CAR This is not a milk thread. I have owned my '74 Eldorado convertible for 2 years now but it's time for a build thread

midnite

OT Supporter
Apr 5, 2002
92,967
San Diego, CA
what an amazing fucking thread, your attention to detail is amazing! I meant to take a bunch of pictures and discriptions while doing my '64 fairlane but I never did lol.
 
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DeezNortz

THE MEATLOAF! WE WANT IT NOW!!!
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Sep 15, 2010
55,372
An automotive carpet that is not made anymore.

Wishing you luck bruv. Best thing to do is find a local flooring retailer that has remnants. Pick one and either cut it into the car or make a template. sort of a pain in the ass but pretty much the only way to get it done.
 
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jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,949
Greenville, SC
The steering wheel from this era has a "wood" inlay on a hard plastic wheel. Like just about all hard plastic wheels, this one has cracked and the inlay is mostly gone at this point. The real fix is to completely remove all the old plastic and recast the wheel. I may do that at some point but for now, I'm just going to fix the cracks and repaint it. It should last several years and by that point, I may make a mold and recast it. You can see that it has several large cracks and most of the inlay is gone.

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I pull out the remnants of the old inlay and assessed all the damage to the wheel. It seems that most of the cracks started and little holes that were from supports used to hold the metal frame while the plastic was cast.

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Next, I sanded the gloss down over the entire wheel and then I opened up all the cracks to the point where all of the crack was cut away.

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jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,949
Greenville, SC
Next was to fill the cracks. I used a two part epoxy clay that can be sanded and sculpted. I roughly sculped it to the shape of the groove and let it set up so it could be sanded. I tried to tint it with some paint but it really did not do much other than make it slightly pink...

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After a few coats of epoxy with sanding between, I gave the entire wheel a coat of base coat and sanded it to reveal any high or low spots.

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Once everything was filled and sanded, I gave it another coat of base coat and then several coats of automotive 2K clearcoat.

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jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,949
Greenville, SC
I continued on with the sound deadening on the floor pan but rather than using the foam like I did on the firewall, I used jute carpet padding.

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The convertibles have this odd bump in the door jam. It's not there on the coupes so the molded carpet does not have this molded in. Fortunately, it was easy to mold the bump in with a heat gun.

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jelloslug

jelloslug

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Jul 1, 2003
65,949
Greenville, SC
Now for the seats. The car was well equipped so it had the optional 60/40 front split bench seats with power seats on both sides. The seats themselves are shot, the springs are rusted out and sagging and the power racks are weak and grungy.

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What I really wanted though was something that was never offered in the Eldorado: the Fleetwood Talisman 40/40 buckets with the center console. For those that do not know, in '74 through '76, Cadillac offered an option package for the Fleetwood sedan called "Talisman". It was the top level trim and it cost almost $2000 on top of the $12,000 price of the Fleetwood. The Talisman option package included the 40/40 seats trimmed in crushed velour fabric with a locking center console, deep pile carpet, different interior moldings and several other trim features. For the '74 only model, it came with rear 40/40 seats with a center console also but that was dropped for the '75 model and replaced with a bench seat. Here is a '74 Fleetwood Talisman interior complete with the optional pillow (you could get a matching blanket also):

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The problem is that there were only about 3600 Talisman cars ever made. Finding a set of seats would be a challenge. I lucked across a console on ebay right after I got the car.

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With the console taken care of, I started looking for seats. I was mostly looking for front seats since the rear seats from a sedan will not fit in the coupes or convertibles. After about a year of looking, I found a guy that was parting out a rusted out Talisman in British Columbia, Canada. I managed to work out a deal and had them truck shipped to the Canadian division of the place I work for. They sat there for quite a while until I could work out the truck shipping to me. After about 4 months of shipping and storage, they finally arrived.

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I got both front seats and the upholstery and armrest for the rear seats. They are faded and a bit worn but complete and perfectly salvageable. They are missing the rear fold down foot rests on the back of the front seats but I would not be able to use them anyway because the Eldorado has about a foot shorter wheelbase. I went ahead and just bolted them into the car since the old seats are horrible. Over this winter, I plan on reupholstering them in the same material I used on the upper door panels.

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jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,949
Greenville, SC
The construction of the Talisman seats surprised me. The standard Eldorado seats (as well as the deVille) was fairly conventional with "S" springs on a metal frame a molded foam cushion, and the padded upholstery on top.

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The Talisman seats have the same "S" spring frame but from there, they are built like a piece of furniture. They have individually pocketed coil springs and then extra thick padding on top of that with a metal sprung box around the coil springs. This means that there is no molded foam that can degrade and rebuilding them will be quite easy.

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jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,949
Greenville, SC
Now onto the console. The console has a locking storage compartment and a fold out writing table with pen holders. Both the storage compartment and the writing table are lighted. There is also a chrome bezel for a brass plaque that would have the owners name engraved in it. The console I have was hacked up to put something in the storage compartment so that had to be fixed first.

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I stripped off all the upholstery, wiring and the hardware so I could fix the damage and prepare it to be reupholstered in white material.

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The unit was made of two molded halves that were bolted together with metal plates. The material is a gel coat shell filled with a rigid structural foam.

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I repaired it by smoothing out the jagged cuts and then making pieces of coated MDF to replace the damaged floor of the storage container.

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jelloslug

jelloslug

OT Supporter
Jul 1, 2003
65,949
Greenville, SC
Since the console was designed to be mounted in a RWD car with a transmission tunnel, it does not sit at the correct height in the Eldorado with it's flat(ish) floor. I had to build a riser that would adapt the shape of the console to the shape of the Eldorado floor pan.

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I also had to notch out the sides to clear the seat belt mounting points.

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