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1971 Cadillac Fleetwood



  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Great synopsis, Andre - you've summarized it well and our Host is certainly right that the suicide door models of Lincoln were very special automobiles that did sell in enough numbers to fairly common sights.

    The convertibles were less frequently sighted than sedans but who can ever forget the immortalized 63 Presidential Limo that carried JFK through Dallas, or the Perry Mason convertibles from 61 - 65. I can still remember assistant Della Street riding next to Perry - how I loved that show for the cars! The very first auto show I attended at age 11 for the 1967 model year included a PLATINUM Lincoln convertible show car - set up at a steep angle to be able to see and NOT touch - what a classy car!

    Still, it was obvious that Cadillac sales far outpaced Lincoln throughout the 60s and 70s and the venerable DeVille line was very popular with people in their early forties all the way through the retiree set. I don't recall seeing many Lincoln owners in those days under 50 whereas I specicifically remember knowing 40 year olds with Caddies. Imperial owners were definitely seniors.

    As for the proposed Evoc type styling bringing back buyers, I personally have not seen one yet that struck a chord with me and said "That's more like the Caddies I loved" I sincerely hope that time comes. I'm 45 and would like to see myself back into Cadillac but not with what they offer today or on the near horizon.

    Now if Jag does a retro styling on their new big sedans, I just might go nuts over those. Cadillac should look very closely at the latest Dodge concept car shown in Detroit that looked striking similar to the 58 Eldorado Brougham - suicide doors and all. Chrysler really has some interesting ideas in that car. Cadillac isn't there yet.

    For what its worth

  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    I just checked your link above - Great site!!

    Bit of regret - having passed up the chance to own a 1963 DeVille Park Avenue owned by a family friend - only 1575 produced that year - I loved the 1963 model year too. Oh well....

    Thanks buddy!

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,041
    Hey guys,

    I love those Lincolns from the 60's with the suicide doors. They may not have been serious competition for Cadillac back when they were new, but I love 'em. Although if it's big and old, chances are I'll love it anyway ;-)

    Even though I'm more of a Mopar guy than anything, I'm not impressed by most of the Imperials. I like the '55-60, but they got too carried away in '61-63. By the time Elwood Engle cleaned up the old Exner body for '64, it looked like an old man's car to me. Also, even by 1966 it still had a wraparound windshield, so by then it was truly over-the-hill. Plus, I knew somebody with a 1959 Imperial, which was basically a '57-58 with more chrome and a wedge-head instead of a Hemi. One day we parked my '57 DeSoto head-to-head with it, and it just didn't impart a superior look over the DeSoto, as an upper echelon car should. It was a little longer, a lot more garish, but really didn't look any more prestigious. Do the same trick with, say, a 1957 Olds 88 and a '57 Cadillac, or a 57 Mercury and a '57 Lincoln, and the senior cars would make the junior models pale in comparison.

    My favorite of the old Cadillacs is '61-62. They have a nice, low-slung look to them, with creases in just the right places. I don't think Cadillac made an ugly car in the 60's, though.

    Can't say that today. My tastes are off-beat when it comes to cars, I know, but to me the most tasteful of the new Caddy models are the Eldorado and Seville...and they're Cadillac's biggest losers right now! God only knows what Cadillac has in store for the future. That new Escalade looks like it was done more for shock value than any kind of lasting beauty, but at least it doesn't look like a Yukon with body cladding any more! Now if they could find a way to NOT make the Catera look like a Malibu...

  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Gotta love those 60s and 61s! Particularly the DeVille hardtops and convertibles. The six window sedan did nothing for me. The creased and tapered styling as opposed to the slab sided look of today was very tasteful IMO.

    The tail fins with their vertical light displays were elegant in those years - 60 through 64.

    To the point of this heading - the 71 (and my 72) were not as pretty to look at as their decade older siblings.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,041
    those '71-76 Caddies may not have been the most beautiful in the world, something about putting the turn signal between the headlights always bothered me. But just the gross size of them! How long were they, about 233" or so? You could see the similarity to an Electra or 98 in them, especially in the greenhouse area, but they just LOOKED expensive! We had a 1972 Impala when I was a kid, and it just couldn't compare.

    I also prefer hardtops over pillared sedans and coupes, so those 70's Caddies still appeal to me. I don't think Lincoln offered a pillarless Town Car by then. Imperial did, I know.

