The Golden One - Cadillac's Eldorado in Miniature
by Doug Breithaupt, images from Doug Breithaupt, Mark Foster, Dave Weber and Mac Ragan

After 49 years of production, the 2003 model year has arrived without Cadillac offering an Eldorado. The last Eldorado was left to soldier-on from 1992 to 2002 before Cadillac decided that this classic name no longer carried the image needed to sell cars. Eldorado joins Buick's Riviera and Oldsmobile's Toronado, once the three most desirable personal luxury cars from GM, on the 'retired' list.

Toy car makers gave up on the Eldorado 30 years ago. The most recent Eldorado model produced is Johnny Lightning's '73 Eldorado Indy Pace car. Due to a subsequent exclusive license between Cadillac and Mattel, this model or any other Cadillac can no longer be produced by JL. It is curious that no models of the 1979-86 Eldorado were ever produced, considering the popularity of this model. In 1989, Cadillac offered the Allante roadster and it is likely that toy versions of this model precluded production of a second, and less sexy Eldorado model.

As shown below, a variety of Eldorado models from 1953 - 1973 have been produced in 1:64 scale. The 1959 and 1967-68 models have proved most popular. Perhaps we will still see models from 1974-2002 offered by Mattel. For years I have thought a series of Eldorado models, like the recent Thunderbird series from Johnny Lightning, would be a hit with collectors. I don't suppose Mattel would let Matchbox do anything this interesting?

1953 Cadillac Eldorado (custom)
Hot Wheels (McDonalds)

1953 was the first year for the Eldorado. The example here is this custom version done for McDonalds.
1953 Cadillac Eldorado

Goodee was a Tootsietoy competitor. This '53 Eldorado has been re-painted in red from light blue.

1954 Cadillac Eldorado
Yat Ming

The difference between the '53 and '54 models is that the 54's windshield was the same as other Cadillacs.
1956 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
Matchbox (Barrett-Jackson)

Unique tailfins identified the '55-56 Eldorado. This casting was originally one of the Elvis Presley cars.

1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
Hot Wheels

The Biarritz name identified the Eldorado convertible. This excellent model is from the HW collector series.
1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
Hot Wheels

The Brougham cost $13,000 in 1957 and came with a stainless-steel roof and the first thin white-walls.

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Seville
Hot Wheels (mild custom)

The base says 'Coupe de Ville' but the body is clearly the hardtop Seville. Eldorados had chromed fin pods.
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
Hot Wheels

This casting suffers from a narrow body. The new Coupe de Ville from 2002 is much better.

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
Racing Champions (Mint Edition)
This excellent model represents a true American automotive icon. Red and white are the ideal colors.
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
Road Champs
The convertible top can be removed and replaced with a cover. This was the first '59 Cadillac in 1:64 scale.

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Seville
This new model from Jada appears to be a good casting but clearly sports custom wheels and paint.
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
Yes it's a crude model but at least they tried.

1962 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

A second Jada, the '62 Eldorado, is a model seldom seen in miniature. Let's hope for a stock version.
1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado
Johnny Lightning - Playing Mantis ('Custom L')

This casting was altered to avoid the exclusive Cadillac license held by Mattel, What a shame.

1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado
Hot Wheels ('Custom Eldorado')

Best known and first of the 1967-68 Eldorado models, this is one of the classic first-year Hot Wheels.
1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado
Johnny Lightning - Topper (Custom Eldorado)

This heavy casting was the first Topper model. Topper even copied the red-line tires from Mattel.

1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado
Lone Star Impy Flyer

This is the original Impy casting for the Eldorado. It has a metal base and full interior. If you have one to trade, let me know (
1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado
Lone Star Impy Flyer

The last and least attractive of the Impy line had no interior and plastic bases. The body is quite good.

1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado

The odd half-vinyl roof did appear on an Eldorado show car. This model has been re-painted.
1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado

Another attempt to ride the Hot Wheels wave, Marx never even made a ripple in diecast sales.

1968 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado

The '68 model had cornering lights in the front fenders, a new 472 c.i. motor and standard front disk brakes.
1968 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado
Corgi Junior Whizzwheel

The front windshield is too flat but othersise, this is a decent casting. The hood opens.

1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado
Hot Wheels Spoiler ('Sugger Caddy')

Custom Cadillacs are rare and the Suger Caddy is a Hot Wheel classic. Anyone for some front-wheelspin?
1968 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado
Corgi Junior (Hot Rod Eldorado)

Who do you think inspired Corgi to do this model? (Image courtesy of Mark Foster)

1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado

Muku of Argentina did their own castings of Hot Wheel models.
1969 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado
'U' (Universal)

This appears to be a copy of the Playart model but it has some differences including exposed headlights.

1971 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado
'Mini-Lindy (plastic)

A very hard model to find, this is one of a series of GM cars done by Mini-Lindy in the early 1970's.
1973 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz
Johnny Lightning

The Biarritz convertible returned for '71 and was the '73 Indy Pace Car. Too bad JL can't do a stock version.

1968 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado
(full-size model)

This one sits in my garage. The award-winning design was one of GM's best and I've had a '68 Eldorado since 1985. These are great driving cars and a bargain among collector cars today. The editors of Automobile Quarterly singled out the 1967 model for their rarely-given design award. The 1967-68 models are recognized as Milestone cars. The 472 cu. in. high-compression V8 boasts 375 hp and can move the Eldorado from 0-60 in 8.2 seconds. Air suspension is featured on the rear and front disc brakes were standard.