: An interesting article on the 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special Talisman



Lord Cadillac
07-14-11, 10:59 PM
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/review-1976-cadillac-fleetwood-sixty-special-talisman/

Here's an except from the article:

So. The Fleetwood goes, but it barely stops, it doesn’t turn. It rides well enough, but the Grand Caravan I drove last week is better-isolated from impacts, even if a modern CTS isn’t quite as good as either. It isn’t a “good car” in any sense of the word, and in the years after its introduction, these old mid-Seventies Caddies slumped, rusted, and disintegrated their way from the suburbs to the ghettos to the roadsides and junkyards, delivering perhaps the final coffin nails to the brand’s embalming.


Why, then, do I love it so much? Why do I love its styling, its sheer sweep of sheetmetal, its unapologetic stretch past the borders of parking spots, common decency, and personal accountability? Why would I buy one myself, in a heartbeat, if I had a place to put it? Think of the men who played music on the deck of the Titanic as it sank. They knew their world was ending, they knew they would not live through the night, but while one was alive, one would conduct one’s self with decorum and a touch of style. It’s too much to ask of this Talisman that it be a talisman. There’s nothing magical about it. Rather, there’s something majestic. A sad majesty, the band on the Titanic, the lion in winter, the great general in defeat, holding on to his sword for one last moment. Once upon a time, Americans built these cars. Not good cars. Not great cars. Only sad, and majestic, and, in the final analysis, wonderful.

Caddy75
07-15-11, 12:38 AM
Yes, something special was lost forever after 1976. I blame the EPA and the Japanese and OPEC

cadillac kevin
07-15-11, 01:26 AM
IMO something was lost when cadillac went to fwd mini cars (at least when compared to a fwb) . The article really reminds me of my caddy- nothing about it is special in the least. its gargantuan, slow, cant turn well, (It can stop though) , has nothing really impressive in the styling or accessory dept., was outdated when new, and the quality of the finish materials (plastic wood and chrome) overall sucks but at the end of the day it is majestic. a buddy of mine came over today in his fancy beemer when I was working on mine. he looks it over, noting about how its scraped down the side, missing trim/ filler panels and interior pieces, and barely runs but at the end he says "It's a very nice car." when I asked him why it was a nice car, he replied "Its a prestigious car. It's classy. Its luxury. its a Cadillac." I think that sums up these cars pretty nicely.

pompste
07-15-11, 09:09 AM
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/review-1976-cadillac-fleetwood-sixty-special-talisman/

Here's an except from the article:

So. The Fleetwood goes, but it barely stops, it doesn’t turn. It rides well enough, but the Grand Caravan I drove last week is better-isolated from impacts, even if a modern CTS isn’t quite as good as either. It isn’t a “good car” in any sense of the word, and in the years after its introduction, these old mid-Seventies Caddies slumped, rusted, and disintegrated their way from the suburbs to the ghettos to the roadsides and junkyards, delivering perhaps the final coffin nails to the brand’s embalming.


Why, then, do I love it so much? Why do I love its styling, its sheer sweep of sheetmetal, its unapologetic stretch past the borders of parking spots, common decency, and personal accountability? Why would I buy one myself, in a heartbeat, if I had a place to put it? Think of the men who played music on the deck of the Titanic as it sank. They knew their world was ending, they knew they would not live through the night, but while one was alive, one would conduct one’s self with decorum and a touch of style. It’s too much to ask of this Talisman that it be a talisman. There’s nothing magical about it. Rather, there’s something majestic. A sad majesty, the band on the Titanic, the lion in winter, the great general in defeat, holding on to his sword for one last moment. Once upon a time, Americans built these cars. Not good cars. Not great cars. Only sad, and majestic, and, in the final analysis, wonderful.

That`s a great article on the Talisman! Amazing how HUUUGE it was.

pompste
07-15-11, 09:15 AM
IMO something was lost when cadillac went to fwd mini cars (at least when compared to a fwb) . The article really reminds me of my caddy- nothing about it is special in the least. its gargantuan, slow, cant turn well, (It can stop though) , has nothing really impressive in the styling or accessory dept., was outdated when new, and the quality of the finish materials (plastic wood and chrome) overall sucks but at the end of the day it is majestic. a buddy of mine came over today in his fancy beemer when I was working on mine. he looks it over, noting about how its scraped down the side, missing trim/ filler panels and interior pieces, and barely runs but at the end he says "It's a very nice car." when I asked him why it was a nice car, he replied "Its a prestigious car. It's classy. Its luxury. its a Cadillac." I think that sums up these cars pretty nicely.