  • Back in those days when Cadillac rule, how competitive were Mercedes Benz compared to Packards, Studard Bakers, Imperials, Lincolns, Franklins, and etc? We all know how great Mercedes are today but I know they were sorry or should I say garbage back then.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,041
    I'm not sure what year Mercedes dealers first opened their doors in the states, but in the beginning, they were usually sold through Studebaker dealers. I think this started in the late 1950's. If you notice, Studebakers around that time started acquiring squared-off, upright grilles, and the bodylines became more "European" in nature. This may not be true, but I always thought they did this to give Studebaker and Mercedes a family resemblance, and give prospective Mercedes buyers something American to reference against.

    Nobody in the late 50's or 60's would have cross-shopped a Mercedes with a Cadillac, Lincoln, or Imperial. They were just totally different beasts. I remember seeing a late 50's Mercedes at Spring Carlisle last year, and stylistically it looked about as modern as an early 40's Plymouth. But it had a lot of advancements for the time. It had a 4 cylinder engine (2.2 liter OHC, I think) and I think it had disk brakes. It was also of unitized construction, instead of body-on-frame. I'll admit it looked like a sturdy little car. Still, Americans wanted their luxury cars to be B-I-G back then, and this Mercedes was closest in size to a Rambler of the time. And that's how people probably looked at them...ugly but reliable, like a Rambler. Nobody cared about OHC or disk brakes or unitized construction back then. Just 0-60 and quarter mile, and "my car is bigger than yours"

    Cars like Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, etc, didn't really start cutting into Cadillac's sales until the first fuel crisis hit in late 1973. But still, even by that time they were two totally different cars. Cadillac, Lincoln, and Imperial were even bigger and more bloated by then, in typical 70's fashion.

    BMW, Mercedes, and the like never really ventured into Cadillac's territory, but in 1975, Cadillac went up directly against Mercedes with the Seville. Basically, it was a heavily modified, facelifted Chevy Nova with an Olds 350 (fuel injection optional) It sold pretty well. I seriously doubt that it hurt Mercedes much, if any, but it was radically different from anything Cadillac had ever done before. Lincoln tried to follow suit by taking a Ford Granada and fitting it with a Lincoln grille, doubling the price, and calling it Versailles, but few people were fooled. Consumer Reports did a head-to-head comparison of the Seville and a Mercedes. I forget the year or the details, but do remember that, even in this case, the Seville still weighed about 4200 lb, versus about 3200 for the Mercedes. So much for a smaller car. Then for 1980, the Seville was put on the Eldorado platform, and given a lot of neo-classic styling cues. Fake convertible tops actually ADDED to the look of the car!

    Ironically, Cadillac, while tarnishing its image all the way, had record sales even through the recession years of 1980-83. The economy came back for 1984, and Cadillac stayed strong. But as the 80's wore on, Cadillac lost ground. Just to show how bad things are now, Cadillac sold about 105,000 DeVilles for the 2000 Calendar year. Even back in the early 80's recession years, the DeVille was good for almost double that, plus sales from the Fleetwood, which back then was an even more expensive version of the DeVille platform. I think Cadillac as a whole sold about 189,000 cars last year. Again, back in those recession years, I think they actually hit 400,000 once or twice. Just goes to show that recessions only hurt the working class ;-)

  • joecugjoecug Posts: 15
    One of the selling points for a 1971
    Fleetwood is that is was not detuned to
    meet emission requiremnts. That started
    with the 1972 models when fuel/air
    mixtures were leaned up and spark timing
    changes were made. In 1973 exhaust gas
    recirculation was added and that lowered
    horsepower, since the recirculated gas
    does not combust. These changes affected
    driveability with starting probems,
    dieseling etc. It took until about 1976
    with cat converters to get rid of those
    problems. So if someone wants to get a
    big engine that he could tune for
    horsepower the 1971 with the 472 CID
    would be the way to go.
    I perform emission tests on cars and
    I have to say the new Caddy Northstar
    engine is a beauty. It will put out
    similar horsepower to the old 472s with
    exhaust emissions about 90 percent lower
    (472s about 250 ppm, Northstar about 25
    ppm). I think its the best engine out
    there right now.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,041
    So a 472 with no catalytic converter, and emissions controls probably amounting to little more than a PCV valve only puts out 250 ppm? The last time I had to put a car through an emissions test was a 1979 318 Newport that had about 235,000 miles on it. It registered 162 ppm. And now I hear the Northstar, one of the most advanced engines GM makes, with all that engineering puts out 25 ppm.

