Coachbuilt: 1999 Cadillac Fleetwood Limited

The 1999 Fleetwood Limited was traditional luxury

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Superior Coaches handcrafted this exquisite sedan

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Coachcrafting and Cadillac used to go hand in hand. Fleetwood-bodied and custom coachcrafted Cadillacs were elegant, opulent, and exclusively handcrafted. The 1999 Cadillac Fleetwood Limited was a coachbuilt custom executive sedan by Superior Coaches of Lima, Ohio. It was a beautiful rendition of the eminent Fleetwood sedans.

It was built for the 1997-1999 DeVille platform. These unique luxury sedans retailed from $51,000 to $57,000 and were purchased, warranted, and serviced by select Cadillac dealers nationwide. The 1999 Fleetwood Limited made its cameo appearance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Superior Coach Company is among the world’s foremost custom professional car crafters. The Superior Motor Coach Co began in 1925 constructing professional vehicles of the highest quality. The first Superior Coach Cadillacs were built in 1938. Superior made significant advancements in the professional car market segment during their 80+ year tenure in the business.

Superior Coaches is recognized as the leader in traditional styling with their design and construction of funeral coaches and limousines. Within their state-of-the art production facility, Superior creates vehicles of exemplary fit and finish. More Superior Coaches funeral vehicles are in service today than any other brand.

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Superior Coaches/Accubuilt Industries make superbly crafted vehicles of distinction. They custom craft hearses, flower cars, stretch limousines, and Cadillac convertibles. Their custom-bodied Cadillacs are the epitome of the automaker’s craft. The custom crafted bodywork by Superior Coaches augmented the already beautiful 1999 DeVille. It gave a contemporary Cadillac the charisma of the traditional Cadillacs from the good old days.

The 1999 Fleetwood Limited had the luxury length of 221.8” and rode an extended 119.8” wheelbase. Trunk space was increased to 23.5 cubic ft. Rear seat legroom was a spacious 49.3 cubic ft. just like back in the days before Cadillacs became elegant puddle-jumpers. Superior Coaches worked magic on the 1999 DeVille transforming it into one of the world’s most elegant luxury sedans…’tis a shame they couldn’t have waved their magic wand over that horrid Northstar powerplant…

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The 1999 Cadillac Fleetwood Limited was the largest luxury sedan built in North America. It went beyond expectations in comfort and spacious, accommodating luxury. It was built to satisfy the most discerning owner.

The Fleetwood Limited was twelve inches longer than the DeVille providing a full six inches of extra rear seat legroom. Standard features included Climate Control, Nuance leather upholstery, and a leather trimmed tilt steering wheel. The full complement of standard DeVille features and accessories were also included on the Fleetwood Limited.

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Optional equipment exclusive to the Fleetwood Limited featured exterior rear wheel fender skirts, chrome grille cap, simulated convertible top, cloth padded top, fold-away television with VCR, flip-down solid wood rear seat writing tables with or without lighting, and hands-free cellular communications. Most DeVille options were also available for the Fleetwood Limited through Cadillac dealers nationwide. The Fleetwood Limited was warranted and serviced through Cadillac dealers.

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When Cadillac began downsizing premiere coachbuilders went to work adding back what GM haphazardly stripped away. Some conversions were not so nice. One particularly horrid coachcrafted Cadillac was the Maloney “EM” Series built for the 1985-1986 front-wheel drive Cadillac DeVille/Fleetwood platform. Their slogan read: “Maloney makes the difference.”

Did they? The “EM” Series by Maloney was HORRID. Every splice and weld they added to alter the bodywork was clearly evident as the vehicle aged a few years. Rust and corrosion set into each and every joint they added. These were $35,000 luxury sedans that went from the showroom to the scrapyard in one svelte swoop.

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The 1999 model year was the 50th Anniversary of the Cadillac DeVille. The 1949 Coupe deVille set a styling precedent that took the automotive world by storm. The sleek pillarless hardtop coupe sported Cadillac’s first OHV V8 engine. The 1949 Coupe deVille won the very first “Car of the Year” award from Motor Trend magazine. And…the 1,000,000th Cadillac, a Coupe deVille, rolled off the assembly line on November 25, 1949.