Very well versed,Kevin! And thanks again for the A & C note horns that makes my '78 Deville sound like a real Cadillac!

Bro-Ham
07-15-11, 02:43 PM
Ten years ago had a 76 Fleetwood Brougham and a 75 Electra 225 Sedan. I lived in a super groovy over the top space age early 1960's house in a classic old school country club neighborhood. I loved to have both cars in the parked inside the garage with the garage door open - - what a sight! Those two giant and imposing cars in that garage looked natural and right - all American!

Unlike the author of the article, I don't feel guilty for driving big American cars. We should still have large comfortable cars available to us and we should also be utilizing our resources so it is inexpensive for us to drive whatever kinds of cars we want. When given the choice, and the economic climate is unencumbered by regulation and government stifling and controlling oil production, I know people will always choose large vehicles for safety, prestige, and comfort. I predict we will be great again, and big vehicles will follow.

:)

sven914
07-15-11, 04:49 PM
IMO something was lost when cadillac went to fwd mini cars (at least when compared to a fwb) . The article really reminds me of my caddy- nothing about it is special in the least. its gargantuan, slow, cant turn well, (It can stop though) , has nothing really impressive in the styling or accessory dept., was outdated when new, and the quality of the finish materials (plastic wood and chrome) overall sucks but at the end of the day it is majestic. a buddy of mine came over today in his fancy beemer when I was working on mine. he looks it over, noting about how its scraped down the side, missing trim/ filler panels and interior pieces, and barely runs but at the end he says "It's a very nice car." when I asked him why it was a nice car, he replied "Its a prestigious car. It's classy. Its luxury. its a Cadillac." I think that sums up these cars pretty nicely.

My sentiments exactly...

The 11th generation was a complete train-wreck, with failure after failure for 15 years. The last gens are no improvement, but have better reputation because nobody at Cadillac cared enough to make one with a North Star. But it was still a Cadillac; not a Cadillac trying to be a Chrysler or a European sports sedan, but a Cadillac trying to be a Cadillac. I have never acknowledged Cadillac, as a company or a car, after 1996.

CBodyFan
07-15-11, 08:36 PM
The 1976 Cadillac was not a bad car at all. About the only thing I can agree with is the fake wood. In retrospect it is pretty bad but at the time it was real pizzazz. Replace the fake wood with real and I think the interior of the Talisman is a lot more luxurious than any car built today. The whole point of the Talisman was to be over the top in terms of comfort, plushness and isolation, and in that it excels admirably! The Fleetwood Brougham (they had dropped the 60 Special designation by then) was the roomiest, most luxurious, most prestigious owner-driven six-passenger car built, bar none. The Talisman in turn was not only more luxurious than the Brougham or D'Elegance but more akin to a "personal luxury sedan". Especially the 1974 with it's four place seating arrangement. Is the 1977 Fleetwood or even the FWD Limo as roomy. Perhaps when you compare SAE measurements but not if you compare them by the seat of your pants. Sit in the back of the 76 and the 77 and you can feel the extra room. The greater knee room afforded by the longer wheelbase. (Why do you think they dropped the foot-rests after 77...no room). The added hip room provided by the greater width and turn-under. The FWDs do not compete from a "real world" spaciousness comparison in any way, shape or form.

Criticizing the car for fuel consumption isn’t fair because the car was designed before the embargo and saddled with emission controls that were too strict given the level of technology at the time.

As for ride and handling, well that is subjective. Personally I think the ride is superb. Could the steering be more responsive, yes, I would say so, but it was pretty much the norm for it’s day. Is it a safe handling car, absolutely, unless you drive it in a way for which it was never intended. Drive a trash truck like a Corvette and you will probably run into trouble. Drive a Talisman responsibly and you will have no problems. Keep in mind that any car from the 70s probably handles a lot more sloppy now then it did new simply because all the bushings have dried out. Rebuild the suspension back to spec and you might be surprised. I was around back then and they weren’t that bad. Just remember to compare apples to apples and not apples to potatoes.

A point in the Fleetwood’s favor: you can see all four corners unless you are very short.

In short the Fleetwood Talisman was never meant to be practical, it is not an “appliance” like a Camry, it was meant to coddle and impress, and that it did very well.

DouglasJRizzo
07-16-11, 10:26 PM
Everyone has their own take on these. To me, the mid 70s represented the high water mark for the brand. Big bold and beautiful.

