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Remembering the 1978 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

1978 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

When you're talking about big cars, the first one that likely comes to mind is the 1978 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. There is no doubt these cars were big. As a matter of fact, they practically look like they're a block long by today's standards. They also have a fun place in the hearts of many individuals, especially those that were actually alive to experience the heyday of massive luxury cars that were just as much a status symbol as anything else. These days, there aren't that many left and there are even fewer left that are actually in drivable condition. If you have your heart set on one of these, there are plenty of reasons why and there are also a few things that you need to know about finding one in today's market.

The Biggest Car Ever Made?

This particular automobile may not technically be the biggest car ever made, but it does have a very specific distinction. It has the longest wheelbase of any car that's ever been manufactured, provided the car in question is front-wheel drive. As a matter of fact, this particular car has a wheelbase of 126.3 in. If you really want to dive into things, keep in mind that there's plenty of car, both in front of and behind those wheels, further adding to its already impressive dimensions. The reality of the situation is that when it's all said and done, this car is an astonishing 226 inches long. In other words, you may have to take some extra driving lessons in order to drive it without plowing into something because it takes a lot more space to park, turn around and back up with a car this long. It's definitely not going to fit into the spaces that you're used to fitting your modern-day compact automobile into. Until you get used to driving it, you'd be better off to give yourself a load of extra room on the road and in the parking lot. That being said, it's also probably one of the most fun automobiles to drive in existence, especially when you're talking about one like this that comes with literally every luxury item that was available at the time it was built.

Luxury Defined

There's no doubt about it, this was a car that people purchased when they wanted to let everyone else know that they were doing well financially. In fact, it was widely regarded as one of the most impressive luxury automobiles of its time. During the 1970s, there were a lot of automakers that felt like bigger was definitely better. As a matter of fact, they used wheelbase and overall size to market their automobiles because people were after the biggest car they could get their hands on. As previously mentioned, it was impossible to beat this particular automobile. In addition, this was Cadillac’s top-of-the-line automobile of the 1970s and even into the early 1980s. As such, you couldn't find anything much more luxurious than this particular model. It's true, these cars had everything on them. You could defrost the rear window, something that did not come as standard equipment on automobiles back then. They also had six-way adjustable front seats that had extra cushioning, an adjustable steering wheel, and even a cassette player.

All of these things might seem almost laughable by today's standards, but back then you were doing well if you could purchase an automobile that had an air conditioner as standard equipment. Of course, this one definitely had that and more. It even had cruise control, something that was very rarely seen back in the 1970s. If you purchased one of these cars brand new back then, you could expect to spend just over $15,000 in order to have it sitting in your driveway. That may not sound like much, but if you adjust that cost for inflation, you would be spending roughly $66,000 on it by today's standards. That's precisely what made it so special. Not only did it have all of the bells and whistles, but it was something that couldn't be purchased by just anyone. It was the perfect way to let the whole world know that you have the money to pay for something that nice and it made the statement in a big way without being too obvious. That's precisely why so many people loved it.

Power and Luxury

Of course, a car that big also had to have a big engine to move it. Remember, this car was built at a time when car bodies were actually made of metal instead of plastic. That meant a car this size weighed an enormous amount, easily over 3,000 pounds. As such, it had a massive V8 engine under the hood to help it move down the road. It might surprise you to learn that even with that big engine, it was only capable of producing roughly 180 horsepower. After all, engines were made a lot differently back then and a carbureted V8 simply wasn't capable of generating as much horsepower as the fuel injected models of today.

This was enough to let the car perform well enough to be respectable, but it's important to remember that with cars like this, it was never really about performance. This was no muscle car. It was a luxury automobile where you were meant to enjoy the drive, not see how fast you could get from point A to point B. These days, you can still get your hands on one of these automobiles but you have to look in the right place. The overwhelming majority of them are owned by collectors and these individuals won't give them up easily. Your best bet is to find one at auction and bid on it. If it's in good condition, expect to spend more than $100,000 in order to get it. Nevertheless, there are few things that are as amazing as sitting behind the wheel of one of these cars, especially if it's in mint condition. It was a head turner in its day and it still is very much something that is capable of getting the attention of all who see it.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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