: The Last Year For Truly Desirable Cadillacs?

09-06-10, 03:04 AM
This question, of course, is more of an opinion than solid fact. There are no completely "right" or "wrong" answers.

The question: What do you think was/is the last year for the truly desirable Cadillacs. Desirable meaning quality, style, exclusiveness, glamor, prestige, etc.

For me, there are two stages.

Stage 1: Up to and including the 1970 model year. I think 1970 was the last year in which Cadillac had very good build quality. I have owned both a '70 Sedan De Ville and a '71 Fleetwood Brougham. The doors closed with a more solid feel on the '70 and the seats were thicker and more comfortable compared to the '71. However, fortunately, the engines and drivetrain on the '70s Cadillacs were still excellent.

Stage 2: Up to and including the 1976 model year. Good reliability, the biggest engines available, no downsizing yet, the Fleetwood Brougham had its own (longer) wheelbase compared to the DeVille/Calais.

The 1977 Series Seventy-Fives no longer had separate front/rear climate control, no roof-mounted reading lights or A/C outlets. The limousine no longer had a power-operated partition window.

09-08-10, 03:18 PM
1989 is probably the newest I'll ever go. I personally do not recognize The Cadillac Motor Car Division after 1996; that was the last year for Cadillac. As a company, the most desirable year for Cadillac was 1974.

The '80's Cadillacs (especially the late '80's RWD's) are desirable to me because they are the last of their kind. Cadillac shared very few characteristics with its GM counterparts and stood above other luxury car manufactures as the largest regular production vehicle. Power and reliability are issues with them, but because to the versatility of the engine compartment, any more powerful engine can be swapped in (from the Chevrolet 350 all the way up to the Cadillac 500). The '90-'92 "Euro" Brougham can be grouped with the '80's cars as far as desirability, because not much was changed in structure and function.

The Last-gen Fleetwood is only recognized by me because it is the last of the Cadillac rear wheel drives. Other than that, they are cheap and look like Roadmasters. Most people probably own one because of the standard 350 and not because of the Cadillac prestige. I say '74 was the last year for all of Cadillac's model's being desirable because it was the year before the Seville became a regular production model, which I site as the beginning of the end for Cadillac.

09-14-10, 10:16 PM
Depends on what you mean by truly desirable. I think unless things change the 1996 Fleetwood Brougham will be the last "collectible" Cadillac that had regular production numbers. I wouldn't mind driving a 2010 Escalade though.:thumbsup:

09-16-10, 11:33 AM
i still find them desireable

01-02-11, 12:25 AM
It's an old post, but I had to respond. I mostly agree with what Sven and the OP said. Personally, I feel '70 is the high-water mark for Cadillac in terms of styling, power, prestige, reliability, overall engineering excellence, etc. It's also right at the point before stupid legislation started to chip away at what car companies were allowed (thank you for your permission, government) to do. Safety, emissions, etc. (Yes, there are SO MANY things that needed to be changed from a 1970 Cadillac to make it safer...still probably the safest car on the road)

I don't really agree with the mid-'70s assessment, by that time, weight had gone so high, and performance so low, due to the government regulations, that I can't really see those as being in the same realm as the earlier cars. '71 would probably get a slight reprieve from this, because it still retained most of the independence that the '70s had. I think it was mostly all over by '74, but I can't disagree with anything Sven said about the Seville and what an omen that was. It says more about what people wanted and what GM thought people wanted, but that same thing could be said for everything today. If only the rest of the people in the world weren't so into pure crap.

Finally, I do agree with '96 being the last year due to the end of RWD, and also that some of the reason for the popularity of the last-generation Fleetwoods is due in no small part to the great engine and not entirely because of the prestige of the marque....but not entirely. A '96 Fleetwood is still a fantastic car and still a true Cadillac, that deserves all of the accolades due any true Cadillac, despite it's modern shell. It was STILL outmoded in 1996 in terms of what the insane general population would accept, and yet it continued, it was a living dinosaur from the glorious past, until they murdered it.

There are still nice, comfortable, reliable Cadillacs made, I still like the DeVille (DTS, I think they call it), and the XLR was definitely a cool car. Escalades are good for what they are too, which along with all the modern Cadillacs, is simply a nice comfortable, reliable car made in America by Cadillac. But the magic flame was finally extinguished I think in 1996.