ColK
07-17-11, 12:51 AM
But it was still a Cadillac; not a Cadillac trying to be a Chrysler or a European sports sedan, but a Cadillac trying to be a Cadillac.

I hear you. It's why I still have such an affinity for the cars of the 60s and 70s because even when American cars became castrated in the mid-late 70s, you could still see them as the cars they were supposed to be. They all had personalities and characteristics that were tangible, where you could look at it and say look at the ----- that just drove by.

My stepdaughter's husband just bought a 2006 DTS and he pulls in next to our '79 DeVille when they come over. It's a very nice car but it it just doesn't have those distinguishing features that used to make cars identifiable. Take away all the emblems, throw a set of $30 hubcaps on them, view them from the side and I can almost guarantee you'll only look at one and say "That's a Cadillac". The same could be said for the Lincolns and to a degree Chrysler's New Yorker or the Imperials, although they never could quite match the prestige of Cadillac or Lincoln.

The author used the term majestic and at the time, that's what these cars were: American Royalty.

steck
07-17-11, 11:45 AM
didnt read the article , but the quote was interesting, and actually pretty 'bang on'. They arent 'great' cars (as i'm finding out), but i guess its unfair to compare them with a modern car...even if it is a mini van.

but he's right, they are 'majestic', and certainly a 'sign of the times', a last Hurrah for GM, as they knew it was the end of an era.

CBodyFan
07-17-11, 01:02 PM
The author of the article isn't an expert on Cadillacs in any way. His description of the first generation Seville was proof of that.

sven914
07-17-11, 01:40 PM
I kinda like this excerpt, where the author compares the Talisman to an '84 Seventy-Five. It's a great commentary on the demise of Cadillac.


Only eight years separate these two cars. In eight years, Cadillac changed its world. The Fleetwood dropped from 5400 pounds to 3400. An aluminum V-8 half as large as the ’76 engine provided virtually identical motivation, in numbers if not feel. Amazingly, the cars became larger inside, more spacious, easier to operate, easier to park, just plain better in most respects. Like an Apatosaurus poked in the hindquarters, GM was slow to react to the legitimate criticism of its big car but powerful in the magnitude of its response. Seventy-six to eighty-four. From dinosaur to mammal in the same time it takes Honda to build two different kinds of substantially similar Civics. And the mammal is just so much better at nearly everything.

Everything, that is, that has nothing to do with the core values of Cadillac. The smaller car, even when it isn’t a “limo”, has odd, dwarfish proportions. The vastly more efficient passenger compartment looks like the proverbial ten pounds in the five-pound bag. The public had barely accepted the 1977 de Ville as a necessary reaction to desperate times. but the FWD ‘Lac was comical, not dignified. It looked like a joke, like a child’s drawing of a car. Cadillacs didn’t need to be excellent, but they needed to be prestigious, and this was anything but prestigious. Sales fell dramatically as GM scrambled behind the scenes to “upsize” the car again, to put a little hood and trunk on it, to stop it from looking like a clown car that still, by the way, cost much more than twice what a normal family sedan did. They never returned to the massive, impressive look of 1976. They couldn’t even make it back to 1977. The current DTS looks like what it is: a sad attempt to expand the “Antares” not-quite-Aurora-but-had-to-be-second-generation-Aurora-due-to-budget-cuts G-body into something vaguely Cadillac-esque. Next to a ’76, it looks like a sick joke at its own expense. The wood inside may have become real, but the car itself has become false, forgettable.

HAZZARDJOHN
07-18-11, 12:44 AM
I want to see 14 MPG :-(

11 Years and many trips under my belt I have never topped 11 and can almost set my clock at 10.

cadillac kevin
07-18-11, 01:06 AM
I'd like to see a 4100 that has 190hp (much less 380 ft/lbs of torque). and I'd like to see any 4100 in a fully loaded limo that can move the car around at a reasonable pace without straining itself to death.
btw, a seville and a nova share almost nothing in common (except the seville rides on a modified and longer version of an x body chassis). they were totally different cars in every respect. one was a pedestrian mover (ala camry) the other was the fanciest car GM built that year. one was bland and boring- the other was a revolution in american car design (paved the way for a class of smaller "executive" class cars. )

HartfordGuy
07-18-11, 09:35 AM
The author of the article isn't an expert on Cadillacs in any way. His description of the first generation Seville was proof of that.

I agree. And no self respecting V.P. would be caught dead in a Calais. Calais were for the wanna-bees, Devilles for the country club and Broughams for the executives. Sevilles were not cheap when new. They were definately bought by those wanted the newest and best no matter the price. Eldos for women? Hardly. This guy may understand the joys of a Talisman, but he has no idea the history of the marque or ownership.

