Convertibles rode significant very well in nineteen sixties America, with Detroit promoting extra than 500,000 ragtops in 1965, but profits collapsed by the early seventies and tightening federal crash-safety restrictions manufactured it appear to be less worthwhile to even hassle generating new ones. Chrysler halted convertible generation just after 1971, with Ford pursuing go well with by 1973. By the 1976 design 12 months, the Cadillac Eldorado was the last new American automobile you could obtain with a convertible top rated from the manufacturing unit, and it appeared that none would ever be constructed once again. I’ve observed a single of these “last convertible” Eldorados in tough-but-identifiable condition in a Denver junkyard.
As it turned out, the convertible hardly ever truly died in America. Auto shoppers could nonetheless obtain new European-manufactured convertibles just after 1976, coachbuilders modified new Detroit cars and trucks with manufacturing unit-quality fall-tops, and then Chrysler started promoting K-Auto convertibles beginning with the 1982 design 12 months.
Simply because the ’76 Eldorado appeared to be the complete conclude of the convertible line, even so, buyers imagined they have been investing in a confident-fireplace collector automobile that would be worth broad sums in the not-really-distant upcoming (this belief led to lawsuits from GM afterwards on, when the Cadillac Division resumed generation of the Eldorado convertible for 1984). Even though a a single-of-two hundred-manufactured Bicentennial Version Eldorado with purple-white-and-blue trim truly is worth plenty these times, an common 1976 Eldorado in beat-up condition will not appear to be worth restoring.
This automobile seems to have sat outside in Colorado with the top rated down for a long time, filling with snow each and every winter and enduring significant-elevation solar irradiation each and every summer months. A nineteen sixties GTO or Camaro might be worth fixing up just after slipping into this point out of disrepair, but not a single of 14,000 “last convertible” Eldorados manufactured in 1976.
GM’s Unified Powerplant Deal entrance-wheel-generate program, which utilised battleship-toughness chains to transmit electricity to the generate wheels, proved to be exceptionally trustworthy on the avenue, becoming a member of the small-block Chevrolet engine and Hydra-Matic transmission in the pantheon of The General’s Biggest Engineering Hits. Even gigantic motorhomes utilised this program. In 1976, the Eldorado got the last of the 500-cubic-inch (eight.2 liter, or litre as GM’s marketers spelled it) V8s, rated at a disappointing 190 horsepower and an extraordinary 360 lb-ft of torque. Fuel charges have been frightening in 1976, but these who could afford to pay back $eleven,049 (about $fifty one,000 nowadays) for a new Eldo weren’t going to flinch at one-digit freeway fuel economic system.
Fuel injection! Pretty futuristic stuff for 1976, though even unexciting econoboxes started out to get EFI inside of a ten years of this car’s manufacture.
So, even although its “last of the convertibles” title deserves an asterisk nowadays, the ’76 Cadillac Eldorado is an attention-grabbing piece of automotive background.