You’re not likely to be surprised when I tell you that I’ve always found it a bit hard to warm up to these final RWD Cadillac sedans. But given their place in history as the end of a very long line of traditional BOF Cadillac sedans, I can certainly muster some respect. It certainly manages to convey the classic Cadillac image, even if the execution isn’t exactly up to peak Cadillac standards.
Time is the great healer. Or we just grow up, hopefully, and get over our youthful prejudices. I’m beginning to find some genuine appreciation for these, if not exactly gushing enthusiasm. In its day, one inevitably compared it to all the more contemporary and sleeker cars that were the apple of my eye, which inevitably meant import brands in my case. Audi A6, Mercedes w124, BMW 5/7 Series, and of course the Lexus LS. And a few others too.
But now the comparison is with the overwrought SUVs and oversized trucks on the road. That makes this Fleetwood look quite a bit better, in terms of a contrast, in any case. Who wants to quibble over the details at this stage of the game?
For the record. just what were my issues with this 225″ long car? Image and proportions. Let’s take the latter first: It looks too top heavy, especially at the rear. And the wheelbase looks too short for its mass. The rear wheel looks overpowered by the massive C-pillar.
None of those were issues with its predecessor. But this restyled B/C body just never quite worked for me, starting with the Chevrolet Caprice. The Buick Roadmaster is the worst of the three, as its 116″ wheelbase was shared with the Chevy. GM was chasing the aero look that was so wildly successful at Ford with the Taurus, but translating it to the existing RWD B/C platforms just didn’t quite click.
Most likely it’s the problem of not starting with a clean sheet; the designers were locked in to key hard points, most of all where the seats and dash had to be. Or maybe they were too torn between going all aero and staying traditional. Their love handles didn’t help. Ford’s Panther cars never got that sudden increase in width, and seemed to age a bit better, despite the changes being more subtle.
Corey didn’t shoot its interior, which may be just as well. Traditional, yes; genuine quality, no.
As to its image, it was of course a sop to Cadillac traditionalists, who never could quite warm up to the FWD cars. That demographic was of course getting older and ever more “traditional” with every passing year. So yes, at the time, these were just about the ultimate old fart’s car, no offense intended.
In the way things go so often, these last of the BOF big cars, whether from GM or Ford, have found a lot of love from a very different demographic: young guys. The percentage of these still on the road being piloted by a guy 35 or younger seems decidedly high to me, although the really pristine example like this one are also quite likely to be in the hands of a more mature owner.
There’s been quite a bit of love shared on the pages of CC by owners of these (links below), and my hat’s off to them. They’re dwindling in numbers, and I’d hate to think of a time when there’s none left on the road.