Fresh Metal: 1991 Cadillac Fleetwood FWD

The next generation of the luxury car

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The only way to travel…was Cadillac style…Cadillac,Cadillac,Cadillac style! For the 1991 model year, the front-wheel drive Fleetwood was a sophisticated, spacious, six passenger luxury sedan. Its distinctive styling was unmistakably Cadillac. The legendary comfort and convenience were its most gracious attributes. It had the largest interior of any front-wheel drive automobile at the time. The crisp tailored design was dramatic yet refined

. The 1991 Cadillac Fleetwood achieved even greater levels of elegance and performance. It was classic luxury with a contemporary attitude. Cadillac was foremost in luxury, distinction, sophistication, and performance. Every 1991 Cadillac incorporated an exclusive electronically integrated powertrain system with V8 power. This was another avant-garde performance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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The 1991 Cadillac Fleetwood was available as a two-door luxury coupe, an elegant four-door sedan, and as a Cadillac special edition…the Sixty-Special sedan. The exterior design borrowed traditional Cadillac styling cues combining them with a contemporary look of distinction. The Fleetwood used the classic rear wheel fender skirts.

A standard fully padded vinyl roof was augmented by an electro-luminescent Cadillac crest and French seams. The 1991 Fleetwood was America’s most distinctive full-size luxury sedan. With its elegant style and grace, a powerful V8 engine, Computer Command Ride, and standard anti-lock brakes, it was the definitive luxury sedan.

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Computer Command Ride (CCR) was a new Speed-Sensing suspension. This sophisticated network automatically fine-tuned the ride to meet the driving situation; it could be as smooth as silk for the city, yet afforded impressive road manners on the highway.

The CCR also kept the 1991 Fleetwood at an even keel while accelerating, braking, and cornering. The CCR had three modes: comfort mode for a luxurious ride, touring mode for cruising at highway speeds, and normal mode when no intervention was required. This intricate system automatically adapted the suspension in 15/100 of a second for precise response. CCR adjusted the suspension to suit the driver.

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The entire powertrain of the 1991 Fleetwood was controlled by one Body Control Module computer. The transmission received new electronic controls to deliver precise, imperceptible shifting. The computer worked in harmony with all electronic components; for example, it minimized shift busyness between third and fourth gears working with the Electronic Cruise Control.

The computer coordinated the new 4.9 litre V8 engine’s Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection delivering fuel with precise and accurate fuel metering to each individual cylinder to maximize power. The Computer Command Control worked with the Electronic Level Control to maintain poise under any road condition. It worked with the electronic power assisted steering controller monitoring vehicle speed automatically adjusting steering for added stability at higher speeds and reduced effort while parking.

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The 1991 Cadillac Fleetwood was powered by the Cadillac 4.9 litre 298 CID 16-valve OHV V8 transverse mounted V8 engine. It was a unique balance of responsiveness and refinement. The longer stroke increased displacement to 4.9 litres for added torque and horsepower. The 1991 Fleetwood had the highest torque rating of any front-wheel drive luxury car. The higher torque at lower engine speed improved driving response when merging into traffic.

The engine produced 200 hp @ 4,100 rpm with 373 Nm of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 9.5 seconds, 0-100 mph in 28.3 seconds with a top speed of 126 mph. It did the ¼ mile @ 83 mph in 17 seconds. The engine was mated to GM’s Turbo Hydra-Matic 4T60E 4-speed automatic front-wheel drive transmission with Electronic Shift Control, Overdrive, and viscous converter clutch. The engine and transmission together gave more efficient operation and was rated by the EPA at 26 mpg highway.

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The suspension was one of the most advanced for its day. It was a sophisticated network using Computer Command Ride control. The four-wheel fully independent suspension was equipped with Superlift rear Electronic Level Control for optimum height control under all driving conditions.

Standard were power brakes with Teves MK IV-3 anti-lock system with discs fitted to the front and rear servo-drums, power assisted rack & pinion steering. The 1991 Cadillac Fleetwood was fitted with 15”x6” aluminum alloy wheels and P205/70R 15 Michelin steel-belted all-season whitewall radials. It rode on a 113.8” wheelbase, was 205.6” in total length, and 73.4” in width. It was a precision luxury car that was right for the day.

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The 1991 Fleetwood was designed with a rugged safety cage that surrounded the passenger compartment. The front and rear sections had crumple-zones designed to accordion at a controlled rate upon impact, absorbing the energy before it reached the passenger compartment. It was built as body-frame integral construction. All sections were securely welded.

The engine was designed to rotate downward away from the firewall and passenger compartment. The sophisticated build mocked European monocoque construction where the body and frame are built as a single entity for strength. Every Cadillac benefitted from testing with General Motors Automotive Safety Technology for its day. A driver’s side air bag, safety glass, halogen headlamps, and energy absorbing instrument panel, energy absorbing steering column were among the network providing occupant protection features.

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The interior was luxuriously upholstered in a unique hand button-tufted sew-style covered in Esteem cloth. Leather was available at extra cost. Standard features included: polished American Walnut trim, power windows, automatic power door locks with central locking feature, Electronic Climate Control, EZ-Kool Solar Glass, Solar Sensor, folding center front and rear seat armrests, power Dual Comfort front seating, Twilight Sentinel, Electronic Cruise Control, Fuel Data Center, power heated right and left side view mirrors, Tilt & leather trimmed steering wheel, power four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, power steering, and Pass Key Theft-Deterrent system.

The Sixty-Special trim option package added further distinction to the already luxurious Fleetwood. It included a special limited edition interior by Giorgio Giugiaro of Italy. The option package included driver’s two-setting memory seat with exit function, 22-way 45/55 Dual Comfort front seats with dual power seats, glove-soft leather upholstery including headrests, heated front seats, folding center armrests front & rear, digital dash, rear seat reading lamps, 23K gold finish keys, Illuminated Entry system, and discrete exterior badging. This was the most elegant expression of the front-wheel drive 1991 Fleetwood.

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As hard as Cadillac tried to make the 1991 Fleetwood luxurious with its own identity, when in fact this was a badge-engineered Sedan deVille, and traditional Cadillac owners could see through it. The Fleetwood just wasn’t what a Fleetwood should have been. This was one of GM’s fatal errors when they abolished the Fleetwood series.

It was the eminent Fleetwood series that catapulted Cadillac to stardom. Even with the 1991 Fleetwood’s technology and luxurious appointments, it still fell shy of what a traditional Cadillac Fleetwood buyer demanded. It was still a “Sedan deVille.” It shared the exact same dimensions as the Sedan deVille.

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The 1991 Fleetwood was a luxurious sedan also available as a two-door coupe. The Sixty-Special option package made the Fleetwood more distinctive. A powerful new 4.9 litre V8 engine with Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection combined with its Computer Command Control, four-wheel independent suspension, Electronic Level Control, and the most sophisticated safety technology of the day made the 1991 Fleetwood a world-class sedan.

It was impressive but not quite what the traditional Cadillac Fleetwood buyer wanted. Cadillac made a grave error eliminating the Fleetwood’s exclusive body, interior, and its individually longer wheelbase… it cost them patronage and esteem. The 1991 Fleetwood was merely a badge-engineered Sedan deVille as it was in the 1980s. This was another avant-garde episode in the Reality Series…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Classic 1938 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

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Classic 1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Derham bodied TownCar

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1958 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

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The quintessential FlagshipsImage

Encore

3 Responses to “Fresh Metal: 1991 Cadillac Fleetwood FWD”

  1. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

  2. Any info. like this available for the 1990 Cadillac Fleetwood FWD? I cannot find the offset information for this specific model. Sedan.

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