: My Dilema: 1995 Fleetwood vs. 2006 DTS Performance

08-09-11, 03:03 PM
OK, I know some would say there is no contest, but I'm trying to weigh the variables. Here goes, and thanks for your opinions!

The cars in question are as follows:

1995 Fleetwood White, Blue interior, has the LT1 engine, 98k miles. The car seems to be flawless. Straight as an arrow, no rust; paint, chrome, interior, undercarriage and underhood all excellent. The asking price is $8500.

2006 DTS Metallic blue. tan interior, chrome wheels and performance package. 76k miles. An extremely clean, very attractive car. Minor scratch on rear bunper, one tire sensor appears to be faulty. The asking price is $15,000.

I know in many ways this is apples and oranges, but both cars are very appealing in their own way. I've had DTS's as rentals before, and like them. I have not driven the Fleetwood yet, and do know that it will be quite different over the road. I guess what miht concern me most is I am unfamiliar with what to expect for "quality" with the Fleetwood. My only experience with a relative of this GM platform was with a friends early '90's Buick wagon, and that was not a favorite of mine. Any insight about the Fleetwood, the LT1 and what I might expect for problems with either car would be helpful!


08-09-11, 03:09 PM
I have a 95 Fleetwood Brougham and I love it.
Tons of power, very solid and reliable. Comfortable to ride in and very spacious...we've taken road 4+ hour road trips with 6 people in mine and it was comfortable.
Fuel economy...mine gets around 20 but I've heard people getting more.

LT1 engine can be pricey for maintenance. To replace the distributor cap you need to take the water pump and some other stuff off the engine front...if the water pump leaks you will ruin your distributor.

It is a tough choice but for me...at the price difference you've outlined...I'd go with the fleetwood any day. I would, however, attempt to get it cheaper. $8500 sounds way high to me.

08-09-11, 03:30 PM
I'd definately be talking them down- I'd be interested at around $6500. Good to know about the distributor. The engine is clean, but there is oxidation over all the visible aluminum, I'm assuming it's the original water pump.

08-09-11, 04:02 PM
Right, and you'll probably want to change it soon.

The distributor (even just cap and rotor) are expensive on the LT1's...then throw in the cost of labor to have it done, about 3 to 4 hours, if you're not doing it yourself...

it can add up.

08-09-11, 04:24 PM
It depends on what kind of car you want to end up with. The DTS will blow the doors off the Fleetwood in every objective category save interior room. It's by far the more modern car. The Fleetwood is a much more sedate car (though it can be modded for more performance), very languid, very floaty. The DTS is likely screwed together better than the Fleetwood, but the LT1 is more durable than the Northstar.

08-09-11, 04:35 PM
Some on here might find this hard to believe, but this would be a hard decisions for me as well.

The DTS is obviously newer and therefore would be more reliable. It has more safety features and is designed for handling and stability. The DTS will also have a higher resale value; depending on where you live, the Fleetwood is only worth $2000 in great condition. Speaking aesthetically, the DTC, though better than other Cadillac models, is very cold and impersonal.

The Fleetwood is massive; America's largest regular production car. It is the last of the big-body Cadillacs and has a beautiful flowing body design (not as nice as the Brougham that came before it, but still nice), that makes it look even larger than it is. It is a car that says "Cadillac" loud and clear, which was lost on post millennium productions. The Fleetwood is not agile or super fast, but it will get you around in comfort and luxury.

The best thing to do is take both cars for a long test drive. Throw the sales-douche out and just drive around by-yourself for an hour. One of them is going to speak to you and that's the one you should get.

08-09-11, 05:11 PM
Comin' from fwd Seville STS and currently drivin' my dad's stunnin' Fleetwood Brougham ....Well, I will be honest with you that damn fwd felt faster by fraction lol . Still, good news is LT1 engines can be modded and we had our engine tuned , performance is very satisfying for a ride this side and this Cadillac is not like my childhood Caddies in performance wise
Parts are cheaoer I mean cheaper than that of high pricey Northstar machines by huge margin too ;)

08-09-11, 05:14 PM
I vote the brougham.

