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1976 ELDORADO CONVERTIBLE - ANY THOUGHTS


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I thought I was downsizing, having sold my low-mileage 1970 Cadillac deVille convertible and the 1988 BMW 528e,

but,

a super clean low mileage '76 ElDorado convertible came along.

I'm interested-

What should I be looking at?

What should I be aware of?

Any unique concerns?

Chassis?

Suspension?

Mechanical?

Body?

Electrics?

 

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Happy New Year Marty ! Buy the Eldo ! These cars are extremely rugged , but do have some normal concerns , and perhaps one which should be checked over the life of the car. That one is the boots on the CV joints for the FWD. When new these boots are supple , but over time , like tires , develop small surface cracks. When you notice this , it is a good idea to replace before they tear. The CV joints themselves are rugged , but of course keeping water and contaminants out , and lube in is essential. It is usually the outboard boots which deteriorate first. Nothing else of concern in the FWD power train.

 

The nylon faced cam gear will begin to fail , as in many engines so equipped. I used to replace them at around 120,000 miles , but that was way back when these cars were fairly new. The guys on the CLC tech forum advise replacing much earlier , as part of their degradation is also a function of time. I had found that the waterpumps last about 60,000 miles , so at the time of the 3rd waterpump , I would also replace the radiator , and with easy access , put in a new timing chain and steel gears. Maybe do "the works" the first time you replace the waterpump. I always use full synthetic oil , so the load on the timing chain and gears would have been somewhat less than expected. Use the highly synthetic Amsoil Z-Rod 10W/30 for Winter driving , blend it 50/50 with the 20W/50 to make a 15W/40 for an all season , or go full strength on the heavier oil for hot Summer driving. This oil has the proper amount of zinc and phosphorus for that huge flat tappet engine. Also has additives which protect the surfaces from corrosion during the periods when the car is not being used. I have no connection to Amsoil , other than using it. If anyone can prove a better oil , I will use it.

 

The air conditioning system will require periodic service , but was quite effective. I do like to run mine with the top up through the mid day hours on long trips. Help is available from experts here on AACA , and CLC forums. Greg "Cadillac Kid" Surfas in Texas is the CLC A/C specialist.

 

Body issues include the complex top articulations shared with the other GM convertibles 1971-1976. The heavy doors and hood should be lubricated frequently , and door sag may develop. The plastic fender extensions , front and rear , all become brittle , and crack and degrade. There are fiberglass replacements , but they are a labor intensive fix. The inlay on the steering wheels of Cads of the period will start to crack and peel. I have a '76 droptop with a black interior. People ask me where I got the car reupholstered. I haven't. I am fanatic about parking the car in the shade , and always cover the windows and steering wheel when I park it. The wheel is still intact , despite many years as a daily driver. There are some little plastic shims which keep the headlights in adjustment and tight. These may break , very easy to replace.

 

Electric issues are probably common to the entire GM line. Might be headlight switch , dimmer switch , clock , radio , speakers , but nothing abnormal for a 40 year old car. 

 

I highly recommend these cars. I always say they are what a Cord might have become. In my experience , maintaining one of these huge cars is actually not a big deal. I have driven them all over the U.S. and Mexico , they have never given me any grief. To fully enjoy driving FWD cars in general , the use of relatively high pressure (at least 44 psi) radials makes a big difference. Look in to the new Diamondback Cadillac size (8.20 -15) tires which just came out. I really don't know anything about them , but you can order them with 2.25" whitewalls if you like. I like putting high performance or high pressure light truck radials on my Cads , but that is a different subject. Out on the highway , 40 psi front , 32 rear. Banging around town (especially on the fine lanes in New Orleans) , 30-32 front , 25 or so rear. Despite what anyone , or Consumer's reports said back when these cars came out , they handle quite well. A little power through the corners , proper inflation , and they are particularly satisfying. If you have not owned one of these for many miles , the time is now ! 

 

How many miles on your Eldo ? What color is it ?   - Carl

 

P.S. Good idea to ask the REAL experts on CLC forums. I have seen highly detailed recommendations regarding putting long stored Eldos on the road. As you know , many of these cars were put away new as investments. It has taken a long time , but these cars are definitely going up in value. There was never before , and never will be again , anything like these cars. The Eldo coupes are not yet fully appreciated. A somewhat different experience. Quieter ; I like them very much.