HartfordGuy
07-18-11, 09:48 AM
I kinda like this excerpt, where the author compares the Talisman to an '84 Seventy-Five. It's a great commentary on the demise of Cadillac.

I don't think that is a fair comparison. The Fleetwood Broughams were primarliy owner driven. A series seventy five (of any era) was seldom used as anything but livery use, be it commercial or private. Sure a series 75 will carry more people in smaller footprint. The 85-87 series 75 limos were also poor sellers. The market had changed. That buyer preferred the bigger stretch limos.

1977 Cadillacs a failure? Hardly. 77-79 Cadillacs sold very well. The Devilles broke sales records. This guy is clueless. Front drive was a huge advance and selling point on the 1967 on the Eldorados. Yes the 85-88 Devilles were too small for their day. The 89 restyle was a huge improvement. The 77-89 Rear drives were very popular.

Don't get me wrong, I love the 1976 Cadillacs. But looking at all of the cars today, the 76 is the one that looks comical by todays standards.

brougham_geezer
07-18-11, 11:23 AM
Here here, HartfordGuy! :D Also, am I the only one who finds the quality of the fake wood in the '74-'76 interiors to be extremely high? It looks awesome and feels fantastic to the touch. Actually, the whole interior during those years seems worlds ahead of the early '70s & '77-'92. And they certainly seem to hold up better long-term. That sweeping dash is something to behold. Beautiful.

Also, that triple black Talisman this guy is reviewing is a dream car of mine. I just love it.

Fleet
07-19-11, 10:37 PM
I don't think that is a fair comparison. The Fleetwood Broughams were primarliy owner driven. A series seventy five (of any era) was seldom used as anything but livery use, be it commercial or private. Sure a series 75 will carry more people in smaller footprint. The 85-87 series 75 limos were also poor sellers. The market had changed. That buyer preferred the bigger stretch limos.

1977 Cadillacs a failure? Hardly. 77-79 Cadillacs sold very well. The Devilles broke sales records. This guy is clueless. Front drive was a huge advance and selling point on the 1967 on the Eldorados. Yes the 85-88 Devilles were too small for their day. The 89 restyle was a huge improvement. The 77-89 Rear drives were very popular.

Don't get me wrong, I love the 1976 Cadillacs. But looking at all of the cars today, the 76 is the one that looks comical by todays standards.
Regarding your last sentence, I strongly disagree. To me, the '76 looks like a real Cadillac and the modern ones look comical.

CBodyFan
07-20-11, 12:37 AM
I don't think it is so much that the new ones look comical, and they are not my cup of tea, but that they do not look like what we happen to think a Cadillac should look like. From 1949 through 1992 the "standard" size RWD Cadillac's had a consistent look that made each new Cadillac recognizably Cadillac. Even the radical change from 1958 to 1959 or 1976 to 1977 retained a unmistakable family resemblance. The radically engineered and proportioned 1967 Eldorado was unmistakably Cadillac. Then there was the first small Cadillac, the 1976 Seville, that despite it's radically new styling and greatly altered proportions, still managed to look like and feel like a Cadillac. Even without bladed fenders and vertical tail lamps it was pure Cadillac. The 1979 Eldorado managed to retain it's road presence despite a radical downsizing.

By the late 1970s/early 80s (when the new cars of the 1980s were being planned) Cadillac management lost most of its control over it's cars and became just another GM corporate product resulting in cars like the Cimarron and the 1985 FWD DeVille. Today Cadillac is a "brand", but there was a time when Cadillac was an actual manufacturing and engineering concern with a general manager who had a great deal of say over Cadillac products. Probably the last car that Cadillac really controlled the design and engineering of was the 1976 Seville, the history of which is a fascinating read.

Today the "brand managers" at GM try to evoke a little heritage with vertical tail lamps. The current SRX even has a tiny little fin above the taillight (my sister has one, she didn't even notice it). But any sense of Cadillac being an automobile company is long gone. GM, unfortunately for them, took the road that Ford and Chrysler did, rather than stay the course with semi-autonomous divisions that worked so well for them for so many decades.

PRdeVille
07-20-11, 01:35 PM
Interesting read.
Great comments in this thread.

Now I love my '75 even more.
:D

Lord Cadillac
07-20-11, 04:42 PM
...but have you posted pictures?


Interesting read.
Great comments in this thread.

Now I love my '75 even more.
:D