Home » This Stunning Cadillac Eldorado Shooting Brake Took 15 Years And $2.3 Million To Build

This Stunning Cadillac Eldorado Shooting Brake Took 15 Years And $2.3 Million To Build

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The Pininfarina-built 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham is a rare breed of classic so beloved that people will pay more than six figures for one in good nick. They’re rare, too, as just 100 were produced and 99 delivered. One of these fabled collector items underwent surgery that saw it turned from a coachbuilt sedan to a glorious shooting brake. This is the CadMad, and it’s an Eldorado Brougham blended together with a Chevrolet Nomad in a build that took 15 years and $2.3 million.

This awesome creation has come up for sale and thankfully, you won’t pay that much, but you’ll still need deep pockets. The 1959 “CadMad” is set to roll across the auction block during Mecum Auctions’ Kissimmee 2024 event going down in Florida on January 2 through 14, 2024. Everything associated with this vehicle is nutty from the blending of two GM products into one to the fact that the paint cost $300,000, the engine cost $97,000, and if you put racing fuel into its tank, you can get 1,025 HP of proud American power.

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Plus, just look at the CadMad. Its visuals are so clean and so perfect that I wouldn’t blame you for thinking it was created by AI. Gaze at the lack of exposed fasteners, the impossibly smooth body, and nothing to distract you from enjoying a vehicle that looks like George Jetson’s weekend car. With quality like this, you can begin to see why the build took so long.

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Majestic Bones

Everything associated with this build has the potential to drop your jaw and it starts with the first donor vehicle. Depending on who you are, you know Cadillac for its newest obsession with putting “-iq” at the end of its EV model names or perhaps for the incredible Blackwing cars. Flip your calendars back roughly 70 years and Cadillac was a very different brand. Back then, it wasn’t the purveyor of tarted-up Chevrolet Suburbans, but the “Standard of the World.”

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Cadillac meant business in those days. It didn’t just say it was the brand for all others to follow but produced world-class vehicles capable of sweeping even the most discerning luxury buyers off of their feet. The Cadillac Eldorado Brougham represented the pinnacle of class on wheels, and it challenged greats the world over.

1953 Cadillac Eldorado
Broad Arrow Auctions

As the Automotive Heritage Foundation writes, the story of the Eldorado is rooted in Cadillac’s Golden Anniversary. 1952 marked 50 years of Cadillac excellence and General Motors executives wanted to celebrate with the release of a bombastic new model. Reportedly, the “Eldorado” name comes from an internal naming competition. The winner was merchandising secretary Mary-Ann Marini with the name El Dorado, a reference to the mythical lost city of gold. The name also referred to the subject as being gilded, perfect for a golden anniversary.

Cadillac displayed a show car during GM’s Motorama in 1952 and beginning with the 1953 model year, buyers could have their own top-of-the-line Eldorado two-door convertible. Its style was impeccable, its luxury high-end, and the Eldorado commanded a price of $7,750, greater than some of its peers.

1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
Bring a Trailer Seller

By 1957, Hemmings writes, the Eldorado had taken steps even higher with the Brougham. Harley Earl flipped through the pages of Motorama cars and applied them to the Eldorado. The 1953 Cadillac Orleans show car gave its pillarless four-door body and panoramic windscreen while the 1954 Cadillac El Camino coupe show car passed on its stylish Florentine brushed stainless steel roof.

Cadillac didn’t stop there, as the Eldorado Brougham featured a four-link rear suspension with air ride, low profile tires, and an incredible amount of features for the day. Eldorado Broughams had power everything, an early form of memory seat, automatic door locking, and so much more. We’re talking about a vehicle with a vanity, a drink tray with magnetic cups, and a makeup case.

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Barrett-Jackson Auctions

I’m only touching the tip of the iceberg of these $13,074 cars. Which, reportedly, were significantly more expensive than a Rolls-Royce of the day. Imagine cross-shopping a Rolls with a Caddy today. How do you follow up an act like that? Well, in 1959, Cadillac transferred the manufacturing of the Eldorado Brougham’s body to Pininfarina. Reportedly, Italy built 100 Eldorado Broughams; one was lost and 99 were delivered.

For many, these Eldorado Broughams represent the peak of Cadillac’s history, and collectors are willing to pay $429,000 for one of the few that were made. However, one collector had another idea.

The CadMad

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Stephen F. Barton was a man who spent his fortunes from an appliance rental empire on hot rods and collector cars. To give you an idea of the scale of Barton’s success, he reportedly lived in a 16,000-square-foot mansion filled with fine art. Underneath it was a Tony Stark-esque garage of 37 cars people like you and I could only dream of affording. He didn’t just collect cars, either, as he also dabbled in designing his own hot rods.

For his next rod, Barton wanted to go big. As Hagerty writes, since 1964, hot rod builders have competed for the Don Ridler Memorial Award trophy. Think of this trophy as the hot rod equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize for journalists or the Nobel Prize for inventors and scientists. As Hagerty writes, some hot rodders see the Don Ridler as the award to win and a perfect way to cap off a distinguished career. With that in mind, you could imagine that the cars entered for the Don Ridler are incredible works of art. These are vehicles years of work and with millions of dollars invested into them. These are the kinds of custom builds that come out looking better than an automaker’s own concept car. In case you were wondering, Don Ridler was a car customization pioneer and had a hand in the organization of the Detroit Autorama shows. The trophy was created in Ridler’s honor after his death in 1963.

