PHOTOS B Y LARRY D'ARGIS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Bill Eamer has been a car enthusiast since he was a kid. He purchased this rare Cadillac in 2010.
For 1967, Cadillac introduced its new Fleetwood Eldorado Coupe. Sharing the same E-body platform as the Buick Riviera and Oldsmobile Toronado, it was the first Cadillac to be billed as a personal luxury car. Radically styled with hidden headlamps and riding on a 120-inch wheelbase, with a 221-inch overall length and weighing in at 4,590-pounds — it was also the shortest and lowest Cadillac on the market in ’67. With a base price of $6,277, it still offered full six-passenger seating, thanks to the flat floor in front afforded from the front-wheel-drive platform borrowed from the Toronado.
The Eldorado used its own highly stylized sheet metal along with a slightly longer wheelbase and modified frame. The Toronado front torsion bar suspension was shared as was its 425 Turbo-Hydramatic three-speed automatic transmission. It still relied on the tried and true Cadillac 429-cubic-inch V-8. Equipped with 10.5:1 compression, four-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust, it produced 340 horsepower and 480 foot pounds of torque.
Mounted longitudinally, a massive enclosed chain carried the power 180 degrees from the torque convertor to the transmission nestled under the right bank of the engine. The final 3.21:1 ratio drive was fed through a differential mounted in front of the transmission, which utilized a left driveshaft routed through a cylindrical passage through the oil pan.
While it may sound technically confusing and a bit strange, it was very reliable. This is the same platform that would go on to power many models of large motorhomes well into the 1980s.
For Bill Eamer of Winnipeg, cars from the ’50s and ’60s have always caught his eye.
“Growing up in the ’50s, I could look down the street and tell the make and model of each car with only a quick glance,” he says.
In 2010 he began searching for an attractive classic to have as a fair-weather driver and through a Winnipeg Free Press classified ad that fall, he found the Eldorado. A local Winnipeg car with 58,000 miles showing on the odometer, it had received one repaint, but was otherwise in original condition.
The Caddy’s unique style and comfort had a lot to offer. Finished in Sable Black with Black Darien cloth and vinyl interior upholstery and black padded vinyl roof, it was the picture of automotive elegance.
What were often listed as optional extras on other models came as standard equipment on the Eldorado. It rolled out with variable-ratio power steering, power brakes, power windows and automatic transmission.
Optional extras found on Eamer’s car include, front disc brakes $105.25, cruise control $95, power door locks $47, power trunk release $52, AM/FM radio with power antenna $188, six-way power Strato-bench seat $83.15, tilt-telescopic steering column $89.50, twilight-sentinel headlamp delay $37, Guide-Matic headlamp dimmer $50, padded vinyl roof $131.60, white sidewall tires $56.35, Soft-Ray tinted glass $50.55 and automatic climate controlled air conditioning $515.75. Aside from a few options such as leather interior and door guards, it’s pretty well loaded, and even without a calculator, it’s easily the cost of what two ’67 Chevy Impalas would have sold for.
Since purchasing the car, Eamer has added four new whitewall radial tires, and as an added safety feature, mounted two small driving lamps at the top of the grille and a third rear window mounted brake lamp. In 2015, he had Gil and Paul at Joe’s Machine Shop do a thorough rebuild of the engine’s top end including rebuilt cylinder heads and a new camshaft. Other regular maintenance and service is entrusted to Andy and Stefan Baranowski at J W McDonald Auto Service.
Eamer and wife Helen have enjoyed driving the car each summer. Rolling up 7,000 miles in the past six years, they look forward to enjoying many more miles with the Eldorado. A rare sight on Winnipeg roads today, it never fails to draw a thumbs up from admirers and many have struck up a conversation with Eamer to learn more about it.
Eamer’s Eldorado was an early car, produced in November of 1966 and it’s one of the 17,930 produced for sale in 1967. Fleetwood Eldorado coupe sales would climb to about 25,000 each year from 1968 through 1970 and a convertible model was added in 1971. From there sales would continue to increase and the Eldorado would remain one of Cadillac’s best selling models.
Difficult to find and expensive to restore, today the early ’67 and ’68 Fleetwood Eldorado models are seeing a resurgence by collectors, and prime examples can command a high dollar at car auctions. Chrome from end to end with jaw-dropping style and elegance, that’s Cadillac!