Cadillac Reviews Discussion, '79 Eldorado=GOOD, '82 Eldorado=BAD in Item Specific Cadillac Discussion; I spent a lot of time behind the wheels of these two cars in the 80's, and my recollections are ...
I spent a lot of time behind the wheels of these two cars in the 80's, and my recollections are of two lovely highway cruisers that both looked beautiful, but had distinct differences beneath the surface.
The '79 Eldorado we had was silver with grey leather interior. First year of the new body style, and I think it had the Olds 350 under the hood. The car was a screamer with deceptive power. There was plenty of room in the back, and the passenger seat reclined which was really nice on dates, if you know what I mean. It cruised well at 80, but remember the speed limit was 55 at the time, so you had to be careful. If I had to pick any model year of this body style Eldo, it would definitely be the '79. Too bad it got totaled by an idiot in a 4WD Chevy truck that sat about 3' off the ground.
Then came a beautiful Burgundy '82 Eldorado with burgundy leather interior. This may have been the best-looking car of the 80's. Plenty of creature comforts, and it's just my opinion but I think that the '82 had a smoother ride than the '79. The problem with this car is that it was severely under-powered, and the computer died on it twice. I think I heard that it cost about $1400 to replace it. That's 1982-83 dollars, we were in a recession, and the car was out of warranty. It was replaced with a 1986 Olds '98.
I think from a 2005 standpoint, it will be easier to find an Eldorado in this body style with the HT4100 engine, and probably VERY hard to find a '79-'81 model in good shape. I would recommend an engine swap, which will be complicated by the fact that this is a FWD car.
Hope this helps somebody out. I'm saving my pennies to resurrect one of these babies someday.
i own a Blue inside and out 79 Eldorado Biarritz. its giving a little trouble cause of age. been working the past two years with resto. and still going. almost road worthy. but other than that still in great shape. i love the car!!
I had similar opinions of my 79 Eldo 350 (gas) and 81 Eldo touring Coupe 368 (v8-6-4)
The 79 was the best car ever ! It was actually quicker than some 'vettes of the era and hardly ever needed any repair, except for frequent replacement of the (coolant and manifold air) temperature sensors. My wife, daughter and I drove it for decades. I still have it, with a shade over 100k miles, but it's laying up right now for lack of an unavailable part - you guessed it - the temperature sensor.
The 81 I bought because I liked the 79 so much, but my wife always hogged the 79. The 81 was a dog compared to the 79. They looked the same from across the street, but the 368 (actually an under-bored version of the Caddy 500 cubic inch-er) was way too heavy and too underpowered for the car. The V8-6-4 variable displacement feature actually worked like a charm and gave over 30 mpg on long highway trips, but 1981 was a major new emissions rules year and every thing related to that accommodation gave trouble. In addition to that the car never could be tuned properly. After a series of dealers replaced dozens of components over a period of 4 years in vain attempts to solve that problem, I discovered that the timing mark was in the wrong position - a factory foul-up !
How I finally found the problem and what a gauntlet I had to run to get a dealer to accept my diagnosis is quite a saga, but that's a story for another day.