Home » You Could Be The Next Owner Of Dean Martin’s Barris-Built Cadillac Eldorado Shooting Brake

You Could Be The Next Owner Of Dean Martin’s Barris-Built Cadillac Eldorado Shooting Brake

Dean Martin Cadillac Eldorado Topshot3
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Every so often, a bargain comes up at one of those fancy collector car auctions beloved by retired CEOs and people with monocles. Something with provenance, rarity, desirability, and in decent enough condition to be worth a punt. This custom Cadillac Eldorado shooting brake was built by one of the greatest customizers of all time, sold to an absolute mega-star, and is now expected to go for less than the price of a new Hyundai Elantra.

Dean Martin Cadillac Eldorado 1

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Yep, this wagonized Cadillac Eldorado is expected to go for a surprisingly reasonable price. Donington Auctions has pegged the pre-auction estimate at $25,000 to $35,000 AUD, or between about $16,480 to $23,072 in greenbacks. That’s downright cheap for a genuine Barris car, and yes, that’s Barris as in legendary customizer George Barris.

So what’s the story behind this Cadillac Eldorado shooting brake, and how did it end up in Australia? While that second question is yet to be answered, the first is a tale of stardom. As Hemmings notes,

A little more digging turns up some information in Barris’s “Barris: Kustoms of the 1960s,” co-written with David Fetherston, in which Barris claims the idea originated when he pitched a 1970 Eldorado station wagon concept to Dean Martin and came up with the Casa de Eldorado.

If there’s any customer that fit a profile for a Cadillac shooting brake, it was singer, actor, and generally suave entertainer Dean Martin. Not only is a Cadillac part of the Rat Pack image, Martin reportedly owned several Cadillac wagons throughout his life, and this 1969 Eldorado is one of them.

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Dean Martin Cadillac Eldorado 2

Just how many of these sport wagons rolled out of Barris Kustom Industries is unknown, but this one certainly has history behind it. While the neoclassic spare tire-suggesting humps in the front fenders likely aren’t to everyone’s tastes, the rest of the styling is rather fetching. The 1969 Cadillac Eldorado has always been a handsome car, and I reckon it works pretty well as a wagon.

Dean Martin Cadillac Eldorado Profile

Under the hood should be Cadillac’s 472 cubic-inch V8, displacing a whopping 7.7 liters in metric units. Sure, peak output of 375 SAE Gross horsepower doesn’t mean a whole lot today, but we’re talking about a smooth V8 with a long 3.07:1 final drive. This thing was built to cruise the highways and drain gas stations dry, all in the utmost comfort.

Dean Martin Cadillac Eldorado Interior

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Unfortunately, time hasn’t been incredibly kind to Dean Martin’s Cadillac Eldorado shooting brake. It seems to have spent some time in the sun, as evidenced by the cracked vinyl roof and decals. Questionable wiring dangles in the footwells, rust appears in odd spots on the body, and some of the lug nuts appear to have taken a walk. Add in a certain grunginess to the ultra-plush interior, and it’ll take some time and money to make this intriguing wagon look its best.

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Dean Martin Cadillac Eldorado Rear

How it ended up in Australia, I have no clue, but if you want what is said to be Dean Martin’s shooting brake Cadillac, get your butt to Australia for Feb. 25, because that’s when this thing’s being auctioned off. With a bit of elbow grease, you could be cruising in a crooner’s custom Cadillac, and that’s a pretty cool thing to imagine.

(Photo credits: Donington Auctions)

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Pointy Deity
Pointy Deity
24 days ago

It looks like something a Florida amphetamine enthusiast Man cobbled together in his shed.

Der Foo
Der Foo
24 days ago

George Barris was supposed to be a legend, but if that is true, this ‘creation’ makes me think this was a cash grab for a vehicle he really didn’t want to mess with.

I would have refused delivery based on the Pep Boys accessory asle tire humps alone.

Ted Fort
Ted Fort
24 days ago
Reply to  Der Foo

The more you dig the less of a legend he seems.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
24 days ago

I like it but cheap to you is no cheap for me

Pedro
Pedro
24 days ago

I’d settle for a humble 60s vintage woodside Olds Vista Cruiser.

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
24 days ago

This car weirdly appeals to me. Buying it would be like living a real-life version of George Costanza’s Voight LeBaron saga.