    In all honesty, those numbers all sound pretty negligible to me to begin with. I was under the impression that a pre-catastrophic converter car would put out pollutants on a much, much grander scale than what the 472 is showing. Sound to me like keeping your car in good tune would do more for the environment than all those emissions controls. Joecug, what are some of the worst emissions readings you've ever taken? is 162 or 250 ppm considered a really "dirty" engine?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,448
    The emissions tests don't really show how much a car stomp on the gas on a pre-catalytic car and it's pretty filthy....there's no way a pre-cat car is going to pollute less than a modern one, not by a long shot.

    Of course, keeping your old car in tune is a great idea. Polllution from old cars isn't an issue anyway....there aren't enough of them on the road to have a huge impact, and there are fewer and fewer every the old car fleet is getting cleaner and cleaner as the old cars are junked.

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  • joecugjoecug Posts: 15
    I have seen emissions as high as 10,000
    ppm on an old car. I think it was an
    old Chevy Nova. Most "bad" cars are in
    the 1500-2000 ppm range. This at idle foot off the gas. A lot of the higher
    emissions on old cars come from
    enthusuiasts who have replaced stock cams
    with performance cams. The valves have a
    longer open cycle and a lot of that gas
    ends up out the tailpipe. The jurisdiction I'm in allows 900 ppm for
    the oldest cars (1968-1969, 1967 and
    oldr exempt). 68s and 69s with perf cams
    have a tough time meeting that, unless
    they tune it very lean for the test and
    then change it when they get home.
    Old Caddys we test do real well I think
    for two reasons A: Guys who own old
    Caddys treat them right. B: The huge
    engines of that day are very durable and
    don"t loosen up much with mileage.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,448
    10,000 ppm! Gag! I can see the birds falling out of the trees as it drives by!

    You know, clean oil, new air filter, good tune up makes for a responsible collector car citizen.

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  • After years of lusting after the most beautiful blue coupe be vile I was totally dismayed when I had to remove the rear bumper to change a brake light bulb! what a bummer!

    Years later with a 4-6-8 Caddy I gave up on America and went to the land of the rising sun and home of the atomic bomb! Arrogance has its price!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,448
    Ah, well, no car is perfect. Back then, carbuilders didn't think of their cars being treasured and restored...the 60s was a time to build 'em, drive 'em and junk 'em so we can sell you a new one.
    They just packed the accessories in there best they could, and the styling was often done BEFORE the car was the engineers had to figure out how to make things work within the styling requirements.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,041
    I just took my '85 LeSabre 307 in for its emissions test, and it passed. Here are the results, listed as my reading/state standard...

    HC: 0.1622GPM/2.0000GPM
    CO: 1.7541GPM/30.0000GPM
    NOX: 0.2485GPM/3.0000GPM
    CO2: 46.4807GPM/NA

    Could somebody explain what these readings mean to me? The last emissions test I remember was just a tailpipe test, as opposed to the treadmill they subjected my '85 LeSabre to.

    I remember the Newport's readings were something like... HC: 162ppm, CO: .03pct, and CO2: 13.XXX

    Is there any way to translate one test reading to the other format? For example, in this case, tell which was the cleaner car? All I know is that CO2 numbers are supposed ot read high, the lower the CO percent the better, and the lower the ppm the better.

    But I have no idea what this GPM stands for! If anybody could help out with this info, I'd really appreciate it!

  • Which of you motorheads out there knows which is the last year and model for rear wheel drive caddies, with real engines not the aluminum crap with head walk?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,041
    Isn't the Catera RWD? Even if it is, I don't count that as a real Caddie.

    The last RWD Cadillac would be the 1996 Fleetwood. It had the LT-1 350 with dual exhaust, and put out a respectable 260 hp. I've heard 0-60 times in the 8.5 second range. That's not a Cadillac engine's a Chevy engine.

    If you want a RWD Cadillac with a non-aluminum Cadillac engine, though, you'd have to go back to 1980-81. That would be a DeVille or Fleetwood with the Cadillac 368. Get an '80 though, because the '81 was actually the V-8-6-4 engine, which was very unreliable. But if you're going back that far, get a '77-79. They had Cadillac 425's, which put out 185 hp with a 4-bbl, and 195 with fuel injection. The 368 only put out 140-150...Heck, even the Olds (non-diesel) 350 was usually good for 155-175!

