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1953 Cadillac Eldorado at the Old Original Bookbinders Restaurant

Today’s featured photo is of Jean and John M. Taxin, the owners of the famous Old Original Bookbinders Seafood Restaurant located in Philadelphia, PA, apparently posing in their near new 1953 Cadillac Eldorado.

The first year Eldorado of which 533 were built was essentially a restyled 1952 Cadillac GM Motorama dream car based on a 126 wheelbase chassis powered by a 210 hp, 331 c.i. OHV V-8 engine backed up by a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. The suspension system consists of a coil-spring independent front suspension, and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, equipped with four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes.

The Bookbinder opened in 1898 at Second and Walnut St. on the Delaware River in Philadelphia close to the docks and remained in business until John E. Taxin closed it in 2009 following the 2008 recession. It reopened in 2015 under new management.

Share with us what you find of interest in the photo found via Ross Morgan courtesy of Bookbinders Reataurant.

19 responses to “1953 Cadillac Eldorado at the Old Original Bookbinders Restaurant

  1. Well, no guesswork required as to the subject matter of today’s image; a lucky, prosperous couple enjoying what would instantly become a classic! I have heard of this restaurant in the past, but have never visited Philly. As I recall, the food was supposed to be spectacular, and I’m sure the new mngt. is working hard to maintain that quality.

  2. What a magnificent photograph of a great car and its owners.

    The ’53 Eldorado Convertible’s list price was $7500 … in this case, perhaps quite literally “a lot of clams!”

  3. Apart from the wraparound windshield, the most significant part of the restyling on this final-year’s use of this body was the reworking of the beltline and installation of GM’s version of the “Darrin dip” (also on the ’53 and ’54 Buick Skylark) first seen on a production car on the 1940 Packard Custom Convertible Victoria. That one styling feature would remain a Detroit staple well into the ‘70s…long after the wraparound windshield had come and gone.

  4. I remember when this stunning Cadillac series first hit the market in 1949, and thereafter, it was so expense that few ordinary people could afford one, but everybody wanted one . Consequently. partnerships were formed to buy the car as a group and split the price and driving time. I wonder how many friends were soon lost?

  5. Speaking of Philadelphia restaurants and cars…please excuse the slight thread hi-jack.

    I have a Barris custom that was owned circa 1972-82 by a Philly restaurateur and real estate developer, Paul Rimmeir (1925-1998).

    O know it’s a longshot, but does anyone here know of him or his car collection?
    I bought my car from a friend (Roy Fuiman 1931-2008 s Philly real estate developer) of his who said it may have been displayed in one of his restaurants.

    Anyone know more?

    • My mate here in Brisbane has Glen Campbell’s Barris Lincoln. Apparently Glen and Elvis were mates and Glen loved Elvis’ s Barries Eldo.
      Both were Rhinestone Cowboys.

    • John B, what is the car you have? I have a 1972 Bugazzi, built by Joe Bailon for California Show Cars, originally owned by Rimmeir, and later by Barris.

  6. This is one great car!!. All Cadillacs are beautiful! I had a wonderful 1976 Emerald Green coupe with white leather interior..and a 5 c.i. ..I was told that was the biggest motor Cadillac ever made..That was a dream to drive..

  7. This would have been around the time John Taxin bought out his partners, Hyman Sichel and Jimmy Retana, and changed the name to Old Original Bookbinder’s to differentiate the restaurant from Bookbinders on 15th near Locust (started by two of Samuel Bookbinder’s grandsons in 1935, closed in 2004). The Philadelphia Bookbinder’s is owned now by Jose Garces and operated as The Olde Bar. The Richmond (VA) Bookbinder’s is still in the Taxin family.

  8. An expensive ($7,750) reward for running a first-class establishment, small wonder the Taxins look pleased. Considering how much custom-work and model-specific assemblies went into modifying the 62 Series body to create the ’53 Eldorado, they should be considered on par with the semi-custom coach-built series bodies Fleetwood built for Cadillac in the 1930’s. This was GM at the height of its power when it commanded fifty percent of all new car sales, when it could afford extravagant projects such as this.

    • A seemingly stratospheric sum then, the equivalent of $73,000 in 2019, but you really don’t have to drive very far down the road today to sight more than one or two vehicles at or above that price point. Heck, you can even get a pickup tricked out to that level. How times change.

  9. I can say with confidence that the restaurants and food in Philly are the best in the country. Anyone who really spends some time and effort searching out the best of the best will not be disappointed. Eat at a center city establishment, walk out and throw a stone down the street and eat your next meal at the restaurant that comes closest to your stones resting place. You will be impressed.

  10. this is not a car – it is an automobile – and that’s a massive amount of automobile compared to what is rolling today. One can almost hear the chrome and sheet metal hitting the ground as the styling changed over the years.

  11. So many 53 Eldorado styling cues were derived from the custom Darrins concept, but let us not forget their rival and neighbor across town, Bohman and Schwartz who turned out several late30s early 40s Custom Packards but especially the 1939 LaSalle and two Custom series 62 1940 Cadillacs built with no customer in mind. The designers at Cadillac especially Ed Glowaki took heed. The cast windshield and vent wings found there way directly to the Eldo as well as the semi custom body mods.

  12. Nice photo! A couple of corrections… 532 Eldordos were built for ’53, though body 533 was made. A body number was somehow skipped, thus the confusion. (Source: Cadillac database) Also, there was no GM Motorama in 1952, though an Eldorado prototype was displayed at that year’s Chicago Auto Show (and probably other venues). Incidentally, a Buick Skylark prototype was also built and displayed that year.

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