Live and Let Die

Whoops! Broke the 4th wall.

Whoops! Broke the 4th wall.

This is the 1974 Cadillac Eldorado (Ed.: in this case, el dorado should be el cromado) by el Clasico. I love this car. I hate this car.

Eldorados through MY 1985 are secret (Ed.: not any more) favorites of mine, even as a Ford guy. I definitely prefer the 1972-76 Eldo to the corresponding Mark IV. So this car speaks to me, in a general sense.

The dialect used here is where we run into trouble.

If this is a survivor car, I get it. The so-called pimpmobile (“Jukebox“ to Roger Moore) ornamentation was a thing in the 1970s, even outside the stereotyped worlds of street side human trafficking and obtuse, tone-deaf British spy movies. So, OK, welcome to the party.

If this is a recreation, I am out. More on that at the end.

Assuming it’s a period piece created back in the day, what do we have:

  1. Mr. Big. I see elements of the ”corvorado” (Ed.: note the toy car sitting on the roof in the gallery) from the Bond Movie - the color, the fake landau bars on the C-pillar and fake luggage straps/ cladding on the trunk. The grille and giant chrome cap for it are at least inspired by the Bond car.

  2. Sixteen. There are 16 Cadillac badges on this car. At least 16. For the logo-illiterate, it has “Cadillac“ in text at least twice. And that’s just the outside. Also, 16 is the number of taillights.

  3. Strapping - Leather (vinyl I suspect) straps and cladding. I already mentioned the trunk. The vinyl roof margins get a similar treatment. The side rub strip is a monument to ornamental excess, but at least it\s functional. (Ed.: Theoretically.) But wait, there’s more. The center bulge of the hood has it. They dropped the lower line of the vinyl roof (Ed.: awkwardly, like a cheese grater) in order to carry the vinyl under the side windows. Because: why not?

  4. Motion Blur. You know those lines they use in comic strips to convey motion and speed? (Ed.: You mean “motion lines“?) This car has them. Look above the front marker lights and behind the fender skirts. Zoomy! They in no way make this caricature look cartoonish. I swear i typed that with a straight face.

  5. No Substitute for Inches - in this case linear ones. The rear cap looks like its been extended with wider plastic around the tailfin bumpers. I wonder why they didn’t fit an actual spare tire “Continental kit“ to make this car even longer and more impossible to park. gracefully. The hump in the trinklid looks half-hearted and too Mark III-VII-ish

  6. Other stuff.

Those wheel covers. Two rows of bent spokes would never hold the tonnage of this car, but it’s a cool look.

The running boards, because 8 inches is a long way to lift your foot to get in without a stop halfway.

The crash bars. If a pair is OK for a motorcycle, 4 pair should do great protecting this car. Wait. What do you mean they’re supposed to be headers? That’s the stupidest f- never mind. Lost track of the subject.

The pie plate headlight things. I don’t get it, but they seem slightly less ridiculous here than on a Mark IV.

If it were my car, I would lose the add on crap - all of it. And not just because of the incongruity of the elements and awkward disco and cocaine-fueled vision of it as a whole.

As a white guy who lived through this stylistic fad, the only place I would keep this as presented, if it’s a true survivor, is in a museum - preferably a cultural history museum. I wouldn’t be seen driving it. Some people used this add-on junk back in the day to express status or taste. Some people who influenced the status or tastes of wide swaths of people thought this was a good pigeonhole to put other, usually dissimilar people into.

If it’s a recreation, somebody needs his J.C. Whitney credit card revoked, for starters. And then maybe some history lessons on what this car symbolizes about a culture, about some horrific practices by it’s stereotypical buyers, and about themselves, thinking that this is cute or funny as an aesthetic.

Dear friendly owner guy, who I met at the show,

No, I will not email you pictures of this car. I will not sell them to you, because promoting this car for your business or for a sale is gross and anathematic.

My decision to withhold your name is to spare this thing any more publicity than this diatribe itself creates.

I am aware of your higher, better endeavor. I encourage you to focus on them and not expand them with this car.

Park this thing somewhere out of sight. Look me up when it’s restored or redirected to something less regrettable for a design inspiration. A Herb Tarlek tribute car would be infinitely better.
— Me