    BTW, the RWD DeVille/Fleetwood ("Brougham" from 1985-93) only used the aluminum 4.1 from 1982 to 1985. In 1986 they started putting in the Olds 307 as standard, and a few years later the Chevy 305 was standard with the 350 optional.

    I always wondered what kind of performer the Fleetwood would have been if it got the Cadillac Northstar instead of the detuned Corvette engine. That would have been the perfect opportunity to re-establish the Fleetwood as something more than just a bloated Caprice or Roadmaster

    Hope this info helps some!
  • Could the new heavily modified Cadillac used by the President
    in the inaugural parade possibly be front wheel drive?
    Could any existing Cadillac engine possibly power it.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,041
    I tried searching the web to see if I could find a pic of it, but failed. If you could point me to a pic of it, I could probably tell.

    The last RWD Cadillace was built in 1996, although they may have kept the chassis around for commerical uses like hearses and limosines. I doubt the President would ride around in a 5 year old car, but ya never know!

    Can they even convert the FWD ones into limosines? If Bush's inauguaral limo was RWD, it would most likely have a Chevy 350 LT-1 engine.

  • joecugjoecug Posts: 15
    In response to Andre concerning emission
    standards. The letters GPM stand for
    grams per mile. That is the actual weight
    of that pollutant put out by the car as
    it travels one mile (on the treadmill in
    the test case). The EPA standards for
    new (out of the factory) cars are all
    set in grams per mile. I think EPA's test
    lab is in Lansing, Michigan. The EPA
    likes this standard because it gives the
    total pollutant load from the car. The
    "ppm" standard is a concentration standard. It tells you how many ppm were
    in the volume of exhaust sampled. To
    convert from one to another you must know
    the total volume of exhaust sample. You
    multiply the "parts per million" by the
    "millions of parts" to get the total parts, or weight of the exhaust. Generally you can't compare the two tests because exhaust flows vary from engine to
    engine. The GPM standard is tougher on
    big engines because they have larger
    exhaust flows so even if their "per
    cylinder" exhaust is the same an 8cyl will have double the exhaust of a 4 cyl.
    Some jurisdictions use ppm standards,
    and some use GPM standards. If EPA has
    its way all jurisdictions will use GPM
    standards, EPA likes this because as I
    said above they can come up with a total
    emssion value for all cars in the region.
    Most jurisdictions do not like GPM tests
    for two reasons.
    1. They're expensive
    2. They have reliability problems.
    A complete rig for a GPM test including
    treadmill, analyzer, etc can cost 100000.
    The exhaust flow monitors are subject to
    corrosion etc. It turns out that determining the total flow of a hot
    acidic exhaust gas is not an easy thing
    to do. It requires considerable maintenance to work in a real world
    situation where numerous cars are being
    tested in single day. But apparently
    thats where all vehicle emission tests
    are headed.
    The numbers you gave (ppm) for your
    car are pretty typical for a well
    maintained used car of 1980s vintage.
    Hope this helps some.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,448
    I read somewhere that a typical big car will actually produce its own weight in emissions during its lifetime!

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,041
    but I sat down and figured how many miles my '85 LeSabre would have to drive before it put out its own weight in pollutants. I just added the HC, NOX,and CO numbers, since I don't think they consider the CO2 a pollutant (after all, the cutoff number for CO2 is minimum, whereas the others are maximums). I couldn't remember exactly how many grams were in an ounce, but I thought it was 28. And I don't know the exact weight of the car, so I just estimated 3800 lb.

