Amelia Island

8 March 2014

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Lot 124

1953 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

  • Engine no. 536244493
  • Body no. 89

Sold for $184,250


Series 62. 210 bhp, 331 cu. in. overhead-valve V-8 engine, four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, coil-spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126 in.

  • Offered from the collection of Richard and Linda Kughn
  • Part of the 1953 General Motors Trifecta
  • The original Eldorado; a one-year-only model
  • Formerly owned by Lee Herrington
  • A quality older restoration with desirable accessories


El Dorado! Over the passing decades, the name has come to refer to a legendary “City of Gold,” long sought-after and never acquired by all those who seek fame, fortune, and plunder. Only slightly less desirable in 1953 was Cadillac’s Eldorado, which was, at the time, the most glorious automobile that the company had ever produced. It was the first production Cadillac to carry a name that would continue to mean the finest in American luxury for generations to come.

It was one of the 1952 General Motors Motorama dream cars that were ushered, largely unchanged, into limited production the following year. It was, essentially, a Series 62 Convertible Coupe; however, the body was radically reshaped, incorporating a wraparound windshield, Packard Darrin-like “dips” in the doors, and an acrylic fabric convertible top that disappeared neatly behind a metal boot when lowered. This being the 1950s, comfort abounded within: power seats, windows, and steering were all standard in the leather-trimmed cockpit, as was a signal-seeking radio, an automatic heating system, and windshield washers. The package was finished with wire wheels that were shod with wide whitewall tires.

In a public relations coup for the ages, the first production Eldorado literally rolled out with the president of the United States in the backseat, as Dwight Eisenhower used it for his inaugural parade in January 1953.

Only 533 lucky souls got to experience what it felt to be like Ike. The original Eldorado has gone down in history as the most unique and rarest of the many cars to carry the famous name, and it remains among the most desired of all post-war Cadillacs.

The car offered here, body number 89, was formerly owned by well-known collector Lee Herrington, and then it was acquired from him for Mr. and Mrs. Kughn’s collection. The Kughns were longtime attendees and supporters of the Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance, and this car was a frequent guest of that famous event, as it was displayed there in 2006, 2007, and 2009. It also appeared at the Bay Harbor Vintage Car & Boat Festival in 2007.

Even though the car was restored some time ago, it has continued to hold up well, thanks to excellent maintenance in the Kughn Collection. It has smooth body panels with good gaps, and it is finished in sparkling Alpine White. The leather interior trim and chrome shows light wear, as do the chassis and under the hood, which is to be expected of an older restoration that has seen a few road miles. The car is riding on chrome wire wheels that are shod in bias-ply tires, and it has, as would be expected, a full complement of correct gadgetry, including power windows and seat, a correct acrylic fabric top, and a Continental kit rear-mounted spare.

For many Cadillac enthusiasts, the Eldorado represents the most exclusive and desirable model of the decade, and no collection is complete without one. Mr. and Mrs. Kughn have treasured theirs, and it is now offered here to fill a niche in the stable of a new discerning owner.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more