Tuesday, March 27, 2012

1971 Cadillac Eldorado Design Tweak

This was a fun chop to create! I've been thinking of older Cadillacs a lot lately, and have been finding original publicity photos online and saving them to my hard drive. This was a black-and-white press photo of the new-for-1971 Eldorado convertible, a car that is most definitely a modern classic. In addition to the design changes, detailed below, I added in a subtle 4-color hand-tinted look to the rendering.

For this design "tweak," the biggest change I made was restoring the hidden headlights of the 1967-68 Eldorados. Besides being a very period touch, hidden headlights really clean up a front end. I broadened the grille to full-width, removed the stand-up hood ornament and added the Cadillac wreathe-and-crest to the hood, a '67-'70 styling cue. Then I cleaned up the bodysides, removing the mid-level chrome spear and the front nameplate and engine logo. I moved the front cornering lights down into the rocker panel to blend better with the chromed rocker panels between the wheelwells. I left the nifty decorative rear fender "vent" as it's such a great nod to not only the original Eldorado of '53 but most Cadillac models of the '50s. Then I added back in a teeny tiny letterspaced E-L-D-O-R-A-D-O nameplate on the lower front fender and a wreathe-and-crest logo on the rear fender. Last addition? A Connecticut license plate.

Overall, I tried to "clean up" a classic GM design. Ballsy perhaps, but the late, great Bill Mitchell isn't around to yell at me, lol. But that would be COOL!

T E C H N I C A L   T H O U G H T — At first I completely "shaved" the sides of the car, airbrushing in a perfect white paint job where I had removed the chrome bodyside spear etc. But the sides looked too "flat" without reflections. I looked back at the original image and added back in the very subtle horizontal reflections all along the lower sides of the car. Now I think they look like I didn't quite remove the chrome spear correctly, lol. I went back and forth several times, with them, without them, with them, without them, finally deciding to leave them in the final rendering.

15 comments:

  1. This is wonderful! So much cleaner than the original! What could you do with a coupe (no longer a two-door hardtop!)? I used to like the 75 the best of these Eldorados but now I think I like this one best!!

    Paul, NYC

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  2. Thanks, Paul! I have some ideas for a coupe and will try to find a good photo of one from the back to start with.

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  3. Absolutely love it. I really like the front end treatment.

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  4. Hi CnT! I was completely shocked when I did a quick chop on the front end to give it hidden headlights and saw how well it worked. Then I decided to finish the rest of the car. Thanks!

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  5. I love the changes to this. I am not a fan of the fake scoop ( vertical trim )but I agree that it breaks up a huge slab side. I wonder what a chrome trim like some of the older Eldorados would do to this body. Running rearward from the front wheel opening along the lower body crease then up and curving towards the front. I think the '60 Eldorado had that.
    I'm not suggesting a change just your opinion of the idea.

    BobF

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  6. Hi Bob, Yeah, that could be another treatment. I'm thinking of doing a coupe chop of this series of Eldo. I'll see if it would work on the hardtop.

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  7. My Dad had a new white '71 convertible, I loved the throwback '53 side trim and figured Mitchell was going retro with most GM '70/71headlites ., But I really like your version better. The only thing that would make it spiffier, would be '67/'69 tail lites.Pop also had a new black smooth roof '67 Eldo and while all of the styling was totally stunning it was the tail lites that put the icing on the cake. Every time GM tried to recreate the '67s aura,they missed the taillites . Anyway I just discovered your web site and all I can say is you are incredibly talented and skilled!Its amazing, as I discover more of your work On new cars I see you are addressing the same pet peives that I have had for some time. I.e.short distance between front door and front wheel ,lack of wood trim,revival of pillar less hard tops. etc. Many thanks for the entertainment. Marty Martino

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  8. My Dad had a new white '71 convertible, I loved the throwback '53 side trim and figured Mitchell was going retro with most GM '70/71headlites ., But I really like your version better. The only thing that would make it spiffier, would be '67/'69 tail lites.Pop also had a new black smooth roof '67 Eldo and while all of the styling was totally stunning it was the tail lites that put the icing on the cake. Every time GM tried to recreate the '67s aura,they missed the taillites . Anyway I just discovered your web site and all I can say is you are incredibly talented and skilled!Its amazing, as I discover more of your work On new cars I see you are addressing the same pet peives that I have had for some time. I.e.short distance between front door and front wheel ,lack of wood trim,revival of pillar less hard tops. etc. Many thanks for the entertainment. Marty Martino

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  9. Hi Marty, Thanks for the kind words! You're right about those '67-'70 Eldo taillights. They're like blades and perfectly executed! Hope you continue to check back. -casey

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  10. Came across your blog while searching for '50s and '60s Cadillac concept cars. Your artwork is flawless. There's no question that this is my new favorite blog!

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  11. Thank you so much, JS! It's always nice to hear from people. I haven't finished many new chops recently, but I have about 25 started so they'll start showing up sooner or later. Thanks again for stopping by! -casey

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  12. Definitely an improvement over the original. Because giant convertibles should have both fender skirts and hidden headlights. (Like the Buick Y Job.) Another thing that always bothered me was eliminating the fender skirts on the last giant Eldos.

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  13. I agree, Steve, and thanks. The last large Eldo just never looked right when the fender skirts were removed. The angular beltline they introduced didn't work, either.

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  14. LOVE your tweaks on this! I always thought the Eldo looked a little cheap without hide-away headlights in those days.
    Michael West

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