Archive for Fleetwood

Cadillac: The Standard of the Entire World

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans, Notorious Retrospect, Requiem For A Legend with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

…Automotive milestones


…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”



Theodore MacManus wrote in his famous “The Penalty of Leadership” advertisement: “That which is good or great makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamor of denial.” Cadillac prowess in the luxury car arena made headlines all over the world. From the massive V16 and V12 powerplants to the modern V8 engines…Cadillac was the master builder of the luxury automobile.

Fisher Body, Harley Earl, Bill Mitchell, and a host of other talent made the brand the undisputed “Standard of the World”…in the entire world. Will the brand ever stop chasing everything that moves in Europe…and return to being the pride of the USA and the envy of the world? NotoriousLuxury retros back to the days when Cadillac reigned supreme…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”



There was a time when Cadillac had no product recalls…they even sold without advertising. Cadillac was recognized as the luxury leader world-wide. The mere mention of “Cadillac” had the competition in a nervous frenzy. The brand had absolutely no interest comparing itself to European brands simply because the European brands were taking notes from Cadillac success!

The “Standard of the World” was the innovator displaying engineering prowess with outstanding fit & finish. Cadillac couldn’t have cared less about achieving 0-60 mph in a nanosecond, nor was it trying to compete in every automotive class – a Cadillac was a luxury car…period. Cadillac has since forgotten all of its loyal following that made it the “Standard of the World.”

1976 Coupe deVille 1

1976 Cadillac Coupe deVille

1976 Coupe deVille 2

The Cadillac name was synonymous with luxury, prestige, and quality. The association was that of superlative status such as the Cadillac of appliances…the Cadillac of electronics; this meant the product or service was the best in its industry. And of course…the Cadillac of automobiles was the one and only “Standard of the World.” It was everyone’s dream car…the envy of the driveway.

The mere sight of a big, shiny, classy Cadillac sent shock waves throughout the entire automotive industry. The exclusivity and supremacy made quite a statement about its owner. A Cadillac was a supreme achievement in motoring…I used to polish mine for hours upon end to a glassy mirror-like reflection that was so shiny, my girlfriends used to apply their make-up using my Cadillacs as a mirror! Those were the good old days.

1976 Coupe deVille 3

1976 Coupe deVille 4

Once seated behind the wheel…a turn of the ignition key brought the powerful V8 engine to life…it didn’t roar its existence – it whispered its presence. The transmission engaged imperceptibly…the steering was light as a feather…I could turn the steering wheel with one finger action.

Once the ride was under way, boulevard travel intrusion was negligible…a Cadillac managed the roughest pavement with ease. There was nothing else on the road quite like it. In fact, there was no more magnificent manner in which to view the world than from behind the wheel of the “Standard of the World.” Its presence enhanced any occasion…its eminence never went unnoticed –


Not many truly understand this automobile’s illustrious heritage. Let’s take a look into the history of the “Standard of the World.” The brand was established in 1899 as The Detroit Auto Company. It was the first venture of its type in Detroit. It was struggling to survive; the company floundered and was dissolved in January 1901 after only 20 vehicles were built.

The company was reorganized on November 20, 1901 as The Henry Ford Company. Henry ran the company for three weeks then resigned to move on to other endeavors. Henry Martyn Leland, a reserved traditional entrepreneur, reorganized the venture and the company was renamed after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of the city of Detroit. The Cadillac Model A was introduced in 1903.

The brand did not spring forth as the “Standard of the World.” This formidable title was garnered through evolution and dedication to quality. It’s an American success story that unfortunately has a not so happy ending. To regain the illustrious title the brand must cease and desist with the kitschy-faux, make-believe unreasonable facsimiles and build real luxury automobiles once again –

1904 Model B Touring 1

1904 Cadillac Model B Touring

1908 Model S

1908 Cadillac Model S

Model 30 1913 2

1913 Cadillac Model 30

Model 30 1913 1

1918 Model 57 Raceabout

1918 Cadillac Model 57 Raceabout

Fisher Body, the coachbuilder for GM was founded in 1908 by Fred and Charles Fisher of the famous Fisher brothers in Detroit, Michigan. It all began here in Ohio in the beautiful area of Norwalk in the late 1800s building horse-drawn carriages. The transition became necessary because the internal combustion engine and its torque created way too much vibration and the bodies of the horse-drawn units couldn’t withstand the forces.

1929 Cadillac V-8 Dual Cowl Phaeton

Before Fisher Body became a company, the Fisher brothers built bodies for Cadillac. By 1910, Fisher Body became the supplier of all closed bodies for Cadillac. They also built bodies for Buick, Abbot, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Packard, Studebaker…even Ford. By 1913 Fisher Body had the capacity to build 100,000 bodies per year. This success caused the company to expand into Canada right across the lake from Detroit. By 1914 they grew becoming the world’s largest manufacturer of automobile bodies.

In 1916 Larry Fisher joined the company placing emphasis on the Cadillac brand. He wanted exclusivity for the brand. Fisher Body developed the art of interchangeability of wood body parts. They created precision wood working tools, thus, increasing production output. The company became The Fisher Body Corporation in 1916 with the capacity to build 370,000 bodies per year. Larry Fisher became general manager from 1925 until 1934. He oversaw the purchase of The Fleetwood Metal Body Company of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania in 1925.

V16 1

Cadillac was the first American car in 1914 to introduce a V-type water-cooled 8 cylinder engine and was also the first to use a thermostatic controlled cooling system. In 1920 the Clark Avenue plant was built in Detroit, Michigan and was the most modern facility in the entire industry. In 1922 Cadillac introduced a thermostatic carburetor control for efficiency. For the 1923 model year Cadillac was the first in the industry to build the inherently balanced V8 engine with a compensated crankshaft…and a four-wheel braking system.

Cadillac was the first in the industry in 1926 to offer a comprehensive service policy on a nationwide basis. In 1928 Cadillac developed the clashless synchromesh transmission that eliminated the chafing noise and friction of gear shifting, thus, laying the foundation for the first fully automatic transmission called the Hydra-Matic in 1941 which eliminated the clutch and manual shifting. In 1929 chrome plated accessories were standard.

1930 Cadillac Model 452 V16

1930 Cadillac Model 452 V16

1930 V16 convertible

1930 Cadillac V16 Roadster

1930 V16 Roadsters were the world’s most luxurious cars

1930 V16 Phaeton 1

1930 Cadillac V16 Phaeton

1930 V16 Phaeton 2

1930 V16 Phaeton 3

After the stock market crash in the 1920s with The Great Depression, GM never lost money due to its diversity under the leadership of Larry Fisher. Fisher Body was an innovator in the industry. They introduced car window regulators to raise and lower windows, closed bodies offering year round comfort wet or dry…rain or snow, and many other features automakers take for granted today. The Fishers turned a $1,000 investment from Fred’s sister into a multi-million dollar company a few years later. In 1919 General Motors paid $27.6 Million USD for 60 percent of Fisher Body, and in 1926 GM paid another $208 Million USD for the remaining 40 percent of Fisher Body.

And in case you didn’t know…Cadillac was a pioneer in the automotive industry. Cadillac luxury and elegance are prominent attributes but innovation and engineering prowess were paramount. Cadillac introduced many firsts to the automotive industry. It is the only ‘foreign’ automobile to win the coveted Dewar Trophy from the Royal Automobile Club of Great Britain…not once…but twice. In 1908 Cadillac won for introducing standardization and interchangeability of parts. In 1912 it won for introducing the Delco electric lighting and ignition system. In 1905 Cadillac was the first to offer a multi-cylinder engine. In 1910 it was the first auto manufacturer to offer closed bodies as standard equipment. For the 1911 model year the illustrious Fleetwood hand-crafted coachwork made its grand entrance.


This is one of Cadillac’s coupé body designs from 1930-1932

1931 Cadillac V12

1931 Cadillac V12

1933 Cadillac V16

1933 Fleetwood-bodied V16

1936 Series 90

1936 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 90

Next…enter Harley Earl. He created Cadillac works of art. Harley Earl initiated the process of freeform sketching and hand sculpture techniques. His “concept car” theory is still used today for the design process. He was discovered by Larry Fisher who was intrigued by Earl’s concept car and clay model processes. Harley Earl’s methodology was far ahead of its time. The comradery began in 1927 when Fisher commissioned Harley Earl to design the 1927 LaSalle which was to be a companion entry-level car for Cadillac.