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1949 Cadillac Coupe deVille

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The Coupe deVille was the world’s first hardtop coupe

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The pillarless hardtop coupe mocked a convertible

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The 1999 Cadillac DeVille was available as three distinctive models, the base DeVille, The DeVille Concours, and the DeVille d’Elegance. The DeVille Concours was the touring sedan. It came equipped with a Nuance leather upholstered interior featuring the warmth of rich Zebrano wood trim, eight-way adjustable driver’s seat with memory, and a specially tuned suspension.

The DeVille d’Elegance was essentially the confluence of luxury. Spacious room for six adults was augmented by Zebrano wood trim, luxurious Nuance leather upholstery, rear seat lighted vanity mirrors, Rainsense windshield wipers, and an 11-speaker sound system with cassette & CD player. Even the base model DeVille was car complete.

It came standard with Electronic Dual-Zone Climate Control, automatic programmable central locking system with Pass-Key II security system, power windows, and Illuminated Entry system. Those were just a few of the many standard features and accessories for the DeVille, America’s favorite luxury car.

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Unfortunately, the 1999 Cadillacs were powered by that awful Northstar 32-valve OHV V8 engine. The “Brass-Blockhead” award should have gone to the designer of Cadillac powerplants during this time period, remember the HT4100 with its cast iron heads on an aluminum block?.  Carbon acted as a sledge-hammer pushing the iron head bolts out of torque, thus, blowing one’s headgasket. And, lest we forget…Dexcool antifreeze, the coolant that not only went to 150,000 miles… but also had a banquet feast on the engine gaskets it came in contact with…coolant mixing with the crankcase oil is not pretty…nor cheap.

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 The suspension should have been beefed up to accept all of that power (when it was running), and the brakes were dinky. The 1999 Cadillac DeVille was a stunning luxury sedan and deserved better. If you find one running today, it is a survivor as pictured here. But if you decide to restore a 1997-1999 Cadillac, swap out the engine with a later model rebuild, upgrade the shocks/springs/struts, and swap out the brakes with a Brembo set-up and you will have an excellent 1997-1999 DeVille.

That GM engineer that Ok’d production of that Northstar powerplant evidently needed his GPS just to find his office everyday…and y’all wondered why they discontinued the Northstar moneypit…I bought a 1999 DeVille in 1999…t’was a nightmare…an expensive nightmare that I shall never forget…

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1999 DeVille d’Elegance

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Superior Coaches was Cadillac’s oldest and longest Master Coachbuilder. They were the largest supplier of custom-bodied Cadillacs in the world. Superior stood behind their work with a warranty running concurrent with the manufacturer’s warranty covering all of their body components and workmanship. The Fleetwood Limited was a custom-bodied luxury sedan with the size, features, and the quality one expects of a Cadillac.

The Fleetwood Limited boasted a contemporary profile while it maintained the lines of a traditional luxury sedan. It was everything one wanted in a full-size luxury sedan (except that horrid Northstar engine). Its bold and distinctive style made it stand out from the rest of the crowd.

The 1999 Fleetwood Limited was a car to express one’s individuality. It was a luxury sedan for those who had accomplished much and accomplished it on their own terms. Those terms were unconditional, where fervent individuality was a lifestyle. The 1999 Fleetwood Limited made its cameo appearance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.

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1949 Fleetwood Series sixty-Special

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The first Cadillac Overhead Valve V8 engine for 1949

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The iconic 1959 Cadillac Tail Fin

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1969 DeVille convertible

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1969 Hardtop Sedan deVille

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Just more superlative-superlatives………in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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d’Elegance…

21 Responses to “Coachbuilt: 1999 Cadillac Fleetwood Limited”

  1. An Schraff

    The 1999 Fleetwood Limited was traditional luxury Superior Coaches handcrafted this exquisite sedan Coachcrafting and Cadillac used to go hand in hand. Fleetwood-bodied and custom coachcrafted Cadillacs were elegant, opulent, and exclusively handcrafte…

  2. Jerry L. Pfaffly Says:

    I have a 1999 Cadillac Deville Concours White Diamond 50th year anniversary model. It has the full top, fender skirts and spoiler. I think this upgrade might have been done by Superior Coaches. How would I find out for sure.

