“As the Standard of the World Turns” presents…
…Those Fabulous Fleetwoods
The finale to Cadillac’s full-size rear-wheel, big-bodied luxury sedans is the 1993-1996 Fleetwood. The 5.7 litre V8 powered the last of Cadillac’s Flagship luxury grand tourers in true Cadillac-style. For the 1994 model year the Fleetwood received the 5.7 litre LT1 V8 from under the hood of the formidable Corvette. The eminent Fleetwood Series WAS the Cadillac of Cadillacs. In stature, in presence, and power, the Fleetwoods were the end of an illustrious era in motoring luxury.
The Brougham epitomized the brand being the most luxurious owner-driven Cadillac luxury sedan in the model hierarchy. It is the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special that garnered the “Standard of the World” title for Cadillac. The Brougham option was so popular for the 1965 model year that it became its own series. The fabulous Fleetwood Brougham has a poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac. The 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham leads the flashback performance of “Those Fabulous Fleetwoods”…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
Power…prestige…and presence are the attributes to the 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood. Model #DW5 style code #W69 1994 Fleetwood sedan was base priced between $33,990 and $34,615. The base sedan is a hefty 4,478 pounds and with the Brougham option it becomes 4,506 pounds. The Brougham option with the handsomely tailored Prestwick cloth interior was an additional $1,680. The Brougham option with glove-soft leather upholstery was $2,250 extra. These are the big-bodied Fleetwoods built on the “D-body” platform that was shared with Chevrolet for the Caprice Classic, Buick for the Roadmaster, and Oldsmobile for the Custom Cruiser wagon. This is the last full-size platform from General Motors. Cadillac built 27,473 Fleetwoods for the 1994 model year.
1930 Fleetwood V16 convertible sedan
The eminent Fleetwood series began as a pet project by Larry Fisher, one of the famous Fisher brothers that formed the Fisher Body Division of General Motors. He was intrigued by luxury bodied Cadillacs. Fisher Body was formed in 1916. Larry Fisher became GM general manager in 1925. He coordinated the Fleetwood Metal Body Company acquisition in 1925.
Fleetwood no longer produced bodies for a variety of luxury brands now that it was owned by GM. The Fleetwood Division bodied cars exclusively for the Cadillac brand. From 1927 through 1934 any Cadillac could be ordered with a Fleetwood crafted body. By 1938, Cadillac became more exclusive with Fleetwood-bodied cars. The only way to get a Fleetwood was to order the Series 75 or Series 90.
1938 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special
For the 1938 model year Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell, both top design managers for GM, introduced the eminent Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special. The name became synonymous with the most luxurious Cadillacs. Beginning in 1940 onward, the Series Sixty-Special would bear the high-end trim. For 1941 the Series Sixty-Special gained an exclusive 133” wheelbase and a uniquely stretched “C-body” platform for the next 28 of the 34 model years. These special cars had special trim, with greater head and legroom, with the exclusive wheelbase. The fabulous Fleetwood-bodied cars catapulted Cadillac into the “Standard of the World” which is a formidable title Cadillac would hold until the late 1970s.
1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Derham Town Car
1941 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special
1952 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special
The Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special continued to flourish throughout the 1940s and 1950s. No motorcar in history has captured the admiration of luxury car buyers as the fabulous Fleetwoods. Whatever the occasion, there was no more gracious manner in which to arrive. This is luxury on the grand Cadillac scale…they are outstanding even among Cadillacs. Fleetwood crafted the interiors of all Cadillacs; they hand-crafted the entire car for the eminent Fleetwood Series…on a dedicated assembly line –
The custom crafted design and superb Fleetwood coachwork speak eloquently of its owner’s impeccable taste. Never has the Cadillac emblem adorned more impressive automobiles than the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special sedans. In every aspect of motorcar superiority, the fabulous Fleetwoods are truly masterworks of the motoring age – it was unlikely that any material possession reflects good taste and achievement more than the distinctive Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special.
1954 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five
Now, fast-forward to the 1965-1970 Fleetwood Series that reinforced the image of these eminent automobiles. They were the Flagships annually in the model hierarchy. The Fleetwood is the last word in exclusivity and supremacy. If you see one of these distinguished models, it is instantly recognizable. They have an individually longer wheelbase and signature styling features that were not shared with other Cadillac models. And if the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special wasn’t grand enough for you in 1965, you could have ordered the Brougham option.