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In the early 2000s, Jordan Quintal II, the proprietor of Super Rides by Jordan, received a call from Barton. The latter gentleman had a classic Cadillac that he wanted to turn into a station wagon. But this wouldn’t be just any hot rod build; Barton wanted to win the Ridler. Quintal II, nowadays a man in his 70s, had been building cars since he was a teenager. Building the ultimate Cadillac Eldorado Brougham? Yeah, he could handle that. And Barton didn’t care how much it cost, he wanted to see the Caddy wagon become reality.

The build started with 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham #85 of 99. Quintal’s team took the 18.8-foot Caddy and removed 18.5 inches from its length. The body was chopped 2.5 inches to reduce the vehicle’s height, then the rear doors were removed and the front doors elongated by 6 inches. Still not done, the team at Super Rides narrowed the body by 4.5 inches before dropping in the greenhouse from a 1956 Chevrolet Nomad. The 300-piece grille and front bumper had to be deconstructed and put back together. The shop even took the jet-afterburner taillight housings, trimmed them down, and put them back together with bespoke lenses. Other custom coachwork from Super Rides includes a tailgate. Quintal and his team, which included his teenage son, took almost two years cutting, welding, and forming the wagon out of metal.

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It’s noted that Quintal and his team took great care to retain as much of the original Pininfarina body as possible, and I think they did a fantastic job. This looks like something that could have, no, should have rolled out of the Pininfarina shop.

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All of this rolls on a custom 1 5/8-inch tube frame and both the frame and the body are painted in 1961 Cadillac Fawntana Rose with a pearl effect.

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Super Rides by Jordan

The paint alone is boggling. There are three Kustom Shop urethane base coats, four color coats, and six coats of PPG clear. This paint job cost $300,000 all by itself and Quintal says it required hundreds of hours of prep work.

The ridiculous detail continues inside, where you’re presented with a custom interior that’s modern while not completely disregarding the past. A mix of African wenge, figured maple, and tiger wood trim the bed and occupants get to sit in Recaro buckets from a Cadillac CTS-V. The interior is color-matched and has painted-on wood trim on the dash, and the biggest clue that things are modern in there is the screen on the center console. I like that the screen is sort of hidden away rather than tacked on as some modern cars get.

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The madness continues under the hood. Tom Nelson of Nelson Racing Engines built a monster of a 632 cubic inch Warrior Series BBC V8. It boasts twin 88mm turbos, a Dart block, a Callies forged 4340 crank, and billet crank caps. Helping bring on the power are forged rods, forged pistons, two injectors per cylinder, custom heads, custom bearings, and a billet intake. All of this runs on an octane-on-demand system and Nelson Racing Engines says it makes 1,025 HP on racing gas and just 7.5 PSI of boost. This engine drives the rear wheels through a Corvette transaxle mounted in the rear.

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While this engine is great, Barton’s original concept sounded even cooler. Barton envisioned two Northstar V8s mated together to create a massive V16 engine. Sadly, this engine never came to fruition.

Lots Of Time, Lots Of Money

The build took 15 or 16 years, depending on who you ask. CadMad took 4,000 man hours to create, and a lot of it was spent taking the vehicle apart and putting it back together countless times to make sure everything was right. The Quintals had to make sure there were no exposed fasteners, no seams, and no imperfections whatsoever. The car had to look practically imaginary, like the stuff you see only in renders by talented digital artists, but done in real life by artists mastered in metal. In order to make sure everything worked out correctly, the vehicle had a new steering wheel created and a new dash, too. This meticulous level of work costs a ton of money, too. Setbacks came from spending $3,000 on an abandoned paddle shift system, another $3,900 was spent replacing a scratched windshield, and $97,000 was spent on the engine.

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In total, $2.3 million was spent on making the car a reality, and Barton passed in 2018 before he could even see the vehicle finished. It’s boggling to think that the paint alone costs as much as a supercar. That engine costs more than what I’ve spent on my entire car collection. Reportedly, Barton’s dying wish was for his brother to finish the car and take it to victory. In February 2019, the car took the Ridler trophy it was built to win.

After the Ridler, the CadMad began its life as a famed collector car. It was featured in auto media all over America and in 2020, it was sold for $302,500. Now, it has come up for sale again in the Mecum Auctions’ Kissimmee 2024 event. You probably won’t spend $2.3 million on it, but Mecum expects it to sell for between $450,000 to $500,000. That’s still big money, but you’ll be getting something that’s as much of a work of art as it is a car. The 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham is already rare, but only one of them looks like a shooting brake for space.

(Images: Mecum Auctions, unless otherwise noted.)

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Myk El
Myk El
3 months ago

When the question was asked not long ago what I’d do as a billionaire for a car, I answered I’d want to go old-school and get a custom body put on by a coachbuilder of a rolling chassis and engine. This is similar, but I’d be going from ground up so as not to sacrifice any repairable rare classic.

Dr. Asteroid
Dr. Asteroid
3 months ago

The quality of the craftsmanship, the fit, the finish…are all incredible and I applaud the work. However, I’ve never been a fan of hacking up cars, especially when classic or rare. Plus, the sheer amount of money put into the build vs what it sold for is a huuuuuge lost in investment. But, I understand the desire he had. He had an idea he wanted executed at any cost. I can understand that feeling.

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