Cadillac Eldorado

The Cadillac Eldorado had a very long running production line, surviving from 1953 to 2002. In fact, this model was the longest running American personal luxury car. It was the only one sold after the 1998 model year. Competition for the Eldorado is limited to the Mark Series and the lower-priced Buick Riviera. The Spanish words "el dorado" means the "gilded one" or the "golden one" and this certainly is appropriate to describe the Eldorado. More interestingly, the name was originally given to the legendary chief of a South American Indian tribe. Legend surrounding this figure goes such that his followers would allegedly sprinkle his body with gold dust on ceremonial occasions and he would wash it off again by diving into a lake. Buyers of the luxury mobile are more apt though to attach the name to a legendary city of fabulous riches, somewhere in South America, that supposedly inspired many European expeditions. Cadillac's Golden Anniversary was approaching and the name was proposed for a special show car built in 1952. Oddly enough, the name was the result of an in-house competition won by Mary-Ann Zukosky who was a secretary in the company's merchandising department. There seems though to be some controversy to this story, as others report that the source of the name was a resort destination in California's Coachella Valley that was a favorite of General Motors executives. In reality, where the name came from turned out to not be that important given that the car did exceptionally well for many, many years. Don't be confused though, cars bearing the name varied considerably in body style and mechanical layout during this long period. However, the Eldorado models were always near the top of the Cadillac line. It is a wonder then, why the name was dropped at a time when the automaker could really use a boost in sales and reputation.