Author Topic: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile  (Read 501 times)

Offline BJM

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78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« on: January 01, 2018, 06:53:01 PM »
Read a nice article on the 78-85 Eldorados in the newest Collectible Automobile magazine.  Learned quite a bit. I never knew there was an aluminum wheel options for these cars. 

I also was not impressed with anything other than the initial 350 motor in the Eldorado.   The 364 and 4.1L were not upgrades and the story kind of alluded to the reliability issues with these motors.

After reading about the differences in years though I would probably go later, an overdrive transmission, a Biarritz and would try to get a darker color. 
Bryan J Moran
CLC # 12994
Des Moines, Iowa
1968 Cadillac Eldorado

Offline TJ Hopland

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Re: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2018, 07:52:40 PM »
78 was still the 'big' car.    Out of all the stock engine options for the 79-85's your best bet especially today would be the V6 which was available mid 80 trough 82.   Reliable engine with decent power for the era and a 4bbl.   No 4100 or quirky EFI that would be especially hard to support these days.  I actually don't mind any of the options but I like odd stuff that others didn't like. 

I was not a big fan of the style originally but it started to grow on me.   After I bought one I really started to like em.  They feel more roomy than the previous style. 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
75 Eldo rusty but trusty
80 Eldo Diesel
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Online 76eldo

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Re: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2018, 10:02:54 PM »
I own several of these cars and have had many more.

I was lucky to find a 1980 Hess & Eisenhardt Eldorado convertible several years ago in my favorite colors, black with a red interior.

The 80 has a 368 cast iron engine and the block family is the same as the 425/472/500.  It has throttle body injection which was standard on the Eldorado and probably the Seville that year.

My 80 feels like a mini version of my 76 Eldo convertible and runs and rides with a heavier and more powerful feel than the later HT4100 powered cars.  If the HT4100 did not have relaibility issues I think people would have been Ok with the lackluster performance because they are smooth, quiet, and get decent fuel mileage.

The bodystyle of the 79-85 Eldorado is well liked and they were great looking cars inside and out.  Comfortable to drive and stylish.

I also have an 81 with the 368 engine (8-6-4 feature disconnected) which i'll be selling in the spring.  It's also an H & E convertible.

I have always liked these cars.

Brian
Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443

I prefer email's not PM's   rachlin@comcast.net

1960 62 Series Convertible with factory Tri Power
1960 Eldorado Seville
1970 DeVille Convertible
1970 Eldorado
1976 Eldorado Convertible
1980 Eldorado Hess & Eisenhardt Convertible
1981 Eldorado Hess & Eisenhardt Convertible
1985 Eldorado ASC Biarritz Convertible
2007 DTS
2012 CTS Coupe
2017 CT5

Offline smokuspollutus

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Re: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2018, 09:02:35 AM »
I always recall this body being popular-so much so that even when they were just 10 year old used cars, people would comment on them. Really enjoyable to own and drive!
1984 Eldorado Biarritz Coupe

Offline bcroe

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79-85 Eldorados
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2018, 12:46:16 PM »
I have owned a 79 E car for 3 1/2 decades.  This has quite adequate
power with a 350.  The 80 Eldo with 368 is comparable, but with a
later design, simplified fuel injection, probably easier to maintain. 
After that the one version with real power is the turbo 6 Riv. 

There are a lot of things to fail on the Eldo.  Those who would like
a simpler version without fuel injection, drive a Toro or Riv.  What
can go wrong, I wrote an 18 page article on that.  Bruce Roe

Offline BJM

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Re: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2018, 01:15:36 PM »
78 was still the 'big' car.   
I was not a big fan of the style originally but it started to grow on me.   After I bought one I really started to like em.  They feel more roomy than the previous style.

I kind of thought it was 79, but something in the back of my brain said 78 for Cadillac, 70 for the rest. Thanks for confirming. 

The 3 GM brands each did a good job on this platform but overall I prefer the Cadillacs narrowly over the Rivieras. Narrowly. 

I think these cars should be embraced.  These were the production glory years. Wow, usually 70,000 made in a model year!  Cash cows.  Then there was the 77% drop for 1986. 

It must be tough for manufacturers who have a 6 year + platform they know they need to end, but the sales keep going crazy.   

I went in last night while watching Oklahoma-Georgia and browsed CL around me (Des Moines, Iowa) and came up with very little.  A couple of nice ones. 

I have seen so very few of the Touring and performance versions.  I was never a fan of ANY of the "wire" wheel hubcaps of Cadillac-Buick etc. Cheesy for sure.   Give me a nice looking hub cap or aluminum wheel anyday.  And for what Cadillac was asking and getting for Eldorados, there should have been more. 