Harley Earl was named the first director of GM’s Art & Colour Section which was an in-house design studio and is an industry first, established December 15, 1935. Earl’s legendary techniques were a shock to conservatives at General Motors. He brought luxurious style to Cadillac…just what Larry Fisher wanted.  Before the Art & Colour Section, there really wasn’t a great importance to how an auto body looked. By 1937 The Art & Colour Section was renamed “The Styling Section” and Harley Earl was named vice president. This is the first time in automotive history that a designer became a VP of a large corporation.

1936 Cadillac V16 Series 90 Town Cabriolet

1936 Cadillac V16 Series 90 Town Cabriolet

The big news was the ultimate automobile powerplants introduced in 1930. The massive 16 and 12 cylinder engines, both V-types…made Cadillac the first auto manufacturer to offer a complete line of multi-cylinder automobiles. Cadillac introduced the hydraulic valve silencers the same year; Cadillac was the master builder for multi-cylinder engines.

This made the competition appear dated – placing the competitors even further behind…for the 1932 model year Cadillac introduced safety headlamps, an air-cooled generator, a completely silent transmission, and full-range ride regulator. And you thought Cadillac was merely a luxury car…Cadillac was the engineering leader…it “started the dance” the rest of the auto industry followed in subservience…especially European luxury “wannabes.” 

V16 2

1936 Series 70 V8 coupe

1936 Cadillac Series 70 V8 coupé

1936 V16 convertible

1936 Cadillac V16 Convertible coupé

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 1

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special with body by Derham

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 2

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 3

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 1

1940 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 5

The glamour of a Cadillac was second to none. There was style…grace…and the poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac. It used to be the luxury car enjoyed by more luxury car buyers than any other brand. These resplendent automobiles were an ultra-exclusive realm of motoring majesty. Now…enter Bill Mitchell, a bright and talented advertising illustrator.

Harley Earl recruited him to join the GM Art & Colour Section in 1935. Bill Mitchell designed the fabulous Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special. He influenced the design of over 72.5 million GM automobiles. Some of his monumental designs include the 1955-1957 Chevy Bel Air, the 1961-1976 Corvette Stingray, the 1963 Buick Riviera, and the 1975-1979 Cadillac Seville. Bill Mitchell eventually became the VP of Design for GM.

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 6

Beginning the 1934 model year, Cadillac was the first to begin stream lining the coachwork…the spare tire was now concealed within the body. The 1936 model year is another important milestone year. Bill Mitchell designed the Fleetwood-bodied Series Sixty-Special. This car revolutionized luxury automobiles. It was the first car to use fender mounted headlamps when everyone else attached them to the hood.

The elegant Series Sixty-Special was sans running boards which was shocking at the time. It had a faired-in rear deck lid, thin door posts, and chrome banded window frames which became Fleetwood signature features for many years. A hydraulic braking system was also introduced by Cadillac in 1936 as a first to the industry. The Sixty-Special was released for the 1938 model year; its design was copied by the rest of the auto industry. This milestone vehicle made everything on the road appear outmoded. This car influenced automotive design for an entire generation.

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 2

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 3

1940 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special 4

1940 Series 72

For the 1940 model year, Cadillac was the first to introduce an ultra-modern large, luxurious motorcar to the industry known as the Fleetwood Series Seventy-Two. It was similar to the Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five but is 3″ shorter. It rides upon a long 138″ wheelbase. The Fleetwood Series Seventy-Two is powered by a 346 CID V8 engine that produces 140 hp.

The Fleetwood Series Seventy-Two uses a 3-speed manual transmission and is equipped with a four-wheel hydraulic braking system. This is the only year it was produced and only 18 were built. 1940 introduced the first ball bearing steering system making these large vehicles easier to maneuver.

1941 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1941 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1941 Cadillac Sixty-two Coupe

1941 Cadillac Series 62 coupé

1947 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1947 Cadillac Series 62 convertible coupé

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 5

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 

Harley Earl’s first monumental design is the 1948 Cadillac. This is the birth of the iconic Cadillac tail fin. The Lockheed P-38 was the inspiration. During this genre, air craft and space rockets dominated the designers’ imagination for automotive design. The tail fin wars of the 1950s were instigated by Harley Earl and Chrysler’s chief designer Virgil Exner. Tail fin mania spread like wildfire throughout the industry. The greatest engineering achievement in 45 years was Cadillac’s new compact…more economical and smoother operating overhead valve V8 engine for the 1948 model year. 

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 1

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 2

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 4

1948 Cadillac Series 62 convertible 3

Harley Earl and Alfred P. Sloan, GM’s president at the time developed the annual model change implemented as “Dynamic Obsolescence.” This associated model identity to a specific year for product success. This principle is used in the marketing strategies today. Harley Earl is the pioneer of using clay models to evolve various body components. He is the first designer to create complete automobiles; blending the main body structure with hoods, fenders, lights, and trim to enhance styling continuity. The rest of the auto industry scrambled to adopt this theory.

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 2

1949 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 4

Public acceptance was important to Harley Earl. It was his fabulous idea that led to the formidable GM Motoramas. Between 1949 and 1961 these glitzy, glamorous extravaganzas showcased notorious conceptual designs aimed at public reaction. Comments were taken seriously and used towards production models. Harley Earl designed the pillarless hardtop design which was the first of its kind in the automotive industry.

He ordered the two-door hardtop design into production as the very first Coupe deVille for the 1949 model year. Earl visited Italy and after seeing a Lancia sedan sans “B” pillars…he introduced the hardtop Sedan deVille for the 1956 model year for luxury car buyers that wanted a pillarless four-door configuration. The Orleans four-door hardtop sedan was a concept car that debuted at the 1953 Motorama which appealed to customers and spawned the Sedan deVille. The DeVille series is among the longest and most successful production runs in the history of the brand. They earned the title as “America’s favorite luxury cars.”

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 7

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 3

The Coupe deVille mocked a convertible with chrome roof bows

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 5

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 6

1949 Series 62 Coupe deVille 8

1949 Series Sixty-Special 2

1949 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1949 Series 62 convertible

1949 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1950 Cadillac Sixty-two Convertible

1950 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1953 Series 62 Eldorado 4

1953 Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado convertible

Cadillac even outdid itself for the 1953 model year slapping the competition with the highest horsepower V8 engine to power a domestic production vehicle with an astounding 220 hp in the magnificent limited edition Series 62 Eldorado convertible…a Harley Earl masterwork! The 1953 Cadillac Eldorado is an exclusive trim option package for the Series 62 and the image car for General Motors. It was also the most expensive model at $7,750…you could have purchased two Cadillacs for this price.

Distinctive signature features which set it apart from the stock convertible are a wrap-around panoramic windscreen, a sculpted beltline that incorporates a cupid’s bow in its design, a sleek metal parade boot, and Kelsey-Hayes genuine wire-laced wheels. Only 532 were built making it highly sought by collectors world-wide today. They now sell for six figures…that is if you can find one for sale – Harley Earl’s legend will live on forever. He and Bill Mitchell made Cadillac the quintessential luxury icon.

1955 Cadillac for racing 1

Cadillac was into stock car racing, 1955 Series 62 coupé shown

1955 Cadillac for racing 2

1955 Eldorado

1955 Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado convertible

1956 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five

1956 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five limousine

1956 Series 62 Sedan deVille 1

1956 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan deVille

1956 Series 62 Sedan deVille 2

The pillarless hardtop Sedan deVille became an instant success

1956 Series 62 Sedan deVille 3

1958 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five

1958 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five limousine

Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 1

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham

Series 70 Eldorado Brougham 3

the end 2

The last of Harley Earl’s masterpiece designs is the magnificent 1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Broughams. This is the most spectacular Cadillac motorcar of the 1950s. Its sheet metal wasn’t shared with any other Cadillac. The Eldorado Brougham was one of the world’s most expensive cars at the time selling at $13,074. Understated luxury from bumper to bumper with a custom appearance makes this automobile totally unique for the genre. Harley Earl designed some of the most significant Cadillacs of all time. He retired at age 65 in 1958 shortly after directing the design of the iconic 1959 Cadillacs. By this time, General Motors had become the largest corporation in the world.

