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The Elusive Cadillac Eldorado

By Bryan G.; Ecorse, MI

When the sun hit just right, making all the cars glint and gleam, there it was — the 1982 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, standing tall and proud. It was like watching history roll out on wheels. With its 4.1-liter V8 engine (matched with a four-speed automatic transmission) and that leisurely run from 0-60 in 13.8 seconds, it wasn’t just a car; it felt like a piece of art.

That Eldorado took me straight back to my childhood days in Michigan, seeing my granddad cruise around town. The tales, laughter, and adventures with that car were legendary in our family. It was as if that Cadillac held pieces of my family’s soul, and I had this deep-down urge to bring one of those pieces home.

1982 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz coupe
1982 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz coupe

On the Road to Arizona

Having heard whispers of a car auction in sunny Arizona and with my hard-saved $10,000, I thought, “Why not?” My trusty Ford Focus and I set out, hopes high. But man, the journey was far from smooth.

First, out of nowhere, my timing chain gave up on me, and I was stuck in some sleepy town waiting for a mechanic. That became eight hours sucked out of my journey, time I could ill afford to lose.

And just when I thought things were looking up, right in the middle of Oklahoma, a coyote decided to play chicken with my car. We both lost. The poor thing didn’t make it, and my car was in a sorry state. Another pitstop, another delay…five more hours disappeared, and I would have to make it up by driving well into the night.

A Night Under the Stars

Reaching Arizona, I got a rude shock. My room? Gone. Booked by someone else. Great! With no other options, my banged-up Focus became my bed for the night. The desert, with its cold, silent night, was a stark contrast to the warm, golden day. But exhaustion took over, and before I knew it, the blazing sun was my wake-up call.

The auction? It was buzzing with energy and chatter. I wanted to get a good look at the Eldorado, to feel its leather, to look under its hood. But time and luck weren’t on my side. When the bidding started, the numbers started climbing. Each bid felt like a punch to the gut. Before I knew it, the price tag hit $12,100, way out of my reach.

At first, I thought about going past my limit. I had a clear title on the Ford and the book value was just over $3,500. But the coyote accident did some real damage to the front end, monies that would come out of the funds for selling the Focus. I also knew that if there was anything wrong with the Cadillac, I would have to ship it home, an added cost I wasn’t willing to bear. Crestfallen, I let the Eldorado slip away.

Homeward Bound

Heading back to Michigan, the drive was quiet, filled with deep thoughts. I kept getting flashes of that Eldorado and times with my granddad. I remembered being a kid, sitting on his lap as he steered the Cadillac down that twisty driveway of his. It’s funny to think that’s where my love for driving began, even if it wasn’t the safest choice he ever made.

Even though I didn’t come back with the Cadillac, that trip gave me tales to tell, tales I’d one day pass on, just like granddad used to. A year on, with used car prices shooting up, I sold my Ford for a pretty penny. Granddad would’ve been proud. With that money, I bought a pickup and a camper, sparking memories of those days I spent with my tough-as-nails Korean War vet granddad.

Image by order_242 from Chile via Wikipedia- Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz 1982

Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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