Life is a delicious mixture of planning and doing. We all know people who specialize in one at the expense of the other, but a person has to be fluent in both.
So with the planning part over, I need to start doing. My plan has been to write The Great American Novel, an endeavor which will bring unparalleled fortune and a crapload of other good things. That’s where this Cadillac plays into the plan…
Once all the royalty checks start rolling in, along with selling the movie rights for some gleefully obscene amount due to the bidding war among the various studios, I will have earned the right to do something both delightfully ludicrous and unabashedly vulgar in regards to a different daily driver.
Sure, I will be able to easily afford some new high-falutin’ conveyance; you know, something unabashedly ludicrous and delightfully vulgar. When I start thinking of such aspirational machines, what’s a feller to choose?
For whatever reason, Bentley springs to mind. It’s certainly aspirational but not exactly meeting the mental image of a Bentley. Yes, times do change since Bentley has branched out with that SUV called Ben-gay-nee or Bent-asia or Ben-Tonya or some such. But a four-wheel drive, hatchback Bentley? Can you envision the butler trying to get the mud out of the spokes of those wheels?
No, we need to plan more strategically. While some of those fantastical, aspirational nameplates come from Europe, it would only be proper to stick with the home team. So let’s go with something having a touch more Americano about it…
Here we go.
I could go all practical and get myself one of them there top-shelf pickups equipped with everything except a butt-wiper. There is an appeal of sorts, but my unique accomplishment will require a unique reward. If such machines can be found sitting on a dealer’s lot in a slew of different colors is it really that unique?
You are right; it isn’t. Anybody can lariat themselves a platinum raptor with the tremors from Mr. King’s ranch. That’s not so XL-enT.
One has to reach high, think deeply, get creative, and go for the gusto. Or not. Really, the only thing fitting for such an occasion, as it has been since well before William Crapo Durant was running a bowling alley, is a Cadillac.
Seriously, other than Volkswagen, what other brands of automobile have so comprehensively imprinted themselves on the collective psyche, even having entered the common vernacular through similes?
Go ahead, I’ll give you a moment.
That’s right, there aren’t any – it’s only Cadillac, a make that stands above the herd. If something is like a Cadillac (be it riding like one or as smooth as one or as big as one or being the one of minivans), that means Cadillac is the standard. And, thinking about it, Cadillac has been the Standard Of The World for a mighty long time.
Do you really want to brag about something riding like a Honda (or Toyota or Mazda or Ford or Chevrolet or even Subaru)? I didn’t think so. That is definitely something, but aspirational it is not.
So when that day gets here, only a Cadillac will suffice. But not just any Cadillac…this is the time to be choosy and one needs to be choosy with their Cadillac. Why?
We all know Cadillac lost the plot in a big, fat, serious way a good while back. But it hasn’t always been that way. Why, in 1968, Cadillac was at the top of their game. That’s convenient too, because a 1968 Cadillac is what jumped out in front of the camera.
But this particular 1968 Cadillac is everything good, and nothing that is bad, about Cadillac. These qualities are exactly what I want.
Look at how that face juts forward, ready to advance and conquer. This is the automotive version of General George S. Patton, something that is ready, willing, and able to whoop all adversaries. This face is also backed up by 472 cubic inches of cast iron, four-barrel ecstasy supplying 525 lbs-ft of delicious torque, which means people like me who don’t like farting around won’t have to.
If you want to fart around, get yourself about any Cadillac built between 1981 and 1989, especially one with the V6 or the diesel. Think of all those poor bastards (whoa, that sounds like Patton talking) who scrimped and saved money all their life to buy a Cadillac, only to get a 4,000 pound pile of despair.
It wasn’t always that way, especially in 1968.
Long, low, and purposeful. This Cadillac is all business on the outside, back before Cadillac jumped on the Goofy Train with every manner of visual automotive foofaraw plastered all over creation. It almost makes a person wonder if all the off-gassing from the acres of vinyl Cadillac was using on their cars affected interior air quality at their factories. Shameful.
But back to our Cadillac…who today mimics the gracious yet ruthless automotive design as seen on this Fleetwood?
