As Robin Barry related to us, tracking down the lot’s owner proved to be a challenge. It had been part of a divorce settlement two decades before. The owner’s “crazy ex-husband” had continued to pile junk on the property, in the house and in the barn, long after the marriage was terminated. Content to be rid of the land and the problems associated with it, the woman was eager to strike a deal with the Barrys.
One such model, stored under the barn’s overhang, seemed to defy description. Missing the front end body work, the convertible boasted a fiberglass rear, and tailfins that were neither from a ’58 nor from a ’59. It lacked the Cadillac Eldorado’s rear fender vents as well, and by all appearances, never carried such ornamentation from the factory. With little time to research individual vehicles, they dug out the mystery Cadillac and dragged it to the edge of the property, where it sat alongside a host of other classic cars.
One such visitor was Jim Walker, an owner of Walker Brothers Oldsmobile and Cadillac in Dayton, Ohio. Perhaps recognizing the mystery Cadillac as one of the five 1958 Eldorado Biarritz convertible prototypes built, each equipped with a moisture-activated power top, Walker began negotiations on the car, along with five others on display. As Robin puts it, he paid “a hefty price” for the collection, which helped to fund the ongoing work on the property.
As for the mystery Cadillac, research by later owners showed that the car was almost certainly the one used by Harley Earl, and one of just two examples known to survive today. Partially restored during its time with Jim Walker, the prototype was sold to the Wiseman Collection, which finished the work sometime in 1998. In December of 2007, the Cadillac prototype sold at auction to Paul and Chris Andrews for $330,000, and in May of 2015, it traded hands again for a fee-inclusive price of $324,500.
Article courtesy of Hemmings Daily, written by Kurt Ernst.