The end 1

The 1959 tail fin

The iconic tail fin from the 1959 Cadillac

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 1

1959 Cadillac Series 62 “Flat Top” hardtop sedan

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 2

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 3

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 6

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 5

1959 Series 62 Flat Top 4

1959 Eldorado Biarritz convertible

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 1

1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 2

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 3

For the 1960s, Bill Mitchell promoted what he called the “Sheer Look.” It was an aerodynamic design that is sleeker and more contemporary. He broke away from the designs of Harley Earl with his own interpretations of what a luxury car should be. The designs under his direction are noted as the “Bill Mitchell Era.”

He gave GM vehicles a more conservative, streamlined look. His restrained use of ornamentation, less chrome, and the elimination of tail fins instituted an understatement which made these automobiles timeless challenging the years gracefully. Mitchell’s last accomplishments are the radically down-sized Cadillacs for the 1977 model year. Both Bill Mitchell and Harley Earl left an indelible impression on the automotive industry.

1960 Eldorado Biarritz convertible 5

1960 Series 62 convertible 1

1960 Cadillac Series 62 convertible

1960 Series 62 convertible 2

1960 Series 62 convertible 3

Cadillac was still a heart-throb with its “Sheer Look”

1960 Series 62 convertible 4

1960 Series 62 convertible 6

1960 Series 62 convertible 5

1960 Series 62 convertible 7

1967 Fleetwood Eldorado

The 1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado with front-wheel drive is the world’s finest personal luxury automobile. It successfully combined the traction of front-wheel drive, maintained perfect poise with Automatic Level Control, and the maneuverability of Variable Ratio Power Steering…all as standard equipment. This car gangster-slapped the industry big-time!

1971 Coupe deVille 1

1971 Cadillac Coupe deVille

1971 Coupe deVille 2

The Bill Mitchell Era exemplified Cadillac luxury and distinction to new heights in exclusivity and supremacy. This elegant era in luxury motoring was augmented by “Cadillac-Style!” Bill Mitchell had the entire industry “nervous.” Each time the competition ‘thought’ they had caught up with Cadillac-Style…Bill Mitchell bitch-slapped them with something more intriguing…with an attitude –

1971 Coupe deVille 3

1971 Coupe deVille 4

1971 Coupe deVille 5

1972 Fleetwood Brougham

1972 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 2

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 6

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 3

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 4

1972 Fleetwood Brougham 7

Cadillac pioneered many features and accessories the auto industry takes for granted. I could go on and on with praise for the brand’s outstanding automotive achievement. The 1960s and 1970s were equally as innovative…but something happened during the mid to late 1970s. The music stopped for Cadillac in the 1980s – it became adulterated with so many generic shortcuts which made it a mere hodgepodge of GM parts adorned with Cadillac nomenclature. Quality, fit & finish came to an abrupt halt. Its styling became nondescript and austere.

And as the years went by, it began chasing/emulating anything that moved from Europe. It has become too many things: a jack of all trades and a master of none. Its luxurious demeanor has become diluted to the point of kitsch. All models are recalled annually because of defects and short-sighted engineering. It is no longer a real luxury car…it masquerades as everything. In order to regain its stature, it must cease and desist with the intent of trying to be all things competing in areas which it should not.

Cadillac was snob wagon supreme…formidable in its existence, causing the competition to take note. The entire world waits with bated-breath for the supremacy and exclusivity once presented by Cadillac to dominate the industry and once again become the pride of the USA and the envy of the world. This is another NOTORIOUS flashback…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

1973 Coupe deVille 1

1973 Cadillac Coupe deVille

1973 Coupe deVille 2

1973 Coupe deVille 3

1973 Coupe deVille 4

1973 Coupe deVille 5

Fisher Body Logo

“GM mark of excellence…”

1975 Fleetwood Brougham

1975 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

1976 Fleetwood Castilian Estate wagon 2

1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Castilian Estate wagon

1976 Fleetwood Castilian Estate wagon 1

1990-1992 Brougham 3

1990-1992 Cadillac Brougham 

1990-1992 Brougham 2

1990-1992 Brougham 1

1990-1992 Brougham 4

Brougham d’Elegance interior

1990-1992 Brougham 5

Special thanks to the best caretakers in the classic car business: Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars, Jim Hailey’s Classic cars, Matt Garrett/GM Classics, MJC Classic Cars, Liberty Old Timers, Bob Adams Classic Cars, and Park Ward Motors Museum.


Will there ever be another “Standard of the World” creation?

Cadillac Wreath and Crest

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“As the Standard of the World Turns”


Cadillac: The Standard of Excellence

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

A tribute to the traditional Cadillac

Lead photo

…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”


Cadillac was once a formidable brand in the automotive industry. It was the standard of excellence in every aspect…superb fit & finish, remarkable engineering, absolute power…and prestige beyond belief world-wide. No automobile in the world achieved the admiration and respect as a Cadillac. Whatever one desired in a high-end luxury automobile…Cadillac either offered it or was in the process of building it. Always the innovator…always the epitome of luxury…and always the leader!

Fleetwood-bodied, hand-crafted automobiles catapulted the brand to an even higher standard of automotive excellence. The Cadillac DeVilles were and remain America’s favorite luxury cars. The formidable Eldorado had the entire industry in awe…with its poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac. Whether one chose the elegant open tourer, a spacious four-door sedan, the personal luxury of a two-door hardtop coupé, or a luxurious limousine…Cadillac designed and built the industry’s finest. NotoriousLuxury rekindles the passion of this lost art… in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

Crest 1

The Cadillac crest

Crest 4 1963 B

1963 Cadillac crest

Crest 4 1963

The famous insignia that adorns the legend is a coat of arms from the French de la Mothe Cadillac family. It was registered as an American trademark on August 6, 1906. In the language of ancient heraldry it’s described as: “Quarterly, the first and fourth gold…a fess sable between three Merlettes of the same – posed two in chief and one in base. Second and third gules quartering argent…three bars azure.”

What does this mean? Translated, it describes a quartered shield with the uppermost left and lower right corners gold containing black bands with two legless birds above and one below the band. The uppermost right and lower left corners contain two red quarters, and two silver quarters with blue bars. The “couronne” or coronet is for the six counts of France. For symmetry, the original de la Mothe Cadillac family arms and the trademark of 1906 contain seven round pearls. Evolution of the crest through the years has displayed as many as 18 but no less than seven.

Crest 2 1941 B

1941 Cadillac crest

Crest 2 1941

Crest 3 1955 B

1955 Cadillac crest

Crest 3 1955

The first and fourth quarters represent the de la Mothe arms. The Merlettes are ancient heraldic adaptations of the Martin and are shown without beaks and legs. The Merlettes are given for a difference to young brothers to signify, in order to raise themselves they are to look to the wings of virtue and merit; and not to rely on the legs having but little land to set their feet upon. The second and third quarters were added to the de la Mothe arms to signify the favorable marriage which increased their estates. The red stands for prowess and boldness in action…the silver for purity, charity, virtue, and plenty. The azure blue signifies knightly valor – 

Fleetwood crest B

Fleetwood laurel wreath and Cadillac crest

Fleetwood crest

The laurel wreath augmenting the crest was used for Fleetwood…the senior most models in the hierarchy. DeVilles, Calais, and Series 62 models used a prominent “V” under the crest in either gold or silver. Contemporary Cadillac models use an abstract interpretation of this legendary design. Some agree this new design separates the make-believe Cadillacs from the genuine “Standard of the World” editions…

Crest 5 1965 B

1965 Cadillac crest

Crest 5 1965

Crest 6 1974 B

1974 Cadillac DeVille crest

Crest 6 1974

1959B tail fin

The formidable fins – 

1948 tail fin


1949 tail fin


Cadillac’s chief designer Harley Earl “started the dance” of which the entire automotive industry followed suit. This man designed Cadillac masterworks. It was his 1948 Cadillac creation that started it all – he designed the 1948-1949 Cadillacs patterned after the Lockheed P-38 war-time aircraft.

The beautifully tailored fins are artfully integrated into the rear fenders. These are separate bolt-on features which flow gracefully into the doors. Within a few years, tail fins sprouted in every division at GM…not to mention how the rest of the industry emulated but could not replicate the design. Harley Earl and Chrysler’s chief designer Virgil Exner instigated the “Tail Fin Wars” of the 1950s.

