Big, beautiful, boaty, and bank-breaking—must be a Biarritz! This week’s star sale centers on one of the (physically) biggest American automotive icons of the 20th century—all 19 fantastically-finned feet of it. Bring a Trailer’s mighty $415,000 sale of a cherry 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible is the chart-topping price paid at public auction for one of these behemoths of Americana, beating the prior record by a stout $25,000.
While we most often associate this kind of scratch with opulent pre-war phaetons and low-production musclecars when discussing the upper crust of the American collector car, the collecting world has long considered the low-production Biarritz as one of the stand-out blue-chip American classics. Aside from serving as the top trim of the exclusive and very expensive Eldorado line, the Biarritz’s status as a crossover star to the general public is inarguable: it’s the apogee of American extravagance in vehicular form, serving as equal parts USS Missouri and Apollo 11, both grilled into a cheeseburger and served straight to Elvis Presley.
So, big bucks for a Biarritz makes sense, but we’ll wait for a few more major sales before we label this as the new norm for the cleanest ’59 Caddies. BaT’s $415,000 sale roundly smushes Hagerty Price Guide’s Condition #1 (Concours) valuation of $326,000—and that’s up 35 percent since the beginning of the year. These are notoriously difficult cars to restore, so condition at time of purchase is king. This is an undeniably clean car, but appears to be a smidge closer to a car at the very top end of Condition 2 (Excellent) based on our limited view of the car through photos, which at the time of this writing sits at $282,000.
Still, what few imperfections we’ve spotted are mostly under the skin and easily assessed if this were to ever hit the concours fairway. Before you admonish us for over-scrutiny, consider the previous record holder; RM Sotheby’s sold a sumptuously dark blue Biarritz at its 2016 Scottsdale sale, presenting it as just 22 miles off an extensive seven-year restoration. According to Bring a Trailer, the new record holder is an older restoration that underwent refreshment in the same year the previous sale record was set. So, not quite equal examples.
Maybe we’re overthinking this. There haven’t been many opportunities to snag a Biarritz as clean as this in a while, not to mention one wearing this eye-popping shade of lipstick red. Perhaps pent-up demand led to the right car in front of the right set of competing buyers with the right checkbooks. We’ll keep an eye on future Biarritz sales to see if this was an emotion-driven result or the symptom of a market segment with only a shallow pool of clean cars.
Meanwhile, keep an eye on buyer Kevin Edwards’ YouTube channel, where the ultra-popular Roblox Youtuber says he plans on showcasing his new 5,000-pound prize.