Fresh Metal: 1980 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham

The continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns”Image

The most luxurious owner-driven Cadillac

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The 1980 model year is another downsizing for the DeVille and Fleetwood series. It is considered a “re-styling” but it is a downsizing exercise to increase fuel economy.  The car’s length and width are the same but every component on the car is trimmed down to make the car look bigger as it conserves petrol.

The body lines were trimmer and more aerodynamic. A new 6.0 litre V8 engine was the last of the great Cadillac engines designed as a “Cadillac” engine. The Fleetwood Brougham once again augmented the model hierarchy as the most luxurious owner-driven Cadillac. This was a dramatically contemporary performance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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The 1980 Fleetwood Brougham is engineered for the demands of contemporary driving. Its new more formal roofline increases rear seat roominess. From the stylish new grille to the beautifully beveled rear deck lid it is a contemporary expression of formidable Cadillac luxury. Its aerodynamic wind cheating silhouette not only increases fuel economy but aides its stability.

The new limousine-style rear window treatment and new Electro-luminescent opera lamps in the center pillar are signature Fleetwood Brougham exterior features. Distinctive wide rocker moldings and the stand-up laurel wreath and crest hood ornament complete the Fleetwood luxury touches of elegance.

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Inside the 1980 Fleetwood Brougham is spacious six passenger traditional Cadillac comfort. The new roofline permits two more inches of rear seat room. Rich Heather knit with Raphael inserts was available in six colors. A leather upholstered interior was available in 10 colors. Dual Comfort front seating with six way power for both driver and passenger, and individually adjustable rear seat reading lamps are Brougham signature interior features.

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Standard Brougham interior with optional leather upholstery

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Standard features for the 1980 Fleetwood Brougham included: power windows and door locks, Automatic Climate Control, Twilight Sentinel, power steering and brakes, Tilt & Telescopic steering wheel, power trunk release with power pull-down feature, fully padded Elk grain vinyl roof with limousine-style rear window treatment and French seams, Electro-luminescent opera lamps, lamp monitors, remote-controlled right and left side outside rearview mirrors.

Folding center front and rear seat armrests, automatic power antenna, exterior accent striping, seat belt chimes, Tungsten halogen high beam headlamps, and wide white wall steel-belted radials all network to provide extraordinary comfort and convenience. By the 1980s, the Fleetwood Brougham lost its exclusivity to be reduced to a mere trim option package. The Fleetwood Brougham lost its Fleetwood-body at the end of the 1976 model year production. It lost its Automatic Level Control and four-wheel disc brakes at the end of the 1979 model year.

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A most impressive manner to add further distinction to the 1980 Fleetwood Brougham was a Cadillac special edition. The Brougham d’Elegance trim option was the ultimate expression of Brougham luxury. Available in five colors the Brougham d’Elegance exclusive pillow-style seating was upholstered in supple leather or Heather/Raphael knit. Deluxe Tampico carpet with carpeted floor mats were luxuriously under foot. The Brougham d’Elegance was another opulent Cadillac luxury sedan.

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This is a very special 1980 Fleetwood Brougham. Matt Garrett used his imagination and expertise to create “an example of the way Cadillac should have offered this car to begin with.” He installed the legendary Cadillac 8.2 litre 500 CID 16-valve OHV V8 engine under the hood.

He contracted the services of MTS (Maximum Torque Specialist) to build a high-compression version of the 1970 8.2 litre with 400 horses. All of the “non-essential” attributes of this magnificent engine were omitted making this big-block behemoth extremely smooth and powerful. The transmission was tweaked to sync with the engine augmentation. This is my kind of Cadillac!

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A custom 3” dual exhaust system was tuned to a quiet but authoritative ‘groan’ hinting at its inexhaustible power supply. Matt used a heavy-duty 4 core radiator, an 18×6 plate oil cooler, a 12×12 plate transmission cooler, and a heavy-duty booster fan for optimum cooling for this brute. The wheels are Crager Star Wires, the only genuine wire wheels that could hold up to this car’s prolific torque.

