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1969 Fleetwood Eldorado in Sapphire Blue Firemist
1969 Fleetwood Eldorado in Sapphire Blue Firemist
Image: ELDORADO
Image: Fleetwood Eldorado by Cadillac

1969 Cadillac
Fleetwood Eldorado

CONTENTS:

1969 Eldorado Auctions

Production/Specifications

ARTICLE:
Refined In Styling

Exterior Paint Colors

Interior Trim

Standard Equipment

Optional Equipment

1969 Eldorado with Power Sunroof

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The 1969 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado was the third year of a body style introduced in 1967. Changes between 1967 and 1968 were fairly minor, and many of them related to mandated safety and emissions laws. It's no secret that from the very beginning the new Eldorado was somewhat controversial with Cadillac's traditional customer base. They were used to Cadillac's refined, elegant styling, which didn't really include contraptions like hidden headlamps, flared wheel wells, and sporty slotted wheel covers. While some were unable to resist having the latest and greatest new Cadillac model, there was mounting evidence that some of Cadillac's customers were not accepting the new car.

And so, for 1969, some of Cadillac's more traditional customers who hadn't exactly embraced the new model were offered an updated Eldorado with more conservative styling. The hidden headlamp covers were deleted, and in their place were stationary headlamps surrounded by a chrome bezel. Between them appeared a new cross-hatch grille with a finer texture than previous Eldorados. The new grille was obviously designed to be separate from the headlamp assemblies, unlike the previous cars. This gave the front end a more sedate appearance, which was in step with the rest of the Cadillac line.

The slotted wheel covers of the previous two years were replaced by traditional full wheel covers of brushed stainless steel that included very fine slots for ventilation, but they were much smaller slots than before, and were accented with black paint to make them not stand out as much.

A new optional halo padded vinyl roof allowed an area of sheet metal to appear between the vinyl roof molding and the drip rail, giving cars with contrasting vinyl roof and paint colors a bit more distinction. A chrome molding around the edge had a color-keyed inner section that matched the vinyl roof color.

The dual rear back up lights which were mounted low in the rear bumper previously were now combined into one unit, which was integrated into the fuel filler door located on the center lower edge of the deck lid. Red reflectors were inserted in the spaces formerly occupied by the back up lights.

Inside the 1969 Eldorado, a new "Control Center" instrument panel appeared, which grouped all instruments and controls directly around the driver. Most controls were placed in the same positions they had been in for 1968, but the design was more compact. The windshield wiper and washer control moved to the driver's door panel, and was mounted in such a manner that with the door closed, they appeared to be a part of the instrument panel.

A new anti-theft ignition key/steering wheel/transmission lever interlock system was introduced on 1969 General Motors cars, and the Eldorado was no exception. The ignition key was moved from the instrument panel to the right side of the steering column, between the steering wheel rim and the transmission lever. While some drivers liked the new location, more than a few of Cadillac's older customers found it confusing to operate. This new system added an additional "lock" position to the ignition switch, where the key could be removed. Once the key was removed, the ignition, steering wheel, and transmission lever were all locked securely in place, and couldn't be moved until unlocked by inserting and turning the key to any position other than the lock or accessory positions.

Production volume dropped for 1969, down 1,195 units to 23,333. The base price increased slightly, up just $88 to $6,693. On January 1, 1969 front seat head restraints became a government-mandated safety item, and their $18 cost was added to the base price, raising it to $6,711.

Side-impact door beams were a new safety feature for 1969, and a more convenient, easier to use inertia-reel seat belt design was included for outboard-mounted belts. On Eldorados with front bench seats, a front seat storage receptacle was provided in the center of the seat, below the fold-down arm rest. This made stowing unused seat belts more convenient, and eliminated the clutter of having belts strewn all over the front seat.

Late in production, a new Electric-Powered Sunroof was added to the options list. A vinyl roof was required with this option, and a six-way power seat was recommended. At $626, it was the most expensive option that could be added to the car. Very few 1969 Eldorados were built with the sunroof, and it was more heavily promoted for 1970, although it was still one of the rarest options offered. Perhaps with a deVille Convertible available, Cadillac's customers who enjoyed fresh air felt it was a better choice at the time.

A 1969 Eldorado was driven by Walter Matthau in the movie A Cactus Flower, which also starred Goldie Hawn (of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In fame), as well as Ingrid Bergman and Jack Weston. In fact, one of the movie's most notable goofs was during the scene when Matthau was driving Bergman home in the Eldorado. Something can be seen reflecting on the top center of the background screen, perhaps it's a microphone boom or a lighting fixture, but it looks out of place in the street scene being shot at the time.

A beautiful triple black '69 Eldorado is featured prominently in an episode of Columbo, which starred Peter Falk as the off beat but lovable detective who always had one more question and a constantly disheveled appearance. In an episode from the third season, titled Double Exposure, which originally aired on December 12, 1973, Robert Culp portrays a film maker who kills one of his clients during the screening of an ad campaign. He thought it was a good cover at the time, but he didn't fool Lt. Columbo! The Eldorado is used for nefarious purposes, but hey, when you do take that last ride, it's usually in a Cadillac, right?


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