Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

1950s American classic car

The Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz has to be one of the most outrageous-looking roadsters ever built. Looking for all the world like a Saturn space-rocket, you would have seen it coming from a mile off. Not that it would have arrived quite as quickly as a rocket ... though it did have a top speed of 115mph. It would have helped had that mile been a super-smooth stretch of American highway - since anything else might have turned the Biarritz's soft suspension to the proverbial jelly! But given the right road, the Biarritz was a car like no other. The epitome of OTT styling, it took '50s sci-fi mania to another level. Rear fins had never been higher - reaching a Mount Everest-like 42″. Jutting out from them were indicators and brake-lights resembling a ray-gun. The tail-lights could have doubled up as after-burners! The rear grille was cosmetic - but furthered the impression of forward thrust.

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 two-ton weight of the Biarritz. It did not help with fuel economy, either. A mere 8mpg was the order of the Biarritz day. Not a lot - but then, petrol in Fifties America was pretty cheap. Holding it together was a perimeter frame chassis. Drum brakes were fitted all round. Not exactly space-age ... but, then, that had been dealt with by the design department!

The Biarritz was nothing if not comfortable. Mainly, that was down to its 'eiderdown' suspension. Each of the six seats, though, was power-adjustable. The boot opened electrically. Headlight-dipping was automatic. Naturally, it had power-steering. The hood and windows, too, were electrically-operated. Transmission was via a 3-speed auto. Named after a mythical city, made out of gold - and a sophisticated French seaside resort - the Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz was everything you would expect from a car so dubbed.

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