Sure, a person can get something that looks all mean and scornful but can it really cash those checks? As my Grandpa always told me, don’t let your mouth overload your ass. And some new cars are overloading themselves.
But not this Cadillac. If it says it will do it, it will. You can take that to the bank.
Which is exactly where I plan to keep heading once I get my Cadillac. Anybody making frequent trips to the bank wants to have their delicate posterior cradled in the finest of interiors. Well, once again, Cadillac delivers.
Did you expect anything less?
I figure if the interior has this minimal amount of wear after 54 years (along with all door panels still being fully intact), some mild refurbishment will easily make it last another half-century or so. Best of all, this seat looks so much more comfortable than anything on the market today. Lots of folks may like firm now, but they’ll get old, their joints will stiffen, their hemorrhoids will blossom, and they will realize the need for something better.
There is a reason why the words “Cadillac” and “coddling” both start with the same letter.
This fine Cadillac is going to provide a really swanky ride for all manner of endeavors. Keep in mind I also have to outdo all those politicians from around the state who converge here in the state capital the first five months of the year. This Cadillac will prompt them to whimper in jealousy – a surprising number of vehicles cavorting around town during that time have their “Senate” or “Representative” license plates affixed to those platinum lariats having the tremors mentioned earlier.
This Cadillac isn’t top shelf; it’s so special it’s backroom and only spoken of in hushed tones. This is the top dog of the entire 1968 Cadillac line; there is nothing that surpasses this Cadillac in Cadillac-ness. Just a squirt of black paint and this particular Fleetwood will sparkle like a diamond in a goat’s ass.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see myself in this specimen of Cadillac perfection.
After finding this Cadillac, it’s really hard to comprehend why I have
wasted spent so much of my life looking at other cars. There is so much to behold with this one simple Cadillac, everything else pales wretchedly in comparison. After my book is published, I will own nothing but Cadillacs from here on out. I’m even thinking a first-generation Seville would be a nice economy car for the Mrs; maybe even a Cimarron for driving the trash to the road for pickup.
Yet now it is time to say farewell, as other responsibilities await. But stay tuned, as one day soon you will be reading book reviews about this fantastic new novel filled with gratuitous sex and violence in which the protagonist roams the countryside in search of vintage Cadillacs, all of this being a cover for…hey, wait, I can’t give away the plot.
I have long said that when my lottery ticket comes in there will be 4 cars from my past that will be found/recreated as my dream fleet.
One is my parents 1964 Sixty Special , black of course. That car left my life when I was a wee boy of ten, almost 50 years ago but still holds a special place in my heart.
This truly is the definition of “Cadillac Style”
“Who am I to disagree?” I will await the day that your fantasy comes true; in the meanwhile, “Dream On”….. dream until your dream comes true!! 🙂
Nice find! They do clean up nice….
Is this the one you drove to the Henry Ford for the CC meetup in 2017 or is it a different one? I was thinking the one you drove had a steel roof.
Either way, Dean, since you have one (or two) of these you are able to even better appreciate the attributes of these Cadillacs. Yours are in wonderfully pristine condition!
The CC meetup example is a ’69 60 Special in Phantom Grey, whereas the one above is a ’68 in Emperor Blue.
The third leg is my original ’68 Brougham in Sable Black that is due for a new roof and some loving. I’ve had it for about 34 years and this car is the one that started the whole hobby for me.
Nice cars, Dean! You certainly have a “type.” 🙂
A beauty for sure. I really like the 1968 model Cadillacs as they received the new 472 V8 engine. The ’67s look very similar, but they were underpowered with the 429.
I agree but make mine a ‘69 or ‘70!
Well, I hope you’ve already taken this one home Jason. The joy on your face reflected in the chrome really gives your true feelings away.
That’d be a whole new experience for you, some great big long low sixties car… With an automatic! See? totally different!
An automatic in an old car would definitely be a new experience for me. I might almost feel rebellious having one!
These are the last Cadillacs I can really get excited about – I realize that the 69-70 is generally the same car, but they seem a step down in the quality of the interior pieces (and they lost their front vent windows). Perhaps Dean can either confirm or tell me that I’m all wet and that it is just my youthful prejudices speaking. When I was a kid, relatives had the opposite of this car – a 67 Calais with crank windows.