My biggest questions involve what kind of provenance proves this was Dean Martin’s car. Was it the Rat Pack legend, or just some schmuck who happened to share the same name? And if it did belong to Steubenville Ohio’s favorite son, did he ever actually drive it?

As for the car itself, it’s a harbinger of the Malaise Era’s worst styling trends with the decals and the vinyl top. And what’s the deal with the weird fender blisters?

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
24 days ago

Yeah, open the glovebox and find the owner’s manual with his name spelled “Croccetti” instead of “Crocetti”

Oh, that belonged to Dino the tailor

Last edited 24 days ago by Ranwhenparked
AlterId
AlterId
24 days ago

Okay, so the basic concept is cool and I like that they retained the operational rear windows and the original concave-angled Eldorado backlight, but… I’m trying to separate out the condition issues from the design issues – right now it looks like something slapped together in a backyard, but some of that’s due to the dinged trim and unsuccessfully patched rust – but the Barris this creation brings to mind is not George. but Chuck.

Gonnnngggg

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
24 days ago
Reply to  AlterId

“I loved your act. But then again, I love rancid milk.”

Chuck Barris
The Gong Show

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
24 days ago

What’s up with the bold blanket sweep? Enough of that shit man. You aren’t that important. Use your words to express your opinion.

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
24 days ago

That’s an actual Chuck Barris quote. I thought it pretty much summed up what he’d have to say about the car.

I’ve already used my words to express my opinion in my earlier post.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
24 days ago

And yet here we are in an ego battle when we should be agreeing that you are an idiot.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
24 days ago

Kidding of course.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
24 days ago

I am 100% sure I’m the idiot here.
Doesn’t make the circumstances less hilarious however.

Idiot!

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
23 days ago

Yup

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
23 days ago

It’s been corrected. Your not kidding anymore.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
23 days ago

*that I am an idiot

McLovin
McLovin
24 days ago

30 minutes from my house and utterly cool. Scrape back that paint though and there would be enough filler to make Leepu weep.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
24 days ago

Is the blood and hair on the bumper human origin?

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
24 days ago

It would add an interesting story to the car’s history.

AlterId
AlterId
24 days ago

For what they’re asking for it, it better be.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
24 days ago

When there’s too much crap tacked
to your huge Cadillac
What’s some more eh

Last edited 24 days ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Harvey Park
Harvey Park
24 days ago

Genius

McLovin
McLovin
24 days ago

Panel gaps are so neat
and shagpile at my feet
I’m in love.

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
24 days ago

The way the top angles down to the rear just doesn’t work for me. It should be flatter longer. The angle starts too soon.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
24 days ago

Not even with Sammy Davis Junior’s checkbook.

Last edited 24 days ago by Jonathan Hendry
Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
24 days ago

Sammy gad better taste.

Mr. Canoehead
Mr. Canoehead
24 days ago

“legendary customizer George Barris”

I think “infamous hack” would better describe Barris.

Kevin B
Kevin B
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr. Canoehead

I can’t think of one of his “creations” that doesn’t repulse me.

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr. Canoehead

Chuck had better taste.

Alec Rosenbaum
Alec Rosenbaum
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr. Canoehead

I agree. No doubt he had a few exceptional creations. However, I see more and more Barris stuff which are barely a step up from a JCWhitney catalog binge.

And he was a dick.

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
24 days ago

Impulse control is held back by budget. It’s just as well that I don’t have near enough cash to even contemplate owning this thing. But I can dream.

Love the lines – too often these Caddy-wagons have an area where the lines of the car that donated its roof don’t really match the original lines of the Caddy. This thing doesn’t suffer from that at all.

The neo-classic spare tire bumps would have to go. Something tells me it wouldn’t drop the value of this thing in any way. Maybe I could flip them upside down and place them under/behind the rear fenders, where a spare tire actually may have went on a car of this vintage. Only this car would show space for two full-size spares to those in the know. Mmm… stealth wealth.

Or not. Anyway, the rest wouldn’t be too bad, relatively speaking. Lower it a couple of inches, add some Vogues or wider white-walls. I’d see if was possible to replace the front end with one from a stock ’68 Eldorado so it had hideaway headlights. And a stock grill! Those goofy chrome-nose-cap aftermarket grills never, ever look right.

As to that wood trim, give it a Zebrano veneer offset with a high-gloss “Champagne” brown (I once had a ’75 Eldorado in a color best described as this – it really popped in the sun). Redo the vinyl top in a shade of material that works with the new wood trim.

