Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz 1959






scale 1:18

Model number: 36813


Review of the model:

Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz 1959

This flamboyant Caddy is one of the best known icons of the 1950s

If you ask any human on this planet about a car named Cadillac, I am sure they have a picture in their head of a car, with BIG fins and strange backlights! – This particular car is exactly what this article is about. In 1959 Cadillac was the leader of the pack, regarding extravagance in design and where the most expensive car manufacturer in the world. They produced a rarity of models, spanning from sedans over to ambulances and hearses. In addition here” The Biarritz” a very big car for the summertime spent in mundane environments.

The Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz was the full name of this predator. Biarritz was the name of the southwestern coast town in France. The name expresses; high-class, society and glamour. This was a style trend, that also was highlighted in Cadillac's brochures and advertising. A car that is so popular and known in the American car history - Only Autoart (now discontinued) and Maisto have produced the car in scale 1:18. That is rather strange, because this car is very sought after in scale 1:1.

The company Maisto, witch headquarter lay in California, have their manufacture in Hong Kong, China. Produce this model. Does it live up to our expatiations and level of details, which we find in other brands out there?  Is the quality as good as the real Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz 59? Is the price right, regarding level of detail and realism in this model? The short answer is no, no and no!

So why have I purchased this model? …..If you collect model cars from the golden period (1950-1965) like me, it will be a shame, not to have it in one’s stable.  This model is not one of the most expensive out there. So how much detailing do we get for the buck? – They cost up to 109 Euros here in Europe, but can be found at a lower price. I was lucky to get mine as a used model for approx 26 Euros. One reason for buying this model was also to try if I could improve the car to a higher standard. 

Let’s see what I have brought and what I like and don’t like.  First the good things:

I have never had a model that run so fine on the wheels. Furthermore the spring suspensions are all good. The tires are well made in soft rubber. The white interior looks and feel like real leather. The steering-wheel is very crisp and well made. And finally the lenses of the lamps, both front and back lights are made in clear and red plastic to a realistic level of modeling.

And now to the bad things of the model:

Firstly the paintwork is rather crude and the prep work before paint, needed lots to be desired – there are just too many gratings and spots on the die-cast mould. As you surely have noticed now the car is pink as in PINK! Okay a pink Cadillac is famous in folk’s minds. (The car from Maisto also comes in dark blue and red) but unfortunately not in “Persian sand” yet. Do not open the trunk – it’s not a beautiful sight! – More of a toy car. On the other hand, the hood hides a big Cadillac motor with a few detailing. But if you have the gut and skills, here you can make it better. Far better than Maisto! The chrome panels are at least okay (but they are not in metal) so be aware, if you polish the model in some sort of chemical polish, the chrome comes easy off. The absolute worst detailing – or lack of same – is the famous fins!! – They are hacked off, maybe as a safety issue! I don’t know – But again this is not a toy car. What a shame!

You can hear the model have many issues. I’m sure some can make this a far better model. - Even better than I have tried. Here is what I did to the monstrous model car:

Firstly the car needed a bath; she had been on display on someone kitchen – so strait to the Carwash.

 The new pen from Molotow of Liquid chrome helped me with the missing chrome details on the interior and the “polished panels” mentioned earlier. I painted the front and back grill black (black washed) to make the “holes” in the solid chrome parts. The fins were altered by using foiling from household metal foils, attached with white glue. This can be done sturdier with styrene plastic and Liquid chrome. The emblem on the hood where only a sticker, that already had seen better days. I made a base for it with styrene plastic. (The v-shape) on the emblem was way too big. But some playing with plastic and Liquid Chrome a new front emblem was made. Small panels on the front fenders as well, as new blades on the windshield vipers.

If someone wants to make a more comprehensive project; I will suggest a total breakdown and full prep-work before a high quality paintjob.  But I don’t have the guts and time at this point. Here at last I will hope some of the other makers in Scale 1:18 model cars will make a new mould, for this Cadillac deserves it! Greenlight Precision models and Sun Star please hear my cry!