Off the subject, but related to the concept of good things going away but definitely not forgotten, please do yourself a favor and read the book "Anthem" by Ayn Rand. It was written in the '20s or '30s, but this very type of thing came to my mind as I was reading it.

01-02-11, 12:44 AM
2011, bitches! Until 2012...


01-02-11, 01:14 AM
Tough call on a century-old brand. For me, its 2009, the last year for the XLR-V.

01-02-11, 01:34 AM
I'm a big fan of 1996. Last year of the traditional, extremely full sized Fleetwood Brougham "The Cadillac of Cadillacs", the last year before that awful Catera was introduced. The Northstar was still fairly fresh and running high and mighty, the STS and ETC were newly updated inside & out, but still in their fastest form.

01-02-11, 01:57 AM

01-02-11, 05:58 AM

01-02-11, 11:10 AM


01-02-11, 11:56 AM
2011, bitches! Until 2012...


Great commercial, saw it a couple times last night. The one with the arrows was kind of meh though.

01-02-11, 12:00 PM
If we're speaking in terms of truly desirable, dream about it, gotta have it everybody wants one kind of Cadillac then I would say anything before and including the '67 Eldorado. After that, the cars just started to become more mass produced and lost that special something that made Cadillac THE car to own. Now you don't see people lusting over Cadillac's, it's over BMW, Mercedes and even Lexus (why I have no idea). The CTS-V I believe is also quite desirable, as is the XLR and XLR-V. Otherwise, that's it for the more modern cars.

01-02-11, 02:39 PM
Desirable all depends on who you are, build quality was never a strong point of Cadillacs compared with certain European and Japanese makers (just Google Road Test 1956 Cadillac for some insight on build quality), quality and beauty of design as judged by world renown car designers yields some surprising results.

It seems that Cadillac manages to bring out a truly great design about every ten to fifteen years. Usually the car is a top of the line model and not one of the higher volume sellers. In my opinion the last great design by Cadillac was the fourth generation of Seville STS. This car combined a relatively high standard of construction with a high standard of performance for a personal luxury car and was judged by auto designers around the the world as outstanding both in interior and exterior design.

The 1977 newly downsized Cadillacs set a new standard of both design and build quality and was judged to be incredible value for money by top echelon European designers. The '76-79 Seville was also a superior design and showed much higher build quality than was typical for the day. Again world class designers gave very high praise to Cadillac for this trend setting design and they were endorsed by the high sales figures the car set in the luxury car market.

The 1967 Eldorado certainly set a new high for styling among post-war luxury cars. Although the build materials was good the actual assembly quality reflected the poor standards of the day. The Eldorado, Toronado and Riviera models of the mid sixties definitely set a new standard for personal luxury cars to come.

For quality of construction and overall all handling it is hard to beat the current crop of Cadillacs, but for projection of power and prestige in the world the 1950's Cadillacs were the unsurpassed leaders, and truly the "Standard of the World."

01-02-11, 03:05 PM
I'd agree with Ryan and Orconn on their statement. The last "truly desirable" Cadillacs were built sometime between 1953 and 1967. When a Cadillac was truly something to desire and show the world you were on top of your game. In the 1970s, the social stigma of a truly successful person showed them owning a Mercedes, Jaguar or Rolls Royce, and then by the '80s and '90s, they were behind the wheel of a Lexus or Acura or a large SUV, and Cadillac has been playing catchup ever since.

With that being said, a lot of people in my generation don't feel a connection to Cadillacs from the '50s and '60s, as we weren't young when they were still around in large numbers, and they're out of our price range too. I personally like the expression and image conveyed by the '50 and '60s models, but I prefer the big, boxy, chrome laden look of the '70s and '80s models more myself.

01-02-11, 05:20 PM
If desireable = collectible, then 1996 is likely the end of the road, although I'd probably create an exception for the XLR, which I think will develop a solid collectible market as time goes on, much as the Allante has. If desireable = in great demand when new, then 1979 would be the last year Cadillac owned its market. After that, it was one misfire after the last for most of the last 30 years.

