Cohort Outtake: The Rather Rare Downsized (1977-1984) Cadillac Fleetwood Limousine – One Step Away From Folly and Death

Ralf K. has posted a car that has eluded me so far: a downsized (1977-1994) Cadillac Fleetwood limousine. I found and posted a prior-generation 1973 Fleetwood 75, which was the longest production car ever. The un-downsized ones seem to have more lasting appeal to lovers of what these cars represent: excess. And they sold better too; by the time these downsized ones appeared, the limo market was rapidly moving to aftermarket limos that were much longer than these factory-built jobs. And the whole image of limos was changing, becoming a rolling barf-mobile party-mobile instead of a truly prestigious and exclusive carriage for the wealthy. But if these weren’t a big (literally) success, it’s midget-mobile successor was an even bigger bust.

Yes, this sad little limo mini-me. It’s hard to believe Cadillac built this, instead of just keeping the bigger one going, since they had already decided to keep the RWD Brougham going. These little FWD limos were an instant joke, and sold terribly (405 in 1985), and after three painful short years, they were history. Not only had Cadillac managed to destroy most of their brand equity in the 1980s, they also destroyed their long-standing grip on the factory limo market.

So when is someone going to find one of these to write up? Good luck.

The only thing more embarrassing than the shrunken-head FWD Cadillac limo was the rather similar Chrysler Executive Limo, which I also found and posted (link below). Oops; not so fast. I just checked the stats on these two mini-limos: the Chrysler executive limo is actually two inches longer than the 1985 Cadillac Fleetwood limo (220.5″ vs 218.6″). Who would have thought? At least the Cadillac packed its mighty 125 hp HT4100 V8, compared the 2.2 or 2.6 fours in the Chrysler. What a shoot-out.

One of my great regrets is not pulling into the local high school parking lot where there was one of these stretch FWD DeVille six-door sedans parked for several years straight. I kept telling myself I’d do it soon, but obviously the kid graduated, and I’ve never seen it again. It took some searching at Google to find a picture of a similar one – right here at CC. Back in 2012, it was posted at the Cohort and written up by Mr. Tactful. That makes me feel a wee bit better for having flubbed that one here.

Ok, we’ve had our deep dive into the sad decline of Caddilac limos. Now I need to go wash my hands.

 

Related:

CC 1973 Cadillac Fleetwood 75: The Longest Production Car Ever

CC 1984 Chrysler Executive Limo: The Ultimate 1980s Folly-Mobile