  3. Tommy Davis Says:

    I just found a 99 deville with a 160k miles car runs like a champ with the exception of a coolent leak which I haven’t tracked yet but at the end of the day 2500$ was well spent I’ll be utilizing your advice on the brake because rainy days call for so pretty close situation if your not paying attention…thanks for post by the way lot of info gained.

    • Hello! Those cars are famous for coolant leaks. Have you checked the water pump? Radiators make some sneaky problems because they are so lightweight made from aluminum, there is a capsule that goes into the cooling system that prevents corrosion that many people overlook when flushing…this leads to leaks. I hope you aren’t having head gasket problems, those are notorious for that problem. Make sure your A/C network is doing what it is intended to do. Hope you didn’t mix the Dexcool with the green antifreeze? That horrid Dexcool is suspected of eating away the head gaskets. Then…the dreaded “loose-bolt head gasket syndrome” that becomes devastating. Does the exhaust have smoke? If so…EEK! It would be better to get another engine. My 1999 was nightmare theatre, the dealer had it in 1999 and 2000 more than I did! Thank God for the Gold Key Delivery Service that provided a loaner. When I went to trade it in 2002 it had depreciated so much that I brought it home with me when I got the 2002 DeVille. Good luck! Those wretched cars become a money pit! Whatever you do…do NOT add anything like “Bars Leaks” as this will plug the heater core and make matters worse!

  4. Sidney Walker Says:

    My wife owns and daily drives an ’87 Cadillac Deville “EM” Maloney stretch that you talked about above. We have had to have the rear frame where they extended it behind the trunk repaired on both sides, but she absolutely loves that car. We actually sold it and bought it back a few years later. That extra room makes all the difference in the world!

    • You are lucky to have had such good luck out of that car! Most of them went to junk yards at early ages because of rust. Corrosion got into the welds and ruined them really fast. The earlier models were just awful. It will ne a collector’s item because it is a survivor. I was surprised at Maloney Coachbuildes for creating such crap. Good luck!

      • Hi there!
        I actually bought this exact car off of Sid last summer (I have been looking all over the internet trying to find information about the rarity/value of the car, and I came across this thread!). If you have any further information to share about this series, that would be greatly appreciated!
        Thanks!

      • Hello! If you are restoring this car make sure to have a “Cadillac” body shop to inspect your car for corrosion that the untrained eye can miss. Moisture gets into the welds where the car was lengthened by Accubuilt of Lima Ohio. This type of corrosion can completely destroy the car from the inside-out. Sadly, these cars are ‘junk’ and it will take a while before they become a collectible car, most importantly – that horrid Northstar engine which usually requires an expensive re-build in 1997-1999 DeVille models. I have already heard the Accubuilt is sharing NO information with owners of the Fleetwood Limited.

        Another area you should watch is that heavily padded roof! If it hasn’t been sealed properly you are more than likely sporting a ticking bomb! They can absorb water like a sponge meaning if the car is driven in the winter in climates that use calcium chloride on the roads…there could be something ugly underneath. This usually rears its ugly head after it is too late. Your car’s classic rear fender skirts (if ordered on the vehicle…this was an optional feature) are fibreglass and must be handled with care when replacing tires and wheels. Most techs cannot figure out how to remove them so they try to remove the rear tires without taking off the fender skirts which ruins them with cracks around the retainer screws. These skirts are not the oldskool type with a latch, they are screwed on underneath the black weatherproofing strips.

