I am looking for a good low mileage fairly late model Cad. First I want rear wheel drive so what is the last year they were built. I now have a 95 Cad Fleetwood that has a heavy duty trailer hitch, that I sometime put an electric lift on and then a 350lb Scooter. I had to increase the load capacity and chose coil-over shocks, which has worked. so my question is can the same thing be done to the later years? My other need is the 40,20,40 front seat configuration, without a center console, because I have to get in the passenger side, slide across pulling my rigid wheelchair in behind me, as it is to big to pull in between me and the steering wheel. Any other comments are welcome also.
11-19-10, 12:08 PM
Hello Carl, and welcome to the DTS forum. I'm sad to say that the 1996 Fleetwood was the last of the rear-wheel drive Cadillacs. Since then, the Lincoln Town Car, Mercury Grand Marquis and the Ford Crown Victoria have been the only way to get a full size, rear wheel drive (American) sedan. The good news is that they are all available with nice, flat broad front bench seats that you can slide over on till your hearts content. However, if you insist on a brand new one, you'll need to act soon as the Mercury has already been discontinued and the Lincoln and Ford are on their way out soon. It sounds like a used one would be OK, and if so, there's PLENTY out there to choose from and they take a pretty bad depreciation hit after only a year or two, so you'll get a $45,000 car for $25,000 pretty easily.
Your other options, I'm sure you're aware, are minivans converted with load ramps for the scooter. That'd be pretty practical, but may not be the style that you like.
Since you're accustomed to a Cadillac, I'd recommend the Lincoln Town Car. Just do a little research and make sure the one you buy wasn't used as a taxi or a limo.
You're also able to get a full size sedan with a bench seat in the form of the Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne, but those are front wheel drive, and I don't think a trailer hitch is recommended. Someone could probably rig one up for you, but the manufacturer doesn't recommend it.
I hope that helps and congrats on the Fleetwood. Those are the last of the great ones, and I'd like to get myself one someday.
11-19-10, 12:18 PM
One more thing, Carl.
I've seen some guys with wheelchairs use extended cab pick-up trucks. These have the "half-doors" that open suicide style and you can tuck your folded wheel chair in the space behind the driver seat while still holding onto the seat and still have access to the passenger compartment. If the height is a problem, you could consider one of the compact trucks. Either way, you'll be able to get running boards or have grab bars to help get you in and out. The compact pick ups like Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma, Dodge Dakota will be lower to the ground (without 4 wheel drive). Plus, a pick-up will very easily handle your scooter, either on a hitch or just loaded up in the bed.
My wife uses a chair and I spent 6 months in one. We've been dealing with these types of issues for 14 years. One advantage we have is that I'm AB most of the time. She uses a manual transport chair (that I push) when we go out. The chair goes in the trunk of our Lexus or the back of our Subaru wagon. When I was in a chair, I still had one weight bearing leg, so I crutched from the trunk to driver's door.
From what I've seen for folks transferring from a chair to the driver's seat, most seem to stash their chair in the back seat of a two-door car or extended cab pickup.
If you haven't already, check out http://wheelchairjunkie.com/ .