Eldorado was a model built by Cadillac from 1953 to 2002. The name Eldorado was derived from the Spanish words "el dorado", the "gilded one"; the name was given originally to the legendary chief or "cacique" of a South American Indian tribe. Legend has it that his followers would sprinkle his body with gold dust on ceremonial occasions and he would wash it off again by diving into a lake. The name more frequently refers to a legendary city of fabulous riches, somewhere in South America, that inspired many European expeditions, including one to the Orinoco by England’s Sir Walter Raleigh.
For the 1959 model year Cadillac produced a total of 142,272 cars. 1959 therefore was Cadillac’s third-best year in the 50‘s. The 1959 Eldorado incorporated totally new styling: large tailfins, twin bullet taillamps, two distinctive rooflines and roof pillar configurations, new jewel-like grille patterns and matching deck latch lid beauty panels personified these cars. They reflected the innocence, unsophisticated excitement and self-satisfaction of America during that era. They were Rock ’n’ Roll, outer Space and color TV – wrapped up in chrome and sheet metal with wide whitewall tires. And then those fins, the most popular ones in Automotive history.
The design was 100% Cadillac but the company contracted out the assembly to Pinin Farina of Italy, with whom the division has had a long-running relationship, and these Eldorados were essentially hand-built in Italy. Their discreet, narrow taillights, nicely integrated into modest tailfins, contrasted sharply with the "rocketship" taillights and massive fins of the standard 1959 Cadillacs and were an indication of where Caddy styling would go in the next few years. However, build quality was not nearly to the standard of the Detroit hand-built 1957–1958s, and the 1959–1960 Broughams are less desirable, it seems, than the 1st generation Broughams, although their value and collectibility remain high.
Eldorado was Cadillac’s most extravagant model loaded with extra chrome and a three 2-barrel carburetor 345 horsepower version of the 390 cubic-inch V8.
Powered by a modified version of the 390 CID V-8 found in all Cadillac’s of the time, the Eldorado got a boost in power from three-two-barrel carburetors to deliver 345 horsepower. This kind of power would propel these 5,000 pound land rockets to a comfortable 130 mph top speed. Equipped with a long list of standard equipment not available as options on other cars, the Biaritz delivered luxury features such as air suspension, power vent windows, antenna and more to make this car the center of attention wherever it would go.