08-09-11, 06:17 PM
I had an '01 DTS, which has the same drivetrain as the '06. It truly is an apples-to-oranges comparison. I loved that DTS. It was pretty quick for what it was, had every imaginable amenity and was decent in the snow (front wheel drive). With the Stabilitrak active suspension it handled very well. I totaled it when I hit the chief of police with it about 3 days after spending about 20 hours replacing the TCC soleniod. Very disappointing from many perspectives.

The DTS can get spendy for repairs compared to the tried and true longitudinally-mounted V8 and RWD of the Fleetwood. I like doing my own work so I got a Fleetwood after my last Deville bit the dust. I could work on the Devilles, but the wrong-wheel drive and cramped engine space made it harder. I'm getting to a point in my life where I don't go out of my way to make things harder for myself....

Up through '02 (or thereabouts) they were only good for about 100k miles at which point you'd either blow a head gasket or the TCC solenoid will go. The cost of either repair renders the car junk. They claim to have remedied the head gasket problem and TCC solenoid problem in the later model cars, but I'm skeptical.

I don't have a "real" Fleetwood (both of mine have been stretches), but they are "plain" compared to the Devilles. Fewer bells and whistles. But they're all business, which I like. The '96 had a lot of power, though I think my DTS would have smoked it. My '94 seems a little more sluggish, but it's a bigger car than the '96.

Anyway, if I had the cash I'd get the DTS.

Fleetwood Greg
08-09-11, 06:22 PM
Having just bought a 95 Fleetwood I may be a little biased, however I find some of the newer Cadillacs a little plain as they don't stand out to me.
I have heard of expensive repairs on the Northstar dealing with cooling and coolant consumption.
The drivetrain on the Fleetwood is bulletproof Chevy stuff and will run reliably for a lot of miles.
I sold a 95 Roadmaster to my nephew when it had 240k, it now has just turned 300k and has the original untouched engine, still has great power and doesn't use oil.
I think the asking price of $8500 is a little steep for the Fleetwood, I bought mine for $5000 with 54,000 miles, once the Fleetwoods hit 100k the value seems to drop a-lot.
Also consider that an 06 is still depreciating quickly, where as the 95 may be at the bottom of it's depreciation cycle, and if kept nice may be the better investment.
Good luck, Greg

08-09-11, 06:53 PM
All good points. I already know I like the DTS, but I do worry about expensive repairs on an already more expensive car. I've always had big RWD cars so I'm not worried about the raodability differences between the 2 platforms, it's just a matter of appreciating each for its abilities. I have been concerned about how well "screwed together" a GM car of this vintage is, and if it would be halfway rattled apart by now. Also curious about fuel economy ( I know, I'm not in the Prius category here) and the reliability of electrics, engine, etc. I wish there were more of these available to choose from, but most I have seen are pretty played out. It's nice to see one that truly is in nice condition. I appreciate the on-going thoughts!

08-09-11, 07:21 PM
If you are looking for value for your money get the Fleetwood. It is built like a tank and there just aren't that many around. It makes an excellent daily driver and highway cruiser. It is built like a tank and is easy to work on. It has body on frame construction that will never be seen on cars again. If you maintain it it will last for multiple 100s of thousands of miles. All that for around $8500-Winner!

DTS is a nice car but it doesn't have the presence of the Fleet.

08-09-11, 08:02 PM
No-one can talk you into either. They are so different drive both and get whatever you like the best.

08-09-11, 08:14 PM
^+1. Comparing these two is like comparing Batamax to Blu Ray...

08-09-11, 08:36 PM
Unlike DTS, Fleetwood is RWD , not good in the snow. On the other side, Fleetwoods 5.7 l LT1 Chevy engine is more reliable and easier to work on compared to Northstar.
$8.500 is too steep, IMHO.

08-09-11, 09:16 PM
being from Minnesota, I can't imaging going back to a rear-wheel-drive car during the winter - especially like last winter with 98 inches of snow!

08-09-11, 09:31 PM
You also must consider the price and future reliability for the DTS. The Fleetwood will get you stares and a feeling like you are the biggest baddest MOFO on the highway. The DTS looks okay, but they also looks cheap compared to the Fleetwood. The Fleetwood has real chrome bumpers and stainless side panels, it has a hood ornament, classic Cadillac script on the trunk, cool "Fleetwood" script on the front door exterior. The doors are heavy, (front doors), the seats are probably more comfy in the Fleetwood than the DTS, plus it's a wider car so if you have any tall and wide friends they will appreciate the extra width of the Fleet.

