At the start of the 1970s, the 1972 Cadillac Eldorado was the best example of a personal luxury car. It was also one of the first cars in the world to have an airbag for the driver.
Read on to find out how the 1972 Cadillac Eldorado changed the way people thought about luxury cars. Also below is the story of the 1972 Cadillac Eldorado that President Richard Nixon sent to Moscow as a gift for Leonid Breshnev, who was the leader of the Soviet Union at the time.
1972 Cadillac Eldorado: The Beginning of a New Era
As the muscle-car era was coming to an end, Cadillac was getting ready to make luxurious cars for people who weren’t as interested in quarter-mile times or cornering speeds. So, the ninth generation of the Eldorado came out in 1971, and it was bigger than the eighth generation. It was longer than most sedans with four doors. It also took the place of the old de Ville rag top because it had an open top.
From the beginning, Cadillac tried to make a car that was impressive and fit for people with a lot of money and a taste for luxury. It got a new look with straight lines and flat surfaces. It also had to have a longer front overhang because it was built with front-wheel drive. The sculptural vertical grille in the front was a new design feature that stayed in place for decades. It also had a wide front fascia in the shape of a V, like the bow of a ship.
The 1972 Cadillac Eldorado had a luxurious interior with room for at least five people. Its 126.3″ (3,208 mm) wheelbase gave everyone plenty of legroom and full vinyl seats. As far as safety goes, it had an optional airbag and a system that told the driver how the lightbulbs were doing. So, they didn’t have to walk around the car to make sure all the lights worked.
Cadillac put a big 500 cu-in (8.2-liter) engine under the hood, which was later swapped out for a smaller 425 cu-in engine. The only transmission that could be bought was an automatic with three speeds. The back of the Eldorado had coil springs to make it more comfortable.
The Big Success of 1972 Cadillac Eldorado
The 1972 Eldorado was a big hit, with 40,074 people buying it (32,099 coupes and 7,975 convertibles). The base price for the coupe was $7380 and the base price for the convertible was $7681, but it was easy to add options to either model that would push the price over $11,000.
The 1972 Cadillac Eldorado could come with a leather interior and a front bench seat with a center armrest that could fold down. Other popular options were automatic climate control, power sunroof, tilt/telescopic steering column, remote trunk release, rear window defogger, AM/FM radio, AM/FM stereo with 8-track, vinyl roof, power seat, power door locks, power sunroof, cruise control, and tinted glass.
From a stop, it took 10.9 seconds to reach 60 mph, and it took 17.60 seconds to go a quarter mile at 79.8 mph, which was about the same as the Lincoln Mk IV and Imperial Le Baron. Gas mileage was estimated to be 14.39 mpg, but “your mileage may vary,” as the disclaimers say.
1972 Cadillac Eldorado & President Nixon
In May of 1972, a strange order was put in for a Cadillac. The White House sent it. President Richard Nixon wanted a Sable Black Fleetwood Eldorado Coupe to give to Leonid Brezhnev as a gift from the people of the United States. Brezhnev seemed to like cars, so a new Cadillac would have been a great gift for him.
Cadillac Division manufacturing executives rushed to find a Sable Black Eldorado Coupe with dual red accent stripes on the assembly line or waiting for a lot to be shipped, but they couldn’t find anything that would work. One was finally found on the receiving dock, just a few minutes after it had been brought in from Fisher Body.
Every available supervisor was on duty to make sure that the car was of the highest quality. After being quickly tested on Detroit’s freeways, the car was cleaned up at the factory. The trunk was filled with extra parts, a set of service manuals, and a few special tools that might be needed for future maintenance. A bunch of popular 8-track tapes were also sent along.
The car was taken by truck to Selfridge Air Force Base near Detroit, where it was loaded onto a military transport for the long trip overseas. Nixon went to Moscow on May 22. To mark the occasion, the American flag flew over the Grand Palace of the Kremlin for the first time in history. It was said that Brezhnev was thrilled by the gift.