Jerome Solberg found and posted a car that’s become quite rare on the streets anymore: a Cadillac six door sedan. This is not the factory extended wheelbase limo, like the one we had here the other day. It’s an aftermarket conversion, targeted to perhaps high-end hotel shuttle duty or just very large (and affluent) families. Wouldn’t this have been great to hop out of at elementary school?
Jerome was diligent in getting good shots of the three rows of plush velour seat, but he did run into a surprise occupant in row two.
The interior and upholstery of this long-boy look to be in excellent condition.
Row three looks equally pristine.
Here’s the occupant in row two, who looks like maybe they partied a bit too hard the night before, and never made it inside. She looks comfortable enough, though.
Looks like the top of the windshield has been leaking; it’s got several rows of duct tape.
And the top of the rear window has been crudely caulked. Is this a common problem with these Cadillacs?
That car has funeral home limo written all over it. We’d call that a 6 door professional car in the trade.
That interior looks mint, though with the exterior looking so weather beaten. I don’t think I have ever seen a GM B, C or D of this era with duct tape or caulk around the TOP of the windshield or back window, but kudos to someone for caring enough to try to keep the water out.
I’ve never seen those fixed rubber or plastic door assist pulls on a Cadillac, either. Looks like the Caprice door assist pulls of the late 80’s. I thought the Cadillacs always had the “coffin” spring loaded handles? Maybe this was the “base” DeVille trim (and it seems like most of these by this point were Fleetwoods with coffin handles). Or, maybe the conversion company made six new matching door cards, since I guess they had to fashion them from scratch for the middle doors.
Those door pulls/panels are another tell that this is an older DeVille. That was the style on the 81-84 DeVille (with that bit of velour above). The spring-loaded coffin handle style was on Fleetwoods of some earlier years and on the later Broughams.
Armbruster-Stageway was a major supplier of those 6 door limos. My thought echoed David’s, above, in that the funeral trade was a major market for these. The FH I worked at for a time in the late 70s had two 6 door Lincolns, a 78 and a 79. Driving them was a unique sensation.
This does not appear to be an A-S conversion, as those seem to have used a much smaller extra piece of glass in the center doors. Maybe a Superior?
I am going to peg this guy as an 84. That grille was like the one used in 82-86 and again in 89, but the hood ornament is a plain Cad crest and not the one with the wreath, that eliminates it from the “Brougham” years. The 84 is (I think) the only one with that grille, that hood ornament and those little winged emblems on the parking lights under the headlights. That would make sense for those wheelcovers too. Which also makes sense how the passenger could have fallen asleep waiting for the pathetic “HT4100” to accelerate.
I just commented below that a license plate check shows it’s an ’84 – and I added that it’s pretty tough to pin down the years based on features alone. Then I saw your comment listing all the ’84-identifiying features!
Although the 368 V8-6-4 was only used in 1981 on most Cadillacs, it was retained through 1984 on Cadillac limousines and commercial chassis since the HT4100 wasn’t powerful enough. This being a non-factory third-party stretch limo , I’m not sure if it falls under either of those categories though. Both engines normally had callouts on the front fender behind the wheels, which I don’t see on this car.
Have always appreciated factory built limos. Late brother once had 68 Cadillac Series 75 full limo. Great automobile. Most of all proportions were balanced. Lincoln limos had similar proportions, although I believe those were not factory built. Think Lehman Peterson did some of them. Never cared about mileage extreme stretch. Several times was in an early 90s stretch Lincoln. It felt like a convention on wheels. The six doors look awkward. More like a bus than classic Limos! But now most so called Limos and built on stretched truck platforms and even less attractive.
It’s interesting to me that this limo has commercial license plates, so it may actually still be working for a living. Also, a plate check shows that this one is an ’84 model, though with these Cadillacs it’s awfully hard to pin down a certain year by features alone.
The CA smog check database confirms the ’84, although it also shows it failed its last emissions check over a year ago, so may not be much longer for these streets…
If that’s true, it’s likely it’s not long for this world, because there are darn few mechanics in those parts who will deign to work on an older American car. On the other hand, it’s probably not going to be cited for having expired registration, so may be able to get away with leaving it unregistered for some time.
Wow, good eye!
I’m guessing that the car’s location is Berkeley, CA – looking at the brown colored street signs in the background. On Sacramento Street, near the corner of Berkeley Way.
Sure looks like it placing it a block off of University. Being Berkeley it will take awhile before the police even bother to stop and tag the car.
As others have pointed out, it is an 84 – you can tell by the door panel/seat pattern and the scalloped steering wheel horn pad (a one year only combo) as well as the grille/front turn signal emblems. The Brougham would have had a different grille, hood ornament, as well as the chrome spears on the side of the hood vs in the middle of the hood.
This was also the exact interior/exterior color of my first car (except mine had a dark blue padded vinyl roof). With the HT4100 under the hood, this would be a very slow ride to the airport fully loaded.
Weren’t some of these six doors professional cars “modular-” where as the center door could be changed to a normal windowed body panel and the interior swapped around as normal limo? So they could moonlight weddings, proms, airport runs etc.
And I’ve never understood why professional cars are arranged like this. I’d definitely want to closer to my loved ones in my grief as possible in a normal limo vs school bus layout. Long stretch limo or even party bus with open bar playing the deceased favorite music would be special.
I hope the panda didn’t buy his girlfriend an expensive fur coat (like she didn’t already have one?) with his take, even though there were strict orders to lay low until the feds stopped looking.
The grille and turn signal/parking light lenses indicate this car is either a 1983 or ’84.
Some operators called this model a “day car” for the funeral home trade to allow more room for the immediate family members.