If you can take good care of the Fleet, it will last forever, the LT1 is a bullet proof engine, you just have to make sure that you change the coolant at least once a year to flush out any containment's so that you don''t have a water pump leakage.

The interior is a hit and miss in the Fleetwoods, it's very bland but durable. I have not had any fallen trim or anything break in my Fleetwoods interior. I do hate plastic door handles since they tend to creak upon closing the doors or when you touch them.

Drive both for sure, the DTS will most likely feel better and will be quieter and smooth operating than the Fleetwood due to it being a much newer car, but then you have to ask yourself "Is this a real Cadillac"? The Fleetwood definitely has that "Cadillac" feeling.

08-09-11, 09:36 PM
The Fleetwood has real chrome bumpers and stainless side panels, The side panels are plastic.

08-10-11, 02:09 AM
:lies: I think...

08-10-11, 04:20 AM
Plastic? Well the gray trim that typically fades obviously is, but everything else is chrome paneling.

08-10-11, 06:56 AM
$8500 is a bit steep for those miles, I'd say $6500-7500 would be a good price for one that was "immaculate" with no prior body work or rust.

As for the mechanical differences, IMO if you plan to own it for more than 2 years, the RWD Fleetwood will be cheaper to maintain, assuming its been maintained by its previous owner. Other than the water pump, optispark, rear leveling suspension, cracked dash pad, and rust if you drive it up north, there isn't a whole lot to break on these old RWD sleds.

The DTS will have tighter steering and better handling. The interior is "nicer", but I personally cannot stand it because it uses the same steering wheel, headlight knob, radio knobs, and hvac knobs as a $20,000 Impala. With the new car, I feel like I'm buying an inferior Chevy Impala with a v8, nicer wood trim, and more back seat space. Same thing can be said about the 95 Fleetwood, but IMO they made the interiors sufficiently different and they both used better v8 motors with a far superior RWD layout.

EDIT: The trunk on the DTS is also smaller by a good bit. I managed to fit four 17" Impala SS wheels with tires in the trunk of my 95, with the spare tire removed. Honestly its a 3 body trunk, maybe 4 bodies if you're wacking Japanese guys.

08-10-11, 07:44 AM
Plastic? Well the gray trim that typically fades obviously is, but everything else is chrome paneling.
Metal-plated plastic, just like the grill. If you ever removed the fender skirts you would notice how light they are. If the panels were made of steel, they would be much heavier.

08-10-11, 08:10 AM
being from maine I can tell you that I've had no problems driving these big heavy boats in the snow...

I prefer them to rear wheel drive because as long as you drive carefully you'll be fine, but when you want to go out and have some fun in the snow you can get these cars spinning and sliding like you wouldn't believe. Can't do that in a front wheel drive :)

08-10-11, 08:21 AM
Found lower mileage Fleetwoods for less $ on cars.com just yesterday, one was under that and had 21k miles.

Totally different CLASSES of car. Like comparing an E-class benz to a S-class. Just not the same market.

Don't buy into the Optispark issues like most do. Sure they do have issues, but they are most commonly due to neglect. People seem to think if you can't see the distributor cap you don't need to change it. And when you do change it, change the seals, and the Optispark will lead a lifetime of good solid service. My Fleetwood has 250k and got the first one changed around 100k by the first or second owner, I am the third. I got the car at 140k and now has 250k and I am selling to my son. It runs 15.2@95 mph according to the datalogger. Mine's a rare 7000 tow package car that comes with a beefed up 4L60E and 3.42 gears. If you want to mod, the Fleetwood hands down.

