8 March 2014
1953 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible
To be auctioned on
Sold for $184,250
- Engine no. 536244493
- Body no. 89
- Offered from the collection of Richard and Linda Kughn
- Part of the 1953 General Motors Trifecta
- The original Eldorado; a one-year-only model
- Formerly owned by Lee Herrington
- A quality older restoration with desirable accessories
El Dorado! Over the passing decades, the name has come to refer to a legendary “City of Gold,” long sought-after and never acquired by all those who seek fame, fortune, and plunder. Only slightly less desirable in 1953 was Cadillac’s Eldorado, which was, at the time, the most glorious automobile that the company had ever produced. It was the first production Cadillac to carry a name that would continue to mean the finest in American luxury for generations to come.
It was one of the 1952 General Motors Motorama dream cars that were ushered, largely unchanged, into limited production the following year. It was, essentially, a Series 62 Convertible Coupe; however, the body was radically reshaped, incorporating a wraparound windshield, Packard Darrin-like “dips” in the doors, and an acrylic fabric convertible top that disappeared neatly behind a metal boot when lowered. This being the 1950s, comfort abounded within: power seats, windows, and steering were all standard in the leather-trimmed cockpit, as was a signal-seeking radio, an automatic heating system, and windshield washers. The package was finished with wire wheels that were shod with wide whitewall tires.
In a public relations coup for the ages, the first production Eldorado literally rolled out with the president of the United States in the backseat, as Dwight Eisenhower used it for his inaugural parade in January 1953.
Only 533 lucky souls got to experience what it felt to be like Ike. The original Eldorado has gone down in history as the most unique and rarest of the many cars to carry the famous name, and it remains among the most desired of all post-war Cadillacs.
The car offered here, body number 89, was formerly owned by well-known collector Lee Herrington, and then it was acquired from him for Mr. and Mrs. Kughn’s collection. The Kughns were longtime attendees and supporters of the Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance, and this car was a frequent guest of that famous event, as it was displayed there in 2006, 2007, and 2009. It also appeared at the Bay Harbor Vintage Car & Boat Festival in 2007.
Even though the car was restored some time ago, it has continued to hold up well, thanks to excellent maintenance in the Kughn Collection. It has smooth body panels with good gaps, and it is finished in sparkling Alpine White. The leather interior trim and chrome shows light wear, as do the chassis and under the hood, which is to be expected of an older restoration that has seen a few road miles. The car is riding on chrome wire wheels that are shod in bias-ply tires, and it has, as would be expected, a full complement of correct gadgetry, including power windows and seat, a correct acrylic fabric top, and a Continental kit rear-mounted spare.
For many Cadillac enthusiasts, the Eldorado represents the most exclusive and desirable model of the decade, and no collection is complete without one. Mr. and Mrs. Kughn have treasured theirs, and it is now offered here to fill a niche in the stable of a new discerning owner.
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