With these special wheels Matt used special Vogue wide white walls. Matt says “it’s mind blowing when you race someone who expects to humor you…and you put 3-4 bus lengths on cars like the 350Z’s.” Matt Garrett did this Cadillac justice. I say we send Matt Garrett to head the Cadillac Motor Division at General Motors…he seems to know what Cadillac is remiss… 

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The 1980 Fleetwood Brougham shared the same body and platform as the 1980 Sedan deVille. The Sedan deVille version used this body shell and platform through the end of the 1984 model year production run. The Fleetwood Brougham would continue using this same body/platform through the 1992 model year when it was known simply as the “Brougham.”

The fabulous Fleetwood Brougham was basically a badge-engineered Sedan deVille. A coupe version of the Fleetwood Brougham was released during the middle of the 1980 model year, it was the same theory; it was a badge-engineered Coupe deVille. There hadn’t been a Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac since the end of the 1976 model year production run. By the end of the 1980s, Cadillac had become a hodge-podge of GM parts.

The 1980s proved to be challenging for automakers. With EPA mandated mpgs and stricter emission control standards, luxury automobiles took a hit and had to be refined for the day. Cadillac built a 6.0 litre 368 CID 16-valve OHV V8 engine that was lighter in weight adding to its fuel economy. It produces 150 hp @ 3,800 rpm with 359 Nm of peak torque @ 1,600 rpm.

The engine is mated to GM’s Turbo Hydra-Matic THM-400 3-speed automatic transmission. The engine is equipped with a Rochester 4-bbl downdraft Quadrajet and a mechanical fuel pump. Performance is rated as 0-60 mph in 13.7 seconds, 0-100 mph in 57.9 seconds with a top speed of 104 mph. It can do the ¼ mile @ 71 mph in 20.2 seconds. Unfortunately, hp had to be sacrificed for the contemporary issues of the day aka fuel economy.

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The 1980 Fleetwood Brougham is built as body on frame construction using Cadillac’s ladder-type frame with welded crossmembers. The Brougham rides upon on a long 121.5” wheelbase, has the luxury length of 221” with a 76.4” wide stance. The front suspension uses upper and lower control arms with independent coil springs, link-type stabilizer bar and hydraulic direct action shock absorbers.

The rear suspension is no longer set-up for height control as it was no longer standard equipment but now, optional at extra cost for the first time on a Fleetwood beginning the 1980 model year. It’s equipped with Cadillac’s four-link drive, coil springs, and hydraulic direct action shock absorbers. The Brougham not only lost its height control but also its standard four-wheel disc brakes for the 1980 model year. It is fitted with a hypoid type rear axle, and a propeller shaft with two constant velocity joints.

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The 1980 Fleetwood Brougham is equipped with Cadillac’s triple braking system. The self-adjusting system is fitted with front discs with single piston sliding calipers and duo-servo drums fitted to the rear axle.

The system has a power hydraulic dual master cylinder with separate hydraulic fluid chambers to facilitate independent front and rear brake operation. The parking brake has an automatic vacuum release and is considered a true auxiliary brake since it will not lock with the engine running and car in gear.

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The 1980 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham is restyled with a trimmer more aerodynamic silhouette. It is powered by an all-new 6.0 litre V8 engine. From its stylish new grille to the beautifully beveled rear deck lid, it is an elegant expression of Cadillac luxury. The formal new roof line adds rear seat head and leg room to the already spacious six passenger interior. A full complement of Cadillac amenities are standard.

The Fleetwood Brougham historically was the most luxurious owner-driven Cadillac and the 1980 model was no exception to the elegant rule. The Fleetwood Brougham was always a car of elegant refinement. The clean, contemporary lines highlights a distinctive roof treatment, luxurious appointments, and the Cadillac heritage made the 1980 Fleetwood Brougham one of the world’s great luxury sedans. This is luxury on the grand Cadillac scale in the grand Cadillac manner. It is another elegant Fleetwood performance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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…so what’s next as the Cadillac Flagship?

2 Responses to “Fresh Metal: 1980 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham”

  1. An absolute wonderful collection of Cadillac’s !!! I wish I had better luck with the used Cadillac’s I have owned as someone always hit me and totaled four that I previously owned,,, a 1975 Sedan DeVille , a 1978 Coupe DeVille, a 1979 Fleetwood Brougham, and a 1980 Sedan DeVille !!! I dearly miss those Cadillac’s as I have loved Cadillac’s for over fortyeight years !!!

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