    Anyway, it pollutes about 2.16 grams per mile, or 1 ounce per 12.96 miles., or 1 lb per 207.41 miles. Or...3800 lb over 788,148 miles! So far it's gone about 155,000 miles, so I don't feel TOO guilty ;-)

    Anyway, Joecug, thanks so much for explaining the emissions results to me! My roommate's 1998 Tracker is going in for its test ought to be interesting to compare its emissions compared to my LeSabre

  • I've got a 86 DeVille Fleetwood Cadillac with 162,00 miles. Paid $700 canadian for it and $400 to get it on the road. Every thing works, exept the radio, and the tranny is going, slipping in 3rd. And this was a GM repacement, but I love driving it. The engine has been replaced 24,000 miles ago. I have heard about the cooling/head gasket problem and want to prevent it. Problem is no dealer in town has heard of the rad pellets. Can anybody tell me where I can get them.I have been looking for a couple of months now with no luck. Does it have to be a GM product. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks
  • I'm looking at buying a 1962 Lincoln Continental sedan for about $6,500. Not as a show car or anything. Just want some big American steel to showboat in. Is there anything I should look for during the purchase process? Does anyone know what it would cost to own one these beasts? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,448
    WEll, unless the car is really sharp, you may be paying too much at $6,500. The car should be pretty darn nice for that price...not a show car, but nothing shabby about it and not needing any expensive parts or repairs (good paint, upholstery, glass, etc.)

    As for what to look for, common sense applies. Everything electrical should work, so be sure to play with all the switches. Other than that, they are pretty straightforward 1930s technology, so a good checkup should tell you all you need to know.

    If the car is sound, I would expect your biggest expense, short of a suprise catastrophe, would be gas...the car will eat plenty of it....figure gas and repairs...oh, .25 cents a mile?

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  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    Definitely do not feel like they are "The Standard of the World." Why, you could purchase a Chevy Caprice sedan for much less money than you could a Cadillac Deville in the '60s and '70s! I cannot see why people would pay exorbitant premiums for huge, gaudy Coupe/Sedan DeVilles when they could get a Caprice Classic fully loaded, with an engine that got better gas mileage. Example: a new Coupe DeVille cost about $9000 new in '76, and you could get a new Caprice Classic coupe for only $5000. Couldn't people see the difference in the economics back in those days or just do their research before buying? My mom still chides my dad for spending $5800 (nearly the amount of his take-home pay then) to purchase his Camaro Z28 back in '77. The car was stolen a year and a half later, to boot. If I were him, I would have just bought a Chevette or Omni just to save some bucks!
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    My uncle did have one of the very first Omnis off the line. It was definitely not a Cadillac, in terms of ride or build quality
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,041
    ...I think a Z-28 would be a heck of a lot more fun than a Chevette or an Omni...even in the late 70's! As for a Caprice versus a Coupe DeVille in 1976, keep in mind those are base prices. My grandparents bought a '72 Impala 4-door hardtop, brand new, for about $5000. Considering how rampant inflation was back then, I really doubt $5000 would get you much of a Caprice in 1976. If you wanted air conditioning, figure about$500-600 more. Want an FM radio? Probably something ridiculous like $100-200. Power windows? Maybe $100-150, since by that time only the front ones on the coupes rolled down anymore. And the standard engine was a 350-2bbl with a tepid 145 hp. I'd imagine stuff like the 3-speed automatic, power steering, and power brakes would've been standard on a Caprice by the, but I could be wrong. You could get a 454 that put out something like 225 hp, but by the time you did that, you'd probably be getting worse mileage than the Caddy's 190-hp 500!

    Back then, the Cadillac would also have been a physically bigger car, too. It would've given you a larger trunk and more legroom inside. A friend of mine had a '72 Catalina 2-door, mechanically identical to the Caprice, and I've sat in it a few times. They're really not very roomy cars in the back. Plenty of shoulder room, so 3 across is not problem, but they'd better be short people, if the driver is tall!

    The Caddy also weighed about 700-800 lb more than the Chevy, so I'd imagine it had a beefier frame, suspension, tires, wheels, etc. As a result, the car would ride better, and would also carry a heavy load much more gracefully than an Impala or Caprice would.

    From a purely economic standpoint, sure a Caprice would make more sense than a Cadillac. And that's what it tried to be...a Cadillac for people on a budget. But nobody who could truly afford a Cadillac back then would've even given the Caprice a second glance. It could also be argued that a Cavalier makes more sense than a BMW 3-series or a small Benz, but I doubt very many people would be swayed!!
  • ndancendance Posts: 323
    the only one I've seen that I really coveted (I've probably mentioned this one before) was a (I think) '77 or '78 Nova a friend of mine had.

    Four door, Concours model, 350 4bbl, 4 speed, gauge package, handling package. What a great start for cool sleeper. They're actually even kind of pretty. YMMV of course. I should probably track that one down someday (along with all my old cars, of course).
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