Author Topic: 1956 Eldo Biarritz: to restore or not?  (Read 510 times)

Offline Roger Zimmermann

1956 Eldo Biarritz: to restore or not?
« on: January 20, 2019, 01:26:34 PM »
Recently, I began to publish into the AACA forum my adventure with my '56 Biarritz. I think this thread may interest people here. This report was initially published in the Cadillac LaSalle forum in 2008.

It cannot be seen on my signature, I not only have 1:12 scale car models, but also real ones. After making for many years the 1:12 Olds Toronado, I had enough. Almost by accident, I found people in the region where I'm living who had US cars from the fifties. At that time, I just drove an US car I bought new: a 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais, but I would never had the courage to think about a restoration without the "help" of those young men. After a while, I bought a 1956 Cadillac Sedan de Ville in a garage near Geneva (Switzerland). It was not entirely finished when a 1957 Cadillac Brougham came home.

Closed cars are nice, but convertibles are nicer! (at least it was my thinking). A friend from England a Mr. Bedford (yes, yes!) told me once that he knows somebody who is importing cars from the US, mainly to sell them in Sweden of Finland. At that time, among other cars, he had a 1956 Cadillac Biarritz. After some discussion with the seller, I paid the car and ask a Swiss company to transport it to the village where I'm restoring my cars.

I will relate it that story from the arrival to the completion. I had 10 years to restore it, but that report will not take so much time to be published!

Online South_paw

Re: 1956 Eldo Biarritz: to restore or not?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2019, 02:00:46 PM »
Your restoration story on this car that you shared many years ago was an inspiration for me. For those of you that haven't seen this build. Stay tuned you are in for a treat.   
Lou
1956 Eldorado Biarritz
CLC Member since 2001 (Unlisted in Directory)



*** Check out the 1956 Eldorado Biarritz Survivor Roster. Click here ***

Offline RobertM

Re: 1956 Eldo Biarritz: to restore or not?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2019, 03:21:34 PM »
Cannot wait to see this!
Bob Melms
'54 60S
'99 Eldorado

Offline Roger Zimmermann

Re: 1956 Eldo Biarritz: to restore or not?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2019, 02:45:57 AM »
Your restoration story on this car that you shared many years ago was an inspiration for me. 
Really? Should I say "I'm sorry" or thanks to it you rescued another one?

Offline Roger Zimmermann

Re: 1956 Eldo Biarritz: to restore or not?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2019, 04:36:27 AM »
This story was published first for 10 years in the CadillacLaSalle forum. I will adapt the text if necessary. Please understand that all pictures are scans from paper pictures; therefore their quality is not the best. 

I bought the car unseen; it was in transit in England, coming from Virginia. As I had already at that time (1986) a '56 Sedan de Ville, I was not too anxious as I had a good base to look at, even if some details are different. So, I did the gamble; however, it was more like Russian roulette with just 1 missing cartridge.
I mandated a transport company to pick up the "car" from England and to deliver at the village where I have my shop.

The first picture was sent by the seller, it was taken in Virginia. The second one show the thing at arrival.
I had a bad sleep the next night...

After the triumphal arrival, a friend was kind enough to tow the "car" through the village. The drive did not stay unnoticed by the inhabitants!
I could not begin immediately with the work on that ruin: I had first to finish my '57 Brougham.   

After the triumphal arrival, a friend was kind enough to tow the "car" through the village. The drive did not stay unnoticed by the inhabitants!
I could not begin immediately with the work on that ruin: I had first to finish my '57 Brougham.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 04:41:25 AM by Roger Zimmermann »

Offline Roger Zimmermann

Re: 1956 Eldo Biarritz: to restore or not?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2019, 04:37:49 AM »
This is the new "home" for that poor thing...
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 04:41:59 AM by Roger Zimmermann »

Offline Roger Zimmermann

Re: 1956 Eldo Biarritz: to restore or not?
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2019, 04:40:24 AM »
When I had enough with the trouble the Brougham gave to me, I cleaned the mess from the floors and did a first inspection. It was not glorious: the radiator was missing, the engine was from 1956, but not the correct one. It never ran in this car: the studs from the front supports were not in the frame's holes, they were on the frame! The engine transplant was not done without damage: the radiator support was bent.
The condition of the transmission was unknown; anyway, according to the plate, it was not the right one: it was for an engine with one carb.
The floors were badly rusted; the trunk floor was real bad: the housing for the spare wheel was gone, eaten by the rust. Interesting enough: the trunk lid was in good condition, no holes. It was not the case with the hood: the sheet metal part on which the lock is attached was full of holes...

At that time, I had no idea how to repair that disaster and I could not weld.

In retrospect, that rust bucket was a relative good base, compared to cars I saw later which were worse. I was just not prepared at that time to see so many holes.

Offline Lexi

Re: 1956 Eldo Biarritz: to restore or not?
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2019, 10:39:05 AM »
Excellent write up. Looking forward to learning more about your Eldo project. Clay/Lexi

Offline Roger Zimmermann

Re: 1956 Eldo Biarritz: to restore or not?
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2019, 10:45:26 AM »
Thanks Clay! Don't worry, the story is already complete, it must just be published!

Offline Roger Zimmermann

Re: 1956 Eldo Biarritz: to restore or not?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2019, 11:04:22 AM »
 Of course, I had to take a decision:  the car was there, totally mine and at that time, with transportation and customs, too expensive to throw away (about CHF 10'000.- or $ 10'000.00). Resell parts? which ones? there was nothing good, except the outside windshield's moldings.
Anyway, I did not bought that scrap on basis of the pictures alone: the friend in England, Don Bedford, let send an inspector from AA Technical Services to see the car, at my expense, of course.
His report was more or less correct, except that instead of "corrosion" I would have written "rust hole". The recap of his report is interesting:
"As can be seen from the contents of this report, the main structure of the car is sound, with very little damage other than corrosion and general deterioration to the body work" This inspector was also a very optimistic man!

 Over the years (the Brougham was not yet completed), I began to remove parts. As I lost my game, I had to assume: therefore the thing will be a car again. The next few pictures are from 1990.
The roof structure was not bad, however, some work was needed to get it to MY standard.
The engine compartment was not worse as some I saw on driveable cars, with the exception of the missing radiator and damaged radiator's support. The bad surprises would come later...