1952 tail fin


1953 tail fin


The next tail fin design appeared on the 1950-1953 Cadillacs. They have the same basic style only a bit more elegant and refined. Back-up lamps were moved from below the rear deck lid and repositioned beneath the taillamps for the 1951 model. Cadillac is one of the early pioneers of back-up lamps. The basic theme of the taillamp/back-up lamp combo ran through the 1956 model year designs.

1954 tail fin


1955 tail fin


1956 tail fin


The 1954 model year introduced a higher tail fin to offset the overall lower silhouette. Cadillacs were redesigned to be longer, lower, and wider than previous models. The fins are more “kicked-up.” This is the most remembered style establishing Cadillac as the tail fin leader. This design went basically unchanged from 1954 until 1956. Cadillac didn’t redesign their offerings from a blinding flash of inspiration…change was evolutionary. The 1955 Eldorado sported its own unique shark-fin design which inspired the next model year for the standard Cadillac.

1956 Eldorado tail fin

1955-1956 Eldorado

1957 tail fin


1957-1958 Eldorado tail fin

1957-1958 Eldorado “Chipmunk-Cheeks”

For the 1957 model year the tail fins were completely redesigned for the standard Cadillac models. They are a modified version from the 1955 Eldorado. The fins are lower and tapered into the architecture fashionably. The 1957 Eldorados received their own distinctive tail fin redesign. They are a bit sharper and more prominent than the previous version.

Rounded faired-in fenders received the nickname “Chipmunk-Cheeks” because of the appearance for the rear-end design of the Eldorados. The 1957-1958 Eldorado Seville and Biarritz used their new design; however, this was not inherited by any other Cadillac models. The 1957-1958 Cadillacs sported an even lower silhouette than previous designs. Automobiles were becoming more streamlined…Cadillac led the way in the entire industry with elegant designs, impeccable craftsmanship, and that poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac.

1958 tail fin


1958 Eldorado Brougham tail fin

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham

1959 tail fin


Tail fin drama continued. The tail fin shocker came with the 1959 redesign. The iconic 1959 Cadillac tail fins are the tallest and the largest in the industry. All Cadillac models shared the same design. They represent American excess to the hilt. Either you love ‘em or you hate ‘em…there is no in-between. Some say they are the summit of gaudiness…some say they are elegant, and then there are some who are undecided. Because of this controversy – 1959 Cadillacs especially Eldorados, fetch six figures easily on the auction block.

1960 tail fin


1961 tail fin


1962 tail fin


Refinement for the mighty tail fin began the 1960 model year. The designers knocked them down a notch planing them into the architecture for a cleaner look. The restrained use of ornamentation also provided an understatement of Cadillac elegance. From 1960 onward, the tail fin began to disappear into oblivion. The 1961 model trimmed the fins tastefully and added lower fins called “Skegs” to the redesign. They were trimmed again for the 1962 model year. The finale for the beloved fins are the 1963-1964 model years. They disappeared completely for the all-new 1965 redesign. Cadillac will always be remembered for luxury, opulence, and tail fins!

1963 tail fin


1964 tail fin


1965 tail fin

1965…tail fins are banished into history

1966 tail fin


1967 tail fin

1967 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1967-1969 Eldorado tail fin

1967-1969 Fleetwood Eldorado

1968 tail fin

1968 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1969 tail fin

1969 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1970 tail fin

1970 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1970 Eldorado tail fin

1970 Fleetwood Eldorado

1971 tail fin

1971-1972 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1971-1972 Eldorado tail fin

1971-1972 Fleetwood Eldorado

1973 tail fin

1973 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1973 Eldorado tail fin

1973 Eldorado

1974-1976 tail fin

1974-1976 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1974-1976 Eldorado tail fin

1974-1976 Eldorado

1977-78 Eldorado

1977-1978 Eldorado

Pink Cadillac 3

The luxury of choice

Pink Cadillac 1

The traditional Cadillac offered more body styles than any other luxury car manufacturer. There is no more romantic architecture than a Cadillac convertible. They are the glamour cars of the stars. The elegant open tourers are still the most desired convertibles in the entire world. These elegant Cadillac creations have inspired music by Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley with “Pink Cadillac.” They have inspired movies such as “The Solid Gold Cadillac” with Judy Holiday in 1954. They were also used in parades such as the very first Cadillac Eldorado of 1953 driven in the inaugural parade for Dwight D. Eisenhower.

And we cannot forget the 1973 Eldorado convertible pace car for the 57th 500 Mile International Sweepstakes held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday May 30, 1973. There is no more dramatic manner in which to travel Cadillac-style than open air motoring in an elegant Cadillac convertible coupé. Whether it be the classic Series 62…the classic DeVille…or the “Gilded One” it is the ONLY way to travel…Cadillac-style – 

Pink Cadillac 2

1959 Series 62 convertible

Pink Cadillac 4

Pink Cadillac 5

1957 Fleetwood 1

1957 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1957 Fleetwood 2

The most distinguished automobiles in all of motordom are the impeccably hand-crafted Fleetwood-bodied Cadillacs. This is luxury on the grand Cadillac scale…in the grand Cadillac manner. These most revered models are more than austere, ostentatious bling as today’s kitschy-faux make-believe luxury cars. The Fleetwood-bodied Cadillacs are the most luxurious owner and chauffeur-driven models in the history of the brand. All Fleetwood crafted cars were built on their own dedicated assembly lines. Their individually longer wheelbases provide more rear seat passenger room.

The magnificent Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Broughams are decadently luxurious with ultra-exclusive accommodations that offer limousine-style luxury in an owner-driven sedan. It is the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special that reinforced the “Standard of the World” title. Unfortunately…there will never, ever, be another hand-crafted Cadillac Fleetwood…they epitomized the brand’s integrity as the finest automobiles on the planet. No car in the luxury automobile arena could have been made more personally yours than a Cadillac Fleetwood. Will there ever be another LUXURIOUS Cadillac to be the pride of the US…and the envy of the world?

1957 Fleetwood 4

1957 Fleetwood 5

1957 Fleetwood 3

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 1

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 2

The most eloquent sedans in the world are the Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five nine-passenger sedan and Imperial formal limousine. Executive-style grace with spacious accommodations is expedited in a refined and most dignified manner. This is the ultimate expression of the “Standard of the World.” These opulent sedans are still seen at foreign embassies, palaces, and in the driveways of luxurious estates. Some things are just too good to be forgotten.

These hand-crafted Fleetwood-bodied masterpieces will still be in service…when today’s make-believe luxury cars are rusting in peace at the local scrap yard. Cadillac commercial chassis were popular as ambulances during the 1950s throughout the 1970s because of their notorious reliability and high-speed capabilities. They were also built as hearses of the utmost dignity. Some mortuaries still have them in service just because…there is nothing in today’s market that even comes close to the poised dignity that was the hallmark of every traditional Cadillac Fleetwood –

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 4

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 5

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 7

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 6

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 3

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 1

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 2

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 3

Good taste never goes out of style…

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 4

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 5

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 6

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 8

1970 Coupe deVille 1

1970 Coupe deVille

1970 Coupe deVille 4

America’s sweethearts –

The Cadillac DeVille remains America’s favorite luxury car. They are available as the Coupe deVille, Sedan deVille, and the DeVille convertible. They enjoyed the highest resale value and repeat ownership of any American-built luxury car. The elegant Coupe deVille and Sedan deVille sold more automobiles than the combined aggregate totals of the competitors.

The Cadillac DeVille ruled the industry from 1949 until the 2004 model year when it became the DTS; maintaining the poised dignity Cadillac invented. The Cadillac DeVilles are among the most successful and longest production runs in the history of the brand. Their preeminence in the luxury car arena is achieved through years of growth and innovation. These elegant motorcars stole the hearts of enthusiasts world-wide in one svelte swoop.

1970 Coupe deVille 5

1970 Coupe deVille 6

1970 Coupe deVille 10

1976 Sedan deVille 1

1976 Sedan deVille

1976 Sedan deVille 5

1976 Sedan deVille 2

1976 Sedan deVille 4

1976 Sedan deVille 3

1976 Sedan deVille 8

Their six-passenger roominess combined with legendary Cadillac comfort and conveniences are what retained their following annually. They are smooth, responsive, and quiet beyond belief. The Coupe deVille is the only two-door luxury car that offers as much interior room as the competitor’s four-door sedan. It was the primary choice among the ladies with its intimate personal luxury and high style. Features and accessories were available to make it as unique as its driver.

