Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth, TX
GM has long been influenced by aviation-inspired styling, first implemented in the gorgeous P-38 tailfins of the 1948 Cadillacs. By 1959, airplanes made way for rockets and the satellite-era, and that influence was at its pinnacle on cars like this jaw-dropping 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible. Featuring the tallest tailfins ever seen on a production car, the '59 Biarritz was Cadillac's most expensive droptop and with only 1,320 examples ever built. This example was impeccably restored by Bud Ward, a legendary name that will pique the interest of those familiar with Caddy's from this era, as it's synonymous with excellence. It would take a dozen pages to fully espouse the virtues of this Biarritz, to explain the feeling it stirs inside anyone that stands before it, but just know that we consider it to be the finest Cadillac we've ever featured.
The exterior of this top-of-the-line Eldo was refinished in Olympic White, an upgrade from the Argyle Blue Metallic the car was born with. For a proper color change to take hold on a sled this exquisite, it must be carefully disassembled, taken down to bare metal, and then sprayed with coat after coat of the new shade until it glistens so bright you need sunglasses to take it in. This Caddy aptly represents the transition from outgoing design chief Harley Earl (who loved loads of chrome and giant tailfins), to his successor Bill Mitchell (who was a fan of long, torpedo-style sleds), incorporating the best parts from both design philosophies. The white-hot finish looks especially good on the grand design of the Biarritz, with its jeweled grille motif fore and aft, the refined trim on the hood and rear quarters, the broad rocker panel trim, rear fender skirts, and that uniquely designed, wraparound windshield. As a Bud Ward car, the workmanship was finished to a very high standard, and even though a few years have passed since the work was completed it still looks excellent today, with little to no imperfections to speak of. It benefits from classic white, which accentuates the dramatic curves and the lower profile, and even though all '59 Cadillacs grew in length and width (130" wheelbase and 225" length), it doesn't look inappropriately massive thanks to the low-slung profile. The massive front grill/bumper assembly along with the quad headlights/running lights bookends provide for a dramatic front grille, matched in elegance by the unique rear that features a big bumper, that famous 'rocket exhaust' trim, bright red taillights, and those aforementioned 45" tall tailfins courtesy of David Holls. With the top down and stored away under the matching white parade boot, this Caddy looks like a movie star - ready to steal the show anywhere it makes a grand entrance.
Inside, the white interior is also in excellent shape, fully restored and carefully looked after by previous owners since. Like the exterior, the White upholstery is an upgrade over the original Blue, giving the car a white-on-white-on-white curb appeal that looks like a million bucks. Stylish button-tufted seats have an upscale look, especially with those high-end, comfortable surfaces, a look that would become very popular with the Europeans in the coming years. The door panels are in excellent shape, featuring chrome accents and black carpet on the lower portion, the expansive dash is incredibly clean and flows the same color scheme, while the carpets that line the floors are in great shape as well. Continuing the theme, a dual-ring steering wheel with bright chrome accents feels like a proper helm for a land yacht like this and the ornate instrument panel puts everything within easy reach of the driver. As a Biarritz, it features a long list of standard options that weren't even available as options on other cars, including power steering and brakes, power windows and seats, and a power antenna for the original stereo just to name a few. Optional equipment includes air conditioning, power vent windows, a power convertible top, and E-Z Eye tinted glass, and other than the radio, everything is working just as it should. Overhead there's a white power convertible top and it comes with a matching white boot that's perfect for parades. The massive trunk is was finished to match the cabin, and features plush carpets and a full spare.
Raise the hood and examine the gorgeous engine bay, which has been restored back to stock down to the blue paint on the block and clean satin inner fenders at the flanks. This 5,060 lb example of rolling art is motivated by Cadillac's 390 V8 topped by Tri-Power 2-barrel carbs generating 345HP, and it's easily up to the challenge to take the big ragtop wherever you point the wheels. It fires on demand and the dual exhaust system has that throaty rumble that confidently confirms that Cadillac is the 'Standard of the World'. The Hydra-Matic automatic transmission shifts through the gears ef
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