I will give this model 1 out of 6 stars  ******

Update April 2018

Renovation of the model including new fins and colors:

As read above you now already know I’m not glad of the quality the model from the factory! -  Some other collectors state, that the Maisto is not so bad at all. And frankly I’m prepared to give them partly right. The model has lots of fine features, and if you compared it to the retail price we have a big model car at a budget price range.

The model is missing three important details and have major flaws :

  • The “cutoff” fins are the worst decision in the design of the model. I know they can be an issue if small children play with the model. But this is not a toy car! And it’s a shame for the serious collecting community to overlook the realism for safety.

  • The second part it the lack of attention of good paintwork. The paint is missing the glossiness. Not very realistic when we knew the real car cost over $ 7,400 back in 1959. The model should at least have a finer paintjob. Before the paint the die-cast parts should have proper prep work such as sanding and primer paint. Maisto have fine painted model cars out for sale, just look at my Corvette 1965 – It’s just amazing how well this model is made! It can compete with models 4 to 5 times more expensive. I have seen pictures of newer models of this Cadillac, were the paint is excellent! (Red or blue color) maybe the poor paint is only on older models.

  • Lastly the detail richness or lack of same. I whish Maisto will give some attention to emblems and decals. I know it will cut some profit on the short time frame, but imagine the model boosted with delicate details and was on sale for let say 2 x amount of money, would you buy the model? …..Sure you will – I would!

I decided it was time to do something with the model, as I don’t like the pink color too. Maisto model cars are easy to disassemble, as all parts is snap on or screwed on. 15 min. later I stood with all of the parts! Wow they filed a shoebox. One can wonder how they can manage to produce all those parts to a low price! The short answer is: China can!

I had to choose which color to paint the model in. I do not own an airbrush with compressor, so the obvious choice was Spay cans. I did a little research on the net regarding the maker, and found Dupli-color as a high-end maker of paint – I was lucky to find a dealer near me. In a perfect world I will buy “Persian Sand” (metallic light purple - pink) color strait out of the dealer!  But no; I had to choose a color that was available on the color chart! – And remember also colors that will be right for the car back in 1959. The color I choose was “Rosso Metallic” or Maroon metallic. The paint out of the can is matt, so gloss Dupli-color varnish is needed too. The interior was two-tone sand colors from Humbrol ordinary brush cans.

The paint and prep procedure was as follow:

First the die-cast parts were wet-sanded down with paper P300 and P1000. Now all the imperfections and grains was gone, the rig of the spay job was mounted. Before the real paint was applied three coats of metal primer paint was added (also Dupli-color). Every coat of primer is dry after 3 min. The primer will also be wet-sanded before the real paint can be added. Next day four coats (two light and two heavy) with 15 min. interval of paint was added and the model was left to harden for a week in room temperature.

To remove the orange peel effect (Small harden waves in the paint) that is caused by heavy forced applying. Afterward it is advised to wet-sand with P1000 – P1500 and P2000. I did it on the hood of the model and worked after with different brands of polish to build up the shine again. I think the result was not as good that I expected, so I polished the rest of the model with cotton and micro fiber cloths with a far better result. The Orange peel effect is nearly gone and the gloss is intact.

The engine bay as well as the trunk was painted too. After the floor and seats where painted, my Liquid chrome pen stood for the “missing” chrome parts all over.

The last modification was the correctness of the missing fins: The model was easy assembled and the work about the fins could begin. The odd corners of the chrome fins was cut down and sanded. I made the new fins of a piece of “Ewergreen” styrene plastic. The gab between the parts was filed with plastic filler from Revell.

I added  trim on the fenders and hood with some household foils with white glue. Liquid chrome did the rest and the model stood now way better than out of the box configuration.

I will now give this model 3 out of 6 stars  ******

Below here are pictures of the model, historical description, old brochures, technical data and some movie clips of the real car. So please enjoy!



 NEW The following pictures was taken after the renovation in April 2018 NEW

Rosso (Maroon metallic) paint, Metal primer and Gloss varnish all acrylic from DUPLI COLOR 



A true icon in scale 1:18





The Cadillac Eldorado is a personal luxury car that was manufactured and marketed by Cadillac from 1953 to 2002 over ten generations. Competitors and similar vehicles included the Lincoln Mark series, Buick Riviera, Oldsmobile Toronado and Chrysler's Imperial Coupe.