        These cars are beauties but can turn into a beast vacuuming all the cash out of the old checking account. After most of the Fleetwood Limiteds have gone on to that big scrapyard in the sky, the survivors will gain the type of collectible interest which will sky-rocket their appreciation. There’s only one conversion worse than the Accubuilt Fleetwood Limited…and that’s the horrible Maloney “EM” series extended wheelbase sedans. These cars were so notoriously awful, they began to rust in each and every weld that Maloney added. They went expeditiously from the showroom to the junkyard in one svelte swoop. I always encourage people to make sure to have a professional look at any coachbuilt car BEFORE you buy it. Ever wonder why you don’t see very many Cadillacs from the Nineteen Eighties and Nineteen Nineties on the road? They don’t have many in junkyards either – why stock parts for cars that no longer exist right?

        Another area you want to look over is the underside of the car. Rust can start around strut towers and other key areas of the suspension. Make sure to check the rear suspension’s knuckle assemblies on both sides as they wear undetected until summer months when the bushings become warm and a “grinding” sound tells one it is time for this procedure which equates to about $750 per side. When ambient temperatures are below 70 degrees, the grinding sound isn’t audible. I was horrified greatly when I found out my Cotillion White 1999 DeVille was junk – complete with Vogue Tyres, fibreglass fender skirts, “Sedan deVille” nomenclature (as a 50th Anniversary touch, oddly of which was never really mentioned greatly but dealers had aftermarket as well as factory installed packages available in the Vogue Tyre Centre.

        These cars can become expensive junk all at once. As I stated, Accubuilt for some reason isn’t providing any info on these cars. They are merely a DeVille base sedan with a modified wheelbase and modified roof lines in the sail panels, also the panels added behind the rear doors and into the rear decklid needs to be scrutinized for the sneaky corrosion issues.

        You will also have to have the wheels removed from the tires and a wire brush applied to corrosion to remove it…otherwise, you may begin to have a series of unexplained flat tires, so when the tech removes it you always want to peek at what is going on in those wheels. The ’99 DeVille I had needed this procedure done every other year it was in service until I parked it in the garage in 2002 with very low mileage – the car was pure evil and required an exorcist.

      • Thank you so much for the very detailed response!!!
        Do you know if there is any literature out there on the Moloney EM Series ’87 DeVilles? Maybe websites I haven’t seen?
        I want to learn as much as possible about my car, and need more information. I’m not looking to restore it (I mean, I would if I had the money, but sadly, I can’t afford that right now), but I am looking to find someone who would want to restore, preserve, and maintain my beloved car, Sylvia. I don’t want to see her go to a junkyard considering that series is pretty rare (to my knowledge), and she’s a beautiful, smooth riding car. She just needs to be repainted, have some body work done (near the rear wheels, but it’s not too horrible), the cooling system needs to be checked out (think it’s the water pump, not sure though), steering column needs some adjusting, some cosmetic stuff (special decorative pieces) is missing, but a little TLC could go a long way with this car. The inside is nearly pristine with the exception of a little piece of the interior that has ripped. The underside of the car is pretty clean, as well as under the hood. The top of the roof is in great condition as well. So she definitely doesn’t belong in the junkyard yet, especially if I can find someone who would like to have a project car like this.

        I guess I just have no idea where to find people who would be interested in restoring a car like mine. I know it’s not necessarily a collectible yet, and I don’t even know of many people who are even aware of this specific series, but there’s definitely got to be at least someone out there that would want a project car like this. I’ll keep looking around!
        Thanks again, and if you have anymore info on the EM series, I would be super grateful to have more knowledge on my car!
        Thanks!!!

  5. I’ve just purchased a 99 fleet wood limited with only 40000 miles on it runs great it was left outside for over two years but i put a batt in it and it started right up when you go to buy parts it doesn’t look up as a fleetwood it looks up as a deville and when i called superior coaches they denied ever building one or putting bullet proof glass in either! even when i sent them pics of there stickers on the drivers door they still denied the car! period! if there is anyone out there who can help with the history of this car i would really appreciate it, and it is hard to find anything for this car! its a shame, and also the so called horrid north star engine,i saw a show on tv where these two old truck builders put a north star engine in a 55 chevy truck trans to and it wooped serious but at the track! they say its a very good engine and a very good design, even i still see a lot of them on the road but not the coach built ones I’ve only seen one and its the one i have.