Edited by C Carl
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My advice?  Enjoy it by driving it until it drops!   

 

They made exactly 14,000 of them and probably all 14,000 of them still exist over 40 years later.   If you wear it out, 1 less won't hurt any as there are more attractive Cadillacs from earlier years that are far more rare.

 

Craig

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4 hours ago, C Carl said:

How many miles on your Eldo ? What color is it ?   - Carl 

 

 

Thanks C Carl,

 

I have not yet seen the car, but from old memories, and recent conversation, I believe it is a pale yellow with pale green leather and a dark top, supposedly wit approximately 47,xxx miles from new - always garaged and started and neighborhood-driven by the current owner since purchase over the past 10-11 years.

 

Oh, and having enjoyed a succession of big and fast Citroens (small and slow ones too!) for many years, I appreciate your thoughts per Front-Wheel-Drive cars. Certainly the Eldo is no SM (Series Maserati), or a DS-21 Pallas, but the top should be similar to the '71 Buick we had in the mid-1980s, and I remember the 80K-mile timing gears on our '69 Pontiac Custom"S".

 

Thanks for the note and your thoughts - much to think over as this one appears to be a beauty with minimal recent road time.

Edited by Marty Roth (see edit history)
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As an owner of  1974 Eldorado and past owner of a few other Eldo's I can vouch for their longevity. A whole lotta car for very little money! The replacement bumper to body fillers are not very good quality as far as fit goes, but look better than the large gaps without them.

nov1stcar,gmc,eldo 006.jpg

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We had 1/2 dozen of them when I was growing up,  68-76.   One of them we ran to 200k.

 

There are lots to chose from because it was one of the first "instant" collector cars.   Lots of guys bought them (76 Vert) and put them away.    A few years ago I saw a 76 black on black convertible on the highway.  It looked really good.

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4 minutes ago, alsancle said:

There are lots to chose from because it was one of the first "instant" collector cars.   Lots of guys bought them

 

The '70 convertible was a lot better car. I have had both. The Eldorado never went down on my list as highly desirable or a pleasant car to drive.

 

A Cadiilac convertible IS a Cadillac convertible. An Eldorado convertible is just another Eldorado convertible when you are looking at the big front wheel drive ones.

 

If you are dying to have one and they hold a special place above all others, then it is great.

 

I am looking at Cadiilacs and would prefer another '79 to '85 H&E conversion, even with the 4100. After that a clean black '69 or '70 Fleetwood Brougham.

Bernie

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A 1976 Eldorado convertible was my first car, acquired when I was 14 years old and slowly reassembled and restored until it was a pretty nice car by the time I was 18. I like to think I have a better insight into them than many, since I've seen it naked.

 

Mechanically, they're indestructible. The engine is very low stress and over-built, and I doubt anyone besides me has ever pushed the pedal to the floor in a 1976 Eldorado convertible. However, they are quite sensitive to overheating and the heads can warp if the engine has been abused or overheated. This usually manifests itself as coolant loss with no visible leaks. I have experienced this in two different 500 cubic inch Cadillac engines.

 

Another issue is that the exhaust manifolds crack, usually right down the center between the two middle cylinders. It will sound, well, like an exhaust leak. Many will seal up when they get warm, but some don't. Replacements are either used or perhaps a fabricated tubular header. This seems to be a recurring theme in my old car collecting life. It's annoying more than anything to start your big luxury car and it sounds like a dump truck. I have experienced this on perhaps 2/3 of all 500 cubic inch Cadillac V8s I've had. Cracked manifolds are a clue that perhaps the heads are warped due to the overheating issue, although it's not necessarily the case.

 

The ignition module in the HEI unit can be fragile, but I expect they've solved this problem in the years since I had my car. Back then, the only alternative was a junkard piece, but I bet there are brand new modules available today. Not hard to replace if needed, about 15 minutes in the distributor.

 

If you're looking at a car with EFI, don't be afraid. The system is sophisticated and works well, although you should expect to replace all the rubber parts in the system if it hasn't been done recently, especially the O-rings on the injectors. The ECM is problematic to replace, but they seem to be reasonably durable and replacements might be available from the aftermarket, I'm not sure. A carbureted car is still probably a better bet from a long-term reliability standpoint. There is no real difference in driving experience except that the EFI car starts faster and idles better when it's cold.