01-02-11, 08:00 PM
As long as they make V's I will desire one

01-02-11, 08:07 PM
I agree with Craig, 1979 was about it. I never dreamed of owning a Cadillac after 1979, neither did most well-heeled buyers who were Cadillac's long loyal audience. I feel the 93-96 Fleetwood was an afterthought car chasing the dramatically shrinking geriatric market. I gasp when I see today's Cadillacs - they are truly homely with their pug noses and kindergartener drawn styling - it almost doesn't even matter that they are fast. :)

01-02-11, 09:25 PM
My fully loaded 2006 STS is the finest car I've ever owned. Alas, I fear that GM now makes nothing as close to my liking.

Opinons vary.

01-02-11, 11:38 PM
I agree with Craig, 1979 was about it. I never dreamed of owning a Cadillac after 1979, neither did most well-heeled buyers who were Cadillac's long loyal audience. I feel the 93-96 Fleetwood was an afterthought car chasing the dramatically shrinking geriatric market. I gasp when I see today's Cadillacs - they are truly homely with their pug noses and kindergartener drawn styling - it almost doesn't even matter that they are fast. :)
Yeah, those guys are all dead. And you're in the minority. New Cadillacs are unique and attractive.

01-03-11, 01:37 AM
I will say this, Cadillac has had its hot and cold streaks since 1971. 1971 is kind of the day Cadillac died for me.

The new models were cheaper in construction, cheaper in price, and looked more like an Impala or 98 than ever before. The interiors really took a turn towards the cheap in 71, they really look like an Impala interior with fake wood, more chrome buttons, and pschyedilic upholstery patterns(I do love the wild uphosltery though, so 70's kitsch). They just lost that special feeling and just felt like another full size GM sedan.

All of that changed in 1977 IMO. Quality was way up, styling was more distinct, they drove better, got better mileage, and were just much better cars than what they replaced.

The 80's were absolute crap IMO, except in terms of styling on their full size models. Those still looked and felt special, even if the engines were crap. The Cimmaron was not Cadillac's low point, it was all that FWD Deville/Eldo/Seville bullshit that came out in 85-86ish that killed the brand IMO.

The 90's did get some style back into Cadillac, but once again build quality/engineering was pretty piss poor on the FWD N* cars. The only 90's models I would own would be the big RWD sedans.

Cadillac finally got its act together with the 2nd gen CTS, 2nd gen Escalade, and XLR in the 2000's. From 1997 to 2007, Cadillac is yet again dead to me, I really want to like the 1st gen CTS and Escalade until I sit in them and realize the dash design in both is just god-awful ugly.

01-03-11, 04:16 AM
After owning a 72 and 68 Cadillac Deville's, I can definitely say that the 68 was a better quality car compared to the 72.

The 72 had a heavier feel to it, heavier doors and hood, but the material quality was crap, cheap and flimsy on the inside for a luxury car of the day.

The 70 was truly the last really cool Caddy IMO, I especially love the front end, and rear end styling, but I didn't like the interior styling at all. Very plain and boring, the seats are really nice though, and they ride great. I actually test drove one like 3 years ago, because I wanted to buy one, but waited too long and the car was sold before I knew it.

Starting in 71, things did take a trip down hill, the quality was all but lost from 71-74. In 75 and going into the later 70's, quality was improved, and interior styling got better. But other than that, even driving a 80's or 90's Fleetwood and Brougham doesn't nearly feel as special or dominating like driving around in a 50's or 60's Cadillac. Back then Cadillac's were so imposing, and made statements any time you saw one. That can't be said anymore about Cadillacs of today.

I will be honest and tell people that the 93-96 Fleetwoods are awesome cars, but I'm not sure if I can personally say that they are true Cadillacs. They do feel very "GM", and not as special as the older models, but compared to what Caddy is offering at this moment, they are very much the last "Real Big" Cadillac to be made, and just that title alone, makes for a good argument.

I will also say that my 94 Fleetwood, is a better car than the old 72 I owned, it's quieter, rides nicer, and just feels better. Not as massive on the inside, but still big enough to stretch out and relax.

Bottom line the very last real classic Cadillac is the 70 because of the good build quality, excellent styling, materials used, and the solid feeling of everything you touch.

01-03-11, 05:18 AM
I'm reading Automobile Magazine right now and there's a blurb on Hamtramck. In 1994, it was noted that workers on the line were smoking, eating, and drinking.


Click to enlarge: http://www.q45.org/gallery/gallery3/var/albums/hamtramck.jpg

01-03-11, 10:50 AM
Well that would explain why my Seville is falling apart around me.