    • Yes, Superior Coachbuilders of Lima Ohio designed this car as a double cut. The cut it in half and added the length and called it the Fleetwood Limited Executive Sedan. I have the brochure, are you certain you contacted Superior of Lima Ohio? They most certainly did build this car. You will NOT find parts listed under “Fleetwood Limited” because it is a handcrafted custom build, the 1997-1999 Cadillac DeVille may be used as a donar car and any parts for the engine will be listed under the 1997-1999 Cadillac DeVille. This was an extremely limited edition. Some Northstar engines are survivors. My dailey driver is a 2002 DeVille with 135,000 miles on her and she still runs like a scalded cat! The main thing you want to do is DRIVE this car! Keep blowing the carbon deposits out of it on the freeway as I do and it will give you many years of service. This is the mistake owners made with the 1997-1999 Cadillac DeVille: they drove them like the “church lady” this is why they died. The Northstar is a high output performance engine that MUST be driven! I take mine out on the interstate run her up to 80-85 mph then I CHOMP the accelerator. I broke the car in this way, now, she expects this. I have never coddled the car, I drive it like it is a Porsche and she loves it! I haven’t had any major problems. Oh…by the way, do NOT try to run regular grade gasoline in your car! The early Northstars run on PREMIUM fuel only! This is another problem, the owners tried to run regular grade gasoline in them and it KILLED them dead! As a car gets older, it needs more octane. Even though GM designed the 2001 onward Northstar engine to run on regular fuel…I always burn 93 octane in my 2002. I have NEVER run regular grade gasoline in it. I have never even had to remove or replace the fuel injectors which so many owners have had to do. Run premium grade and your engine not only runs smoother, it gets more mile to the gallon AND your engine burns cleaner! This isn’t hearsay…I am living proof! There is a difference in the grade of fuel you should burn in a Cadillac! NEVER EVER run regular in that 1997-1999 DeVille or you’ll be sorry…let me know if you need more help with the Fleetwood Limited. as I stated, you will NOT find parts listed for this model because basically…it doesn’t exist! It is a coachbuilt sedan most of which bit the dust years ago from neglect.

      • thank you so much i feel a little better, i went to cadillac dealer and they acted as if they didn’t know anything about the car at all! they couldn’t tell me about the price of the car new or used they couldn’t get me a new car sticker with the options,you know they kind of acted as if they wanted no part of the car what so ever they acted real strange.i will take your advice because you are correct on your info. i can’t find anyone in cincinnati ohio who does trust worthy work or where they’re not trying to rip you off or quality work, they are only interested in insurance work!and I’ve been told this!,I’ve also been told that the car isn’t worth any money i got that from the lincoln dealer ship even if it had no miles,I’m like yeah right!i traded in a 1987 ss monte carlo to mcCluskey chevy and they didn’t want to give me anything for it and it was super clean. but the next day i went back to buy it back it was already sold and they got over 10.000 for it and it was loaded! but anyway please let me know if you know how i can obtain info on my caddy, THANK YOU SO MUCH for your help.