 

Otherwise, they're rugged and reliable. The front-wheel-drive system is incredibly tough and I never broke anything, although I did have to rebuild the transmission in my convertible--not really a surprise at about 80,000 miles. The CV joints can go out in time, but while mine clicked in corners, they never failed and I ignored it (I was only a kid). I believe newly re-manufactured axles are available today and installation is not terribly difficult. The differential and other FWD hardware are trouble-free. Even the chain that drives the front axle appears to be, as the engineers termed it, indestructible.

 

That said, I could never get all the little gadgets working at the same time. The climate control was fussy and it's a nightmare of vacuum hoses and actuators and I needed to get three or four control heads from the junkyard before I found one that worked properly. Same with the cruise control. My power antenna never worked despite two rebuilds--it would work for about a week, then die. I don't know if they're unique to these cars or are common to other GM products. Power window switches, being a convertible, would corrode and stop working. And yes, that scissor top needs to be fussed and adjusted to work properly and a replacement is VERY expensive. I just spent $5000 putting one on and that was without the glass rear window. They rip along the rear edge of the quarter window where there's a metal reinforcement around which the top wraps, and if it doesn't rip there, sometimes they just split on the blank quarter panel area. That seems to be a high stress area. I recommend babying the top up and down and making sure the material folds properly whenever you move it up and down. There are also two little arms with springs that pull the glass rear window down with the top--if they are even a little out of alignment, the rear window will shatter--in my car, it sounded like a water balloon exploding down deep in the top well. I knew what had happened without even looking. PSSSSSHHHH!

 

There are little electric motors that unlatch the front seat backs when you open the door so you can more easily climb in back. You should hear them click when you open the door. Mine never worked but I never bothered trying to fix them.

 

The hood hinges get weak and the rear-most corners of the hood by the windshield might need an extra shove to sit flush. That's a GIANT hood to manage.

 

Check for rust in the usual spots, but the #1 spot is above the catalytic converter on the passenger-side floor. The heat, the fact that it's so close to the floor, and perhaps debris getting caught in there all conspires to rot out the floor boards under the passenger's feet. This is a full frame car, so the rockers aren't necessarily structural, but they do have stainless cladding that traps junk and rots them out where you can't see it. Inspect this area carefully, trying to look behind the stainless trim. The convertibles also rust at the base of the convertible top in the trough between the fender and the trunk lid. I don't know why, but I always see them with bubbling in this area--there must be a seam between the quarter panel and deck there.

 

The rubber fender extensions front and rear, plus the fillers at the base of the taillights and the gas filler opening are all made of primitive urethane that gets brittle and crumbles with age. Fiberglass replacements are available for most of these and that's a permanent fix and many cars I've seen have already had this done. Gently squeeze the front or rear extensions to see if they are squishy (urethane) or hard (fiberglass). Don't squeeze hard enough to crack the paint if it's original.

 

The door panels are plastic and the armrest and upper padded area around the pull handle tend to crack with age. I do not believe replacements are available. The dash pad is also susceptible to cracking, although to a lesser extent.

 

Fit and finish on an original car will be mediocre at best. Keep your expectations modest. This was GM in the mid-70s, after all.

 

On the plus side, these are wonderful cars to drive with an incomparable ride and enough torque to feel energetic, if not fast. They are amazing parade floats and you will be the center of attention as much in this car as in anything else you own. It is truly massive. Control efforts are light, the brakes are extremely effective (1976 was the first year for 4-wheel discs), and it uses hydro-boost so it's powerful. There aren't many better long-distance cruisers, although after a long trip with the top down you'll feel like you went a few rounds with Mike Tyson; wind control isn't great. I had a fiberglass parade boot, but it was a real pain to install each time and I always preferred the soft boot anyway--the minute a homecoming queen sits on the fiberglass one, it's toast. You can run regular gas in it thanks to low compression and I eventually removed the catalytic converter and installed an exhaust system designed for a '71 Eldorado, which was a bolt-in and added notable power. There are a number of 500 cubic inch V8 parts suppliers and even guys who make hot-rod parts for them. Oh, and my clock always worked perfectly.

