- It was the most expensive American car of its day.
- It is a pillarless four-door design with a stainless steel top, favorites of GM stylist Harley Earl.
- It was produced from 1957-1960 and all were lavishly appointed, from drinking cups to lipstick and perfume depending on the year.
The Cadillac Eldorado Brougham first appeared as a prototype at the 1955 GM Motorama and emerged on the market from 1957-1960 as Cadillac’s high-end luxury car. The 1957 model debuted at the first New York Automobile Show held since 1940 and was a hit.
The pillarless four-door concept was a favorite of GM stylist, Harley Earl, as was his use of a stainless steel roof. It was a vehicle far ahead of its time with industry firsts that included quad headlights and an air suspension system that continuously adjusted itself for level and road conditions. The lavishly equipped Eldorado Brougham had power brakes, steering, windows, radio antenna and trunk lid. The six-way power front seat moved automatically for convenience of passenger entry and exit, and the driver's seat was equipped with a “favorite position” memory setting. Air conditioning, of course, was also standard. Interior items included a front seat cigarette case, tissue dispenser, vanity mirror, vanity compact, lipstick and a set of four magnetized drinking cups. A storage compartment in the rear seat armrest contained a note pad and pencil, portable vanity mirror and a perfume atomizer filled with Arpège.
The 1958 model, like the one exhibited here, featured modest differences from 1957 including new paint colors and wheel cover design, leather interior door panels and Rochester triple two-barrel carburetion (replacing two Carter four-barrel carburetors) with 335 H.P. (increased from 325).
The 1959 model used the standard Fleetwood chassis with a length of 225 inches (up from 216 inches). Horsepower was 345 and the air suspension system featured a constant supply air pump replacing the on-demand system. While interiors were similar to other Cadillac models (now only 15 upholstery options compared to 44), Eldorado Broughams had a magazine rack in the back and locking storage compartments on the rear shelf, and gone were the drinking cups and vanity set. 1960 marked the last year of this model and the year’s design changes primarily involved the front and rear bumpers and taillights.
The price tag remained the same from 1957-1960 at a staggering $13,074 (more than a 1957 Rolls-Royce and considerably higher than the lowest-priced 1957 Cadillac at $4,784). It was the most expensive American-built car of its day and experienced a limited production run of only 904 making it highly collectible. 400 Eldorado Broughams were sold in 1957, 304 in 1958, 99 in 1959 and 101 in 1960, the last year for the exclusive, ultra-luxury Cadillac Eldorado Brougham.