In the 1950s, Cadillacs the standard-bearers of American style. Featuring a long wheelbase and powerful OHV V-8 engines for comfortable, effortless cruising, the Eldorado was the pinnacle of personal luxury. Canadian businessman Reuben Allender was fond of Cadillacs and owned several himself, including a 1955 Eldorado. Allender saw the huge gulf in prices between the low-volume Eldorado and the new, small-block-powered ’55 Chevy Bel Air; he determined he could offer a product combining the best of each car and capitalize on a sweet spot in the market.
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(IMO) The 57 looks better than the 56. The "El Morocco" script doesn't look very elegant compared to the rest of the front end, and the wheel covers don't seem as elegant either. All these years of staring at 57 Chevy front ends causes a feeling of "is something missing?" A masterful melding of the styling cues from the Eldorado onto the Chevy. Never knew about these, a really informative article!! 🙂
I'm not a big GM guy, but I have to say, this is rather unique. I think the tail lights could have been a little taller on the '57. Other then that, both are very cool.
Even in 1957, didn't somebody think that putting the front parking lights behind the grille would be better looking and easier to mount than those obvious afterthoughts on the lower edge of the bumper?
I had a two day experience with a '57 4 door Hardtop when they were new. The car got a lot of attention in traffic and from pedestrians when parked. I enjoyed it, but could not rationalize the price increase at the time. Yes, I'm older than most of the buildings I'm in.
Beautiful car. One of the problems that the Big Three had back then was that there wasn't actually much difference in the cost of production between the lowest priced car in their line-up and the highest priced; the biggest difference between a base model Chevy and a Cadillac was simply the mark-up. Chevy could have easily bought this design from Allender and produced it themselves, but that would have cut into the sale of the high profit margin Cadillac.
Even today, these cars may have a problem finding their niche. Buyers unaware of the El Morocco (and there are quite a few) may wave it off as just another custom in a sea of customs, diminishing their perceived value. Others may lament the sacrifice of a "perfectly good Bel Air". Without the notable fame factor, I wonder if these can attain prices of other vehicles of similar rarity?
I think the '57 fins were metal as there were some disagreements between Allender & his fabricators. Also, the lower rear quarter trim is rolled brass that was then chromed. Only place most (if not all) of these cars said Chevrolet anywhere was on the radio. Also, center cap on steering wheel was usually replaced with a piece of leather that said who the car was done for.