 

Having this car as a teenager made me a rock star. Having had a few since then, I've enjoyed the fond memories. A good one with low miles should not be problematic in the least and if you get one with all the little stuff fully operational, it should be easy enough to keep it in good knick. I keep expecting prices to rise, but they never do, so shop around for a good one at a reasonable price. I recently sold a black-on-tan EFI convertible with 12,000 original miles and every available option for about $33,000, so that's close to the top of the market (not including the Bicentennial cars, which I think are GROSSLY over-rated). Alternatively, you can get a '75, which looks and acts virtually identical, for about 2/3 the cost of a comparable '76. If you're shopping, that's worth considering.

 

Hope this helps!

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They are wonderful cars if you like that type of car (I do) and there are some great bargains around. Because 76 was the last convertible thousands were bought and put away as collector's items. They may still be coming out of storage with super low miles and not all that expensive.

 

Others have mentioned door hinge pins, they used the same ones as the cheapest Chev even though the door is 5 feet long and weighs 200 pounds so wear is rapid. They have a unique top mechanism with a frame that folds in sideways making the convertible top more expensive to replace. Others may know more about the drive train etc. but to me the most impressive thing is you can't tell it is front drive from the way it drives. When this type car was introduced (1965 Olds Toronado) it was widely believed that it was impossible to build a front drive car bigger than 3 liters engine size of 2500 pounds weight. GM made monkeys out of the experts by solving problems they thought impossible to solve. These big Olds and Caddies of the sixties and seventies, were actually better behaved on the road than smaller GM front drives of the 80s. No one seems to remember what an engineering tour de force they were in their day.

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3 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

The engine is very low stress and over-built, and I doubt anyone besides me has ever pushed the pedal to the floor in a 1976 Eldorado convertible.

 

I could break the front tires loose on my 69, which I believe was a 472.   Same on my 71 which was a convertible and a 1 year drive to college car.    On my mom's 74 convertible I believe you could not break the tires free, and never tried on my dad's 76 as it was a 9k mile cream puff.

 

The funniest memory I have of the Eldorado was on a double date standing with my girlfriend at one of her friends house.  The dad was admiring my car and my girlfriend's friend blurted out "You can lay flat across the back seat too!"  right in front of her dad.   That went over as you would imagine.

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13 minutes ago, alsancle said:

This is what I want right here.  Black on black.

 

image.png.a021d20690dce09961bd7f9c6de6ae84.png

 

I just sold a triple black one to Japan, of all places. I always wanted a triple black, but I'd imagine it would be hot. My first choice would now be the black/tan EFI car that I sold earlier this year.

 

 

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Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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28 minutes ago, alsancle said:

This is what I want right here.  Black on black.

 

image.png.a021d20690dce09961bd7f9c6de6ae84.png

 

23 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

I just sold a triple black one to Japan, of all places. I always wanted a triple black, but I'd imagine it would be hot. My first choice would now be the black/tan EFI car that I sold earlier this year.

 

 

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001.JPG

 

Black on Black looks fantastic when perfectly straight, 

But would be awfully hot down in this part of the country

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When I first saw this posting I had to read it as I learned a few months ago, an old customer of our family business had passed. I knew him fairly well and had even been over to his home a few times. When I was there, I spotted in his garage a 76 Eldo that looked brand new. Red exterior with white roof and white gut. He told me his mom had bought it brand new and she had passed many years earlier. The car had mileage in the 20’s and was spotless. He also had a mint 68 Corvair Monza that I always tried to buy. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to sell it and he even said it wasn’t worth much. It was that his garage door was wood and had rotted so bad that he didn’t want to open it! I even offered to repair the door but he was old and crotchety and wasn’t really interested in my offer. I never followed up with the cars as I figured I must have been too late after hearing of his passing which had happened a few weeks before I was told. Reading the header of this post, I wasn’t sure if it was his car.

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3 hours ago, chistech said:

When I first saw this posting I had to read it as I learned a few months ago, an old customer of our family business had passed. I knew him fairly well and had even been over to his home a few times. When I was there, I spotted in his garage a 76 Eldo that looked brand new. Red exterior with white roof and white gut. He told me his mom had bought it brand new and she had passed many years earlier. The car had mileage in the 20’s and was spotless. He also had a mint 68 Corvair Monza that I always tried to buy. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to sell it and he even said it wasn’t worth much. It was that his garage door was wood and had rotted so bad that he didn’t want to open it! I even offered to repair the door but he was old and crotchety and wasn’t really interested in my offer. I never followed up with the cars as I figured I must have been too late after hearing of his passing which had happened a few weeks before I was told. Reading the header of this post, I wasn’t sure if it was his car.