The Brougham was so successful in 1965 that it became its own stand-alone series in the model hierarchy for the 1966 model year. The Brougham is the most luxurious owner-driven Cadillac luxury sedan. Signature styling features include a formal padded vinyl roof, “Brougham” nomenclature inside and affixed to the rear “C” pillars, carpeted rear seat footrests, adjustable reading lamps, and a 60/40 dual power front seat. The 1965-1967 Broughams have folding wooden tables attached to the backs of the front seats. Fleetwoods up to and including the 1970 model year have genuine walnut trim inside. A Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham is a car that wasn’t seen at every stop light.
The 1965 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham
1970 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham
A dual 60/40 power front seat, carpeted rear seat foot rests, and adjustable rear seat reading lamps…were all signature styling features of the Sixty-Special Brougham, the 1970 model is shown here.
1972 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham
1976 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham
The 1971-1976 Fleetwoods are the last to be in the Sixty-Special model series. These are the last of the hand-crafted Fleetwoods built on their own dedicated assembly line. They are the last to have the distinctive 133” wheelbase built on an exclusive platform. The Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special is known for its glitzy, chrome-laden presence…1976 is the last true Sixty-Special Brougham. The 1971-1976 Fleetwoods were now all Fleetwood Broughams; there were no more base Sixty-Special sedans. Special editions of the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special include the Brougham d’Elegance above and the Fleetwood Talisman.
1976 Fleetwood Talisman
The interior of the sumptuous Fleetwood Talisman
1977 Fleetwood Brougham
From 1977-1979 the Fleetwood lost its distinction. The Sedan deVille and Fleetwood Brougham were now trim levels for a base product. The only exterior augmentation distinguishing the Fleetwood Brougham is a uniquely padded vinyl roof treatment with a Frenched-in limousine style rear window, special nomenclature, and stainless-steel lower rocker moldings. All of the enigmatic “Fleetwood” stature had vanished. The major difference was the interior trim level.
1980-1989 Fleetwood Brougham
From 1980 until 1984, the Sedan deVille and the Fleetwood Brougham shared the same body shells also. The Fleetwood Brougham continued to be the Flagship. It is simply known as the “Brougham” from 1988 until 1992. The Fleetwood Brougham is basically the same car from 1980 until 1992. The Brougham received refined new styling for the 1990-1992 models, but it is still the same basic bodyshell. The 1990-1992 models are the classiest of the 1980-1992 versions.
1990-1992 Cadillac Brougham
For the 1993-1996 production years, the Fleetwood was revamped as a rear-wheel drive luxury sedan sharing neither sheet metal nor drive train with any other Cadillac. It was the largest rear-wheel drive automobile made in America at the time…and the last of the big-bodied behemoths that spoiled Americans.
The 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood is the king of the road. It has a front mounted engine and rear-wheel drive. It rides upon a long 121.5” wheelbase, has the luxury length of 225.1”, and a wide 78” stance which makes it superior in ride quality. This is traditional Cadillac luxury at its finest – The optional Brougham package includes a fully padded vinyl roof, special “Brougham” nomenclature, exclusive aluminum wheel design, and contoured seating with a special sew-style. This option makes the 1994 Brougham even more distinctive. The Fleetwood Brougham continues the tradition of being the most luxurious sedan in the model hierarchy.
The base Cadillac Fleetwood for 1994 is equipped with: power windows, automatic power door locks, Pass Key II theft deterrent system, Electronic Climate Control (uses R-134a refrigerant), Solar Ray tinted glass, front and rear center folding arm rests with storage bins inside, digital instrument cluster, Illuminated Entry system, driver’s memory seat with two settings, power six-way front seating which includes power triple element lumbar controls, manual articulated front head restraints, split frame construction 55/45 dual comfort front seats (seat cushion and back rest are both individually adjustable), Cruise Control, and a leather wrapped tilt steering wheel. These are just a few of the myriad comfort and convenience features offered by America’s largest and most comfortable luxury sedan. A number of options were available to make the 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood as unique as its owner’s finger prints –
The Cadillac Fleetwood was the primary choice of premiere coachbuilders. The coachbuilder limousine package was $755. A funeral coach package offered a $910 credit because only the front end of the Cadillac Fleetwood was used; the coach work completely revised the rear of the car. The heavy-duty livery package was $150. When Cadillac discontinued the Fleetwood, the coachbuilders scrambled to buy the last of them…after the Fleetwood and the Lincoln Town Car ceased production, the coachbuilding industry suffered.