I might suggest though, that for an accomplished and successful author such as yourself, something with a little more savoir faire would be in order. Like the Eldorado convertible I saw at a show last weekend. Not one of those smaller front drive versions of the Eldorado that they sold in the 1970s – a real one.
On further reflection, the front of these 1967-68 Cadillacs have some real attitude, and make me think of Robert De Niro’s “You talkin’ to me?”
I like this vintage of Cadillacs. A friend had a SDV and I couldn’t stop my eyes running over the long flowing lines of that car.
Your recollection is basically correct, in that there was a lot of de-contenting that went on between 1968 and 1970. Some appeared to be across the board, like the dropping of vent windows, movement of ignition to the columns, and more padding/plastics where metal and other materials were used. The drivelines are still strong, but one could argue that the dropping of the switch pitch torque converter for 1968 was a downgrade or saving. The ’69 uses far too much plastic for things like radio controls and dashboard compared to the ’68, and you can have any colour steering column so long as it is black in ’69.
I was more amazed at the differences made in tooling between ’67 and ’68, in that my Dad had a ’67 Fleetwood versus my ’68. Entire new engine and transmission, changes to decklid to square it off, six inches added to the hood to conceal the wipers. Reformatted dashboard, door panels, grille, rear bumpers, etc. The tooling costs must have been huge to produce a “new” car that essentially looked the same as the prior year….Then for ’69, completely new styling for bodies in and out to start the next two year cycle.
Wow Dean – I had either forgotten about or never known about all those 1968 changes! You have given me many more ways to ID a 67 from a 68 besides the grille texture.
Where were the bean counters when they hid the wipers in a year without all new sheetmetal?
There are also the required side marker lights in the rear bumper of the ’68.
A bunch of these changes were likely triggered by the first round of federal motor vehicle safety standards, which took effect for 1968. Whether one regards the changes as desirable or not, I wouldn’t call that de-contenting, especially since they undoubtedly cost Cadillac more.
Now you are talking. That would be ideal for a nice, sunny day like today was. Well, with all that money, I’ll just build a bigger pole barn and add to my harem of Caddies.
This one is really tempting if available…Will your wife agree with your purchase, or would it be best left to a Cadillac hoarder further east? Ping me, if interested, at firstname.lastname@example.org
I just emailed you.
WOOF! to all of these Caddies that you men are showing us.
Among the ’65-’70 Cadillacs, the ’67-’68 has long been my favorite. These were the Cadillac of my youth, still fairly new and frequently seen. It took me a while to warm up to the ’65-’66, and much longer for the ’69-’70, which comes across as a blockier, boring version of the ’68.
The lines on this big girl make it very much alive and suggest forward motion in a way few cars do.
From these photos and post it’s easy to see why Cadillac was such a big deal for so long. An ATS just doesn’t make the same impression!
When editing this, I removed the line about how having a Cadillac with less than seven liters of displacement is doing yourself a disservice.
It’s doubtful a new Escalade has more than 6.2 or so…what a comedown.
And that Escalade will absolutely smoke any Cadillac from this era despite weighing more.
Also, Cadillacs didn’t break 7 liters until 1964, when the V8 was punched out to 429 cubic inches. Because that was the biggest it could go, and it was surpassed by Lincoln’s 462 and 460, let alone Chrysler’s 440, Cadillac introduced a totally redesigned engine in 1968, starting at 472 cubes and later growing to 500. It was de-bored to 425 in 1977 and 368 (6 liters) in 1980.
I just can’t warm up to the’67-’68 style. Looked like a zazzy version of the classy ’65-’66. I agree with the suggestion above to get a real Caddy; A ’66 Eldo.
The ’65-66 cars are my favorites. Clean, sharp and classy, especially in coupe and convertible form. Give me an Eldorado from either year.
Actually, any rear-drive Eldorado will do. Of course, there were some hardtop models available during that era, like the Biarritz, and Brougham, but they were mostly convertibles and from 1961-66, exclusively so.
Sad to see it soo degenerated.
I’m with Jason – I’d much rather have this than any Bentley In-ya-faceya.