 

NO Chistech,

 

This is not the same car, Not Red with white interior, and nowhere near Massachusetts,

but in an immaculate garage for the past ten or eleven years and regularly maintained.

That red one must have been an amazing car.

 

By the way, our 1965 Corvair Monza convertible is not mint, but was only 17-18K miles when we bought it and drove a thousand miles to bring it home a couple of years ago.

 

They are still out there!

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19 hours ago, Laughing Coyote said:

 

I didn't know you could get velour inserts in the seats.  I don't like that at all.   The 76 will bring a premium over the 75 which will bring a premium over the 74.  I would take the 71 over the 72-74.

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19 hours ago, Laughing Coyote said:

 

A 74 isnt a 76. I dont know why the 76s are the most popular because they made the most of them but they are. I personaly dont like the look of the fender skirts on the earlier cars but they seem to be the same underneath the skin. I dont think the cloth seats on that car are original even tho thats what the seller is saying. Ive never seen cloth seats in a 70s Caddie convertible. Maybe they would make it that way as a custom order. If your going to buy a Eldorado convertible a 76 is probably the one to own if you want maximum future value. They are probably all good cars but the 76s seem to be the only ones that are really truly popular. Good luck with this one Marty!

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I think I would go with the 76 also, as I am not a fan of fender skirt generally.  Although I'm thinking the 71 engine is going to be a lot more powerful than the 76.  Google didn't make it easy for me so I can't quote any real numbers.

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1 hour ago, alsancle said:

I think I would go with the 76 also, as I am not a fan of fender skirt generally.  Although I'm thinking the 71 engine is going to be a lot more powerful than the 76.  Google didn't make it easy for me so I can't quote any real numbers.

 

The '76 Just Happened to Fall Into My Lap - I wasn't looking, and had sold our '70 deVille convertible the previous summer - DownSizing somewhat! - Still have the '15 Hudson, '30 Packard, '37 Roadmaster, '41 & '54 Caddys, '65 Corvair and '88 Vette - all convertibles/phaetons, so I didn't really NEED another, but it is a beauty with no rust and supposedly in exceptional condition - we'll see soon!

 

From my recall, the '76 is just too nice not to consider - yes, I realize it is a de-smogged model with far less power and worse fuel mileage, but should be a great cruiser, has 4-wheel disk brakes, and well-,maintained at 47,xxx miles, may be the "keeper" I wasn't looking for. The last time that happened was nearly 50 years ago when I met my wife strictly by accident, and now she's a Senior Master AACA Judge who loves Touring (but not polishing brass).

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All Cadillac Eldorado 500s have enough power and torque to satisfy most people. That includes me , and I am a wide open spaces Cadillac Cowboy who enjoyed consuming gasoline as quickly as possible until Mother (Nature) , and Father (Time) put old me on a low calorie diet. Now the high compression '70 is obviously more powerful than the following 8.5:1 500s. And you sure can feel it. You also can hear it suffer severe detonation when you punch more than 1/2 or 3/4 throttle at low elevations. It would be a fantastic engine for those high altitude countries where most driving is at or over 7,000 , or 8,000 feet. So in '71 they dropped the compression , but for that one year only had a long duration camshaft. The '71 is particularly well suited to being driven like a VW bus. You know , just rest your right foot on the firewall with the gas pedal sandwiched between. Hour after hour , effortlessly holds around a hundred and low to mid 'teens , getting almost 13 mpg. Not bad for almost 50 years ago. Ahhhh......... . The good old days when you could fill your tank with a 20 dollar bill , and get change back ! A new cylinder head came out a couple years or so later , raising combustion chamber volume from 78 cc to 127.

 

My highly modified 514 cu in '71 was built to run all over Mexico back when their gasoline was in the 70s octane. Re-cammed for lower rpm (it stands tall on a trick suspension for off-road necessities , and 33" B.F. Goodrich All Terrains) with 7:1 forged Pistons , the thing will still get it on well. Design parameters included preserving 100+ mph capability on 70 something octane fuel ; 10+ mpg at same , and zero detonation at sea level with 12 degrees of advance , full throttle from stop to speed on a steep uphill grade on the same lousy fuel. 

