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Author Topic: 1981 Cadillac Eldorado convertible Project Found  (Read 2393 times)

BJM

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1981 Cadillac Eldorado convertible Project Found
« on: November 17, 2008, 12:36:47 PM »
Located a 1981 Eldorado convertible. Asking price $1000.  It was a Craigs List ad with four photos. It had a blue body with white leather interior. No top. He said it had a 368 FI which was superior to the later 4100. Was/is this a good rebuildable motor? 

It looks like a reasonable project that might satify my convertible portion of my collection list. Not sure if it runs, but would restore anyway.

I have to look up the numbers at home.

He said it had real wire wheels?  Is that honest or would these be add-ons. I'll ty to include photos later.

Bryan

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10182
Re: 1981 Cadillac Eldorado convertible Project Found
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2008, 10:29:49 PM »
That would be the infamous 8-6-4 engine.  The basic engine design is from the 1968 472 that became the 500 in 1970.  77 it was downsized to 425 and again in 1980 to the 368 which was the motor they fitted the 8-6-4 option to for 81.   Its just like the 'new' cars that shut down cylinders when the power is not needed.  The big complaint was that they were pretty heavy cars to begin with so the were not over powered on 8 mode also the transition between 8,6, and 4 was not very smooth.  It was a good idea it was just the rest of the system was not quite ready so it was only used in 81.  82 they rushed into production an aluminum engine (the 4100) that was meant for the downsized cars of 84 (which did not start to come out till mid 85).  Basically the 368 is a pretty old heavy but  proven reliable cast iron engine.  It uses what became known as the TBI efi system that was used on many GM cars and all the trucks  and suv's 87-95.  If the 8-6-4 is not working properly it can easily be disabled (or manually controlled) by unhooking a wire from the transmission.  The only remaining issue is the valve covers were plastic and were known for leaking when new, at this age who knows.  They are not standard and no longer made.

I am not an expert but none of my books show true wire wheels or convert as a factory option.  There were likely dealer installed wheels, I had some on an 83.  I thought they were cadillac till I tried to get a replacement center cap and noticed the crest was not quite correct.   As for the convert the experts will have to explain that one like if it was factory authorized or just aftermarket.  Is just the fabric missing or the whole mechanism?  Or is it just a topless car?   
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline 76eldo

  • Posts: 6648
  • CLC Number: 22443
  • Name: Brian Rachlin
Re: 1981 Cadillac Eldorado convertible Project Found
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2008, 10:38:09 PM »
The car you are talking about is most likely a Hess and Eisenhardt conversion.  They did about 50 per year in 1980 and 1981.

 I recently found and purchased a 1980, and I love it.  The 368 in mine is the original motor, and does not have the additional equipment that the V8-6-4's had.  From what I hear, you can easily disconnect the variable displacement stuff, if it's not working properly.

Depending on the condition, it's clearly worth the $1000.00.

Regarding the wheels, they are probably aftermarket.

There used to be a Hess and Eisenhardt website from the UK, but it it gone now.

Good luck with it, if you get it.

Brian
Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443
I prefer email's not PM's rachlin@comcast.net

1960 62 Series Conv with Factory Tri Power
1970 DeVille Conv
1970 Eldo
1970 Caribu (?) "The Cadmino"
1973 Eldorado Conv Pace Car
1976 Eldorado Conv
1980 Eldorado H & E Conv
1993 Allante with Hardtop (X2)
2008 DTS
2012 CTS Coupe
2017 XT
1956 Thunderbird
1966 Olds Toronado

BJM

  • Guest
Re: 1981 Cadillac Eldorado convertible Project Found
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2008, 08:08:17 AM »
Thanks for the commentary - it clears it up a lot.  This is a Hess & Eisenhardt car then because it has the convertible rails or frame but no fabric and it looks like a professional job, not butchered. The motor is definately the 368, he mentions it and I am familiar with the 4100.

Boy I am not sure if I want it now through as I typically look for showable factory cars. I wonder if GM quasi-authorized these so they could see how these Eldorado/Rivieras would take to convertibles.

Does your 1980 ride well? In terms of shake and cowl stability?

I am not worried about the V8-6-4 but I kept reading that in the books. I know Buicks used Olds sourced 350's through about this time.  Thanks all.

Offline 76eldo

  • Posts: 6648
  • CLC Number: 22443
  • Name: Brian Rachlin
Re: 1981 Cadillac Eldorado convertible Project Found
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2008, 08:59:41 AM »
I find that the top fit on the 84/85 ASC converted cars is better.  Hess and Eisenhardt did things a bit differently, using the full size rear quarter window, and cutting the car with a different belt line than the 84/85 Biarritz models.

In terms of ride, the 80 is much better than my 85.  More weight up front maybe?  I don't know, but the 85 has cowl shake, the 80 has none, rides like a coupe.

The 368 is not a tire smoker by any means, but gives a more solid feel and much more power than the 4100.  The Modified Cadillac guys say that dropping in a 425 would really wake the car up, and it's a direct bolt in.

The 368/425/475/500 all bolt in the same.

Think long term, if you have storage.  I might be interested in the car if you pass on it.

Thanks,

Brian
Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443
I prefer email's not PM's rachlin@comcast.net

1960 62 Series Conv with Factory Tri Power
1970 DeVille Conv
1970 Eldo
1970 Caribu (?) "The Cadmino"
1973 Eldorado Conv Pace Car
1976 Eldorado Conv
1980 Eldorado H & E Conv
1993 Allante with Hardtop (X2)
2008 DTS
2012 CTS Coupe
2017 XT
1956 Thunderbird
1966 Olds Toronado

Andrew

  • Guest
Re: 1981 Cadillac Eldorado convertible Project Found
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2008, 04:19:27 PM »
It seams to me that any convertible that is savable would be worth it. And especially one that gives you so many options on engine exchanges.

 

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