The main reason the reborn ragtop lasted no longer was that the all-new 1986 Eldorado proved too small to make into a practical convertible. Shrunk to a 108-inch wheelbase in a second-wave GM downsizing effort (along with the still-related Toronado and Riviera), it was the trimmest, handiest Eldo ever: 16 inches shorter and over 300 pounds lighter than the ’85. Transverse engine mounting, unit construction, and a new four-wheel coil/strut suspension with transverse rear leaf spring saved weight and improved rigidity while preserving most of the previous generations interior space, and handling benefitted from a switch to rack-and-pinion steering. But buyers didn’t take to the smaller size — or to the styling, which for all its Cadillac hallmarks was uncomfortably like that of some lesser GM cars. Production plunged two-thirds, then sank to a dismal 17,775 in 20th-anniversary 1987, the lowest ever for a front-drive Eldo.
A downsized E-body Eldo was designed, according to Cadillac, for “sporty elegance, and sheer driving pleasure.” Buick Riviera and Olds Toronado rode the same chassis, but neither of them offered what Eldo had: a transverse-mounted V-8 under the hood. Like the similar Seville, the new Eldo was more than 16 in. shorter than its predecessor. On the down side, both of them now looked a little too much alike, lacking the special styling qualities that had set both apart in previous incarnations.
Eldorado’s side marker lamps were set into the bodyside moldings at front and rear, with “Eldorado” script just ahead of the front wheel. A wreath-and-crest was on the wide rear pillar. At the rear were vertical taillamps, with vertical rectangular backup lights alongside the license plate. Along with the altered body came the demise of the Eldo convertible (for the second time in a decade).
To improve rust resistance, all body panels (except the roof) were two-sided galvanized metal. Flush composite headlamps held both high- and low-beam bulbs. The fully independent suspension used a fiberglass transverse single leaf spring in the back. A new digital instrument cluster included a tachometer and engine gauges in a “driver information center.” Standard equipment included
a floor shift lever for the four-speed overdrive automatic transaxle,
leather-trimmed tilt/telescope steering wheel
four-wheel disc brakes
front bucket seats with lumbar support
power windows and door locks
power trunk lid release
body-colored electric outside mirrors
seek/scan stereo radio with power antenna
aluminum alloy wheels
electronic level control
Eldorado’s Biarritz package included
a formal cabriolet vinyl roof
wide bodyside accent moldings
wire wheel covers
Inside luxuries included
deluxe floor mats
walnut wood appliques
dual power front reclining bucket seats with power lumbar support
a six-way power passenger seat
front seatback pockets
American walnut wood found a place on the steering wheel, console, door trim and instrument panel. An optional touring suspension package (Goodyear Eagle GT high-performance P215/60R15 tires, rear stabilizer bar, stiffer front stabilizer bar and specially-tuned components) offered a firmer, better-controlled ride but included no special graphics or ornamentation.
90-degree, overhead valve V-8. Cast iron block and head.