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Might be getting a '72 Eldorado - love some advice.

6681 Views 43 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Benzilla
Like the title says, yesterday I stumbled onto a 1972 Eldorado hardtop for sale not far from me, and I really don't know why, but I can't get it off my mind. The guy wants $1,500 for it, it say for seven years, but runs & drives now. In Fact I took it around the block, and though it is in desperate need of a tune up, it feels solid. Also, he might accept a straight-up trade for my '84 Cutlass.

Some details:

He says it has 66,000 miles on it... I'm skeptical, but I guess it could be possible, sitting as long as it did & all. Before it was parked, it was repainted the original gold-bronze color (what might this be called?) It also has a custom dark brown fake vinyl convertible top with ribs, that covers the rear quarter windows. The top is actually nice, but the paint is kinda shot. The clear coat is pealing off in spots. Also, it has some custom pinstriping... very conspicuous pinstriping I might add. The body is pretty straight, some rust around the edges here & there, but nothing very bad.

I guess most of my questions are about the engine. Keep in mind, the oldest cars I've ever owned would be my two '79 Coupe DeVilles.

Did these come with dual exhausts? This one has them... It also has an exhaust leak, it sounds like I beast! Would this still take leaded gas? I'm a little sketchy about what year they made the switch. Officially, how much power does a '72 500 cid have? I'm drooling at the thought, but I've heard so many different numbers, I don't know what to think. Also, when running right, how much more powerful than my '79 Devilles would this feel? Any specific issues with this era Eldo that I should know about?

That's all I can think of right now, any feedback would be greatly appreciated, hopefully I'll get a couple pics later today.

Thanks a lot, guys. Can't wait to get some answers.

Take it easy,

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I believe they did come with duals.

I think by '72 they where running on lead free gas and I think they where pretty detuned by then. I think the HP may have been down to less than 200.
unleaded gas will not be an issue. I drove my 69 for 11 years on 87 octane. Just recently parked it in Dec when i got my 97. Shes currently sitting in the garage waiting for me to work up enough money to restore her.

My mom owned a 72 a while ago (like years) and i don't recall dual exhaust. Come to think of it i don't recall Dual on any older caddy from 70 to at least 77. At least none of the ones i've seen or owned.

I've owned a 69, 76, and my mom had a 72 and currently a 77 and none had duals.

Thanks for the input, guys. Big relief that it will run on regular.

So far I've been getting my info on engine specs from this site,
they have been dead on with the info on all my other Cadillacs, so I looked to them first for info. I gotta say, I'm really liking they're figure of 365 net hp.

Went back today and took a few pics. I'm thinking, it's kind of a 'love it or hate it' kind of car. At first when I saw it, I was more intrigued than taken. But, after looking at it more, I'm really starting to like it a lot.

The pinstriping is a bit over the top... but hey, what can ya do? I like the color combo a lot. It's almost like a FWD version of my Phaeton. Really hope he'll want to trade for my Cutlass.

Tell me what you think!

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Wow, that's one pimp daddy machine! Those exhaust pipes are definitely aftermarket, as are the wheelskirts and the roof too. It's missing the coach windows, but that color is killer, and I forgot how much I liked the '71-'72 Eldorados....just such a handsome car. Their numbers are off... it's 235 net hp...365 gross horsepower in 1971, but 400 in '70.
agreed those duals are most certainly after market. I noticed the back couch windows are missing. I wonder did that year not have them, or have they been covered up by the custom roof job? Have you looked inside at the back yet?

They were covered by the roof. And the inside is completely stock, so you have a lovely view of foam when looking out the back windows....
Oh btw Ben, it may not be much faster than your '79s, but that ****er will roast 'em like none other..
You know, the more I think about it, I have to agree with the no dual exhaust. Those are DEFINITELY not factory. Looks like you're gonna need some taillights. It's been a long time since I've had my '73. I do now that at their low point they where detuned down to 160 Hp. Imagine that, 501 CID with only 160 HP.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention about the taillights. the guy has them in the trunk along with a few other misc. parts. I guess after it had been sitting for so long, some things just didn't work anymore (like tail/brake lights).

But man this thing needs a tune up! If you mash the gas, it will promptly die, no questions asked... I just don't know how somebody can let a car get that bad. The brakes work find though. And I don't think I've ever been in a car with softer suspension.
If you mash the gas, it will promptly die,
Does it recover if you pull your foot out of it? If so, it probably need a new accelerator pump in the carb.
The color is called "Palomino Firemist" and the interior looks like the original Antique Saddle Leather (both pluses for the car). The roof is an after-market job, probably done when it was re-painted, and it covered the original coach windows (this current one is not very attractive, in my opinion, but it may clean-up a bit, or benefit from applying a "wreath & crest" emblem on the sail panel, lower corner, towards the door). The bodyside moldings are aftermarket, applied in same place as the originals--but should have a small spear towards the front fender, and say "8.2 Litre" below. The front fender, above the cornering lamp, should have an "Eldorado" label in script, same as on the right side of trunk. Overall, the car looks very complete, and seems reasonably priced. The '71's and '72's were prone to a driver's side exhaust manifold crack, some thought due to build-up of heat, so often were repaired and dual exhausts installed (they were not a factory option). The car appears to have the proper ride height, and most original "automatic level control" suspensions failed, so usually they are converted to air shocks in the rear with a valve behind the fuel-filler license plate. The striping could probably be buffed off. Chrome looks good and should polish up more. Wheelcovers are correct for '72. Even the trunk lock crest cover is present (hopefully, he has the right hood ornament with his spare parts).

