It is heartbreaking to see a bona fide classic left to rot. This Fleetwood Brougham isn’t a total wreck yet but it doesn’t look like it has moved for a while. I firmly believe a car like this deserves to be driven or showed off or both. This is why I could even tolerate a disused vehicle like this to be made over with a candy red paintjob and 24-inch chrome wheels. It beats seeing this poor Caddy slowly erode and corrode with time.
I recently saw the Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning film Moonlight, which follows the life of a young, gay, black boy growing up in one of the United States’ poorest neighborhoods. Early on in the story, he inadvertently befriends a drug dealer – played by Mahershala Ali – whose car is a ’71-76 Chevrolet Impala that has been given the donk treatment. At first, I reacted in disgust. After all, that Impala had been butchered, right? But as I watched scenes of Ali cruising around in it, listening to that intoxicating V8 rumble, I realized that donk enthusiasts love big, RWD, American cars for the same reasons enthusiasts like us do. And while some enthusiasts will disgrace their cars with Continental kits or obnoxious exhausts or tasteless paint jobs or gigantic rear spoilers, what’s really important is that car is being driven and appreciated. Tacky modifications can be removed. A completely rusted out or crushed car cannot be restored.
I would prefer the owner of the featured Fleetwood restore it to stock condition, of course, like the photo above. Or, at the very least, pump up those tires and drive the sucker. I think these final Fleetwoods are stunning, more so than its more popular (around these parts) Brougham predecessor.
My biggest criticism? The interior. All the chrome and brightwork was stripped away, leaving a rather charmless, plasticky cabin. This was especially egregious considering the Fleetwood’s showroom company: the ’92 Eldorado and Seville and ’94 DeVille, which all had remarkably elegant and modern cabins. That gripe aside, that Fleetwood in Pittsburgh deserves to stay alive. Let’s hope it does.
Photographed by Brandon Gloster in Pittsburgh, PA.