The name was proposed for a special show car built in 1952 to mark Cadillac's Golden Anniversary; it was the result of an in-house competition won by Mary-Ann Zukosky (married name = Marini), a secretary in the company's merchandising department. Another source, Palm Springs Life magazine, attributes the name to a resort destination in California's Coachella Valley that was a favorite of General Motors executives, the Eldorado Country Club. In any case, the name was adopted by the company for a new, limited-edition convertible that was added to the line in 1953.
The name Eldorado was derived from the Spanish words "el dorado", "the gilded one" or "the golden one"; the name was given originally to the legendary chief or "cacique" of a South American Indian tribe. Legend has it that his followers would sprinkle his body with gold dust on ceremonial occasions and he would wash it off again by diving into a lake. The name more frequently refers to a legendary city of fabulous riches, somewhere in South America, that inspired many European expeditions, including one to the Orinoco by England's Sir Walter Raleigh.
The 1953 Eldorado was a special-bodied, low-production convertible (532 units in total). It was the production version of the 1952 El Dorado "Golden Anniversary" concept car. Available in four unique colors (Aztec Red, Alpine White, Azure Blue and Artisan Ochre — the latter is a yellow hue, although it was shown erroneously as black in the color folder issued on this rare model). Convertible tops were available in either black or white Orlon. There was no special badging on the car, other than the "Eldorado" nameplate, in "gold", in the center of the dash. A hard tonneau cover, flush with the rear deck, hid the top in the open car version. Although it was based on the regular Series 62 convertible and shared its engine, it was nearly twice as expensive at US$7,750. This car was 221inches (5,600mm) long and 79inches (2,000mm) wide.