The horsepower was 400 in '70, and dropped to 365 in '71 and I think it remained very close to that for '72. The styling of the '71's and '72's is great--with the beveled trunk and rear bumper and fake side air scoops. Also, the only "filler" is behind the front bumper, not very visible, and avoids a big cost associated with restoring a '73 through '78 Eldorado--those cracking, body-colored, bumper fillers. In my opinion, this makes the '71's and '72's especially desirable, among the "big Eldorados." The cars are prone to wearing their CV boots, and the first thing to check regarding the acceleration issue would be the fuel pump--not a big expense. I have a 1971 Eldorado Convertible, and it is a really fun car to drive, with lots of power and a smooth ride. To me, if the mechanicals are not too bad, it sounds like a good deal. Here's a picture of my car:
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Loveldos, thanks for your great response! That's exactly the kind of info I was looking for.
Love the color name, and Antique Saddle is the same color as my Phaeton's interior! Thought it looked similar, but didn't think it was dead on.

I think the top just needs a good soaking with conditioner to brighten up. Didn't even think about doing a wreath & crest, I kinda like that idea. For some reason, I like how the windows are covered, the original windows are so big, to me it almost took away from the lines of the profile. Would have liked a happy medium though, something like on a Phaeton would have looked good IMO.

Funny you should mention the side trim, that was actually one of the first things I noticed when I saw the car. It just looks very stuck on to me. And usually you can't get that type off without taking the paint with it. Chrome is good, no hood ornament though. :( You really think the ride height is okay? To me it looks a little saggy. Maybe I just have to get used to big old Eldos.

Hey, BTW, what tires are on your (gorgeous) Eldorado? To me these narrow whitewalls just look waaaay to small for the car.

Oh yeah, almost forgot. Yes, it does come back to life when you let off the gas. Accelerator pump crossed my mind, but my '79 did the same thing with a low idle & bad vacuum issue.. So I guess I'll just have to find out. How hard is it to replace the Accelerator pump? Also, the power steering pump. I think I saw it leaking..

Thanks again!

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Replacing the accelerator pump is pretty easy. You just have to disconnect some linkage and lift the air horn (top portion of the carb). The pump is attached to the lever on the top. The rubber plunger inside is worn or warped and gets replaced.

Look down the open carb and move the throttle to WOT (engine off). You should see two steady streams of raw fuel as you open the throttle. If you don't, then the pump is bad.
Benzilla, the tires on my car are made by Goodyear, and they are the called "Broadway Classics." Here is a link:

I've heard Goodyear has slightly changed the name of them, I think I recall some part of the name as being "Shadow." They are steel belted radials.

Also, I've noticed in the pictures you've posted that one of the correct "Eldorado" scripts is present above a cornering lamp, but not on the other side of car. Also, I think it would add to the appearance if it had the small piece of chrome from the leading edge of the fender skirts--maybe those are among the "extra pieces" of parts? You should check inside of the trunk for rust (if weatherstripping leaked) or from the back of rear wheel wells out through the trunk (i.e. if driven in salt). The rusted trunk floor is a more involved repair. The "wreath & crest" I was referring to would sort-of be in a position like the factory installed on the '67 Eldorado sail panels. If you keep the roof on the car, you could consider obtaining more of the material and closing in the rear window smaller (that tint has to go/be replaced). Also, framing each red tail lamp is a chromed piece of pot metal, and those are prone to pitting or dulling.
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Get It!!! Thats 1bad Mutha!! Some TLC, plus some $$$$ of course will hav it lookin & runnin cream. Good Luck
I didn't think the big performance drop didn't hit until '73. I'm basing this off of Grand Prixs and Rivieras, however. The '72 GP is very close to my dad's '70 that is a screamer. The '71 and '72 Rivs were much more powerful than the '73... Etc...

It may have had dual exhaust -- just not "those" dual exhausts, and my guess would be that it did take leaded gas.

Awesome car -- I'd trade it in a heartbeat for an '84 Cutlass.....

Awesome black Eldo above too!
1970- 400hp
1971 - 365hp
1972 - 235hp
1973 - 235hp
1974 - 210hp
1975 - 210hp
1976 - 190hp
I really appreciate all the great replies. Things are looking good. I dropped in again today and talked to the guy for a while. The car is currently back at his fathers, he drove it over for Easter. It was funny though, I took the Phaeton over to talk to him, and when I pulled up his kids kept asking him who drove his car back, haha. Guess they do look kind of similar. He loved the Phaeton though, couldn't keep his eyes off it. And he kept saying what a nice pair they'll be.
Damn, I'm starting to get excited! Currently, my Cutlass is sitting with the radiator out, it had a bad leak so it's in the shop getting patched up. I should have it back tomorrow afternoon. Then I can put it in, clean her up, and drive over to do some business!

By the way, wasn't 1972 the last year without all the emissions junk? I thought they started all that in '73. If so, then why the low power rating?

I'm going to have to start a thread on how to get more (cheap) power out of a 500. Anybody have quick tips, or links they'd like to share?

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Nah, I think '72 had plenty of emissions stuff. I used to put a curve kit in the distributor (heavier springs and lighter weights) and turn the air filter cover upside down so I could breath 360 degrees instead of just through the snorkel. The 4 barrel would howl nicely at WOT. You'd loose carb heat and can ice up at 50 degrees and 100% humidity. The curve kit allowed for faster spark advance.
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