They converted vans into hearses, Hummers were stretched into limousines, gaudy yes, but there was nothing else large enough to stretch into a professional vehicle. The new Cadillac XTS stretched into a hearse is “homely” to the point of looking like a caricature; their limousine versions are equally as tacky. The XTS looks awkward from most angles; this is exemplified when they are stretched…shame on Cadillac for building such crap –
The ferocious LT1 engine from the Chevrolet Corvette became standard for the 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood. It is the GenII 5.7 litre V8 with 16-valves and a displacement of 350 CID. This naturally aspirated V8 engine used sequential port fuel injection and new Opti-Spark Ignition. This is an angle-based spark delivery system that ensures a precisely timed high-energy spark for optimum fuel efficiency and low exhaust emissions. It uses dual-platinum-tipped spark plugs that can go up to 100,000 miles before changing. (I personally went 120,000 before replacing the plugs, and really didn’t have to at that point. I always burn premium gasoline that keeps the injectors cleaner which in turn adds life to the spark plugs.)
The LT1 cranks 260 hp @ 5,000 rpm with 454 Nm of peak torque @ 2,400 rpm. The engine is mated to GM’s electronically controlled 4L60-E Turbo Hydra-Matic 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and torque converter clutch. The transmission features altitude compensation and over-rev protection. The transmission shares the same key information with the Powertrain Control Module as the engine to maintain consistent shifting even in higher altitudes as well as automatically upshifting out of D1 (first gear) to second to protect the engine. It also has a stainless-steel exhaust system for longer life.
The 1994 Fleetwood is a powerful luxury sedan. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as: 0-60 mph in 8.5 seconds, 0-100 mph in 22.6 seconds, and 0-120 mph in 40.3 seconds. It does the ¼ mile @ 88 mph in just 16.1 seconds. If this engine kicks-butt in a Vette…can you imagine this same powerplant in a luxury barouche like the Cadillac Fleetwood? If you are like me who likes a big, fast, and extremely well-mannered luxury sedan, the 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood sedan is the automobile for you.
This car is not only fast but efficient as well. The large 23 gallon fuel tank allows it to go longer between fill ups. Fuel economy is rated as 17 mph city/25 mpg highway. I personally have gotten 35 mph doing straight highway driving; burning 93 octane gasoline while driving at speeds between 70-80 mph. (kids do not try this at home). These cars are magnificent performers.
The 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood is built as body on frame construction. The front suspension is fully independent with short/long arm upper and lower control arms, coil springs, deflected disc shock absorbers, and stabilizer bar. The rear uses Cadillac’s four-link drive, coil springs, stabilizer bar, and Electronic Level Control system. The Cadillac Fleetwood has a Powertrain Control Module and computer diagnostic system for extended service and fewer maintenance requirements.
Standard is the Bosch ABSIIU, the patented three-channel anti-lock braking system with power assisted discs to the front axle and drums to the rear axle. To aid in its overall operation ASRIIU full range Traction Control with throttle relaxer is also standard. Power Speed Sensitive Steering is recalibrated to balance highway and parking feel. The Electronic Variable Orifice (EVO) valve is a key component in variable assist systems.
At speeds below 40 mph the EVO valve is completely open allowing full hydraulic flow from the power steering pump through the steering unit for maximum power assist. At higher speeds the control module commands the EVO to partially close which restricts the hydraulic flow reducing assistance to improve the road feel while providing greater directional stability.
Custom Carriage Roof treatment
The Cadillac Fleetwood is no mere luxury factotum. All Fleetwoods are full-fledged luxury sedans that are highly sought among collectors world-wide. The 1994 Fleetwood goes to great lengths to provide the attributes that are so important to luxury car buyers. It retains the classic elegance and style of which Cadillac is so prominent. The Fleetwood’s preeminence in the luxury car arena is unequalled among its competitors.
The 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood is one of the roomiest cars you can buy. This is a luxury sedan with the heart of a sports car. Powered by the formidable 5.7 litre LT1 V8 from the Corvette, it can pounce from 0-60 mph in a mere 8.5 seconds. The Cadillac Fleetwood evolves from a tradition of eloquence. A Fleetwood has that poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac. The fabulous Cadillac Fleetwoods are another successful chapter…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham hand-crafted by Fleetwood
Special thanks to Sarasota Classic Car Museum, Park Ward Motors Museum, RLB Auto Group, MJC Classic Cars, Matt Garrett and GM Classics, Jim Hailey, and Bob Adams Classic Cars for these beautiful photographs.
1958 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special
1959 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special
1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five
1964 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special
1974 Fleetwood Talisman
1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five
The Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham is NotoriousLuxury
The only way to travel was Cadillac-style…will there ever be another?