 

My STOCK '76 500 powers the world's fastest FWD Eldo road car. Fastest , in that I took what I learned from doing the substantial suspension mods on the '71 , and gave a handling upgrade to my freeway flying , winding mountain road cruising , then daily driver. Four simple , inexpensive , easily reversible mods. First , and the very most important is TIRES. High pressure (minimum 44 psi @ max load) , low slip angle radials. Tune pressure for road conditions and speed. Front tires which do all the work really should be quite high , and run 6 - 12 psi higher than rear which can run low if the car is lightly loaded. Presently I am using Michelin LTX light truck radials , an expensive 50 psi tire , but there are modern state-of-the-art directional or asymmetrical light truck or performance tires which I would like to try. At speed I run 45-47 psi front for handling , 30-32 rear for comfort.Second is the very best GAS SHOCKS currently available at all corners. Now this involves step three. URETHANE AIR BAGS in the rear coils to replace the air levelers. All you want to do here is slightly raise the rear springrate. Of course you may change the pressure in the bags for extremely heavy loads , but I generally run about 6 psi. Make sure to plumb the air lines to the bags seperately to eliminate any crosstalk , and prevent side to side bleed in corners. Disconnect the lines to and cap off the onboard compressor. Last , for the final touch , URETHANE ANTISWAYBAR BUSHINGS. I was fairly young and able , then sound of mind and body , when I made these mods. As I say , I could drive a stocker as fast as anyone , far faster than most. How you know you are doing that , is when you are driving winding mountain roads with your right foot doing only one of two things : full throttle , or full brakes. That is how you max out a FWD car. And these Eldos are truely a fine platform. (Oh ! Did I mention that 20,000+ miles all over Baja , and coast to coast over road , no road , hoss trails , and a rock garden where high clearance trucks feared to roll in Mexico all the way down to the Guat border and back , that modified monster never let me down ?). Believe me , fine platform is probably an understatement. Fine platform as they are , after I made the handling improvement to the '76 , I had to surrender. I quite simply do not have the skill set to max out the capabilities of the modified car. It is that good. The faster and harder you drive it , it simply grins and calls : "MORE , CC. MORE ! Come ON , man !". Uh , uh. Nope. No , thank you. It scares me , its limits are higher than mine. This translates to SAFETY. The better a car handles , the greater its capability to be put where you want it to be , when you want it to be there. SAFETY. 

 

TREAT YOURSELF TO THE ELDO DROPTOP , MARTY ! 

 

Oh , and Matt : uh , just WHAT was it you said about WHO has put his foot WHERE when driving these magnificent FWD creations ? ???

 

                                   Please drive safely this HAPPY NEW YEAR , all !   Your forum friend ,    - Cadillac Carl 

 

 

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Edited by C Carl
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  • 2 weeks later...

C Carl:

Thanks for checking back - went to see it in the garage, but weather has not been nice enough yet to take it out to drive and to check underneath - hopefully next week will give us the opportunity. It is going to need some attention. the convertible top is of the "Scissor" style where the arms articulate inward rather than folding backward, and one side initially appears to move more slowly than the other (but it may be the way it is supposed to be -  so that they do not interfere left to right - Seems that way in other videos of other scissor tops). Parade Boot is in bag and was touched up or resprayed. Both rear side windows move very slowly and one needs help coming up. There is a worn through area low on the edge of the driver seat back, as well as a wide crack in the upper leather on the driver door; incorrect modern radio does not play, and cannot tell if antenna will work- but original radio in trunk. The car has full older repaint in generally nice better-than-driver quality, but cracking and not smooth on inside edges of doors. Full-Tread almost unused Modern Whitewall radial tires but are incorrect size (P235/75R-15 vs LR78-15) tires look beautiful, but are more than 10 years old. Front and rear panels between fenders and bumpers appear to be replacement fibreglass, but fit and finish seems excellent compared to some I've seen - no "give" - not soft and flexible like the original "rubbery plastic", and I guess this is a good thing?

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On 1/11/2018 at 2:15 PM, Marty Roth said:

...the convertible top is of the "Scissor" style where the arms articulate inward

rather than folding backward, and one side initially appears to move more slowly

than the other (but it may be the way it is supposed to be... 

