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The (new) Cadillac Database©

The Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
1957 - 1960

Part 10
Bespoke Broughams
1959 - 1960

Being introductory notes on the production
Eldorado Brougham models of 1959-1960

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Br_crst.jpg (4207 bytes)



Br59bdg1.jpg (2830 bytes)    Brpfbadg.jpg (2680 bytes)    Br60bdg.jpg (2197 bytes)
Left:  fender emblem used on the 1959 Eldorado Brougham
Center: the Pinin Farina logo
Right: fender emblem used on the 1960 Eldorado Brougham



The 1959 and 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Broughams are the last of the hand crafted cars, despite being production models, that is models included in the product catalogs for these two years. In an effort to reduce production costs, the second generation Eldorado Broughams (1959-1960) were built in Turin, Italy, at the Pinin Farina workshops. Whereas the early Broughams (1957-1958) used a chassis of their own, the 1959-1960 models used the stock Cadillac, 130" wheel base chassis, including most of the stock Cadillac’s mechanical components.

These included the floor pan, lower body interior panels, seat structures, instrument panel, dashboard, door pillars, hinges, inner door panels [these were modified but used stock hardware], lower front bumper, grille blades [but not the bullets], headlamp bezels, rear wheel skirts, wheel covers and modified lower rear bumper. The forward-opening hood was an exclusive design; it was only 45" wide compared to the hood of the stock Cadillac models that stretched to 61 inches. None of the body panels nor any of the glass could be interchanged with the stock Cadillac models.

On the 1959-60 Eldorado Brougham models Cadillac used a modified version of the air suspension system it had introduced in 1957. The latter used an electric air compressor that worked only when air was needed in the system; the 1959-60 cars have a belt driven compressor that supplies compressed air all the time the engine is running. A relief valve prevents too much pressure from building up. Sadly, Cadillac scrapped all NOS air-suspension parts in 1975, rendering them very hard to find. Current owners of these models may be interested to know that the leveling valves from post-1965 Fleetwood air shocks may be modified to fit the 1959-60 Eldorado Broughams.   Late seventies GMC motor homes used an air compressor similar to the one used in the 1957-58 Eldorado Brougham models; conversion is possible.

The Cadillac chassis and other usable hardware [crated separately] were shipped to Genoa, Italy (located about 100 miles west of Turin). There (in Turin), the bodies were hand-built and mounted in the new Via Lesna industrial complex covering about fifteen acres. In his recollections about the 1959 Eldorado Brougham, Pierre Ollier, who was closely associated with its design [and who owned two ’59 Eldorado Broughams in 1978], mentioned how it had taken three weeks of negotiation with the Italian customs before the clay models could enter the country; at that time, a law prohibited the import of plaster objects, to protect Italy’s statue industry.

The Italian coach builder was commissioned by Cadillac to build one hundred Eldorado Brougham bodies a year; Farina had to accommodate them in addition to other regular work his shop was doing for Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Fiat and Lancia. The 1959 production totaled only 99 units while those of 1960 numbered 101. An unconfirmed rumor has it that one of the 1959 chassis was dropped in the harbor at Detroit, during loading operations for Italy, which may explain why Farina built one extra unit for 1960.



More on the bespoke Eldorado Broughams of 1959-1960 may be found in SIA3-4/71 (p.4), SIA, 8/1978 (pp.34-39), SIA46 (pp.34-39), MT, 9/59 (pp.44-45), SSA 1987 (p.33).

Many photos of the Eldorado Brougham models were supplied by my friend Jean-Michel Roux, in June 1993. Jean-Michel is very knowledgeable about 1959 GM cars. Needless to say, these are his favorites. He currently [2008] lives in Hong Kong with his wife and three children.

Service information on the 1959-1960 Eldorado Brougham models can be found in the following Cadillac Serviceman bulletins:


Topic, Year, Month, Page

Announcement for the 1959 Brougham, 1959, March, 321

Exclusive Brougham paint ordering in Detroit, 1959, May, 322

Hood hinge torque rods, 1959, Sept., 322

Hood release handles, 1959, Sept., 322

Paint ordering, 1959, Dec., 322

Rear quarter-window check, 1959, Nov., 322

Rear quarter-window servicing, 1959, Oct., 323

Windshield servicing, 1959, Oct., 323

Windshield wiper transmission and links, 1959, Sept., 323

Inside rear-view mirror support kit, 1960, Jan., 324

Quarter window diagnosis, 1960, Mar., 324

Weather-strip to correct air leakage, 1960, Feb., 322


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© 1996, Yann Saunders and the Cadillac-LaSalle Club, Inc.
[ Background image: Pinin Farina emblem, from contemporary ad ]