But it still is an OLD car, don't let miles fool you. Things harden, they break, they leak, mice chew on things when things sit. So look it over very very carefully. Don't expect low miles and think it is lke the newer 2006 DTS. It is going to need maintenance. First things first, change diff oil and CHANGE THE GASKET, the factory ones were wrong and starve the axles of oil and you eat axles up. And there isn't any source of new ones once GM runs out. (I have a pair of new ones)

Read up on them. I wouldn't hesitate to get another Fleetwood, am considering it. But I might budget in a DOD 5.3L for it too.... :) The Fleetwood shares the Caprice/Roadmaster and the Caprice 9C1 cop car running gear, so a lot of great stuff is available for it that make it a great road car in every fashion. The chassis dates bacK to 1971, and has been refined over the years. It shares front suspension with the 70-81 T/A-Z28, so high perf parts are available. The LT1 is a great running engine, one of GM's best. It has its issues but they are minor compared to how many miles these will go when properly maintained.

Price common things on RockAuto.com, brakes, water pump, calipers, alternators, etc. See what prices compare to what you might need one of these days. My Fleetwood has 250k on the factory installed alternator. I upgraded starter to the PG260 over the PG250 a few years back from a junkyard. Solid as a rock. And they do wonderful in the snow.

08-10-11, 08:35 AM
Can't do that in a front wheel drive :)

The electronic nanny (Stabilitrak) on my '01 wouldn't let me get away with anything. Trying to put it into sideways slides in the snow always resulted in it taking over and correcting itself. It's amazing technology, but it would be nice if you can shut it off. Maybe you can on the newer ones - I dunno.

I think the ride in the Fleetwoods, despite their age and "primitive" suspension, is far better than the DTS. We've had 4 of them, the most recent being an '07 (or '08 - I don't remember). You can't shake that FWD feeling. They ride a little more harsh and just "feel" different. Tough to put my finger on, but the Fleetwoods definitely have a smoother, quieter ride IMO.

08-10-11, 09:28 AM
btw...we may all sound biased towards the fleetwood but this IS the rear wheel drive forum ;)

08-10-11, 08:57 PM
btw...we may all sound biased towards the fleetwood but this IS the rear wheel drive forum ;)

As much as I like my (FWD) Seville, I'm not biased toward FWD at all. The feel of RWD is just better in my opinion. I LOVE Fleetwoods, in every aspect. The size, the style, the presence, the comfort, everything. I prefer the LT1 (actually, almost any GM V8) to the Northstar. The DTS will have much better driving dynamics, and is FAR more advanced technologically, but it's almost appliance like when compared to the Fleetwood.

As far as the snow thing goes: I live in Boston, we get some pretty nasty snow storms here, and I've had/driven some BIG RWD cars. If you drive like you should drive in inclement weather, and not like it's clear and dry out all winter long, you'll be fine. The biggest problem with RWD in the snow, it can be hard to parallel park on a hill.

I'd take the Fleetwood any day.

08-10-11, 09:16 PM
I will say my old 91 Brougham was a TANK in the snow. Provided you had about 100lbs of weight in the trunk. Never got stuck with my bags of concrete mix in the back. As mentioned earlier, it was a RIOT flinging that car around in an empty parking lot. I don't think my 95 would be quite as good, since it has a lot more power and its way too easy to spin the wheels on even a dry road.

08-10-11, 10:19 PM
aron the 95's are still good in snow. turn off traction control and put some good snow tires on :)

08-11-11, 08:14 AM
I admit to a fondness for the Fleetwood. I've mostly had RWD cars, and find that if I put Blizzaks (or similar) on all 4 corners, and 80-100lbs in the trunk, I can literally go anywhere. My wife's Chrysler 300C is so equipped- no problems in the snow. The point is not too important, as I have a 4WD truck for winter use. I wish the dash could have been done a bit better; The plastic wood kills me for a car of the Brougham's stature. I do appreciate hearing about specifics like the water pump, and diff cover gasket- Thanks!

08-11-11, 08:46 AM
Two very different cars. I have daily driven a couple Fleetwoods ('93, 95, two 96s), a couple B body wagons, and a couple Roadmasters. They are very reliable but the technology is archaic and as was stated before... these are old cars that will show some age on materials. My beloved Black '96 was my daily driver for 1.5 years before I made it a weekend/show car only. The original owner daily drove it for 8 years before I bought it but luckily it was well kept. Now as these cars age; the nice ones are hard to come by and fetch a premium.