The Sedan deVille is the luxury sedan that doubles as a family sedan. With its four-door convenience, it is like your own personal limousine. It was the perennial favorite among luxury car buyers. The Sedan deVille offered more comfort and convenience features and accessories as standard equipment than its competition. Open air touring with a youthful zest makes the DeVille convertible the number one choice among convertible lovers. Its fully automatic, power folding fabric roof disappeared at the touch of a button. The DeVille is the grandest of all open tourers…Cadillac-style. Its luxury has no peer. The Cadillac DeVille was the only luxury convertible built in the land at the time. It is one of the world’s most dramatic automobiles.

1970 DeVille 3

1970 DeVille convertible

1970 DeVille 5

1970 DeVille 6

1970 DeVille 7

1976 Eldo convt 4

1976 Eldorado convertible

1976 Eldo convt 2

No story regarding Cadillac could be complete without mention of “The Gilded One.” The totally avant-garde Eldorado was the Flagship from Cadillac the entire world will never forget. They became the most dramatic models in the history of the brand. Elegance, innovation, and engineering excellence made them one of the world’s most desired dream cars. The Eldorado introduced styling, features, and accessories that eventually found their way to other future models.

The superb Cadillac engineering, advanced design and dedication to excellence spawned the formidable 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado. It is the ultimate personal luxury automobile. The Fleetwood Eldorado is the only car in the world to successfully combine the positive traction of front-wheel drive, the agility of Variable Ratio Power Steering, and the perfect balance of Automatic Level Control. During its tenure, the Cadillac Eldorado was available as a convertible coupé, a two-door hardtop coupé, and an ultra-luxurious four-door hardtop sedan. They were the glamour cars of the 1950s through the 1970s…and remain so –

1976 Eldo convt 3

1976 Eldo convt 6

1976 Eldo convt 7

1956 Series 62 convt 1

1956 Series 62 convertible

1956 Series 62 convt 4

The traditional Cadillac was the most desired automobile in the entire world. It was the standard of excellence and second to none in the manufacture of luxury motorcars. It is a legend, and an American institution. A Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac is a hand-crafted masterpiece from the master craftsmen that garnered the title of the “Standard of the World.” The DeVilles remain America’s favorite luxury cars in every respect. The Eldorado began as the Flagship and evolved into the finest personal luxury car in the world. Cadillac had a luxury car for every luxury car buyer…whether coupé, convertible coupé, sedan, or an opulent limousine – the only way to travel…was Cadillac-style. NotoriousLuxury salutes the traditional Cadillac…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

1956 Series 62 convt 3

Special thanks to the finest classic automobile dealers in the business: Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars, Bob Adams Classic Cars, Jim Hailey’s Classic Cars, MJC Classic Cars, Park Ward Motors Museum, and Matt Garrett & GM Classics. You are the best in the industry!

1956 Series 62 convt 5

1956 Series 62 convt 7

1956 Series 62 convt 6

“As the Standard of the World Turns”

Greg's World

NotoriousLuxury IS Greg’s World…

1994 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham: The end of an illustrious era in motoring

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans, Notorious with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

“As the Standard of the World Turns” presents…

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 1

…Those Fabulous Fleetwoods

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 2

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.”

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 3

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 “B-body” 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 1

1930 Fleetwood V16 convertible sedan

1930 Fleetwood V16 2

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.

1930 Fleetwood V16 3

1930 Fleetwood V16 4

1930 Fleetwood V16 5

1930 Fleetwood V16 6

1938 Series Sixty-Special 1

1938 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1938 Series Sixty-Special 2

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.

1938 Series Sixty-Special 8

1938 Series Sixty-Special 5

1938 Series Sixty-Special 6

1938 Series Sixty-Special 7

1938 Series Sixty-Special 10

1938 Series Sixty-Special 9

1939 Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 1

1939 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Derham Town Car

1939 Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 2

1939 Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 5

1939 Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 6

1939 Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 3

1939 Sixty-Special Derham Town Car 4

1941 Series Sixty-Special

1941 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1952 Series Sixty-Special 3

1952 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1952 Series Sixty-Special 7

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.

1952 Series Sixty-Special 4

1952 Series Sixty-Special 5

1952 Series Sixty-Special 6

1952 Series Sixty-Special 2

1952 Series Sixty-Special 1

1954 Fleetwood 1

1954 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five

1954 Fleetwood 2

1965 Fleetwood Brougham 1

1965 Fleetwood Brougham 2

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.

1965 Fleetwood Brougham 4

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.

1965 Fleetwood Brougham 5

1965 Fleetwood Brougham 6

1965 Fleetwood Brougham 7

The 1965 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

1965 Fleetwood Brougham 8

1965 Fleetwood Brougham 3

1965 Fleetwood Brougham 9

1970 Fleetwood Brougham 1

1970 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

1970 Fleetwood Brougham 2

1970 Fleetwood Brougham 3

1970 Fleetwood Brougham 4

1970 Fleetwood Brougham 5

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.

1970 Fleetwood Brougham 6

1972 Fleetwood 1

1972 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

1972 Fleetwood 2

1972 Fleetwood 11

1972 Fleetwood 12

1972 Fleetwood 13

1972 Fleetwood 15

1972 Fleetwood 14

1972 Fleetwood 7

1972 Fleetwood 10

1976 Fleetwood 1

1976 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham

1976 Fleetwood 2

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 5

1976 Fleetwood Talisman 

1976 Fleetwood 8

The interior of the sumptuous Fleetwood Talisman

1976 Fleetwood 9

1976 Fleetwood 4

1976 Fleetwood 61976 was the last of the full-size Cadillac luxury sedans…

1976 Fleetwood 3

1976 Fleetwood 7

1977 Fleetwood Brougham 1

1977 Fleetwood Brougham

1977 Fleetwood Brougham 2

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.

1977 Fleetwood Brougham 8

1977 Fleetwood Brougham 9

1977 Fleetwood Brougham 10

1977 Fleetwood Brougham 6

1977 Fleetwood Brougham 7

1980-1989 Fleetwood 1

1980-1989 Fleetwood 2

1980-1989 Fleetwood 3

1980-1989 Fleetwood Brougham

1980-1989 Fleetwood 4

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.

1980-1989 Fleetwood 5

1980-1989 Fleetwood 6

1980-1989 Fleetwood 7

1980-1989 Fleetwood 12

1980-1989 Fleetwood 8

1990-1992 Brougham 2

1990-1992 Cadillac Brougham

1990-1992 Brougham 3

1990-1992 Brougham

1990-1992 Brougham 4

1990-1992 Brougham 6

1990-1992 Brougham 5

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 5

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.

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 6

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.

1994 Fleetwood Brougham white 1

1994 Fleetwood Brougham white 2

1994 Fleetwood Brougham white 4

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 8

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 15

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 –

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 17

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 19

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 18

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 20

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 21

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 9

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 –

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 26

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 25

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.

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 12

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.

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 7

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.

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 11

Custom Carriage Roof treatment

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 10

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 27

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.”

1994 Fleetwood Brougham white 3

1957 Eldorado Brougham 1

1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham hand-crafted by Fleetwood

1957 Eldorado Brougham 2

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.

1957 Eldorado Brougham 4

1957 Eldorado Brougham 5

1957 Eldorado Brougham 6

1957 Eldorado Brougham 7

1957 Eldorado Brougham 3

1957 Eldorado Brougham 9

1958 Series Sixty-Special 2

1958 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1958 Series Sixty-Special 6

1958 Series Sixty-Special 4

1958 Series Sixty-Special 5

1958 Series Sixty-Special 1

1958 Series Sixty-Special 3

1959 Series Sixty-Special 1

1959 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1959 Series Sixty-Special 3

1959 Series Sixty-Special 4

1959 Series Sixty-Special 5

1959 Series Sixty-Special 2

1959 Series Sixty-Special 6

1959 Series Seventy-Five

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five

1964 Series Sixty-Special 2

1964 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1964 Series Sixty-Special 1

1974 Fleetwood Talisman 1

1974 Fleetwood Talisman

1974 Fleetwood Talisman 2

1974 Fleetwood Talisman 3

1974 Fleetwood Talisman 4

1976 Fleetwood 10

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five

1976 Fleetwood 11

1976 Fleetwood 12

1976 Fleetwood 14

1976 Fleetwood 13

1994 Fleetwood Brougham 4

The Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham is NotoriousLuxury

Cadillac Style

The only way to travel was Cadillac-style…will there ever be another?