01-03-11, 04:23 PM
Lol, thats crazy. Damn, I guess their jobs sucked. Uncertainty can make people go to extreme measures. Thankfully this is no longer happening at the GM plants, at least I hope not.

01-04-11, 09:25 PM
I work across the street from what was a Ford Explorer plant that is now being refurbished to be the most modern plant in the world. The parking lot trash cans were full of alcohol bottles, beer cans and used up dime bags. Drug busts from pot to coke to any pill you could ever want happened. A bar one block away was frequented before, during and after work. Employees cooked and sold food from their work stations on the line. The UAW makes it damn near impossible to fire them and they sit at home getting job insurance, then win their appeal so were just payed twice to do nothing.

01-04-11, 11:54 PM
Lol, thats crazy. Damn, I guess their jobs sucked. Uncertainty can make people go to extreme measures. Thankfully this is no longer happening at the GM plants, at least I hope not.

Their jobs were not likely the problem... The problem is the UAW sense of entitlement leading to a lackadaisical work ethic and an absence of dedication and pride in a job well done.

01-05-11, 02:03 AM
Except for the 1980s — which I consider Cadillac's lost decade with 1986 being the absolute nadir — I can find Cadillacs I like from the 50s through to today. I love the old-school land yachts with chrome and fins and whitewalls as well as the current Art & Science cars. My Seville is by far the nicest car I've owned, and it checks all the boxes of what I want in a car. A 2008+ CTS will most likely be my next car in a few years; I love how it looks and feels, and in a couple of brief drives, I've been impressed with how it drives.

My ultimate classic Cadillac would be a '68 Eldorado, but I'd also enjoy a '64 Sedan de Ville or Fleetwood. And I also really like the '77-'79 DeVille and Fleetwood. Cadillac did an excellent job of retaining all the classic Cadillac attributes in a more sensible and manageable size. I never cared for the 1980 restyle, nor the crummy 80s engines.

01-05-11, 02:48 AM
The late 80s don't seem too popular, but I'd have to say they are the cutoff point for me. Just picked up a 1987 Brougham with only 40k on it, and am in complete heaven at the moment. The thing makes my previous Caddy (1987 Sedan DeVille) feel like a cramped, speedy little sports car.:)

Interestingly, on the way to buy the Brougham, we stopped at a dealer, on a whim, to test drive a 2000 DeVille. My wife & I were both shocked at how plain and un-luxurious the 2000 version felt. Everything inside felt flimsy and cheap. Seats were very comfortable, but interior felt cramped and we were surrounded by all these plastic parts that felt like they'd break off.

When I slid behind the wheel of the 1987 Brougham, I practically groaned with relief. Ahhhh... now THIS felt like a luxury vehicle.

I don't want to drive around in the fetal position, I don't care about going fast, or "driveability" or fuel economy or "sportiness" or looking "modern" (gah, just typing that word makes me gag). I want a big floating mattress, and it saddens me to look at the current crop.

01-05-11, 03:39 AM
interior felt cramped and we were surrounded by all these plastic parts that felt like they'd break off.

That's why I'm now a fan of Gorilla Glue. Seems like the assembly guys used a "variable" amount of adhesive on dashboards and other parts.

01-05-11, 09:51 PM
I love how the old Broughams look and feel behind the wheel, but hate how SLOW they were, along with being about the worst handling cars on the market at the time, and pretty bad on fuel at the same time. Now, the bad fuel economy and poor handling are to be expected of a full sized classic Cadillac, but it should have enough power to keep up with traffic! That problem was fixed on the '90s Broughams with the 350. However, I do feel that all of the 80-92 Broughams were the last of a dying breed, and should be cherished as such.

01-06-11, 02:20 AM
It IS kinda hilarious how slow this Brougham is. I wouldn't say I can't keep up with traffic - in fact, once I get up to speed it's easy to end up going too fast because the thing is so damn quiet. But it is definitely going to take its sweet time getting up to speed...

Personally, I love the way these cars handle. Driving one has a strangely relaxing effect on me... I just get into the slow heave of the car and forget about doing anything quickly.:)

01-09-11, 01:18 PM
Everyone has their own idea. For me, 1980 was the last year for a true Cadillac. V8-6-4's, 4100's etc all diluted the brand. 1980, last of the regular, cast iron, 4bbl carbed Cadillac V-8's and last of the THM400 transmission.