cadillac logo Cadilac Fleetwood, Brougham & Sixty Special

  In 1938 the 60 Special was born out of the Series 60 line. Introduced as a notch back sedan with convertible-type styling, its intention was that it be driven by the owner rather than the chauffer. The car was devoid of the usual trim found on cars of its era. There was no chrome or belt moldings along the side, just clean sheet metal. Running boards were also missing because a lower interior floor made them obsolete. The car also lacked the traditional Cadillac egg crate grille. In its place, a horizontal motif that would prove very popular with Cadillac customers.

  The 60 special was the first mass produced American car to feature distinctive upper and lower body styling. The trunk was now an extension of the body, rather then just a form pulled out of the rear, thus making it seem more natural.

cadillac series 60 special cadillac prototype cadillac series 60 special cadillac prototype
(Above: 1938 Series 60 Special Cadillac prototypes)

  The Fleetwood name comes from the custom coach building house founded by Harry Uhrich in the county of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. They were a long time custom body builder for Cadillac and they would later become part of the organization.

  1946 would mark the joining of the Fleetwood name with the Series 60 Special and they would go hand in hand until 1976. From there, the 60 Special reference would not be used again until 1987 to represent a stretched version of the Fleetwood and later the upscale trim version available between 1989 and 1992.

  The word Brougham represents a horse-drawn carriage for four people with a box seat for the driver. This carriage was named after its designer, Lord Henry Peter Brougham, Lord Chancellor of England. Cadillac would use this name to denote the upscale version of the Fleetwood 60 Special between 1965 and 1976 and the upscale Fleetwood between 1977 and 1984. With the arrival of the new front wheel drive Cadillac's in 1985, the Brougham name would be used to represent the rear wheel drive version which would continue to survive until 1992. 1993 would mark the reunion of the Fleetwood & Brougham name and the return to RWD for the Fleetwood. For its final year, the former front wheel drive Fleetwood would now be known simply as 60 Special.