In case you’ve missed the previous postings, this is the Hooniverse Couldawouldashoulda Weekend, in which I pose a simple premise to you, our faithful Hooniverse fans. One of the most dramatic turnarounds in Detroit history is Chrysler, and this turnaround is best illustrated with a car that was so unloved, came close to being totally canceled, only to be updated and christened with a new name to become one of Chrysler’s best sellers. Of course I’m referring to the renamed Chrysler Sebring, the Chrysler 200. It is also one of the least expensive 4 or 5 passenger convertibles offered in North America, with a list price of around $26,500 for the 4-cylinder Touring version. However, for a little less coin you could have a truly magnificent convertible that will seat six in comfort, and will never be confused with a lowly Sebring. It is a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible, and it is being offered at Sebring – oops, I mean Chrysler 200 – pricing….
The Chrysler 200 underwent a major upgrade in interior materials, workmanship, and small styling tweaks with mixed results. Chrysler didn’t have the cash to do a complete redesign, but they managed to make the ugly duckling Sebring into – well if not quite a Swan – maybe a less ugly duckling. Chassis dynamics are exactly the same as the earlier Sebring, though there is a new Pentastar V-6 available, and a six-speed automatic. However, the Touring version makes do with the inadequate 2.4L four cylinder world engine, which isn’t a powerhouse, nor is it particularly fuel efficient. The 200 will be a sales success because of all the Florida, and Vegas rental car fleets who buy thousands of these each year. Just kill yourself now before you succumb to the thought of ever owning one of these.
On the other hand, here is a tribute to American Excess at its finest. This Cadillac Eldorado was produced during Americas Bi-Centennial year, and is finished in a color called “Firethorn”. Say it with me…. FIRE THORN! Who wouldn’t want a car with that kind of colorful name? The interior is also finished in a Blood Red hue, just so you know they were made with real cows…. According to the listing:
Finished in striking Firethorn Metallic with Antique Dark Firethorn leather interior and white convertible top, this rare and desirable 1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible is well optioned with: 500 cubic inch V8, automatic transmission, power steering, power disc brakes, 50/50 split power seats, power convertible top, power windows, power door locks, power trunk release, climate control A/C, cruise control, AM/FM stereo radio with power antenna, intermittent wipers, twilight sentinel, rear defrost, tilt/tele steering wheel, dual remote mirrors, driver side mirror thermometer, soft convertible boot cover, illuminated passenger vanity mirror, door edge guards, front license plate bracket, floor mats, and much more! This vehicle represents the absolute height of luxurious and stylish road-going accommodations from American carmakers in 1976. An age that has all but passed us by, making these last of the great Cadillac convertibles, highly sought after and quite valuable on the collector market!
This was the final year for this legendary automobile, after which the convertible was no longer available, nor was the 500 cubic inch V8. And in the years that followed, Cadillacs continued to diminish in size to better suit the falling displacement of their engines. This is without question the last great incarnation of this legendary road car. This 56,169 actual mile example has had just 3 meticulous owners from new and has been wonderfully maintained! It comes with all service and ownership history dating back to 1983 when the car was located in McAllen, Texas.
If you are craving for a 4 place convertible that will cruise along comfortably on the interstate and is fairly reliable, the Chrysler 200 makes a good argument. Of course, once you buy one the car will suck the very life out of you because it is in fact a Sebring in disguise. Or you could be the king of the road with a Cadillac Eldorado Convertible that takes up three parking spaces, drinks fuel with a vengeance, but does so with style and swagger. So which would you choose? See the Eldorado Listing here.