning car in black and white, with all that chrome glistening.

    Like 13
  3. A.G.

    As it is this car is simply driveway art with price of the paint job included.

    Like 5
  4. Malcolm Boyes

    Lovely cars..but, IMHO the Eldorado Brougham..was the top dog in styling. That said..these are beautiful. I dont belive these ever came with air suspension..that was saved for the Brougham. This car should be saved..wish I could do it..

    Like 2
    • Brian Brusseau

      Air suspension was available only as an option.

      Like 0
  5. ADM

    In 1974, I saw a Series 62 4 dr, in “Peacock Poly,” with air suspension. It still worked. The car was in good shape, and for sale, at $500. Coulda shoulda, but it was really too big, and gas prices had just doubled.

    Like 0
  6. JudoJohn
  7. Gerard Frederick

    This beauty requires a complete dismantling, start from scratch process – but if one has the deep pockets (money is no object) and the passion for a gorgeous Caddy, go for it.

    Like 1
  8. Bob Mck

    I owned a white one. Had to sell it in 1992. So wish I could have kept it.

    Like 0
  9. JoeNYWF64

    Caddy should have retained the delicate concept car REAR of the ’57 – in ’58 – & IMO even through ’59. & skip the ridiculous big fins & huge size increase overall in ’59. Astounding the differences among the ’57-’61 Eldos & even a bit beyond that.
    While today, you get basically the same Dodge Chally in ’21 as you did in ’08, with no sheetMETAL changes! – i believe. & i bet no METAL changes for another 5 yrs – or more. Dodge has to be laughing all the way to the bank. I’m surprised none of the metal body molds for the car have broken or worn out yet. lol
    & a modern Caddy hardly stands out(or is something you can show off in or even be proud of) from the rest of the makes around it w/o looking at the plastic badges, let alone knowing what year one is – not that i would even care. & you can kiss the 2 doors goodbye – forever. Add that to taxes & death.

    The “complexity” of the Eldo for sale above(or any old pre computer car) even fully loaded is NOTHING compared to a modern “car”.

    Like 2

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