Q: Greg I am 71 and got bit by the old (Cadillac) car bug a couple years back. I started looking on the internet for my dream car and after spending nearly six months looking at classic car dealerships, I picked a 1978 Cadillac Biarritz found in Atlanta, Georgia, all the way across the country from my home in Washington state.

The car was inspected by an appraiser who said it was in great shape and had only 29,000 miles, but could use some work since it had been in storage for a long time. The dealership recommended a restorer who had 50 years of experience. The restorer replaced many of the under the hood parts with original parts and ensured all was working well.

The original color of the Cadillac was white, but I wanted red. With the restorer’s help, we selected a carmine red for the body with a white top. The restorer hand-sanded the car and put on eight coats of the carmine color to a brilliant shine.

The interior of the car was in great condition with little wear on the leather seats. One problem that could not be solved was the passenger side sun visor was loose and kept falling into my eyes.  A new/used visor could not be found, nor has a solution been found. 

After driving the Cadillac for awhile in the summer, an irritating problem arose for which I hope you have an answer. The problem is with the air conditioner. The following is what happens: The controls for the air conditioner allow for low fan, high fan, auto and defrost.  When the interior of the car is warm, moving the control switch to either low or high is OK and the fan comes on to that speed.  After the car interior cools, the high fan shuts off and will not come on again until the interior warms up. The low fan works but does not keep the car cool enough in hot outside temperatures. The auto and defrost modes also do not work.  Do you have any solution for the air conditioner?

I read your car articles all the time. I just love the older cars; it brings back such good memories.  It would be great to get an answer from you.

Thank you, Barb Burstad, Deer Cross, Washington.  A: Barb, congratulations on finding your dream car and having all of that work done to it. The paint is truly beautiful.

As for the 1978 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz, it was the top model available in the Eldorado series and a great looking machine. Your Eldorado Biarritz is the 7th generation model which debuted in 1953, and to this day is respected by many collector enthusiasts as the best looking of the post-1970 era Eldorados. The year 1978 was also the last year of the big Cadillac Eldorado, as 1979 found serious downsizing.

You car is powered by a 425-inch V8, and features front wheel drive and weighs 4,900 pounds. Its siblings were the Buick Riviera and the Oldsmobile Toronado. Notable that in 1973, the Cadillac Eldorado was the pace car for the Indianapolis 500.

Current Hagerty Insurance collector car values have a 1978 Cadillac like yours — listed in perfect restored condition — for $25,000 and up. An excellent condition Biarritz is listed at $17,000 and even a fair condition ’78 Eldorado brings $6,500. 

As for the air conditioning, it sure sounds to me like a failure somewhere in the thermostat that controls the high mode. You also mention that the auto mode does not work, again pointing to a problem somewhere in that system. It could be a simple fix, or you might have to replace the control system. I wish I could be more helpful, but electrical issues can sometimes stump even the best of collector car mechanics. However, since the air conditioner is working and pushing cold air, that’s good and leads me to believe it is more of a minor electrical problem than major. Moreover, it sounds like the high mode is acting like the auto mode when it gets too cool inside and shuts down. If any reader out there would like to assist Barb in her air conditioner plight, you can email me and I will forward it to her.

You have one fine lookin’ 1978 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz, Barb. Let us know if you got the electrical issues worked out and if someone fixed your sun visor, too. I’m also sure you bought your car to enjoy, show at some car shows and have fun driving. For that you receive a “Cars We Remember” pat on the back.

—Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other Gatehouse publications. He welcomes reader input on collector cars, auto nostalgia and motorsports at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, Pa. 18840 or email at greg@gregzyla.com.