Coachbuilt: 1999 Cadillac Fleetwood Limited

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical with tags , , , , , on March 20, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

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 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.”



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.







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…



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.



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.


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.


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.


1949 Cadillac Coupe deVille



The Coupe deVille was the world’s first hardtop coupe




The pillarless hardtop coupe mocked a convertible




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.



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.












 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…



1999 DeVille d’Elegance












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.







1949 Fleetwood Series sixty-Special





The first Cadillac Overhead Valve V8 engine for 1949



The iconic 1959 Cadillac Tail Fin
















1969 DeVille convertible







1969 Hardtop Sedan deVille







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



1965 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Convertible

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical with tags , , , , , , on February 10, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

The Fleetwood Eldorado epitomized open tourers





The 1965 Cadillac was the most dramatically new creation in sixteen years. The “Standard of the World” was elegantly new and majestically Cadillac. The impressive Fleetwood Series were all masterpieces. A Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac was special even among Cadillacs. The name Fleetwood was a hallmark of motoring elegance. The magnificent 1965 Fleetwood Eldorado convertible epitomized open tourers from that genre.

Powered by a 340 hp V8 engine combined with its youthful appearance, the Fleetwood Eldorado convertible was the most luxurious convertible in the world fashioned in the traditional Fleetwood manner. The 1965 Cadillacs continued the tradition of quality and integrity which had won for Cadillac the well-earned reputation as the “Standard of the World.” The 1965 Fleetwood Eldorado convertible was another exemplary performance in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”




The 1965 Cadillacs were completely re-designed. They had an all-new longer and lower silhouette. New front end styling included the handsome vertical stacking headlamps and a wide mesh-like grille. The hood and front fender design were unique and individual, the fenders had their own design which traveled past the architecture to make a dramatic statement. The sculpted hood accented the new overall lower design of the body work elegantly. Chrome spanned the entire grille and bumper areas luxuriously. This all-new design was bold and contemporary yet unmistakably Cadillac.




The rear design was without the signature tail fins for the first time since 1947. The trunk and rear fenders had their own individuality also. Separate long planed-flat fenders swept past the architecture in the Cadillac fashion with just a ‘hint’ of the tail fin left in the bumper design which was all shining chrome end to end. The fenders made the 1965 Cadillacs appear even longer than they were.

The all-new tail lamp assembly formed an integral part of the clean smooth rear design. Tail lamps, stop/directional lamps, and back-up lamps were consolidated into a single chrome housing that blended into the rear grille work. From the striking beauty of its front end design to the rear lamp housings, this magnificent creation embodied the finest in Cadillac styling advancements combined with the formidable Fleetwood distinction.



The 1965 Fleetwood Eldorado convertible wore this new bodyshell very well. With its standard power fully automatic folding fabric roof in the open position, this sleek convertible was one dramatic, low-slung sweep from nose to tail. It was crafted to be the finest expression of open touring. Its individual styling and its dramatic and exclusive appointments made the Fleetwood Eldorado a motorcar of distinction.

And, let any Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac appear on the motoring scene where fine automobiles gather….they were immediately recognized as an achievement unparalleled in motoring excellence. Model # 68-467E Fleetwood Eldorado convertible was base priced at $6,738. The 1965 Fleetwood Eldorado convertible was the finest expression of the new era of automotive elegance. It was the “Standard of the World” in styling and craftsmanship.






The 1965 Fleetwood Eldorado convertible came standard with an interior of supple natural grain leather hand stitched by the artisans at Fleetwood. A sandwich type sound barrier was applied between engine and passenger compartment along with sound deadening materials that absorbed noise. Each side of the cowl area inside received a rubber compound sound barrier. The floor boards received two layers of jute topped by deep carpeting, over a rubber compound sound barrier. This was an extra quiet ragtop.

The convertibles for 1965 included a stretchable pleated top boot with a self-adhering edge that eliminated the sliding channel mounting assuring a sleek fit. Standard equipment included power windows, power six-way seat, electric clock, courtesy lighting, anti-glare rearview mirror, red reflectors at the bottoms of each door for safety, front seat belts, heater/defroster, and whitewall tires. Popular options for 1965 were: Comfort Control air conditioning, controlled differential, power door locks, door edge guards, Guide-Matic headlamp control, AM/FM radio, Soft-Ray glass, Tilt & Telescopic steering wheel, Twilight Sentinel, and remote trunk lock release.















The 1965 Cadillacs rode upon an all new frame. They were built as body on frame construction using Cadillac’s rugged tubular center X-frame with increased torsional rigidity and impact resistance. It used hidden bulkheads for additional resistance to torsional stress. A newly designed pheasant-tail rear engine support crossmember didn’t infringe upon front floor space as a straight crossmember would.

The new frame and its increased width allowed the front suspension strut rods to be moved further outward for better control of the fore/aft movement of the front wheels. This unique frame design with boxed side rails permitted a lower transmission tunnel height inside the car. This new design allowed the frame-to-body structure to be lowered which aided stability and solid-riding luxury. New larger suspension bushings were used to absorb impact and isolate road noise. The 1965 Fleetwood Eldorado convertible rode on a long 129.5” wheelbase, had the luxury length of 224”, and was 79.9” in width. This was when a Cadillac was real….



The front suspension used upper and lower control arms with spherical joints and independent coil springs. There were new motor mounts precisely tuned to frame characteristics for maximum idling smoothness, quietness, and stability. The steering linkage was refined to improve handling response, dependability, and longer life.

The rear suspension minimized deflection of the rear of the car during fast acceleration for a level ride. It used Cadillac’s four-link drive with helical coil springs located on the rear axle housing instead of lower control arms. This allowed the bushings to better isolate road noise and absorb wheel impact. It had new pre-stressed rear axle bearings and races for greater dependability. The rear axle housing had more unified construction for increased torsional rigidity.





Standard for the Fleetwood Series was Automatic Level Control which kept the vehicle at optimum height under any road condition and automatically adjusted for change in load. The rear suspension used the network for the system. The new Automatic Level Control provided pressure from a compressor and air reservoir to a valve located at the rear crossmember of the frame.

If the rear end load deflected the suspension ½” or greater the valve would open allowing pressurized air to enter air chambers in the rear shock absorbers. When the load decreased the valve would exhaust the air from the shock absorbers to lower the car to level height. The valves were calibrated with a 6-12 second delay so that normal deflection of the rear suspension while encountering uneven pavement would not activate the system.






The Cadillac V8 engine had a higher horsepower-to-weight ratio of any luxury make. For the 1965 model year there were advances in piston head design, an exclusive new exhaust system that used a new coaxial resonator sonically balanced for maximum quiet, and new engine mounts which isolated engine vibration from the interior of the car. The 1965 Cadillacs were powered by the 7.0 litre 429 CID 16-valve OHV V8. It was equipped with a Rochester or Carter AFB 3903S 4-bbl downdraft carburetor with equalized manifold, mechanical fuel pump, dry-type air filter, and automatic choke.

The engine produced 340 hp @ 4,600 rpm with 651 Nm of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 8.8 seconds, 0-100 mph in 24.9 seconds with a top speed of 127 mph. It did the ¼ mile @ 86 mph in 16.4 seconds. The engine was mated to GM’s Turbo Hydra-Matic THM-400 3-speed automatic transmission. New engine features included a computer designed 7-blade fan, a new cross-flow radiator for increased cooling efficiency and quiet operation, and an improved electrical system for faster starting.




Cadillac’s PCV or Positive Crankcase Ventilation system directed un-burned air/fuel mixture from the crankcase back to the intake manifold for re-burning. A vent valve regulated the volume of un-burned air/fuel mixture to assure exact ratios for smooth engine performance at various engine speeds.

For 1965, Cadillac used a one-piece propeller shaft which transmitted power from the transmission to rear wheels with the utmost quiet and resistance to vibration. Constant Velocity Joints at each end of the propeller shaft cancelled energy that would create noise or vibration assuring a smoother, quieter drive line. Precise alignment with propeller shaft and rear axle pinion was achieved through match-mounting the attachments.



