Home Car Stories Alley Finds 1996 CADILLAC Eldorado- Newark, CA
1996 CADILLAC Eldorado- Newark, CA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Double Dragon
Sunday, 01 March 2015 23:38

1996 CADILLAC Eldorado- Newark, CA

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Writing and photography copyright D. S. Brown

96 cadillac eldorado newark ca front

The Cadillac Eldorado first appeared as a showcar and then became a production trim line throughout the 1950s where it hung around accomplishing minimal sales. The Eldorado name is best remembered for its later incarnation as a 'personal luxury car' in the Thunderbird tradition.

Buick and Pontiac first answered the Ford Thunderbird success story with the Wildcat and Grand Prix which followed the Thunderbird formula of personal pods (buckets separated by a console) and some distinctive exterior styling. What you got was a full size car that only seats 4 and had some jazzy jet age interior styling. Chrysler rushed out the Monaco around the same time.

96 cadillac eldorado newark ca interior

Buick swept away every competitor in 1963 when they released the Buick Riviera. This car eclipsed not only the Thunderbird which had created the 'personal car' market but it also knocked off Buick's own Wildcat. Riviera was acclaimed as one of the best looking cars of the 1960s.

Oldsmobile could no longer ignore the personal luxury market and got into the act, but in a very interesting fashion. Oldsmobile wanted to re establish themselves as the innovative division of General Motors once again. In the past Olds was always the division where the newest advancement appeared first. But for a while the division had been coasting as the inbetween division: higher than Pontiac but not quite a Buick. To escape that limbo without a clear identity it was time to get back to Oldsmobile roots.

Oldsmobile put themselves into the limelight with the new 1966 Toronado. This full size front wheel drive car reasserted Oldsmobile as pioneers. A domestic manufacturer offering a full size front wheel drive in the 1960s was considered radical. The car was nicely styled and drew a lot of praise for its large interior space with the flat floor. Magazines reported on the innovations needed to mount a Turbo Hydromatic transmission under the hood.

Cadillac waited a year for on the road experience to ensure that there were no bugs in the Toronado's E body platform before releasing the Cadillac Eldorado personal car using the E body. The Cadillac Eldorado was still a big cumbersome car but far more 'sporty' than the rest of the staid Cadillac lineup. Edlorado's immediate popularity spurred Lincoln to modify the Thunderbird platform (which started this whole trend in the first place) to create the Lincoln Mark III as a direct competitor to the Eldorado.

The Eldorado was quite a svelte sharp edged design. In 1971 it was enlarged into the most familiar and portly version of the car which lasted until a 1979 downsize that retained the general styling cues intact. The next downsize that hit the Eldorado in 1986 was based on an erroneous assumption about rising gas prices. During the late 1980s and early 1990s gas prices in the USA were held down at a very low price and this hurt sales of the compact Eldorado. The next version of the Eldorado for 1992 remedied this mistake with a just right sized Eldorado version finding wide public acceptance.

96 cadillac eldorado newark ca door sticker

The door sticker above informs us that this ALLEY FIND 1996 Eldorado was an early build in October, 1995. The VIN 1G6EL12Y6TU606960 decodes:

1= USA built car

G= General Motors

6= Cadillac division

EL= Eldorado (ET is Eldorado Touring)

1= 2 Door coupe

2= Active (manual) belts, driver and passenger airbags

Y= Option code LD8 4.6 L multi port injection V8 engine (279 c.i.)

6= Check digit

T= 1996 Model year

U= Hamtramck, Michigan final assembly plant

606960= Sequential code

The final version of the Eldorado debuted in 1992 with more width and length and retained the Eldorado look. Cadillac allowed this version of the Eldorado to run the longest of any bodystyle: a full 10 model years.

96 cadillac eldorado newark ca northstar engine

The famous 'Northstar' 4.6 L engine powers this 1996 Eldorado. The actual cubic inch displacement is 279 c.i. which was very close to the 281 c. i. used in the competing Lincoln Mark VIII.

96 cadillac eldorado newark ca rear

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 22 December 2015 21:00 )