Raindrop Caddy

1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Raindrop Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Fort Worth, Texas | May 2, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The third generation Cadillac Eldorado was new for 1957. Back in these days, car manufacturers were making styling changes for every model year. It’s when Detroit was king and the money was a-flowin’. This car is a very special Cadillac – not only is it an Eldorado Biarritz, it is a GM factory prototype.

It started life as a 1958 Eldorado Biarritz, the top trim of Cadillac’s halo model. GM updated it with many upcoming 1959 features, including the over-the-top tail fins that made the ’59 Caddy so iconic. The interior is one-of-a-kind but the engine is a standard Series 62 335 horsepower 6.0-liter V-8.

It’s a boat, for sure, but it has a very special feature, dubbed “Raindrop.” The system uses a humidity sensor that detects water in top-down driving. When a few drops trip the sensor, the top of the trunk separates and slides away, allowing the roof to fold up and close automatically. Even the windows roll themselves up. It’s a fascinating piece of engineering.

This car was given to Harley Earl when he retired and he used the car around Florida in his later years. It was subsequently restored and is being offered with a pre-sale estimate of $600,000-$800,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of this sale’s lineup.

Update: Sold $324,500.

RM in Arizona Highlights

RM’s big sale in Arizona (almost two weeks ago… we’ve kind of had a backlog of auction results to publish and they were the last to publish their results online). As I’m looking back at it, we featured a number of cars from this auction including their top seller: this 1957 Ferrari 410 Superamerica that sold for $1,815,000. The second highest-selling car was the first car we featured, the most fantastic looking BMW 507 Roadster I’ve ever laid eyes on. It sold for $990,000. RM sold 90% of their cars for a total of $25.6 million.

A trio of pre-1905 American cars all sold, including our featured 1901 Duryea Four-Wheel Phaeton that was purchased by Mr. Car Crazy, Barry Meguiar for $96,250. Also sold were the 1903 Waverely Electric Surrey for $110,000 and the 1903 Stearns Suburban for $82,500. One of two cars we featured that did not sell was the 1913 Pathfinder Touring car, which was bid to $90,000.

A giant 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Town Car Concept sold for $258,500, missing its reserve by $50,000. This car came from the John O’Quinn collection and had gone unsold at at least one other RM event.

From the 1950s we featured a 1953 Nash-Healey and a 1954 Allard K3. The Nash-Healey brought $71,500, just short of my projection and the Allard was a relative steal at $57,750 – less than half of what a similar car (or the same one) was listed as “for sale” for a few months back.

Other pre-war cars that sold were the very rare Brewster-Knight that sold for $88,000. And that wonderful, purple Isotta Fraschini sold for $407,000 – dead on what I said it would bring (no I’m not bragging). Also sold was this amazing 1937 Cord 812 SC Sportsman Convertible Coupe. One of 64 – yours for $385,000.

Supercar fans could have had their choice of our featured Tom Walkinshaw Racing prepared 1993 Jaguar XJ220 S that sold for $230,000. Or the always popular Ferrari F40, this a 1991 model that brought an astounding $781,000.

The other Ferrari we featured, a 1983 512 BBi sold for $96,250. And the other Jaguar, a 1967 Series I E-Type went unsold. There was another very rare old Ferrari at this sale, a 1952 342 America Coupe Speciale by Pinin Farina – one of six built and one of only three coupes built by Pinin Farina. It sold for $632,500.

There was a Duesenberg Model J sold at this sale and I’ve said previously that we’d feature every Model J Duesenberg that comes up for sale if at all possible. Well, we ran out of time before the sale. Once we clear the backlog and get caught up we’ll be sure to have a rundown of that car.

For complete auction results, click here.