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Image: 1975 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Convertible

Efficient, elegant, and refined

1975 Cadillac
Fleetwood Eldorado

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Image: 1975 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado interiorThe front wheel drive Eldorado Coupe and Convertible for 1975 received extensive styling changes, even though both retained the same body that had been introduced four years earlier. A new grille design had a bold, vertical texture and was flanked by rectangular headlamp units. The switch to rectangular lighting was the biggest change since the industry adopted the dual headlight setup in 1958. Because of their more compact dimensions, the rectangular units allowed for a lower and wider frontal appearance, and gave stylists the ability to incorporate them into the overall design better. For years, stylists surrounded the round sealed beam units with rectangular bezels, or hid them behind headlight covers, in an attempt to make them blend better.

The wrap around parking, turn signal, and cornering lights of the previous two years were replaced with rectangular parking and turn signal lights placed in the outer ends of the lower front bumper. The front side marker and cornering light assembly was now rectangular, and placed higher up on the front fender in front of the wheel opening.

The 1975 Eldorado struck a very sporty appearance when viewed from the side. The rear fender skirts had disappeared, and for the first time since 1970 the rear wheel openings were wide open, giving the car a leaner, sleeker look. This meant the full-length body side belt molding was now shorter, and ran the length of the car only between the wheel openings. Coupe models got a restyled rear quarter window. It was still fixed, but now dipped down at the lower front edge to meet the rear fender line. The lower edge was angled to match the fender angle, and the glass area itself was larger, giving the driver a better view. Rear styling remained virtually identical to that of 1974, which was all new that year.

The inside story for 1975 included new upholstery fabrics in three standard patterns for the Coupe models. Mosaic Check combined a daring check pattern cloth with color-coordinated leather in three different shades. Monticello Velour was a very ornate material that came in six colors. Metamora Plaid was offered in three colors, and is representative of Cadillac customer's fondness for plaid upholstery designs at the time. Optionally, a new softer, more supple Sierra Grain Leather was available on Coupe models, but was provided as standard equipment on the Convertible. Leather was available in 12 shades, including several new colors such as Light Blue, Dark Crimson, Rosewood, Dark Brown, and Medium Orange (shown above). A new shirred stitching technique gathered the material, giving it a comfortable, relaxed look.

Many items that were optional in previous years became standard for 1975, and base prices reflected this change. Things such as an AM/FM signal-seeking stereo radio with automatic power antenna, power door locks, Automatic Climate Control (with a new Economy setting), tinted glass, white sidewall tires, and six-way power seat were normally specified by customers anyway, so ultimately it simplified the ordering process, and likely saved some money since all Eldorados built would now have these items. Steel-belted radial ply tires were now standard as well, in recognition of their lower rolling resistance, which reduced drag by up to 33 percent and coupled with a lower final drive ratio, improved fuel economy as a result.

Cadillac was in a colorful mood in the mid-seventies, and that is reflected again in 1975 by some of the paint finishes offered. Rosewood Firemist was a soft metallic Lilac color that was inspired by a similar color from 1969. Mandarin Orange was a bright orange metallic that really demanded attention. Inverary Green was a silvery green shade that could seem both icy cool yet brilliantly reflective at the same time. All of these colors were included in matching vinyl roof and interior trims, and you could even specify an orange convertible top if desired!

Image: 1975 Cadillac Eldorado Wide Whitewall TireCadillac introduced quite a few new options in 1975 as well. Among them were Electronic Fuel Injection, Air Cushion Restraint System (air bags), a glass dome Astroroof, reclining passenger seat back, illuminated entry system, Fuel Monitor System, and wide white sidewall tires, which featured a 1.6 inch width stripe, compared to the standard .75-inch whitewall. (See image at left for correct white stripe design.) Don't confuse the "new" wide whitewall stripe with those from earlier models. Some owners have mistakenly placed 1950's-style wide whitewall tires on these cars, which are incorrect and look out of place.

Sales improved only slightly for the year, due mostly to the economic recession during the 1975 model year. It was the most severe recession since 1958 at that time, and even wealthy consumers were economizing wherever possible.

The 1975 Eldorados are a good choice for classic car enthusiasts. The high energy ignition ensures easier, faster starting under all conditions, and Cadillac had made great strides in improving fuel economy during 1974-75. These Eldorados are surprisingly agile and easy to drive, especially considering their size. A few minutes behind the wheel will impress even those who normally couldn't see themselves collecting a large car. Driven carefully, respectable fuel economy can be achieved. Like all leisure activities, classic cars do cost money and aren't always the best use of one's time. But for the sheer enjoyment factor, nothing beats them.

There's something about tinkering with an old car and returning a long inoperable component back to full function. Polishing that chrome trim that hasn't sparkled in decades. There are the many friendships afforded among old car enthusiasts, who all have a common bond and understand the complexities of maintaining an older car. And that's what it's all about, really. Strangers who approach to ask about your car. So often, it reminds them of a loved one who had one like it when it was brand new.

As one of the world's most exciting cars, the 1975 Cadillac Eldorado today represents a time when bigger was better, choice was a mandatory option, and efficiency and luxury were just beginning to become shared interests. When you slide behind the wheel, gaze across the long expanse of hood past the wreath-and-crest hood ornament, settle comfortably into a seat that gives you all the leg room you could want and cradles you in the comfort of top quality leathers and fabrics...only then are you prepared to enjoy the excitement that comes as standard equipment on a 1975 Eldorado.


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