This limo reminds me of Mr. Drummond’s “Diffrn’t” Strokes Daily Driver Car.
I would think that the six door cars would function better as an airport transporter. The passengers can enter or leave without disturbing the other rows of passengers. I never did understand how the traditional Cadillac 75 limo would be comfortable with the jump seats in use. They look like they would result in a lot of knee bashing for the rear seat passengers. As a Mr. Big Wig, that wouldn’t be attractive to me. I also think that the jump seats would be better facing the rear seat. The VIP rides in the back seat and their attorney, secretary, or personal assistant would sit facing them, giving them a briefing while en route to a location.
As a family vehicle. the three row, full size SUV makes more sense. The smaller kids ride in the third row and adults get to sit in the first two rows.
Those gawd awful super stretch things are just disgusting, no class at all.
This picture is of a ’72 Cadillac 75, looks pretty crowded to me.
The funeral home where I worked for awhile had a black 1971 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 limo as it’s only funeral limo then. This was in 1978, so the black lacquer paint had been badly beat up by near-daily runs through the car wash, and it was starting to develop some rust in the lower front fenders, but it was still a beautiful, sleek limo. The problem was just as you note, though – entry and exit was awkward.
Once the first 6 door Lincoln joined the fleet, the old Cadillac was barely used. The Lincoln didn’t make you feel as special, but it was a whole lot better suited for the job of comfortably transporting dressed-up family members to a cemetery.
The whole idea of the jump seats just doesn’t seem to fit with luxury transportation. I imagine that the rear seat passengers would be seated first, then the jump seats would be raised and those passengers seated. That would make things uncomfortable for the back seat passengers.
A limousine used by a wealthy person would probably only use the back seat for the VIP’S, and a staff person might ride up front with the driver. While there is much more rear legroom in a traditional extended limo, and it is a more impressive vehicle, I can’t see that it is really any better than a Cadillac Series 60 Fleetwood, and you’d never have anybody squeezed in front of you!
I have a book that contains the salesman’s catalog and info. for ’50’s and 60’s models. The Series 75 with divider glass and fixed driver’s seat is referred to as a limousine, while the 75 with an open compartment is referred to as the eight/nine passenger sedan. (depending on the year) It was ” suitable for large families.”
Of course limos are meant to be driven by chauffeurs, while the Series 60 was Cadillac’s finest “owner driven model.”
I guess this discussion is just academic, I’ve never ridden in an actual limousine, though I have owned many Cadillac and Lincoln sedans over the years, and I’ve always been the driver.
The last one that I saw looked like this
As to the tape on the top of the windshield, perhaps it developed a similar problem to my 83 Oldsmobile 88 did. The windshields are similar (the same?) and likely attached in the same way. As the rubber under the chrome trim dried out, the chrome itself started to vibrate in the wind causing an annoying high-pitched whine. This was different than a wind whistle of air coming in around the windshield. A strip of duct tape fixed it.
I’ve installed many new or replacement vinyl tops on cars, and there are several possibilities why the tape is there. I suspect that as both the front and rear edges have been taped, the top material was trimmed too short before the window chrome trim was installed, and as the top material shrunk from exposure to the weather, the edge of the vinyl top became exposed as it pulled away from the chrome trim.
Plus, there is a common problem associated with non-factory installed tops where not enough of the special top adhesive was sprayed onto the roof panel prior to the top material’s installation. The adhesive helps prevent the vinyl top from shrinking as it holds the material in place. Too little adhesive, while it will hold the material in place for a few years, can allow for accellerated shrinkage to happen, again pulling the trimmed edge out into view.
If you’ve ever seen a vinyl top that has developed hundreds of small cracks & tears all over it’s surface, that’s because the adhesive has kept the top locked in place, and as the material gradually shrunk, it had no choice but to tear everywhere. [Those tops can be an absolute nightmare to remove thanks to all the adhesive, and the material often has to be removed with a high speed grinding disc!]
Once the trimmed edge of the vinyl top material is exposed. especially above the windshield, this will result in the air flowing over the car catching the edge of the top material. If not taped or glued back in place, this can eventually result in the “ballooning” of the top material until it finally rips from air back pressure inside the balloon. On the rear window, that same airflow will cause that exposed edge to begin “flapping”, and the top material will rapidly disintegrate from the movement.
Now let’s consider where this 6-door Cadillac’s vinyl top was installed. This Cadillac was stretched by a small production specialty shop, that to save money, may have used a cheaper vinyl top material, visually similar in grain pattern and color to factory specs. I’ve replaced many a cheap top material that failed after a few years of use, especially if the vehicle was not garaged.
20 to 30 years ago when I used to see similar cars with duct tape over the windshields as the cars sat in various junkyards, I could usually spot the problem as being related to a cheap top material, trimed too short, and/or not enough adhesive.
Rolls-Royce began offering a vinyl top on the Silver Shadow cars beginning about 1969. The Shadow cars didn’t use a typical roof edge rain gutter. Instead, the sides of the roof panel have deeply recessed areas to direct rain back away from the doors. Because these recessed areas required stretching the vinyl top material far more than other cars, the typical vinyl top materials didn’t work. Rolls-Royce chose a more flexible material they call “Everflex”, and failure to use the correct material can lead to disaster.
As someone who specialized in Rolls-Royce car repair and restoration, I’ve had my share of these cars come into the shop with failed replacement vinyl tops, that often failed within months of being applied. The vinyl material usually lifting up from the deep recesses, causing “bubbles” in the material. The only way to solve the problem is to install the correct material after removing the wrong vinyl top.
Wholesale prices [as of 25 years ago]; Generic 4-door sedan vinyl top “kit” in black; $150. Correct Rolls-Royce Everflex top “kit”; $1,500. [Plus labor].