Standard was Cadillac’s triple braking system. The system used a master cylinder with a dual reservoir with separate pistons and hydraulic lines for front and rear systems to allow independent operation. The parking brake had an automatic release and wouldn’t lock with the engine running and in gear. It could also be used as a true auxiliary brake in an emergency.

This sophisticated braking system used long-life pistons in wheel cylinders made of iron alloy and were self-lubricating. The front and rear brake shoes were self-adjusting each time the car was shifted to reverse and the brakes applied. Finned brake drums fitted to both front and rear increased cooling air dissipating heat faster. Brake fade was minimized. The front brakes used a special flange on the backing plates that shielded water from the drums.



The 1965 Cadillacs had the most dramatic styling since the 1949 Coupe deVille. It was elegantly new and majestically Cadillac. The 1965 Fleetwood Eldorado convertible epitomized open tourers of that era. It was an all-new design with an all-new spirit. It was powered by Cadillac’s 340 hp V8 engine teamed with GM’s refined Turbo Hydra-Matic Drive.

The 1965 Fleetwood Eldorado continued the tradition of quality and integrity which earned Cadillac the distinguished reputation of “Standard of the World.” The name Fleetwood was a hallmark of motoring elegance. The spirited Fleetwood Eldorado convertible was the pinnacle of luxury and another command performance….in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”


This is a custom design from Casey Art and Colour



This was another fine example from Bob Adams Classic Cars

1994 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham High-Security Sedan

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical with tags , , , , , , on January 31, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

This is the megalomaniac’s worst nightmare…..



This 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham has a secret. Its high-tech LT1 Corvette engine is part of the secret….but it has a deeper hidden secret. This is “Super-car…able to leap large parking lots in a single bound, more powerful than a locomotive….and tough as Kryptonite!” This car has the ability to save lives. It is a rolling fortress with Level III NIJ-B5 certified armor protection. It is very important for an armored or bullet-proof vehicle to retain its anonymity….and in a way that does not disfigure the beauty of the vehicle.

The driver is the key role player in this dramatic scenario. He must be trained to operate a High-Security vehicle properly in a life or death situation with no pre-notification….at a second’s notice he is summoned to save the lives of everyone inside….including himself. There are two import types of armor, transparent and opaque, that are involved in this process.

I researched this process through Texas Armoring Corporation, they expedite exemplary examples of life-saving vehicles and are purveyors in this technology. The 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham that you see here was made by Safe Car Armor in 1994 and didn’t alter its appearance whatsoever. This car retained its Cadillac elegance and poised dignity. It blends into the streets like a daily driver should.


OK…which is real and which is Memorex?


The top photo is the secret agent


There’s more involved than merely adding a few pieces of metal to a car to make a bullet-proof and armored vehicle. It takes a thorough knowledge of ballistics, explosives, and tactics used by the potential threat. A complete assessment of the vehicle is made including, its vulnerability, and the re-designing components to properly armor the vehicle.

Alterations should be invisible, because it is imperative to remain low-key in high profile situations. Armor reinforcement is the basic component that shields everyone riding from harm. The passengers are clad in a rolling fortress made of multiple plates of corrosion resistant steel, steel alloys, or special composite materials. So you see, this 1994 Fleetwood Brougham fights back. And how does it fight back?

One important material in particular is called Spectra-Shield for the “opaque armor.” It is a ballistic composite material manufactured by Honeywell Advanced Fibers and Composites, for both soft and hard armor. One example, multiple layers of high-performance fiber laid at right angles to allow the energy of a projectile to rapidly dissipate along the length of the fiber itself.


All composites are designed to provide superior ballistic and fragment protection performance at the lowest possible weight. Each of their ballistic composite materials are designed with specific applications per specification of the client’s individual situation. Honeywell has a complete line of ballistic composite materials for vehicle armor.


Other very important materials include, Lexan a “transparent armor” which can be used in applications where premium bullet-proof glass cannot be used. It is transparent with excellent optical clarity, you really cannot see it….which is the whole point. Kevlar and aramid fibers (opaque armor) are the pinnacle in superior blast, fragmentation, explosive, and small arms ballistic protection. All materials are tested by an independent laboratory and fabricated to TAC specifications. Ballistic fiberglass (opaque armor) is used where Spectra-Shield, steel, and aramid fibers wouldn’t work.

There two ways a bullet-proof vehicle may be made; either starting while it is a new-build adding armor to a bare chassis, or the vehicle may be retro-fitted after build. The latter method requires the vehicle to be stripped hollow to add the armor per specification desired. The walls, the roof, pillar posts, firewall, doors, and floors are all modified. There are additional pieces called “door over-laps” that seal vulnerable seams between the doors and body.

Some vehicles have the material applied between the driver’s seat and rear passenger compartment. The vehicle’s glass must also be swapped out or otherwise cancels the effort, as we all know a “visible target” is an eminent threat. Today’s bullet-proof glass is made from laminated layers of glass sandwiched between a polycarbonate to create the “transparent” armor.


Next, what good would an armored vehicle be if it were suddenly immobilized? This type of vehicle MUST be able to “snap-to” in a second’s notice to speed out of harm’s way. The underpinnings and engine must be part of the rolling fortress. All computers and electronics, battery, and radiator, are all shielded. Bullet-proof vehicles are also equipped with run flat tires. A run flat does reduce tire and wheel damage by supporting the wheel off the tire saving the tire. There is a special lubricant between the run flat insert to reduce heat and friction prolonging the tire and optimizing the run flat.

The run flat is made of two parts: a roller and a runner. The runner is attached to secure the unit and the roller is allowed to move at the same speed of the tire reducing friction and dissipating heat faster. Some conversions use heavy-duty ramming bumpers welded to the front and rear of the car behind the bumper covers so it may “Bogard” through attempts to block the get-away. The last obstacle to over-come is to build the armor into the body seamlessly without disfiguring the luxury as witnessed by this 1994 Fleetwood Brougham, the armor is virtually undetected except for the glass that is extremely thick.



To effectively utilize the High-Security vehicle, training is essential to properly expedite spur of the moment life-saving tactics. Protective driver training tailored towards armored vehicles is an important part of a detailed security program. Evasive driving techniques for example, can be dangerous with a vehicle of such formidable stature and weight….one must get away fast, therefore the maneuvering must be mastered.

He must also be aware of surveillance detection techniques. He is more than a driver, in some cases he is the bodyguard. To drive one of these High-Security sedans one must master the multi-tasking involved in life or death situations. Immediate action is crucial….anti-kidnapping skills, and any route planning must be instantaneous and every second counts. The driver is the key element, this is why he must be trained properly and thoroughly. He has got to move all of that sheet metal safely, precisely, and with aplomb!


A GOOD armored vehicle should shield the occupants from danger and get away from the threat as quickly as possible. A more powerful engine, brakes, and a beefed-up suspension is needed to support the alterations and additional weight requirements.

After adding all the mass to an armored vehicle, it must have the foundation upgraded to accept the added weight. And those brakes are extremely important now that all of that weight has been increased…to stop all of that sheet metal safely, we don’t want to escape the megalomaniacs only to kill ourselves because the brakes failed! The interior can be sealed or over-pressured using its own air supply guarding against poison gas attacks.

Other alterations include automatic fire extinguishers, an explosion resistant gas tank with an inner bladder that seals itself, pressure and temperature control of the tires, a siren, an alarm, and an intercom system that offers communication from within the vehicle to the outside situation without compromising the security by opening the vehicle are just a few of the myriad protection modifications available.

These may be combined and tailored in a completely bespoke manner for every situation. An added value of the High-Security vehicle is its ability to resist intrusion during an automobile accident because of its structural integrity. This is why the price easily exceeds six figures just for the conversion alone. But you cannot put a price on a human life!

The manner in which it is serviced and stored is paramount to a High-Security vehicle. Everyone may not have access to it at any time. It requires special attention to retain its anonymity. There are special service vendors who are bonded and certified with minimal exposure from anyone coming in contact with the vehicle, and requiring those that do to have a security clearance. The vehicle also must be stored securely without any outside interference within a totally secure environment.


There are internationally accepted standards which define levels of protection. The US Department of Justice; Office of Justice Programs for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is one such agency. “A ballistic threat posed by a bullet depends on its composition, shape, caliber, mass, angle of incidence, and impact velocity.