 

It's typical that the arms don't move identically.  Not a problem at all!

I remember reading that, and that was the case when I had a '73 Eldo. convertible.

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2 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

It's typical that the arms don't move identically.  Not a problem at all!

I remember reading that, and that was the case when I had a '73 Eldo. convertible.

 

Thank you John, I've been studying videos and it does look like the right side siderail is forward of, and folds down faster than the left. Our former 1970 Cadillac deVille had conventional rails and like our '54 and '41, they work well. I don't understand why GM went to this botched system like I had on our '71 Centurion where sometimes the ball-joints would wear and flip over, making the top freeze mid-way.

4 hours ago, Paul Dobbin said:

Marty,'t

Glad to hear it needs tires,  It needs white walls!  I sold our 94 Fleetwood  when I couldn't get white walls anymore.  Locate tire availability before you buy it.  Good luck.

 

Thanks Paul, 

 

LR78-15 1.6" whites are available from Coker. The car has a brand new 10 year old 235/75R-15 set (brand unknown), and I'd not feel comfortable driving any serious distance on radials of that age. I believe Hankook makes an Optimo H724 whitewall radial in 235/75R-15, but these do not have a quite as good rating (500AB) with regard to wet/dry traction, noise, comfort, etc. as Michelin (800AA - $124 at Sam's Club, but no shipping charge, and only $15 for mount, Lifetime balance, Road Hazard, stem, and they will provide road service to change tire - (for your wife?)), but are a moderately priced ($75 at Tire Rack)) modern quality built tire without a "Collector" price. Ages ago I had a set of modern radials vulcanized with whitewalls by a company in the CAROLINAS, but they lied to me about the warranty and road hazard I had paid for and did not get. I'll probably go to Coker since they have always treated me fairly, stood behind their products, and are a big supporter of the hobby.

Edited by Marty Roth (see edit history)
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8 hours ago, Marty Roth said:

I don't understand why GM went to this botched system like I had on our '71 Centurion...

 

You may already know this, but G. M. called it

(at least in some divisions) the "inward-folding

hideaway top."  They said it was made so that

the supporting side arms weren't beside the

rear seat to take away shoulder room.  Supposedly,

the scissor-arm configuration gave more shoulder

room for back-seat passengers.

 

I also remember reading that there was great demand

for the 1976 Eldorado convertible, the "last convertible,"

and that production was limited only by the number

of convertible-top mechanisms that they could get.

 

History can be fun!

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I was given a '76 (hardtop) back in '89.  It spent most of its life in Queens, NY and was then retired to south FL.  The body was badly rusted and the bumper extensions were gone.  Luckily, being body on frame and open C-channel frame, it was structurally fine.  I put a trailer hitch on it and used it for several years to tow a 20' boat.  Everything still worked, all I ever had to do was replace cracked CV boots.  I wouldn't normally recommend FWD for towing/boat ramp duty but the thing was a beast.  With that big 500 ci and transmission over the front wheels it never spun a tire or broke a sweat pulling the boat/trailer up the ramp.  It had the 4 wheel disc brakes which did an admirable job stopping things but did use up brake pads quickly!   Sadly, the car got flooded and never recovered from that.

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4 hours ago, MikeC5 said:

I was given a '76 (hardtop) back in '89.  It spent most of its life in Queens, NY and was then retired to south FL.  The body was badly rusted and the bumper extensions were gone.  Luckily, being body on frame and open C-channel frame, it was structurally fine.  I put a trailer hitch on it and used it for several years to tow a 20' boat.  Everything still worked, all I ever had to do was replace cracked CV boots.  I wouldn't normally recommend FWD for towing/boat ramp duty but the thing was a beast.  With that big 500 ci and transmission over the front wheels it never spun a tire or broke a sweat pulling the boat/trailer up the ramp.  It had the 4 wheel disc brakes which did an admirable job stopping things but did use up brake pads quickly!   Sadly, the car got flooded and never recovered from that.