I had read once where the leather used in these cars was premium and I have crawled around many an Eldorado/Riviera in salvage yards and noted the supple soft leather - even when abandoned! 

I'll continue to look. I agree on the 4.1L V6.  It was Buick derived and a good all around engine as a 3.8L V6.  With a 4 barrel, and OD, it would be adequate. 

At this point, if a 79-85 Eldorado was to join my collection, it would not be asked to "burn rubber" or anything. Just start, run efficiently and get me to local car shows, club events, that sort of thing. 
Bryan J Moran
CLC # 12994
Des Moines, Iowa
1968 Cadillac Eldorado

Offline BJM

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Re: 79-85 Eldorados
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2018, 01:23:28 PM »
I have owned a 79 E car for 3 1/2 decades.  This has quite adequate
power with a 350.  The 80 Eldo with 368 is comparable, but with a
later design, simplified fuel injection, probably easier to maintain. 
After that the one version with real power is the turbo 6 Riv. 

There are a lot of things to fail on the Eldo.  Those who would like
a simpler version without fuel injection, drive a Toro or Riv.  What
can go wrong, I wrote an 18 page article on that.  Bruce Roe

Thanks Bruce.  I tried to pay attention in the Coll. Auto article about improvements as the years went along for the Eldorado. Engine wise - it seems it was never resolved.  I "guess" I would lean toward a 79-80.   But they did not have the Touring coupes then I don't recall from the article. 

The Rivieras stuck to that Olds 307 as the base motor and it was more reliable but boring-sure. I have never heard if the T Type Rivieras with the 3.8L Turbo actually improved performance.  Keep in mind there was no intercooler (if I recall) so Buick detuned these somewhat over what was placed in the Grand Nationals. 

Oldsmobile - looked at a couple over the years but overall these have tailed off on Craigs List to near nothing.  I am not sure what Olds production was annually but antecdotally I would say much less than Buick and Cadillac. 

Buick and Cadillac regularly sold 52,000 to 70,000 per year!  Remember Oldsmobile did quite well from 1973 to 1987 with the Cutlass, which was seen as more of a youthful car. So maybe the age of the Oldsmobile buyer was too low to afford the Toronados? 
Bryan J Moran
CLC # 12994
Des Moines, Iowa
1968 Cadillac Eldorado

Offline Barry M Wheeler #2189

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Re: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2018, 06:05:33 PM »
RE: The "Buick" V-6. Runs/starts well. Just look a longgggg way down the road before pulling out in front of an 18 wheeler. They don't move out all that well. That's what I have in my '81 Seville. The last auction I went to in Kokomo last spring/summer had a very nice two-tone goldish Eldo.  Anyway, it had a 4.1 fender label and I walked by it 10 feet away.  It turned out that it was the V-6 and it went for right around $2K. (I really didn't need it, anyway.)
Barry M. Wheeler #2189

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1981 Cadillac Seville
1991 Cadillac Seville
2016 Cadillac ATS

Offline BJM

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Re: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2018, 09:34:33 AM »
The article quoted Wayne Kady a lot, from a 1st hand interview. (Thanks Wayne)  In it, I am paraphrasing, he stated that Cadillac was far more interested in fuel economy over any hp increase. 

It would have taken at least 40 more hp to make a 79-85 Eldorado a better performing car.  At least 190 to 225 hp.  Nowadays, if it's not 300 hp, it's a "dog". 

If based on all the power plants available from 79-85 NONE were any better performing than others, then I guess I would pick the most reliable.  And for that - the article basically said none were that reliable, except maybe the original 1979 350. 

Bryan J Moran
CLC # 12994
Des Moines, Iowa
1968 Cadillac Eldorado

Offline smokuspollutus

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Re: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2018, 09:55:46 AM »
Bryan, unfortunately these cars were all saddled with engines that were poor in one way or another. The '79 350 was good in terms of get up and go (I would call it quick), but of course has the antique fuel injection system. The car itself also has some odds and ends that were corrected in later years, brakes, frame bracing, insulation, suspension, etc. The '80 and '81s feel nice taking off from a light but run out of breath fast, and the TBI, while better than the previous system, was still teething. We also had issues with the AIR manifolds rotting out-there were no parts available 20 years ago to fix. The heavy front end was not kind on suspension/steering parts, kind of like the "big" cars from the 70s. 1982 of course brought the 4100, which had lots of issues too. In my experience however, the best one they made was the 1985 in terms of real world reliability/usability.

Never drove a V6 Cad but if it was anything like the 3.8 they put in G bodies, it would not be my cup of tea, and I don't really mess with carburetors anymore. For what you say your purposes are, I think that you really can't go wrong no matter the year. It will be easier and cheaper to find a cherry 1985 with a 4100 than any other one, and of course if you want a Touring Coupe you'll be looking at '82-'85 anyway.
1984 Eldorado Biarritz Coupe

Online 76eldo

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Re: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2018, 09:56:01 AM »
Trust me, as far as performance and road feel, there is a vast difference between a 1980 Eldo and say an 84 or 85.