The Eldorado was at or near the top of the Cadillac line during early model years. The original 1953 Eldorado convertible and the Eldorado Brougham models of 1957–1960 were the most expensive models that Cadillac offered those years, and the Eldorado was never less than second in price after the Cadillac Series 75 until 1966

The 1959 Cadillac is remembered for its huge sharp tailfins with dual bullet tail lights, two distinctive rooflines and roof pillar configurations, new jewel-like grille patterns and matching deck lid beauty panels. In 1959 the Series 62 became the Series 6200. De Ville’s and 2-door Eldorado’s were moved from the Series 62 to their own series, the Series 6300 and Series 6400 respectively, though they all, including the 4-door Eldorado Brougham (which was moved from the Series 70 to Series 6900), shared the same 130 in (3,302 mm) wheelbase. New mechanical items were a "scientifically engineered" drainage system and new shock absorbers. All Eldorado’s were characterized by a three-deck, jeweled, rear grille insert, but other trim and equipment features varied. The Seville and Biarritz models had the Eldorado name spelled out behind the front wheel opening and featured broad, full-length body sill highlights that curved over the rear fender profile and back along the upper beltline region. Engine output was an even 345 hp (257 kW) from the 390 cu in (6.4 L) engine. Standard equipment included power brakes, power steering, automatic transmission, back-up lamps, windshield wipers, two-speed wipers, wheel discs, outside rearview mirror, vanity mirror, oil filter, power windows, six way power seats, heater, fog lamps, remote control deck lid, radio and antenna with rear speaker, power vent windows, air suspension, electric door locks and license frames. The Eldorado Brougham also came with Air conditioning, automatic headlight dimmer, and cruise control standard over the Seville and Biarritz trim lines

Are tailfins on the rise again? Surely not on production cars, which haven’t featured the jet-age influences since the 1960s, but certainly so in the auction arena, and an example of the tail finniest of 1950s cars – the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz – made that point by selling for $255,750, including buyer’s fee.

At 42 inches tall, the 1959 Cadillac’s tailfins towered over the competition’s and marked the pinnacle of tailfin design, generating as much derision as celebration for their representation of American excess. Perhaps no other manufacturer dared go taller afterward, with a variety of reverse fins, multiple fins, and backward fins following instead. They seemed even more exaggerated on the Eldorado Biarritz, Cadillac’s flashiest and most expensive convertible for 1959 – and with 1,320 built, its rarest as well.

Number built: 1,320 Price new: $7,401


Technical specification:

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz



Detroit, Michigan, U.S.


Chuck Jordan

Body and chassis

Body style

2-door hardtop
2-door convertible
4-door hardtop


FR layout




Cadillac Sixty Special
Cadillac De Ville
Cadillac Series 62
Buick Electra
Oldsmobile 98



Engine: OHV V-8, iron block and cylinder heads
Displacement: 390 cubic inches
Bore x stroke: 4.00 x 3.875 inches
Compression ratio: 10.5:1
Horsepower at : 345 Hp. at 4,800 Rpm.
Torque at RPM: 435 at 3,400
Fuel Delivery: Three Rochester two-barrel carburetors
Weight: 5,060 pounds
Pounds per horsepower: 14.66
1/4-mile performance: 15.56 seconds


4-speed Hydra-Matic



130.0 in (3,302 mm)


225.0 in (5,715 mm)


1959 2-door: 80.2 in (2,037 mm)
4-door: 80.2 in (2,037 mm)


coupé: 54.1 in (1,374 mm)
convertible: 54.4 in (1,382 mm)
4-door: 56.2 in (1,427 mm)

Curb weight

Weight: 5,060 pounds

5,100–5,300 lb (2,300–2,400 kg)



Old brochures of the Cadillac 1959















Video of the real car from Youtube





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Dealers are welcome to get their models reviewed too.






Aeronautic Aug. 2017 - Rev. July 2018


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