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Image: 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Custom Cabriolet Coupe

Farewell, Fleetwood Eldorado Convertible: 1971-1976

1976 Cadillac
Fleetwood Eldorado

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Image: 1975 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Cabriolet Coupe

The 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado is probably best remembered as being the last American production model to offer a convertible body style. The final Eldorado Convertible was built on April 21, 1976. At the time, most believed there would likely never be another American convertible, but Chrysler introduced a LeBaron Convertible in 1982, and the Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible was introduced in 1984, so reports of the convertible's retirement were premature.

There were few styling changes made between 1975 and 1976, with just a couple of minor exterior updates for the year. The vertically-textured grille now had 20 columns instead of 24, with the vertical bars being slightly further apart. The Cadillac script that had been part of the grille header was moved to the painted section of the hood, just above where it had been placed previously.

The Cadillac crest in the center of the taillights was removed, leaving two horizontal red strips surrounded by a chrome bezel. New wheel discs featured a jewel-like Cadillac wreath and crest emblem at center, surrounded by a field of black to add distinction to the 1976 models.

Inside, a new Mansion Knit upholstery was offered in four colors, and a sporty Merlin Plaid patterned cloth came in two colors. Soft Sierra Grain Leather remained optional on the Coupe and standard on the Convertible, and came in 11 shades.

Four-wheel disc brakes became standard in 1976, a big improvement in braking performance under adverse conditions. Nothing else was added to the standard features list, as that list had grown considerably in 1975.

New options included Automatic Door Locks, which locked the doors when the shift lever was moved to a drive position. A new AM/FM stereo radio with 24-hour weather band was made available, which allowed weather reports at the touch of a button. A manual driver's side reclining seat back could be ordered as well, a companion to the new-for-1976 power-operated passenger recliner seat back.

During the model year, an exclusive new Eldorado Custom Biarritz option became available for the Eldorado Coupe model. Cadillac knew it needed to do something to draw attention away from the fact that the Eldorado Convertible would not be present any longer, and a premium trim package for the coupe was determined to be just the thing to do it. Priced at $1,760, this special edition revived a historic name last used in 1964. The Custom Biarritz included an exclusive roof treatment that provided distinct back and quarter window appearances. Accent moldings, Biarritz script, Opera Lamps, color-coordinated wheel discs, special accent stripes, and supple Sierra Grain Leather with pillow style seating completed the package. The Custom Biarritz would become a full production model for 1977 and beyond.


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