Brian
Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443

I prefer email's not PM's   rachlin@comcast.net

1960 62 Series Convertible with factory Tri Power
1960 Eldorado Seville
1970 DeVille Convertible
1970 Eldorado
1976 Eldorado Convertible
1980 Eldorado Hess & Eisenhardt Convertible
1981 Eldorado Hess & Eisenhardt Convertible
1985 Eldorado ASC Biarritz Convertible
2007 DTS
2012 CTS Coupe
2017 CT5

Online Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621

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Re: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2018, 10:21:10 AM »
If based on all the power plants available from 79-85 NONE were any better performing than others, then I guess I would pick the most reliable.  And for that - the article basically said none were that reliable, except maybe the original 1979 350.

The standard gasoline V-8 drivelines from 1979 - 1981 were the best that were used this generation of Eldorado by far. This not only includes the powerplant itself, but the 3 speed THM transmission which far more durable than the Metric 4 speed OD unit used in the HT4100 models beginning in 1982 which was also particularly sluggish thanks to a drop in horsepower. This was further exacerbated by the 4 speed transmission which was always downshifting on all but the gentlest of acceleration when moving at highway speed.

In short, there is a world of difference between the performance between 81 and 82 [V8 gasoline] models and whoever wrote that piece doesn't know what they're talking about. Also, 1979-1981 commands considerably more value than any of the subsequent model years of this generation. This is not for no good reason.

While none are exactly "performance" cars by today's standards (the modern grocery-getter sitting out in your driveway could probably run rings around the best of them) but to lump 79-85 together as having similar reliability & performance is, at best, oversimplistic to just plain wrong.

I don't know what so special about 1979 either which in fact has the most complex FI system of them all. The 1980 & 1981 with TBI injection, while less "exotic" was certainly more reliable.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 11:07:32 AM by Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621 »
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Offline bcroe

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Re: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2018, 10:45:29 AM »
Quote from: smokuspollutus
  The car itself also has some odds and ends that were corrected in later years, brakes, frame bracing, insulation, suspension, etc.

want a Touring Coupe you'll be looking at '82-'85 anyway.

I would like to hear more about the frame bracing issues, which
might explain why I had so much trouble getting my 79 to
handle right.  Part of the fix was more braces. 

The touring suspension was on my 79 Toro, and was later
transferred over to the 79 Eldo.  I'm surprised to hear it
wasn't a 79 Eldo option. 

Performance differences, no doubt about it.  I did find
opportunity to demonstrate my 79 could outrun a later
version.  0-60 in 10 sec on a good day.  I once saw a 79
Toro with the 403, but didn't buy it (Why?).  Later my own
403 managed to burn 24 feet of rubber in my driveway,
with a 2.73:1 final drive swap being a big improvement
over the Eldo 2.2:1.  Bruce Roe

Online Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621

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Re: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2018, 11:06:19 AM »
1980 brochure lists "Sport Handling Package" in optional equipment list for Eldorado and again for Seville. Renamed "Touring Suspension" in 1981 which included trunk plaque.
A Cadillac Motorcar is a Possession for Which There is no Acceptable Substitute

Offline smokuspollutus

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Re: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2018, 11:33:59 AM »
All factory transmissions in a 79-85 E car are "metric". 79-81 is the 100k mile wonder built out of the RWD TH200 metric. If you notice, the engines used in these years were never paired to the RWD equivalent trans (wonder why). The 325 3 speed was mated to some sort of economy final drive to make it bearable to cruise at 55 and get 20MPG to appease America's favorite peanut farmer. With the 2bbl fuel injection, steep final drive, and huge bead converter, there is lots of downshifting involved when passing or climbing hills. The 325-4l overdrive is built off the stronger TH200 4r and allows for a much quicker ratio for better takeoff and economy with a smaller engine.

I would like to hear more about the frame bracing issues, which
might explain why I had so much trouble getting my 79 to
handle right.  Part of the fix was more braces. 

The touring suspension was on my 79 Toro, and was later
transferred over to the 79 Eldo.  I'm surprised to hear it
wasn't a 79 Eldo option. 

