The Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz was one outrageous roadster. Launched in ’59, it looked like a Saturn space-rocket. Certainly, you could have seen it coming from a mile away. Not that it would have arrived as quickly as a rocket – its top speed being 115mph. It would have helped, too, had said mile been a smooth stretch of freeway. The Biarritz’s springy suspension might have got the jitters, otherwise. But – given the right road – the Biarritz was a car like no other. The epitome of OTT styling, it took Fifties sci-fi mania to another level. Rear fins had never been higher – up to a skyscraper-like 42″. Jutting out of them was a ray-gun of indicators and brake-lights. And – were they tail-lights or after-burners? A cosmetic rear grille inspired further flights of spaced-out fancy.
Powering the plot was a 6.3-litre V8. It made a more than respectable 345bhp. Much of that, though, was soaked up by the Biarritz’s two-ton weight problem. It did not do the fuel economy any favours, either. A measly 8mpg were available. There again, petrol in ’50s America was cheap as chips. Holding it all together was a perimeter frame chassis. Drum brakes were fitted all round. Not exactly space-age, technically. But, then, that had been sorted by the design department!
The Biarritz was off-the-clock comfortable. Zero-gravity, you might say! That was due, mainly, to its super-soft suspension settings. All six seats were power-adjustable. The boot-lid opened electrically. Headlight-dipping was automatic. Of course, there was power-steering. The hood and windows were also electrically-operated. Transmission was via a 3-speed auto. The car was named after a mythical city, made out of gold – and a sophisticated French seaside resort. Cadillac’s Eldorado Biarritz was everything you would expect from a machine so dubbed. Oh – space-walks were an extra!