Saved from destruction and hidden until the eighties, this one-off show car is up for auction next month.
RM Auctions annual Arizona auction is one of the premier car collector events of the year, attracting collectors and enthusiasts from across the globe to Phoenix each January. Next month a wide array of modern and vintage classics will go under the hammer, as well as a handful of one-off concepts, such as this show car, originally unveiled at the Waldorf Astoria. Readied for production in 1957, the Eldorado Brougham was Cadillac's answer to the Ford Continental Mark II.
More exotic, exclusive and nearly a third more expensive than the $10,000 Mark II, the car hit the show circuit in 1956 along with its almost forgotten sibling, the Eldorado Brougham Town Car, which debuted at the New York Motorama. More concept than prototype, the Town Car was constructed of fiberglass and had a half-roof over the passenger compartment covered in black leather, an open chauffeur's compartment, a different roofline and more understated body-side trim. Inside, the passenger compartment was trimmed in a 'biscuit and button' beige leather motif with gold trim, and the chaueffeur was surrounded by black Moroccan leather and chrome.
Twin compartments were furnished with a decanter and cups, vanity case, tissue dispenser, all in gold plate; and the divider bulkhead had a sliding glass window. A bulkhead-mounted telephone, also in gold, was provided for contacting the chauffeur without the need to open the window. In October 1956 the Town Car was shown at the Paris Salon after the Motorama tour dubbed the 'Highway of Tomorrow' took it to Miami, LA, San Francisco and Boston. In spite of much acclaim, it, like many other GM concepts and prototypes, was consigned to a Detroit salvage yard in 1959, where graciously the staff never had the heart to destroy it.
Instead the Town Car sat for years under a tarpaulin, before it was discovered by a collector and ultimately sold on to John O'Quinn who appointed RM Auto Restoration to restore the car to its former glory. Although not suitable for road use of any kind, the car, boasting an operational 305hp V8 powertrain, can be driven on the show field and carries a fascinating history. It will amaze onlookers at concours events, while future generations will get to appreciate an important part of Cadillac's design and engineering heritage. The Town Car will be auctioned on 19 January and is currently estimated at $300,000 to $500,000.