1971 Cadillac Eldorado

1971 Cadillac Eldorado

The bigger V-8 of 1970 hinted that a bigger Eldo was on the way. But though the mostly new 1971 edition was 6.3 inches longer between wheel centers, it was just 0.6-inch longer overall and only some 75 pounds heavier. Even so, the more rounded styling made it look far bulkier than its crisply chiseled forebears, and most of the extra wheelbase went ahead of the firewall, not into the cockpit. All of which later moved Automobile Quarterly to lament that "there is absolutely no logical reason for owning [this] Eldorado.... In terms of efficiency it ranks somewhere near zero.... In terms of handling it is a barge compared with the very nice car it was six years ago. It also has the thirstiest engine in production."

1971 Cadillac Eldorado

1971 Cadillac Eldorado

But if this Eldorado seemed outsize then, let alone now, it was precisely what the luxury market wanted for most of the self-indulgent Seventies. Sales bear this out. Bolstered by a revived Eldorado convertible (replacing the de Ville ragtop), this series recorded sizeable production gains through 1973, dipped in Energy Crisis '74, recovered in 1975-76, then soared to a record 47,000 in swan-song 1977-78.

1971 Cadillac Eldorado

1971 Cadillac Eldorado

Year-to-year changes were too numerous to list here, but the 500 V-8 persisted through '76 (with fuel injection optional from early 1975), after which a more responsible new 425 took over. Styling was freshened for '75 with skinless rear wheels, a pronounced beltline dip, and rectangular quad headlights; four-wheel disc brakes were standardized for '76. There were always plenty of interesting options, such as the coupe's Custom Cabriolet roof (from 1972), fancy Custom Biarritz and two-tone Biarritz Classic packages (from late '76), "Track Master" rear anti-lock brakes (1972), even a driver's airbag (a few for '74). Horsepower withered with progressively tightening emissions limits -- drastically with the switch from SAE gross to more realistic net ratings beginning in 1973 -- but usable performance wasn't much affected. Prices went the other way, breaking the $10,000 barrier in '75.

1971 Cadillac Eldorado

1971 Cadillac Eldorado

But back to the 1971 Eldorado which kept its basic shape for eight years. The second generation front-wheel-drive Eldorado was offered as a sedan and a convertible. Although it had the huge 500 cubic inch engine, the compression was lowered so that it had 35 less horsepower. Remember this is still gross horsepower. The change to net horsepower does not take effect until the 1973 models. As a rule of thumb (but by no means accurate) net horsepower is about 2/3 gross horsepower. Rear coil springs were another new technical feature. The Eldorado wheelbase was stretched more than six inches, too.

Body styling was heavily sculptured. A vertically textured, rectangular grille was new. Front fenders had a chiseled, cut-off look and a vertical windsplit, that harkened back to the early 1950s, appeared just behind the doors. Fender skirts were something new for Eldorado and added to the old-fashioned, classical image. So did the revival of convertible styling in this line. Trim features included

.

Narrow "coach" windows were cut into the rear roof pillar of the coupe. Rear end treatment for the new body included a raised and extended trunk lid appearance; extra large backlight; and a massive rear bumper with a flat in-and-out look, that housed vertical, wraparound taillights at each side. Standard fare for the sporty luxury series included all DeVille equipment, less rear arm rests, plus Automatic Level Control and front-wheel-drive technology.

STYLE

Model NameModel No.Body/ Style No.Body TypeSeatingFactory priceShipping weightProduction total
Fleetwood Eldorado71-69369367E
2-door Convertible Coupe

2-door Convertible Coupe

6 pass.$77514690 lb6800
Fleetwood Eldorado71-69369347H
2-door HT Sport Coupe

2-door HT Sport Coupe

6 pass.$73834650 lb20,568

ENGINE

Engine typeV-8 Overhead valves. Cast iron block
Displacement500 cubic inches
Bore & stroke4.30 x 4.304 inches
Compression ratio10.5:1
Brake horsepower (SAE gross)400 @ 4400 rpm
Torque550 @ 3000 rpm
Main bearingsfive
Valve liftersHydraulic
CarburetorRochester four-barrel Quadrajet model 4MV (Eldorado type)

CHASSIS

ModelWheelbaseOverall lengthTires
Eldorado126.3221.6 in 

POWERTRAIN OPTIONS

Trackmaster for Eldorado only$211

OPTIONS

Automatic Climate Control$537
Cruise control$95
Fan type rear window defogger$37
Grid type rear window defogger$63
Door edge guards in 2-door$6
Power door locks$71
Power door locks with electric seat back release in coupes and convertibles$71
One piece front and rear floor mats$20
Soft Ray tinted glass$59
Guidematic$51
Lamp monitors$50
License frame(s)$6/1; $12/2
Remote control right mirror$26
Firemist paint$132
AM/FM pushbutton Radio$138
AM/FM signal-seeking stereo Radio$328
AM/FM radio with tape$416
Padded vinyl roof$161
Shoulder belts in convertible front seat or rear seat$32
Tilt and Telescope steering wheel$95
Sun roof with padded roof mandatory$626
Trumpet horn in coupe$16
Remote control trunk lock$58
Trunk mat$8
Twilight Sentinel$41
Expanded leather upholstery in Eldorado coupe$184

LITERATURE & LINKS