The obvious route for the interior would be to resto-mod it with something custom-fit from a wrecked V-series, but I’d rather install the big plush mouse fur velour covered driving couches out of an ’80’s Brougham.

Finally, make sure it has a stereo cable of playing Dean Martin 8-tracks, and proceed to daily the hell out of it.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
24 days ago

This is the correct take!

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
24 days ago

I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Tbird
Tbird
24 days ago

I’d say go for it, I’m not sure there is enough celebrity provenance not too.

Mr. Frick
Mr. Frick
24 days ago

Barris also did some custom work on a 65 Mercury Colony Park station wagon for the movie The Silencers. It starred Dean Martin as Matt Helm, secret agent. I came with a full bar and television. It also had electrically retractable curtains in the rear. The movie is so terrible that it’s fun. I saw another Eldorado wagon he owned for sale in an old issue of Hemmings. I would love to own a Cadillac station wagon. Especially if it was one of Dino’s cars.

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
24 days ago
Reply to  Mr. Frick

The Matt Helm movies are intentionally over the top and yes, they’re so bad they’re good!

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
25 days ago

That profile shot…
has me dreaming—trying to channel The Bishop. Start with a Mk V Continental and give it the shooting brake treatment. No cheesy tire bumps, though: just clean slab-sides. Then I come along 40-odd years later, raise it a bit and taller tires and either roof-tent it or cut & add a pop-top. Boom: 1-2 person mini-camper. Or maybe a 1970 Monte Carlo.

Ok, well, it looked good in my head till I voiced it anyway. This is why I’m not a designer 🙁

KevFC
KevFC
25 days ago

He did it his way.,

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
24 days ago
Reply to  KevFC

This is definitely a Kick in the Head.
Shoulda stuck with the Volare.

Hot Stuff
Hot Stuff
24 days ago
Reply to  KevFC

That’s the early 80’s Imperial.

FleetwoodBro
FleetwoodBro
25 days ago

The fender humps make this car look like it has an iodine deficiency.

D-dub
D-dub
25 days ago
Reply to  FleetwoodBro

My initial thought was “what a weird place to store spare tires”.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
25 days ago
Reply to  D-dub

Bristol did it for real, but they hid them behind discrete doors

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
25 days ago
Reply to  FleetwoodBro
Marathag
Marathag
24 days ago
Reply to  FleetwoodBro

came for the goiter reference

A. Barth
A. Barth
25 days ago

in decent enough condition to be worth a punt

This thing isn’t even worth a pint. 🙁

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
25 days ago

Sure, but whatcha gonna do with all that junk, all that junk where there used to be a trunk? Not to mention its humps, its humps, its ugly fender lumps.

(In honor of another famous singer with bad taste in cars…)

Greensoul
Greensoul
24 days ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Brilliant. I give you five stars for that comment. Now I can’t get that song out of my head dammit.

Chronometric
Chronometric
25 days ago

Barris must have caught Dean Martin drunk to sell him this piece of junk. Stick on fiberglass wheel humps and decals is some pretty high end customization.

Last edited 25 days ago by Chronometric
Harvey Park
Harvey Park
24 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Sounds like Harris all right

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
24 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

I mean, the likelihood of catching him sober was pretty minimal.

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
24 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

When was he sober?

Der Foo
Der Foo
24 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Emperor’s new clothes.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
25 days ago

This is why its good I can’t afford stuff like this, I’d just ruin it by removing the padded vinyl roof & trim and the faux spare tire humps

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
25 days ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

That’s what it’s crying for! After the write-up about the Uncertain-T, I can believe George did this one himself.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
25 days ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

Possibly keep the vinyl roof? At least over the cargo area, just maybe a more subtle color

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
24 days ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Wrong guy to ask. I hate vinyl tops with a passion!

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
24 days ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

Sometimes its just a different way of doing a two-tone look, there’s a design thing going on there with the body-colored center hoop and contrasting roof sections fore and aft which is worth keeping. Suppose you could also just do a second paint color

DialMforMiata
DialMforMiata
24 days ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

And replace the hideous grille with a stock unit. And paint it a nice deep black. Good thing I can’t afford this either.

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
25 days ago

I like me a good wagon, but not this sad, battered old thing with the mumps.

ChefCJ
ChefCJ
25 days ago

This car if proof that if you make the exact right amount of terrible design choices you can end up with something amazing.

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