Performance differences, no doubt about it.  I did find
opportunity to demonstrate my 79 could outrun a later
version.  0-60 in 10 sec on a good day.  I once saw a 79
Toro with the 403, but didn't buy it (Why?).  Later my own
403 managed to burn 24 feet of rubber in my driveway,
with a 2.73:1 final drive swap being a big improvement
over the Eldo 2.2:1.  Bruce Roe

Bruce, I think we are both talking about the same thing, the underhood braces that were absent for whatever reason in '79. Those were added in 1980, though our '79 was ready to accept them. When they revised the front clip to plastic in 1982, the Seville got extra bracing there. Added to the Eldo on the convertible in 1984 and to the coupe in 1985. And to my '84 in 2016  ;D . Wonder if they would work on your '79 with the metal header panel? HD suspension was not available on the Eldo in the first year (maybe it would be too much of a shock for the people coming out of the other car?) but the suspension it came with was more mushy than even the base suspension later on, so that definitely contributed to it being a little more loose. Smaller sway bars too. The '79 was definitely the quickest out of the factory though. I can only imagine what it would do with the 403 and a more spirited axle!
1984 Eldorado Biarritz Coupe

Offline bcroe

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79-85 Eldorados
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2018, 01:21:10 PM »
Quote from: smokuspollutus
79-81 is the 100k mile wonder built out of the RWD TH200 metric. The 325 3 speed was mated to some sort of economy final drive to make it bearable to cruise at 55 and get 20MPG.

Bruce, I think we are both talking about the same thing, the underhood braces that were absent for whatever reason in '79. Those were added in 1980, though our '79 was ready to accept them.

HD suspension was not available on the Eldo in the first year (maybe it would be too much of a shock for the people coming out of the other car?) but the suspension it came with was more mushy than even the base suspension later on, so that definitely contributed to it being a little more loose. Smaller sway bars too. The '79 was definitely the quickest out of the factory though. I can only imagine what it would do with the 403 and a more spirited axle!   

Braces, I put on everything I saw on later models, it helped.  So
did gas shocks, stiffer torsion bars, and bigger tires with plenty
of pressure.  And the steering rag joint was worked over. 

As soon as I got my first 79 Toro, I noted the trans valve body was
almost identical to a TH200.  However the power elements must
have been better, because I ran the first couple well past 100,000
miles without trouble. They did develop a sloppy shift, which might
have been because of the big, broken accumulator spring on the
left side.  Was broken on all the TH325s I ever took apart.  A mild
shift kit restored first class shifting.  But I started planning a 66
Toro TH425/final drive as the real fix.  Before the 3rd E car went
very far, something started shrieking in the trans, so I did this
conversion.  With switch pitch and a 3" stainless exhaust, there
is no hesitation.  This combination with 2.41: axle has
demonstrated a corrected 19 mph at 70 mph many times. 

If you put on miles, that 79 final drive can be expected to
lose some teeth due to a mfg problem around 100,000 miles. 
I had 2 fail, another reason for conversion to the TH425 setup. 
Bruce Roe

Offline BJM

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Re: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2018, 02:24:57 PM »
Wow - lots of great information here I never knew.  Now I am hemming and hawing on my statement that the 1979 might be the best!    I don't know anymore!

While I understand the OD transmission was not in favor, I like the flexibility to run the motor in the 1000's RPM range.  Loafing along, reducing wear and tear (in theory). 

Bryan J Moran
CLC # 12994
Des Moines, Iowa
1968 Cadillac Eldorado

Offline bcroe

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78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2018, 05:42:29 PM »
You can expect a stock 79 Eldo to cruise 1900 rpm at 60 mph. 
Bruce Roe

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Re: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2018, 06:03:54 PM »
Bryan,

I had an 85 Touring Coupe Convertible (Hess & Eisenhardt Custom) for a while.  It handled better than any of these Eldo's I ever had and had reasonable performance.  An older gentleman bought it from me and drove it from PA to Colorado with no problems, drives it daily for the last 4 years and loves the car.

The HT4100 is an unpredictable piece of machinery.

I'd still opt for a 1980.  I like the interior better than the 79.  81 is almost the same thing as 80.

Brian
Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443

I prefer email's not PM's   rachlin@comcast.net

1960 62 Series Convertible with factory Tri Power
1960 Eldorado Seville
1970 DeVille Convertible
1970 Eldorado
1976 Eldorado Convertible
1980 Eldorado Hess & Eisenhardt Convertible
1981 Eldorado Hess & Eisenhardt Convertible
1985 Eldorado ASC Biarritz Convertible
2007 DTS
2012 CTS Coupe
2017 CT5

Offline BJM

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Re: 78-85 Eldorados Featured in new Collectible Automobile
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2018, 08:40:02 AM »
Brian:

If we look at the totality of statements there seems to be some consensus that the 368 was "perhaps" the best engine of these years, 1980-81. 

The interesting part is that the 79-85 Eldorados changed very little visually, so the only major issue we are discussing is the drivetrain +'s and -'s. 

Bryan J Moran
CLC # 12994
Des Moines, Iowa
1968 Cadillac Eldorado