Bumper filler is intact, at least on the driver’s side. As are the wheel covers. Ad multos annos (to many years)!
Aaaaaaahhhhh! 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham,The quintessential mode of domestic opulant transportation. Wonder if it has the pillow seats in velour?
Isn’t this a ’77 to have that weird B-pillar? I was born in ’77, and I would like to have a very nice Cadillac or Olds C body of that year.
“Isn’t this a ’77 to have that weird B-pillar?”
That was just on the 77-79 Fleetwood.
I am going to call this one as a 78 Fleetwood Brougham. The back bumper rules out a 77 and I think those color-keyed wheelcovers rule out 79.
My Aunt Norma had a 78 Sedan DeVille that was purchased new and she kept it (as she did everything she owned) in immaculate condition for maybe 12 or 15 years. If I had known she was going to get rid of it I would have tried to buy it, a beautiful oxblood color with matching leather inside. I have mostly had my fill of those B and C body GM cars, but a nice Cadillac with a 425 could make me go back to the well.
Nice car for a hybrid powerplant 🙂
Whenever I see one of these I think of Walter White, and the “modifications” he made to one.
That’s the first thing I thought of.
Now I have “Baby Blue” stuck in my head.
Which isn’t so bad.
Don’t think I’ve ever noticed that weird B pillar. Any back story on that?
I think it was an attempt to carry the Fleetwood-unique B pillar from 1971-76 forward onto the new downsized cars to give the Fleetwood some visual distinction. I don’t think this styling device was very successful and it was gone by 1980. Until I looked at some pictures today I could not have told you what years or models it was used on. I spent time around a 77 Fleetwood when they were new. It was one of those things that every time I looked at one version of that B pillar (no matter which one it happened to be) I thought they were all that way.
Thanks for the info. I must have seen it before but, as you said, probably didn’t recall there were 2 different types.
From a modern perspective, it certainly seems (to me at least) like a very odd thing to spend tooling money on!
In this generation, the Fleetwood sedan was a 15 percent spiff over the standard DeVille sedan, though that included some equipment that was optional on DeVille. The take rate was about 25 percent of total C body sedan sales. I bet that the tooling investment, especially to maximize the difference of a traditional model name, was an easy decision.
The slanting angle for the rear door window frame made this b-pillar treatment look odd, and the perspective of this photo certainly emphasizes the effect.
Cadillac did continue the unique Fleetwood b-pillar approach with the 1980 redesign, but the shape of the rear door window frame was squared up, so the vinyl roof “dip” down the b-pillar didn’t look as peculiar as before. You can see the much subtler approach on this pic of a 1980 Fleetwood Brougham.
The 1933 Duesenberg “Twenty Grand” featured a similar B Pilar. I believe that was it’s inspiration.
The roof surface extended down the B-pillar or individually frame windows harks back to late 1920’s Hibbard et Darrin designed convertible sedans that were also licensed to coachbuilder Derham. The Duesenberg J Beverly sedan by Murphy and the famous Arlington sedan by Rollston known as the ‘Twenty Grand’ in the Nethercutt Collection has the detail as well.
Paraphrasing from the book “A Century of Automotive Style; 100 Years of American Car Design by Michael Lamm and Dave Holls, page 104:
How Cadillac adopted it as a styling detail begins in that same period. ‘Big Bill’ Knudsen and Harley Earl attended the 1934 Paris Salon where Knudsen became smitten with the Panhard 6 CS Panoramic sedan, particularly the greenhouse treatment inspired by the window treatment on French luxury railcars where the individual arched windows were delicately trimmed with thin chrome surrounds, the roof surface flowing smoothly around all.
Knudsen was going to buy a Panorama but Earl convince him that the GM styling could do the roof treatment better, brought the idea home to the Cadillac Studio. Fortuitously, a young Bill Mitchell would shortly be developing clays of a sporty new sedan design initially intended to be a LaSalle. Misterl took particular interest in and attention to this design clay which in one of the wonderful events in automotive design history resulted in the 1938 Cadillac 60 Special, the first 3-box sedan design to be put into production. Cadillac continued the feature through the 1947 60 Special.
Fast forward to the late 1960’s when Bill Mitchell, now head of GM Styling, revived the feature for the 1971 Fleetwood Brougham and 60 Special. It stayed on those through 1976, continued on the downsized 1977-’79 Fleetwood Brougham in the angular form seen on this car. It had been a Cadillac exclusive until the Colonade GM intermediates were given a form of it. Lincoln, of course, imitated it on their style of the 1975-’79 Town Car sedans.
By the way, while it took a few years, ‘Big Bill’ Knudsen did get his very own custom 1938 Sixteen Fleetwood Special fastback sedan built on a 7″ longer 148” wheelbase with those very window treatments. It appeared at Hershey in the 1990’s, shows up at concours now.
Not a bad looking car considering it’s still on the road after an obviously hard life. What worries me is that that looks like a salvage yard. I hope it is there as a customer car to buy parts to keep it going and not waiting to be bought (7 days a week!) as the latest addition to the boneyard.
It always pains me to see cars like this, which I remember as brand new, beautiful cars to be admired and desired, old and rusted-out.
I remember when I was a child and first realized the cars from my initial car-loving years were now old, rusty, and out-dated.
I completely agree with your sentiments, and it is especially poignant for me to think about this generation of Cadillacs. I remember being in the showroom of Ponchartrain Cadillac pleading with my Pop to get a ’79 Sedan DeVille. The car was on the showroom floor and looked so good to 11-year-old me. I can even recall how good the brand new leather interior smelled.
I was only 3 years old when Ford quit making the Aerostar (I owned a ’96), but my neighbors owned a green ’95 shorty for several years afterward. Like the featured Cadillac, the Aerostar’s design was attractive (if not futuristic) when new but quickly aged when not properly maintained–several other sleek-looking vehicles at the time have suffered similar fates. The fact that it’s been 22 years (in August) since its discontinuation doesn’t help either, undoubtedly a huge factor in why so few exist in my area, especially compared to Astros & Safaris (parts support & availability). Every so often one pops up on the road but every time I feel like mine was clearly one of the better ones out there. A guy who lives on my way to work still owns a red ’91 Eddie Bauer model (VERY similar to the ’90 below) and except for the partially non-existent rear bumper this one is probably the best in my area right now. I hope it continues serving him well for quite a while.
Believe me, it is even worse to see cars that you once designed old and trashed.
That really makes you feel old!!
I bet!! What did you do in the industry? Which cars were you involved with?
Huey, Please tell us about your auto industry career!
You KNOW you’re getting old when EVERYTHING you knew from your childhood (not just cars) has also gotten old or just no longer EXISTS period!
These were the best Cadillac models since the early 1950s. They were spacious, good handling cars that were a huge improvement over the larger 1976 series. The styling of the 77 thru the 80 De Villes had a more attractive, lighter appearance until the 1981 refresh. Even the coupes had plenty of room in the back seat. My ’77 was delightful car.
While it’s tough to see a car like this in rough cosmetic shape (although I’ve seen cars half this old basically swiss cheese by this point), on the other hand, it’s still providing reliable (enough) service to its current owner, after over 40 years on the road.
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