The Fleetwood and Roadmaster have a classic design that catches attention everywhere. The newer Cadillacs are more cookie cutter than anything else. If you can snag a 2007 DTS with the 5 year 100K powertrain warranty and every option... go for it. It would be more comfortable and easier to drive than a Fleetwood. My Father had two Performance package DTS models and they are the perfect cruiser.

I sold my heavily modified '96 two years ago for $10K... that one for $8,500 is a rip off.


My Father just sold his 2006 DTS w/ performance package, NAV, laser cruise, rear sunshade, chrome 18s and 100K miles for $12,900. Alot of car for the money.

08-11-11, 08:47 AM
I love the DHS...Looked at a 2006 last year when I was replacing my Monte Carlo. Jet black, black leather interior, fully loaded, fast...mmm, I would take it any day. Then I started looking at the multitude of gadgets, including the nav system built into the radio. I decided to make some enquiries re: 'what if this went, how much would I have to pay to fix it?'. That nav system was over $2000 to replace if something went wrong....scared me away.

That being said, I also loved the Fleetwood...but I wasn't a big fan of the dash...or the way the hood flew off during the test drive. LOL.

08-14-11, 12:31 PM
Nice discussion, folks.

A lot of good info and comparisons.

We have two Fleetwoods (95 and 96) and a 99 deville (older version of dts). I enjoy driving both deville and fleetwood but prefer the Fleetwood. This may reflect my being an old fart - but regardless of the reason, I enjoy the big boat and feel very safe in it.

I have replaced an optispark distributor, myself with assistance (well, maybe I was the assistant) Yes, it is a PITA but not a big enough deal to affect my purchasing the car. It is nothing compared to dealing with a Northstar with leaking head gasket.

As stated by others, 8,500 is too high. I am still shopping Fleetwoods, expecting to buy another one, and I can find good ones for less. My searches are on ebay, autotrader.com and craigslist by using crazedlist which enables me to search many cities at once. You must be in the Firefox browser to use crazedlist.

Re. driving in snow, I lived in Minnesota for many years and did not find driving in snow a problem with RWD. You just learn how to drive in snow. No biggie. You had to learn to drive, right ?

Good luck, whichever you decide.


08-14-11, 01:11 PM
I have replaced an optispark distributor, myself with assistance (well, maybe I was the assistant) Yes, it is a PITA but not a big enough deal to affect my purchasing the car. It is nothing compared to dealing with a Northstar with leaking head gasket.

Or that stupid torque converter soleniod. $15 part, $2,500 in labor.

I brought up the snow thing. I didn't mean to imply you can't drive a RWD car in the snow. I grew up driving G-Body GMs in the snow. No problem, and a lot of fun at times (particularly in posi-equipped cars). However, put the Fleetwood and DTS side by side (which was the point of the original post), and the DTS is going to be a lot more manageable with its FWD and stability control. My Fleetwoods have open rears and the trac control/ABS delete which makes them a real treat in the snow. This "new" one (the '94) burns rubber easily on dry pavement - I suspect it's going to be helpless in the snow.

08-14-11, 03:54 PM
I have a '92 Brougham d'Elegance w/ 52K that. Owned for 6 years with nothing other than routine maintenance. We recently spent a week in Florida and I drove around an '06 DTS belonging to my wife's grandfather also with around 52K. The silver DTS was well optioned, it cruised well on the highway, and it goes completely unnoticed by everyone. I would not trade my '92 for that thing in a million years. Nothing turns heads like a white Fleetwood from the 90's. You'll have people trying to buy it from you every time you stop at a gas station.

08-14-11, 07:44 PM
I didn't read what everyone else said ... but I've lived years with the FWD northstar and the RWD LT1 in the bodies that you're talking about (actually two LT1s a 95 and a 96). Stock the northstar is on average fractionally faster. But I've never gotten a compliment on the new body style. But on the Fleetwoods, yes people say "Now that's a Cadillac".

Bodywise - the Fleetwood blows the DEVILLE/DTS/DHS/DTC away.

Interiorwise - the DEVILLE/DTS can come with Bose Stereo's/navigation/DVD/On-Star and a Driver Control Center that keeps pace with the 21St Century. The leather, seats, and other materials and a full class above as well. Add that there are no leak issues (A-Pillar or Trunk) and the newer car blows the Fleetwood away.