      • Hello! You will get “strange” reception with the Fleetwood Limited! It’s treated like the bastard at the family reunion at Cadillac dealers. Anyone can service it as long as 1997-1999 Cadillac DeVille parts are used. The Northstar engine is the reason the car has no value at present. It will; however, start to appreciate after most of those have gone to the big junkyard in the sky! I am surprised at Superior! They are the number one coachbuilder for professional vehicles! Some of their work on the 1997-1999 Fleetwood Limited was rather “shoddy.” Rust got into seams they added here and there, some of which became extremely tacky and totally worthless as they aged! Most of the rust began under the heavily padded vinyl roof (where you cannot see it until it is too late!) This is the reason they will NOT talk about that car because it was a terrible disaster! The engines on many BLEW because of the headgasket/loose bolt syndrome. This, combined with the rust that ate them relentlessly caused great embarrassment in the industry. I was HORRIFIED at the ones I saw locally! One neighbor has his parked in the driveway as a “driveway ornament.” It’s totally worthless because rust got into the underside and ate its way thru vital componentry which made it unsafe to drive and impossible to restore because of Superior’s additional bodywork. The Fleetwood Limited is an extremely rare automobile today, dealers will NOT take them in on trade because of what I just mentioned. Trying to put a warranty on a 1997-1999 Cadillac DeVille is ridiculous, no one will because of the Northstar and the rust! I had a brand new 1999 DeVille that was absolutely HORRID! The dealer had it the first two years more than I was behind the wheel! It was the biggest piece of junk I ever had! That HORRID car had NO miles on it when I got it and it was still junk! Cadillac had left a few body seams unsealed and water kept getting into the cabin. Electronics were shot in 3 years (while the car was still under the factory warrranty thank GOD!), the engine was leaking oil like Niagara Falls on the garage floor. I had taken it to the Vogue Tire store for the fiberglass fender skirts and “Sedan deVille” nomenclature on the rearmost quarter panels. I had it shined like glass, it was Cotillion White, looked absolutely drop-dead gorgeous but girlfriend wasn’t worth the metal she was made out of! When I went to trade it on my 2002 DeVille, the dealer tried to steal it from me so I brought it back home with me where it sat in the garage for 3 years! When I went to crank it up, the engine was TICKING and the rear wheel had seized up! The guy that bought it from me had to bring a tow truck, that black mark is still on the garage floor where the wheel dragged! They were such beautiful cars too! But they are completely worthless. You should have kept the Monte Carlo! That was the better car by far! I HATED every moment I had my 1999 DeVille. My 2002 is a track-star! She runs like a scalded cat and just turned 135,000 miles! The car has been great, I use it as my daily driver, she still looks showroom new, it’s black with the limo tint on the windows. I put the stainless steel chrome on the lower body sides and full trim rings around the wheel arches. I LOVE this car and will NEVER trade it! I average 26 mpg or better in the city, I only burn premium gasoline. You should burn only premium also, this is where a lot of folks make big mistakes trying to run regular grade gasoline thru 1997-1999 Cadillacs, I am here to tell you…do NOT try it! Now back to your Limited, if you really like the car, buy another car to drive daily. Seriously, do not try to run the car everyday until you rebuild all of the mechancals. Drop a new Northstar in it, people try to rebuild ’em and get mixed results. Just take your time and rebuild the entire car, but make sure to check in obscure areas for corrosion which in some cases render them completely worthless because they are beyond repair and are safety hazzards. This is NOT hearsay, I know 2 people that owned them, they are NOT amused by its cost and the way they deteriorated beyond repair! All of that money too! There is a way you can request vehicle history from General Motors, another friend paid for a history for his 1956. I am wondering if they did that for contemporary models since they went from the showroom to the junkyard in one svelte swoop…and as for the vinyl roof…be prepared for a SHOCK when you have it removed!! I’m telling you in advance, leave it on there if it is decent, they are very very expensive to replace, but the heartache would be, if you had the roof removed and found rust around the rear window and side sail panels which you MUST have repaired or it will be an ugly expensive mess in a few short years. The Fleetwood Limited is not to be taken lightly, it can take you to the cleaners and vacuum all the money from your bank account and run your credit card balances beyond the sky! Use the car as a toy, keep it in the garage, take your time and restore it, but first, make sure it will be worth it! You could buy a beautiful used Rolls Royce for what you will put into that Limited!!! Take my advice and look before you leap!

  6. oh buy the way i need to know who does tops. my top is in tact but it looks dry i need to replace it soon . again thank you.

  7. thank you so much i will take your advice very serious and lol it will run your credit card through the roof. but i really love this car. again thank you and GodBless you.

  8. does any one know of any really good reasonably priced wise interior shops in the cincinnati area?

  9. Frank Marter Says:

    How many Fleetwood Limited models were built from 1997 to 1999? I’ve only seen 3.

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