 

If you had used an Equalizer trailer hitch for the boat, you could have removed the Cadillac's rear wheels completely and have towed cross-country, as I once did to demonstrate towing ability of a Citroen DS-21

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9 hours ago, Marty Roth said:

 

If you had used an Equalizer trailer hitch for the boat, you could have removed the Cadillac's rear wheels completely and have towed cross-country, as I once did to demonstrate towing ability of a Citroen DS-21

 

Same DS that I bought (traded) from you?  I had the Citroen Break sitting out in front of my office in my hometown.  Fellow came in and asked what the hell is that car out there?  So, I went into the story of the French car, the hydro-pneumatic suspension, front wheel drive, and mentioned that you could drive the car with one rear wheel removed.  He didn't believe me at all, he said male cows excrement (edited: Webmaster), I'll bet you fifty dollars you can't do that.

 

Well, guess what, about 30 minutes later I was fifty bucks richer.  Took off a rear wheel and drove around the parking lot.  He was even more amazed I didn't need a jack, just raise the car up with suspension and put stand under it, lower suspension and voila the wheel is off the ground. 

 

What I needed a jack for was to get his jaw off the ground, he was amazed.....

 

All three Citroens gone to the wind, that one, and the cute Deux Chevaux........but the one I should have kept was the SM!

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Great memories David, but no, the one I used to tow the boat with the equalizer hitch was our very first DS-21 sedan - the blue 1967 one I bought in 1969 when shortly after our marriage I sold Dale's 1966 Toyota Crown Station Wagon. She found the Toyota Crown wagon underpowered and loved the comfort & handling of the big Citroen. In the fall of 1970 we moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana and several months later a man making a left turn across 4-lanes against traffic caused a head-on into the DS-21 but the Citroen saved my life . It was later trailered to my friend Carl Drake in Madison, Wisconsin and repairs made it safe again for another owner. The weekend after the wreck, Dale and I flew back to New Orleans and bought another DS-21 - this one was a Pallas- a Belgian model with Citromatoc and leather interior- and drove it back to Indiana.

 

one of the best cars ever - and that is why we bought the 2 1971 D-21 Station Wagons, both of which went to you.

 

great memories 

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Yes, and if I remember correctly, the two wagons had serial numbers which were remarkably close to one another.....those were great driving cars, just no mechanics who knew anything about them where I lived...

 

So, did you buy the Eldorado?

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11 hours ago, trimacar said:

Yes, and if I remember correctly, the two wagons had serial numbers which were remarkably close to one another.....those were great driving cars, just no mechanics who knew anything about them where I lived...

 

So, did you buy the Eldorado?

 

The two 1971 D-21 Wagons were almost identical, extremely close in VIN, and were manufactured, I believe, within a week or so of each other -

the earlier one just a day or two before Christmas 1970 had a fender-mount antenna and A/C condenser just ahead of the radiator;

the later one during the first week of January, 1971 had the roof-mount antenna and a split pair of A/C condensers in either front wheel well directly behind the slots in the front bumper, with exchanged heat venting directly into the wheel well, not adding any heat or blocking air flow to the Citroen's cooling system or engine compartment - a genius idea in my opinion.

 

We've not yet had a chance to go back to the ElDorado, but plan to do it, hopefully this weekend

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  • 1 year later...

I bought a new  1976 Eldo Convert , MSRP for mine was around $12500. Sold it right away for $20K That was fun.  Now , I am now older, really older and ready for another one. I see a few out there under 10K miles, and have had a hobby of American Muscle, which I am done with. Know some what to look out for , but I am reading about the timing chain problems???  Kind of scaring me.  Are they that bad and a real risk for a 2019 purchase even with low miles? Thanks, Bob

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MBATR... For tires I'd suggest 235x75R15s BFG Advantage T/A Sport and a set of these. I used to swear by Michelins until I bought a car with Michelin Pilot  MXM4s. 85+% tread and terrible in the wet. Since then I believe the BFGs (same company) have a better price/benefit ratio particularly if usually replace for age rathe then wear.

 

I always liked the 76 Eldo 'vert. My understanding was that in the early '70s all big GM cars used the same convertible top, 76 Eldo was just the last one (until 1984) and to me the 75-76 with the rectangular headlamps were the best looking. I would consider the FI engine a plus.

 

There are four areas in a car that I believe have improved so much this century that should be de rigueur for any car that is driven in modern traffic (some were not legal in 1977 but are now):

- radial tires rated at "excellent" on wet pavement.

- bulb-type halogen headlamps (most of mine have 55w Silver-Stars).

- AGM battery

- "handsfree" audio systems

 

Note: none of these require anything more than bolt-on replacement & can put originals in big baggies.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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