I’ve had a number of discussions with friends in the collector car hobby about the difference between the quality of post-war American cars when compared to their European rivals. We wonder why U.S. luxury cars don’t seem to stack up to offerings from manufacturers like Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz, or Bentley.
The discussion usually ends with someone commenting that U.S. companies in the Post-War era either lack the expertise or the ability to build a car that can truly compete with or beat the luxury cars considered the best in the world. This statement is incorrect though, because there was a time in the 1950s when Cadillac not only competed with these storied companies but built a car that was likely better. That car is the 1957-1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham.
The Eldorado Brougham came out to compete with the Continental MK II. Cadillac not only built a worthy competitor but went far beyond that and delivered the last truly handbuilt American luxury car. Buyers of the new Eldorado Brougham were able to choose from 15 different exterior paint colors and 44 different interior options.
This amazing car came standard with the following features:
- Electric adjustable seats featuring a memory function
- Air conditioning
- Cruise control
- Atomizer filled with Arpège Extrait De Lanvin perfume
- Automatic starter with restart function
- Evans leather trimmed cigarette case and vanity kit containing a lipstick holder
- Set of silver tumblers
The list of standard features is extensive but that brief sampling gives you an idea of the level of quality and prestige in a Eldorado Brougham. When new the Eldorado Brougham was priced at an astounding $13,074, which was twice the price of any other Cadillac car at the time and even more than a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. It’s also worth mentioning that the Eldorado Brougham had a stainless steel roof and was a handbuilt car.
These cars are better in person than in pictures and were truly the finest luxury cars in the world. Cadillac would build a total of 400 Eldorado Broughams in 1957 and another 304 in 1958.
It has the original light gray all-wool Mohave broadcloth over dark gray leather with biscuit pattern and deep recessed button trim interior. This Eldorado Brougham has its original dark gray Karakul pile carpeting.
The Torrance, California dealer offering this car on ClassicCars.com describes this masterpiece of car design as having what is believed to be 86,000 original miles from new and is said to be in excellent condition.
In the current market I feel that these cars are quite undervalued, with top cars from the Hagerty Price Guide selling for $167,000.
This elegant Eldorado is currently listed at $102,500, and though I would have it inspected prior to purchase, it looks to represent an amazing value in 1950s American collector cars.