Wayne & Ellen Bowen's 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible
(from Volume 23, Issue 272)

story by owners Wayne and Ellen Bowen, photos by Michael B. Kelly


My wife and I have been spending part of our winters in Florida over the past three years. It has been great fun for us to have our 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible with us as we are residing in Kissimmee during this time. Touring around the area or just taking the car out for meals and shopping is a source of great enjoyment. Of course going to Old Town two or three nights a week is an added pleasure. There we have met so many people from all over the country as well as a number of fellow Canadians with classic cars. It has been our experience that “car nuts” are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet - wherever they’re from.

Our 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz is number 799 of 815 that were manufactured during that production year, with a dealer price of $7,500. Power came from a 365 cubic inch V-8 engine with tri-power carburation which made 335 horsepower, which was new for 1958, replacing the two four barrel set up from 1957 Eldorados. It is equipped with power windows, seats and antenna, as well as a power trunk release in the glove box, and an auto power trunk closure actuated upon pull down. It also has an auto headlight dimmer on the dash, and the Wonder Bar AM radio, with a button on the floor similar to a dimmer switch to change radio stations. It is also equipped with an optional hard boot or “parade top” to conceal the convertible top when it is down.

As for the history of the car, we can only go back to 1975. That was the year the car landed in Ontario, after having been purchased from a man in Granada Hills, California. The car was purchased in California by a very good friend of ours and it was from him that we purchased the 1958 Cadillac some 27 years later. Having undergone a very nice restoration from 1975 to 1980, it was becoming quite tired by 2002 when we took ownership. Still a very attractive car, we continued to drive it until 2008. This was the year we completely went over the whole car, stopping short of a frame-off restoration because the underside was excellent anyway. The redo included blasting and painting the frame.
The body and paint were done by a true craftsman in our home town, and all of the stainless was removed and polished with any imperfections repaired, and any chrome redone that needed it. All five Sabre wheels sent to Valley Wire Wheels in California for restoration, and came back like new. The engine and transmission were removed, and rebuilt along with radiator,steering box, brake lines, gas lines, etc. The only item not correct to this car is an electric fan, mounted on the front side of the radiator....since I think we all know what hot days and traffic jams do to our old classics. The fan has eliminated any overheating problems and can be quickly removed if we are showing the car to be judged. The only interior work that we needed to have done was to get the dash lid recovered, along with the face of the front seats, the top and bottom rear seats, and the carpet. All of the door panels, rear side panels and kick panels plus rear upholstery on the front seats remains the same, and dates back to the late ‘70s. The man who did this upholstery work for our friend was an excellent craftsman as well.

When all was said and done, Ellen and I now had a truly pristine 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible. Perhaps not concours quality, but that’s okay. We intend to drive and enjoy this car for many years to come. Parking it in a garage and trailering it to shows is not our idea of fun....so we enjoy spending time driving it, with the top down and big smiles on our faces! CN