The performance test summary describes the absolute minimum of Level I stopping a .22 caliber LR LRN @ 329 meters per second all the way to Level IV .30 caliber M2 AP @ 869 meters per second, then the “Special” Level has exclusive specifications that are designed to meet the mission requirements custom tailored to the possibility of the threat. Velocity test requirements are determined by using two independent sets of instrumentation.

Velocities are recorded from each then the arithmetic mean of the two velocities will be calculated and recorded. The measured velocities from each set recorded shall be within 3 meters per second. If specified correlation is not achieved the test velocity shall be obtained from the widest instrument spacing available. Equipment used to measure velocity involves photo electric light screens, printed make circuit screens, printed break circuit screens, and ballistic radar.

Independent sets of velocity measurement can be determined by any two sets of the pre-mentioned or any paired set combination. Ballistic limits, calculations, and ballistic limit re-testing of compliant armor are determined by the NIJ. Armor found non-compliant with its ballistic limit will be further investigated and scrutinized by the NIJCTP (NIJ Compliant Testing Program.)


It is imperative to know what level of armor is needed and the perceived threat. The vehicle modifications also must be discreet as I mentioned before, it has to blend into the street traffic. This 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham is a Level III NIJ-B5 armored vehicle. It hides all of its protection anonymously as a High-Security vehicle should.

A Level “III” NIJ III A Level armor is designed to withstand multiple 9mm submachine rounds. With Level B5 armor, it stops the Five-Seven pistol caliber 57x28mm, Three AK-47 Kalashnikov 7.62×39 rounds @ 730 meters per second (soft-core), Three 5.56 NATO M193 and SS109 rounds @ 930 meters per second (soft or hard-core), and One 7.62 NATO Ball round @ 830 meters per second (M-80 soft-core). So you see how well this 1994 Fleetwood Brougham can fend off the megalomaniacs in the world without working up a sweat. I told you it fights back!


Texas Armoring of San Antonio Texas is a leading innovator in the design and manufacture of armored cars, lightweight, transparent, and opaque armor for both automotive and architectural applications.

TAC focuses on engineering, innovation, protection, lightweight armor applications, and impeccable finishing, and has delivered thousands of High-Security vehicles throughout the world to distinguished individuals ranging from elite heads of state, to celebrities, as well as royal families. TAC has been offering discretion and integrity since the 1970s. Per Texas Armoring: “A properly armored vehicle can help you disarm potential terrorists and prevent kidnapping threats. Life is valuable….protect it.”





This salute is dedicated to Texas Armoring for exemplary performance in a position of discretion, and Matt Garrett/GM Classics. This is another beauty from his collection. This was the epitome of luxury for King Hussein of Jordan. This beautiful 1994 Fleetwood Brougham is a certified Level III NIJ B-5 High-Security sedan manufactured by Safe Car Armor in 1994. It is majestically powered by the formidable LT1 Corvette 5.7 litre V8 engine and built with the Coachbuilder option.

This is the megalomaniac’s worst nightmare, it’s a rolling fortress as I just described in detail. This Fleetwood retained its anonymity, the basic look is virtually undetectable unless you get close enough to look into the windows, and it looks like looking into glass-block. It’s a 6,600+ lb. behemoth with the heartbeat of a Vette! And… has a secret. Thank you Matt Garrett for keeping the spirit alive and quite well! 



Looks like it is saying….”Go ahead…make my day!”

1985 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Coupe d’Elegance

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical with tags , , , , , on January 25, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

The rare 1985 Fleetwood coupe


Beauty and luxury abound in this two-door classic. This luxurious beautifully proportioned coupe was built in the finest Fleetwood tradition. The Fleetwood Brougham coupe was a spacious six passenger Flagship. Its distinctive styling and renowned Cadillac luxury was for those who wouldn’t settle for anything less than the very finest. The 1985 Fleetwood Brougham Coupe d’Elegance was the epitome of Fleetwood opulence and prestige. Best of all….it’s a Cadillac.




The Fleetwood Brougham Coupe d’Elegance had a classic look and Cadillac appeal. It was for the driver that wanted clean crisp two-door styling with the luxury and roominess of a sedan. This special luxury coupe was the best of both worlds. It was the personal expression of Fleetwood and everything one would expect from Cadillac. When the name Fleetwood comes to mind one naturally thinks of its long impressive history of elegance and comfort on the grand Cadillac scale, in the grand Cadillac manner. The Fleetwood Brougham Coupe d’Elegance was the rarest as it was built only half year and 8,336 were made. They were the most elegant coupes in the world.



Inside the 1985 Fleetwood Brougham Coupe d’Elegance was a masterwork of coachmanship. Posh pillow-style seating with an elegant sew-style and hand button tufting set it apart from the standard Fleetwood Brougham coupe. Dual Comfort front seating with six-way power for both driver and passenger, front and rear folding center armrests, power windows and door locks, power steering, Electronic Climate Control with outside mirror mounted digital temperature display, and an illuminated entry system were just a few of the many standard features and accessories. The intoxicating scent of natural leather upholstery with exquisite tailoring was available in five colors.

Luxurious Heather Knit Cloth was a rich velvety suede-like fabric available in three colors. Luxurious deluxe Tampico carpet was underfoot. It included deluxe Tampico carpeted rubber mats front and rear. There was no mistaking the special Fleetwood Brougham touch as witnessed by Matt Garrett’s pristine example shown. This car is brand new “out of the wrapper” as he affectionately refers to his unique prizes. Popular options available for the 1985 Fleetwood Brougham Coupe d’Elegance featured a power astroroof, genuine long-laced wire wheels, Twilight Sentinel, memory seating, wire wheel discs, as well as the new Automatic Day/Night electro-chromatic rearview mirror that adjusted to the non-glare mode and returned to normal after glare was out of range.








The Fleetwood Brougham Coupe d’Elegance was absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. Its exclusive privacy-size quarter windows and the limousine-style rear window treatment added drama to its Cabriolet styling, the distinctive Fleetwood touch was evident. Its luxurious silhouette was augmented by lower chrome moldings, the car was just an elegant sweep from its classic Cadillac laurel wreath and crest hood ornament crowning the distinctive front end design to the beautifully beveled rear deck lid, it was unmistakably Cadillac. Standard exterior features included Tungsten Halogen headlamps, right and left power rearview mirrors, Opera lamps, Electronic Level Control, power front disc brakes, Delco Freedom II battery, and steel belted radial whitewall tires. The 1985 Fleetwood Brougham Coupe d’Elegance had that poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac.



The 1985 Fleetwood Broughams were built as body on frame construction. They had the luxury length of 221”, rode upon a long 121.5” wheelbase with the wide stance of 75.4”. The Fleetwood Broughams were the longest production passenger cars built in America in 1985. The front suspension used upper and lower control arms of unequal length with independent coil springs, stabilizer bar, and Pliacell tubular Direct Acting shock absorbers. The rear suspension used Cadillac’s four-link drive live axle, coil springs, Superlift shock absorbers, stabilizer bar, and an Electronic Level Control network. This automobile genre had a silicone-smooth glide to its ride, there was nothing quite like a substantial front engine, rear-drive vehicle! Due to the avarice of the oil companies we are reduced to deathtraps and puddle-jumpers….







The 1985 Fleetwood Brougham Coupe d’Elegance was a rare item with only 8,336 made by the cease of production mid-year. This luxurious beautifully proportioned coupe was built in the finest Fleetwood tradition. Aside from the Eldorado, the Fleetwood Brougham coupe was the only other two-door Fleetwood ever made. The formidable Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham was always the most luxurious owner-driven Cadillac sedan.

The 1985 Fleetwood Brougham Coupe d’Elegance carried on the tradition proudly in the grand Cadillac manner. With its two-door styling combined with the six-passenger spaciousness of a sedan made the Fleetwood Brougham Coupe d’Elegance the very best of both worlds. It was the ultimate personal expression of Fleetwood and equipped as such with more features and accessories available both standard and optional than any other luxury brand. The 1985 Fleetwood Brougham Coupe d’Elegance with its posh pillow-style button-tufted seating was the masterwork of coachmanship in every respect. Beauty and elegance abound in this two-door classic. Thank you Matt Garrett for keeping the tradition and spirit alive!



1985 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Coupe d’Elegance