Powertrainwise - When running well, the Northstar is a dream to have and to hear. All come with 100k exhaust systems. The LT1 is one finicky engine and doesn't like deep puddles (the optistark is the only REAL problem with the engine). Doing your work on the LT1 is okay - UNLESS you're changing all spark plugs or the Opti-spark/Water pump, in which case it can be torture. Doing work on the Northstar is simply suicidial (unless you're really a mechanic and guess what there are alot of mechanic who don't want to work on them... that says alot!). Head gaskets, Head gaskets, Head gaskets, is what you hear about Northstars... and for good reason. Since you're buying used, I would put it to you this way: The Northstar seller wouldn't necessarily know that his head gaskets are going. You wouldn't know if you have another 50k or 5k because the tipping point (temps out of control, oil in the coolant, etc.) comes like a thief in the night. The LT1 well you'll know if the fuel pump is an issue on starting (hard starts) or if the Opti-spark is a problem by driving it (hesitation). You'll of course look for leaks ... but more on that later. The 4T80E transmission in the Deville/DTS is not legendary - its infamous. Do a google search and see for yourself. Problems, Problems, Problems and did I mention Problems. Do the same thing for the 4L60e (the successor to the 700R4) and in addition to the normal replacement parts you'll see folks selling them for racing. Do I need to say more.

You want to upgrade the Deville/DTS engine/transmission good luck Mr. Guinea Pig. Upgrade the LT1/4L60e (which began life in the Corvette)? Now you're going to get a headache from the shear number of options many of which are completely proven. Upgrade options on really exist for the LT1/4L60e

Now you're buying used ... and that means you taking the chance on a possible grenade in the DTS/Deville or you're buying the LT1/4L60e which every city mechanic knows like the back of his hand since it same the layout in the police cruisers and taxi's for years.

Finally I don't care about snow/rain/inclement whether aspects of FWD vs RWD both come with anti-lock brakes and traction control in the worse snow storms but have gotten me home without a hitch and both get stuck when sitting on snow covered ice.

If you're pampering a well maintained car its your choice ... but if you're not sure or if you plan on doing ANYTHING beyond stock to the engine or transmission - then the LT1/4L60e is the only way to go.

Drivingwise - This is the easy - the Deville/DTS even in base trim handles better then the Fleetwood. Yea you can spend money to get the Fleetwood to out perform them ... but then again you're spending money to get the Fleetwood to match or out perform the Deville/DTS.

There's the major differences... you decide.

08-14-11, 08:19 PM
^^^ Nice. Made me chuckle several times. I agree with everything.

08-15-11, 05:13 PM
I think everyone who drives a caddy and is a real enthusiast should drive an old school.

I would get the fleetwood because of the way its put together and for the LT1 one of the greatest GM angines of all time, also its a real cadillac its like one of the images of comfortable floaty cadillac transportation.

I wouldent get the DTS for one because most new cars are just garbage IMO. Also I had a FWD car and I will not own one again they're just not kosher also the new caddys sadly to me seem like sell outs, they're just not the same and they seem to depreciate REALLY fast.

Lord Cadillac
08-15-11, 06:57 PM
I haven't read the whole thread but I'll chime in a little late - since I've had both a 1995 Fleetwood Brougham and a 2000 DeVille DTS... If the DTS doesn't have a warranty, it'll definitely cost you more to own/fix than the Fleetwood. I traded my Fleetwood for the DeVille DTS because I'm a technology nut. I need gadgets and high tech stuff. I needed the cool looking, lit up instrument panel. The DeVille was also pretty quick compared to the Fleetwood. It handled nicely. It turned heads everywhere I went. If this stuff appeals to you, than get the DeVille.

On the other hand, the Fleetwood was more comfortable. It also had more road presence. You can very easily modify the Fleetwood to be as quick as the DeVille - and with the right wheels, tint - and if it's a nice color - it can also turn heads.

I like both cars. If I were looking for a second car (already having my high tech vehicle and not needing another one) I'd definitely take the Fleetwood over the DeVille.