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1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham: Luxury Tech Way Ahead Of Its Time

Style & Technology Make For An Over The Top Expensive Luxury Ride

1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
1957 Brougham's front end

In the market for a car with all the luxuries? How about 6-way power memory seats, cruise control, auto-dimming quad headlights, air conditioning, cruise control, automatic trunk opener, power windows, power antenna, suicide doors with automatic door locks, and polarized sun visors? Let’s include self-leveling air bagged suspension and a 4-link rear suspension and revel in amazement that all of that was included on the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. Yep, all that in a 1957 car, many features that cars don’t even have in 2021!

Your chance to snag one of the very limited few of these in existence can be yours at the 2021 RM Sotheby’s Arizona Auctions, at no reserve.

The 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham is a drop-dead, high styling eye-catcher for me. The over the top styling and ahead of its time technology and innovations highlight what the folks in Detroit were capable of in the 1950s.  These cars, designed under Harley Earl, have always been head-turners; from their massive chromed bumpers to the finned rear ends, they look impressive and majestic. These cars are outfitted with standard features that were unheard of in the 1950s; like air conditioning and air ride suspensions. The stainless steel brushed roof was from the space age and way before the DeLorean made the look famous.

’57 Brougham Stats

People might not fully appreciate these cars at first glance, but man these are impressive machines. Ford had tried to usurp the luxury market by introducing the Continental Mark II in 1956. Cadillac retaliated big time by bringing out the 1957 Eldorado Brougham that cost $13,074. That was nearly three times the cost of the other Cadillacs on offer in 1957.

The builders offered a “post less” sedan with the rear doors hinged at the rear for easier access. The brushed stainless steel roof was a trendsetter, way before the DeLorean’s. The quad headlights were impressive (but illegal in many states in the ’50s) along with the massive chromed bumper.

The front bumper dominated the leading edge of the Cadillac Broughams.

The big Brougham weighed over 5,300-pounds. The wheelbase was actually shorter than the Series 62 Cadillacs, measuring 126-inches long, but the car had an overall length of 216-inches. With a height of only 55.5-inches, people could get a good look at the space-age stainless steel roof easily. The width between wheels was only 62-inches, which was also narrower than their little brother Cadillacs. The Eldorado Brougham had an overall width coming in at a svelte, for the time, 78.5-inches.

The Eldorado Brougham’s were the first American car to be “bagged.” This allowed for a customized, level ride regardless of the load.

1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Engine

The batwing air cleaner topped the Brougham’s twin carburetors in 1957.

The 1957 model was powered with a 385 CI V-8 with two 4-barrel carbs offering 325 hp and 405 lb.-ft. of torque. In 1958 Cadillac engineers delivered a trio of 2 barrel carburetors, which were good for ten more horsepower.   This luxury car naturally had a Hydra-Matic 4-speed automatic transmission.

Eldorado Brougham Interior

The rear opening rear door allowed plenty of room for entry into the Brougham.

Of course, the “over the top” car had interior options to match. Air conditioning was standard, along with separate front and rear heaters. The power front seat had a 6-way “memory” setting and moved forward when the rear doors were opened. The car had a transistor radio, electric automatic door locks plus the trend-setting Autotronic headlight dimming control.

How about both power windows and power trunk latch along with polarized sun visors?  As a safety feature, the car could not go in drive if the rear doors were open. All of this technology and wizardry was available over 60-years ago!

The ’57 Eldorado Brougham owners were treated to a notepad with a Cross pen, cigarette case, a lady’s lipstick, compact and mirror, and a tissue dispenser. It also came with six magnetized tumblers that could hold your favorite drink on the glove box door when folded out and a bottle of French perfume. These accessories are now very rare, and owners covet the full set of options.

These magnetic glovebox tumblers were part of the Brougham’s many amenities.

The car came in fifteen unique exterior colors, one of Cadillac’s standard 45 exterior shades, or two special order trim colors. The carpeting was lambskin or high pile nylon Karakul.

Only 400 Cadillac Eldorado Broughams were produced in 1957, with 304 rolling off the assembly line in their second and last year of the run, for 1958.

Air conditioning for the Brougham was provided by this under dash unit.

I am not sure what made the bean counters at Cadillac approve these builds, because they certainly couldn’t make up the losses in volume.  The Broughams were hand-built and were the most expensive car produced in their time. They were even more expensive than a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud. Let that sink in. These American titans were the MOST expensive car made in their day!

The rear end of the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Broham is very distinctive.

Buy Your 1957 Brougham Today at RM Sotheby’s

At this week’s RM Sotheby’s auction in Scottsdale, Arizona there is a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham available (Auction Listing). This dark blue car is number 38 of the 400 built that year and originally was painted white. It sold last year at RM Sotheby’s Auburn Fall 2020 auction for $91,300, including the buyer’s premium. It’s not too late to get your bid in and have this luxury ’50s cruiser in your garage. There aren’t many in circulation, so act quickly if this car is your style.

About Mark Bach

Mark C. Bach is a well preserved automotive junkie with 30W oil in his veins and remembers feeler gauges and brake springs. He has a love for all things that move, especially old-school muscle cars. Bach covers the car auctions and the automotive scene and writes for a variety of outlets, including Chevy Classics, Round-Up Publications and eBay Motors, and maintains Route66pubco.com.