• Jan 29th 2011 at 5:39PM
  • 27
1956 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Town Car concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

These days, automakers routinely unveil concept cars and new models at major auto shows. Back in its heyday, General Motors played by a different set of rules. It organized its own car shows under the Motorama banner.

Running throughout the 1950s, Motoramas were GM's opportunity to showcase its products to the public and whet consumers' appetites. Few Motorama cars were as showy as the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Town Car concept. Unveiled at the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan for the 1956 "Highway of Tomorrow" Motorama, the Brougham Town Car was a concept for a chauffeur-driven version of the production Cadillac Brougham that hit the market the following year.

The Town Car featured a half roof that left the driver, in classical style, exposed to the elements, and created a split cabin. Up front, the chauffeur sat in the open air surrounded by black leather and chrome. In back, the pampered occupants were coddled in beige leather, deep-pile Wilton carpeting and gold trim covering everything from the tissue dispenser and decanter to the bulkhead-mounted phone used to speak to the driver.

After the New York Motorama, the Eldorado Brougham Town Car went on the road to Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston, but was then retired to GM's Warhoops salvage yard. The staff there, according to the story, didn't have the heart to rip the Brougham apart, so it stayed under a tarp for thirty years. It then passed through the hands of several prominent collectors before RM gave it a thorough restoration, including the installation of a detailed 365 cu. in. OHV V8 engine with four-speed Hydramatic transmission, suitable for driving the car off the trailer and over the concours judging stand.

Consigned to RM Auctions, the car is set to cross the auction block on March 12 at Amelia Island, where it's expected to fetch between $500,000 and $750,000. Follow the link to the auction site for full details of the lot and event, and check out the high-res images in the gallery below.


  • Image Credit: Images courtesy RM Auctions
  • Image Credit: Images courtesy RM Auctions
  • Image Credit: Images courtesy RM Auctions
  • Image Credit: Images courtesy RM Auctions
  • Image Credit: Images courtesy RM Auctions
  • Image Credit: Images courtesy RM Auctions
  • Image Credit: Images courtesy RM Auctions
  • Image Credit: Images courtesy RM Auctions
  • Image Credit: Images courtesy RM Auctions

[Source: RM Auctions]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks like a '57 to me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My first was a year old '71 Sedan DeVille and I'll go to my grave knowing that it was hands down the most comfortable land yacht I have ever driven.
      When the XTS eventualy hits the streets I think all of us will be more that satisfied Cadillac is returning with at least one car that stays true to it's heritage.
      Another note on the '57, about four years ago the West of the Lake region of the Cadillac LaSalle club held it's annual show and one of the cars was an unfinished '57 Eldo. All I can say is it takes your breath away.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed. The CTS and SRX are to Cadillac what the Cayenne is to Porsche, albeit easier to rationalize in that manufacturers they share the luxury market with (Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, etc) offer similar products. I like the CTS, but understand that not everyone wants their $40-70 grand to prioritize performance.

        Fortunately, the intended market for the XTS is more in line with Cadillac's traditional attributes. The automotive media tends to fawn over the full-sizer that best approximates the 3-series, but the market and the real world seem to realize that a full-size luxury sedan should be the Ultimate Cossetting Machine, not the Ultimate Power-Drifting Machine.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I had a couple of 58 Fleetwoods that also looked very similar, especially the front end with the quad headlights. Guess that was Caddy's version of the trickle-down theory.

      I'm sure glad they don't make them like they used to, heavy, wallowing, lethargic feeling. Nine or ten mpg on premium really sucked, too, though at the time it was around 30 cents a gallon.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Beautiful
      • 4 Years Ago
      Gorgeous.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If I win the lottery, I'm getting chauffeured around in THIS. Or something like it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Beautiful, absolutely stunning!
      • 4 Years Ago
      That is a real Cadillac. Stately, stylish, powerful, bearing a real name and focusing on real American luxury.

      Cars like this from Cadillac's heyday are a template of what Cadillac should be today. GM has invested over a decade and billions into remaking Cadillac into something it isn't, a European/German wannabe brand. Cadillac will never do anything better than a German car and cannot be a German car. The world already has them.

      What GM fundamentally misunderstands about Cadillac (and the rest of it's brands) is that it has to be Cadillac and American. It can't be anything else. The closest thing GM makes to this car today is the Escalade and they are letting it whither on the vine. The upcoming XTS is a rolling example of how badly GM misunderstands Cadillac. They should rename it back to Deville, give it real style and a real powertrain.

      What killed Cadillac beginning in the 1970s was applying the Chevrolet mentality to it and mainstreaming it. What resulted nearly killed the brand. What GM didn't understand a decade ago that it was product quality that was really sinking the brand. The CTS is nice and all but it was trying to hard to be Euro and Euro cars do it better. It also needs a real name. The CTS Coupe would be even better wearing the Eldorado name, since for all intents and purposes its a 21st century Eldorado.

      Chrysler brought out the 300 not too long after the CTS debuted and it ate Cadillac (and Lincoln and Buick and Mercury)'s lunch. It was true to it's brash, powerful and styling American heritage. Cadillac needs more cars like that and they need their real names back. Lincoln even moreso.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm on the fence when it comes to Cadillac names. While the coupe is nothing short of fantastic, naming in an Eldorado does'nt fit. Last gen Eldo was an STS offspring while the CTS is the little brother. Hopefully Cadillac changes strategy on the XTS and makes it RWD or AWD and a proper Eldorado could be based off that. Or better yet, break out the blueprints from the Sixteen, name it the Eldorado Limited and make automotive history by blowing out any takers willing to challenge. Thousand hp and a thousand ft lbs of torque makes my leg tingle.
        http://www.diseno-art.com/encyclopedia/concept_cars/cadillac_16.html
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wish I have the money for this.
      • 4 Years Ago
      :) Luvvely Jubblies!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I saw this the other day on Hemmings I think, but before that, I had absolutely no idea it was still around. This is a great story of survival. Most Autorama cars were destroyed as the story says. What an amazing piece of history—GM's, Harley Earl's and Detroit's, really. I would expect it bring more than a million dollars....
      • 4 Years Ago
      This car is beautiful, elegant, stately and desirable; but definitely from a different era.

      Why was it a trend to make your chauffer bear the brunt of the elements while you, just inches away are cozy, dry and happy? Was it a power trip?

      I for one am happy Cadillac went the route of competing with the Germans. Cars that are poised, powerful, competent, ENGINEERED well and exhibit characteristics of a performance car are more lust worthy then land yachts with over sprung suspension and a need to own your own oil tanker.
        Hubris
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Why was it a trend to make your chauffer bear the brunt of the elements while you, just inches away are cozy, dry and happy? Was it a power trip?"

        The best example of this was the 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom III Grinder, with a center-positioned steering wheel and exposed drive shaft designed to quickly brutalize the genitals of the unfortunate proletarian hired driver.
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