Automotive Mileposts  
Production Numbers

1969 Eldorado
Fleetwood Eldorado by Cadillac
INTRODUCTION DATE: September 26, 1968
Style Number:
Series Code: H
Vehicle Production Number: Starts at H9100001

*Reflects Eldorado production only; visit 1969 Cadillac Production for data on rear drive models.
**Price on introduction date. On January 1, 1969, front seat head restraints were required by Federal law, and their $18 cost was added to the base price, which made it $6,711.
472 Cubic Inch V-8 (375 Horsepower at 4400 rpm)
Bore and stroke: 4.30 x 4.06 inches
Compression ratio: 10.5:1
Rochester four barrel Quadrajet Carburetor (model 7028230)
Dual Exhaust System to Muffler, One Outlet Pipe from Muffler
Turbo Hydra-matic (Front Wheel Drive)
Ratio: 3.07:1

120 Inches

221 Inches
79.94 Inches
53.8 Inches
4,550 Pounds
Image: 1969 Eldorado finished in San Mateo Red with black vinyl roofLEFT: 1969 Fleetwood Eldorado shown in San Mateo Red with optional black vinyl roof
Production of the 1969 Eldorado body was moved from the Fleetwood plant in Detroit to the Fisher Body plant in Euclid, Ohio. The 1969 Eldorado was the only car in the world to combine front wheel drive, variable-ratio power steering, and Automatic Level Control. The confidence of power front disc brakes and the performance of a 472 cubic inch V-8 engine make it truly exceptional.

The 1969 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado was refined in styling for 1969. Perhaps Cadillac felt that the 1967 and 1968 models were just a bit too sporty looking for its conservative clientele. The retractable headlamp covers were replaced by fixed dual headlamps for 1969. The grille was now finely textured, loosing the larger texture previously featured. This gave the Eldorado a frontal appearance that was more in keeping with the other Cadillac models. The racy slotted wheel covers were also toned down, a more elegant appearance accomplished by eliminating the slots, and giving them a simpler design. This wheel cover would be the sole offering on Eldorado automobiles through 1971.

At the back, the dual backup lights, previously housed in the bumper on either side of the license plate, were replaced by two red reflectors. A new single backup light moved up to the fuel filler door, providing improved illumination.

Image: Cadillac's new instrument panel design for 1969Inside, a new instrument panel was introduced for 1969 (left), which placed all controls near the driver. At its center, the instrument panel jutted out towards the passenger compartment, its padded surface providing improved protection to front seat passengers in the event of a mishap. A new steering wheel allowed the driver to sound the horn by squeezing the inner side of any part of the wheel. A new theft-deterrent ignition, steering and transmission lock made it more difficult to "borrow" someone else's car, and moved the ignition key to the steering column.

The windshield wiper and washer controls were mounted on the driver's door panel, which appeared to be a part of the instrument panel with the door closed. Controls for cruise control, rear defogger, seat heater, headlights, and Climate Control were to the left of the steering column, and the clock and radio were to the right. Directly in front of the driver, was the speedometer, below which warning lights were placed. A very tidy and functional design that took a bit of getting used to, since everything was condensed into a rather tight space.

In March, a special 1969 Fleetwood Eldorado Show Car [links in this article open in new windows] with a power-operated retractable sun roof opening was exhibited at the New York International Automobile Show. This car previewed a new open air option that would be available late in the 1969 model year. Ford's Thunderbird beat the other personal luxury cars to market with this feature, prominently displaying it in most of its 1969 advertising, and a power sunroof had been available since 1967 on the Mercury Cougar, as well as on a limited run of 1967 Thunderbird Apollo cars, built for Abercrombie and Fitch for display in their stores.

The Eldorado was GM's first personal luxury car to abandon the retractable headlamp covers. Apparently the Eldorado started a trend, since the Toronado, Riviera, and Thunderbird all ditched the concealed headlamp feature for 1970. Cadillac introduced its "halo" vinyl roof in 1969, and the Eldo looked especially fetching with the color-keyed rear window trim, and the color break around the edge of the vinyl roof moldings. This was especially apparent when contrasting body and vinyl roof colors were combined.

Cadillac mentioned Eldorado's "quiet, soft-riding" personality in sales literature, and emphasized that the Eldo was the only car in the world to combine, as standard equipment, front-wheel drive, variable-ratio power steering, and Automatic Level Control.

Sales of the Eldorado slipped in 1969, its third year since becoming a personal luxury hardtop. It was not alone. The personal luxury market was being infiltrated by quite a few new names; Chevrolet Monte Carlo and Pontiac's newly-styled Grand Prix, to name two. Both of these cars were considerably less costly than the top ranked players, yet provided an edge over other two door hardtop models.

Cadillac failed to set a new sales record in 1969, for the first time in six years. The Fleetwood Eldorado for 1969 was still billed by Cadillac as "the world's finest personal luxury car." With new government regulations just around the bend, and a growing interest in Lincoln's new entry to this field, the Continental Mark III (introduced in April,1968 as a 1969 model), Cadillac would be challenged to maintain its superiority. The 1969 Eldorado was—and is—a unique combination of beauty, performance, and handling qualities. Indeed...the world's finest personal luxury car.

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