Curbside Coda: 1978 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham – All That Glitters

Less than one week ago as of today, I returned from my annual Las Vegas trip with close, long-time friends.  I was on my final full day there last Monday when my most recent essay for Curbside Classic hit the interwebs.  Normally, I’m a bit more interactive than I was last week when it comes to responding to comments and feedback (which is a large part of my enjoyment of participation with the CC community), but time was “a-wastin'”, as they say, and Monday has traditionally been my day to branch off from the group with my camera and see what I could see.  It was worth it.

It has been said that one can’t win if one doesn’t play, but in years past, I have had a tendency to be up a few bucks from my allotted gambling allowance, get cocky, and then (quite literally) go for broke.  This year I didn’t do that, choosing instead to focus more on the social aspects of this trip.  Regardless of all of that, I had felt I hit the jackpot when I stumbled (not literally, friends) upon this fine specimen of Cadillac’s second-most-expensive, non-limousine offering for 1978: the Fleetwood Brougham.  I thought that gold was a very fitting color for a car like this in Las Vegas, as it made me think of the fortunes that people had both gained and lost there in Clark County.  Also, I’m not sure where my cultural association came from, but I’ve often associated gold with excess.  For example, I own no gold-toned jewelry, though it looks good on many folks.

I found it interesting to discover that the “downmarket” (how can any pre-1982 Cadillac really be “downmarket“?) 1977 – ’79 DeVille and Fleetwood Brougham shared the same 121.5″ wheelbase.  This is unlike the previous generation, where the outgoing ’76 Fleetwood Brougham had a 3″ wheelbase stretch over the 130”-wheelbase DeVille.  At a base price of $12,842 (over $50,000 in 2019), only the Seville had a (10%) more expensive starting price than the Fleetwood Brougham.  Cadillac also sold a ton of the latter that year, registering sales of 36,800 – which is within roughly 8% of the 33,800 U.S. sales of the 2018 Escalade.  What Cadillac may have slightly lost in prestige when the downsized ’77s made their debut, it certainly turned into sales gold with continued popularity of its full-sized cars.

This year, I had again abandoned any fantasies of striking it rich (woo-hoo.) in Las Vegas so I can pursue other interests, but there’s always next year.  As twenty-year-plus veteran of the insurance industry, I think I’m pretty darned good at assessing risk and “rolling the dice” for the right opportunities, so to speak.  Having just done the Slotzilla zipline over the Fremont Street Experience downtown for the first time (something I never would have done if not for the adrenaline of arriving), I just may not be as risk averse the next time.  As for you, Fleetwood Brougham, you just keep on maintaining that dignity and shine on like a gold nugget.

Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada.
Monday, September 9, 2019.