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.
In 1976, when all other domestic convertibles had vanished, GM heavily promoted the American industry's only remaining convertible as "the last American convertible". 14,000 would be sold, many purchased as investments. The final 2000 convertibles produced were painted white. In 1983, when GM reintroduced convertibles, 1976 Eldorado owners, who felt they had been deceived, launched an unsuccessful class action lawsuit. For 1977, the Eldorado received a new grille with a finer crosshatch pattern. The convertible was canceled, and in its place, a new top-line Eldorado Biarritz, which featured plusher appointments, brushed aluminum side trim, coach lights, and 50/50 pillow-topped upholstery. This was the first time the Biarritz name had been in the Eldorado line since 1960. The 8.2L V8 of 1970-76 gave way to a new 7L V8 with 180bhp. Minor changes followed in 1978.
This generation of Eldorados produced between 1971 and 1978 were sometimes customized (as stereotyped "pimpmobiles") (bro cars) and seen in blaxploitation films like Superfly, The Mack, and Willie Dynamite (the pimped-out Eldorado seen in Willie Dynamite is similar to the one seen in Magnum Force). An Eldorado was also used in Rob Zombie's second film, The Devil's Rejects as the car that the character Charlie, also a pimp, drove.