I’d add Rolls-Royce to the list of imprinted brands. It used to be said that if you hadn’t a Royal warrant, being a supplier to Rolls-Royce was almost as good.
Roger, there was a ’59 Edsel parked next to this Cadillac and a ’64 Chrysler New Yorker next to the Edsel. But did they leave the same impression? No, nowhere near.
What you say about Rolls and Royal warrants makes complete sense.
Roger, the comparison is a bit unfair (although I think Jason did this deliberately). Put a T1 next to the Cadillac and things become very different…
As good as those Cadillacs look even today, and they DO look very good, growing up as a boy in the 1960s, watching each new model released every year was a revelation. That snarling snooty Cadillac front end was like nothing else on Earth.
Badass to the bone. NOTHING was badder than a brand new Cadillac. Nobody wrote songs about Plymouths or Mercurys. It was always Cadillac, especially in the delta blues genre.
General Motors was firing on all cylinders in the1960s and really just could do no wrong. Nobody else was in the same ballpark. Nobody.
Classic Jason Shafer, from start to finish. Excellent pictures. I finished reading with a smile on my face. Success achieved.
Thank you on all counts. Inadvertently catching myself in the chrome sparked the inspiration. Yeah, there was a little farce going on with this.
Anyway, I did get inspired somewhat in a second direction. Pictures aren’t my thing – perhaps because I’m too straightforward with many things so I snap it and, voila, it goes in the article. Cropping doesn’t happen often (as is likely obvious at times). However, on this, I zoomed out on my iPhone and then cropped the pictures down to exaggerate the length. In turn, I put filters on everything but the interior shot. Why I have never done similarly before is totally beyond my level of comprehension…
When I think about the aspiration nature of Cadillacs, I often think of a photo that was in my grandmother’s living room.
In the late 1960s, my grandparents took a vacation to Florida. As far as I know, this was the only vacation they ever took – as well as the last, since my grandfather passed away in 1971. The keepsake photo from this trip was of the two of them standing next to a white, late-1960s Fleetwood that was parked in front of their hotel. As far as I know, the car didn’t belong to anyone they knew, but it was elegant, classy, and… aspirational.
My grandparents – a working-class immigrant couple enjoy their brief retirement years – saw this car as the perfect representation of the American dream, and worthy of posing in front of. I don’t blame them.
Yes, those were back in the days when Cadillac had their mojo and weren’t chasing other brands like a dog does a UPS truck. Your grandparents could fully appreciate Cadillac; for us, their aspiration has been nebulous for most of our lives.
This car is only $2,500 ?! .
And it runs and drives ? .
Wow, I hope you or someone grabs it and cleans it up soon .
Agreed, these are very fine automobiles indeed .
Well, as of this past Saturday morning, it had been sold but not yet picked up. I have no clue if it runs or drives (it was last licensed in 1982) but it is mostly solid.
My in-laws had an ‘89 SDV, and while it wasn’t a bad car, it wasn’t what I would consider a real Cadillac – maybe a rebadged big Olds 98 or Buick Electra at best. The ‘68, though…now THAT’S a Cadillac. Even though it needs some work, it’s still worthy of more respect than any newer Cadillacs and nobody would mistake it for anything else.
You’ve hit upon a good QOTD although I’m not exactly sure how to word it…maybe “What traits make a Cadillac a Cadillac – other than the name on the hood?”.
Somewhere those traits got watered down considerably.
One thing about Cadillac’s of this vintage that most people today will never experience is seeing the headlights of one coming toward you in the dark. It is other worldly. The first picture in the article shows how far apart the headlights are. In the dark, the effect is more vivid because the rest of the car is invisible. It looks more like two motorcycles riding far apart than one car.
Love it! My absolute favorite year and model of classic Cadillac. The forward slant of the vertical stacked headlights and huge pointy grille made it look very menacing and like nothing else on the road today (or ever). The finer grille slats and lowered sections on the sides gave it more style and attractiveness than the 67. Compared to today’s cars, these old sedans’ cabins looked disproportionately small, but the longer wheelbase and cabin length of the Fleetwood makes it look more proportionately “normal” than the Deville, whose cabin looks almost cartoonishly disproportionate by modern standards.
I hope to score a ’68 Fleetwood someday.