: Fleetwood Review: November 20, 1992



Timothy60
04-25-06, 08:20 AM
Tom Incantalupo

Newsday Magazine
November 20, 1992
ONE EVENING about a year ago, when we were testing Buick's largest car, two young men in an aged VW Rabbit pulled alongside in fast-moving traffic on the LIE. The one in the passenger seat pointed to our Roadmaster and cupped his hand over his mouth as if he were stifling uncontrollable giggles. Then they drove off.
Certainly not a very polite thing to do, but many of you, no doubt, probably wonder what still attracts people to huge cars like the Roadmaster or the even larger Cadillac Fleetwood, dinosaurs from an age when the American gunboat ruled the road.
The answer, says Cadillac, is the implicit safety and perceived prestige of an ultra-large car, plus roominess and rear-wheel drive. The division sold more than 16,000 copies of its largest model last year, when it was called the Brougham and the Fleetwood name was on a smaller car. Last month, the new version's first full month on the market, sales were almost double last October's.
If this is your type of luxury car, you'll be happy to know that, at 225 inches, the 1993 Fleetwood is 4 inches longer than last year's version and is once again the longest mass-produced American car. Its interior is even roomier than before. 1.2 expanded its trunk, already huge, cubic feet for '93. If it had a window, a family of four could sleep in it.
The Fleetwood is even quieter than last year's model, says Cadillac, thanks to better insulation. The suspension has been revised, says Cadillac, but the ride still is softer than anything on the road except maybe a Lincoln Town Car and its handling still is clumsy compared to almost anything else except maybe the equally porky Town Car.
Acceleration is adequate; zero to 60 takes about 10.5 seconds. Mileage, noted in the box, is not bad for this type of car and the Fleetwood's 23-gallon tank takes regular unleaded.
Tied in with the standard antilock brakes is a traction control system that applies the rear brakes and reduces throttle to help prevent wheel spin, particularly useful in snow.
The Fleetwood's new styling is traditional but with a few modern cues, including flush glass. There are no fins. The interior is understated for a traditional American luxury car. Controls and displays are simple and everything is visible and reachable from the driver's seat.
The Fleetwood's bench-type seats - split 60-40 in front - are large and soft and nearly flat; Grandpa and Grandma should have no trouble sliding in an out of their new Fleetwood. Both front seats are power operated.
Finally, our nomination for the automotive feature of the year goes to Cadillac for the Fleetwood's turn signal chime; it gets progressively louder after a half-mile if it hasn't self canceled, such as after a lane change, and the driver forgets to shut it off.
1993 Cadillac Fleetwood Engine: 5.7-liter, 185 horsepower Transmission: Four-speed automatic, rear wheel drive Safety: Dual air bags, disc/drum brakes with antilock Weight: 4,418 pounds Trunk Capacity: 20.8 cubic feet Base Price: $34,590, incl. destination charge EPA Mileage: 16 mpg city, 25 mpg highway.

caddycruiser
04-25-06, 10:59 AM
A dumb review, but still intereting...and being added to my files with the others:thumbsup:

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-25-06, 11:40 AM
I'm trying to comprehend how two kids in a Rabbit would laugh at a Roadmaster..that thing would eat them ALIVE

CoupeDevilleRob
04-25-06, 06:32 PM
Stupid review, I learned a long time ago not to take anything written in the newspaper you can buy for a quarter at the entrance to the Mid-Town Tunnel too seriously. Newsday sucks. And that Rabbit should have been crushed like the tin can it is, then again I wouldn't want to get VW on my Buick.

lacmang
04-27-06, 01:45 PM
Its because of retards like the reviewer that they aren't making them anymore.

I can't stand motor trend or car and driver. They even complain about the size of the DTS/Deville. If it was up to them everything would be a mustang or camaro.

caddycruiser
04-27-06, 02:04 PM
Its because of retards like the reviewer that they aren't making them anymore.

I can't stand motor trend or car and driver. They even complain about the size of the DTS/Deville. If it was up to them everything would be a mustang or camaro.

I disagree completely, but don't have the energy or time to go any deeper into this.

The real problem was that these cars were always a bit out of date (which was good in some ways and bad in others), GM never really updated them at all, besides the LT1, and sales just continued to slag off over the years. Then for 1997, when new safety standards would have to be met, they just decided it'd be more profitable to switch over to more SUV's and skip putting the extra money into the cars.

If they had kept them updated enough (kind of like Ford has done with the Panther cars...new frames, steering systems, more refinements, new styling touches, etc.) and people continued to want them, they (the B & D cars) likely would have stayed in production longer.

Timothy60
04-28-06, 10:38 AM
I could not disagree more emphatically. The Fleetwood was a victim of natural market forces. GM's decision to halt the production of the Fleetwood was based purely on economics. We view this car as unique and interesting; GM viewed it as a means to make profit. When the demand drops below a given profitability index, the vehicle is dropped. It has nothing to do with how good a car is. Besides, dwindling sales figures clearly demonstrate that the perceived consumer apppeal of this car, even amongst affluent luxury-car buyers, was rapidly diminishing even before 1996. The Fleetwood faded away because of changing market demographics, pure and simple. We may like it, but a majority of the American car-buying public said, "No. This is not a product we want to buy."

caddycruiser
04-28-06, 11:00 AM
Yes, that's actually the rest of what I meant to say, just didn't have the time.

GM never did update these cars, but at the same time, the market was moving away from them and sales were going down the toilet.

Even though the hunt and demand for these cars today is incredible, that wasn't the case when they were new, strangely enough. I talked to someone once who worked at a GM dealer back in the 90's when the Caprice/Roadmaster, etc. were brand new and he said, particularly towards the end, people used to come in and say "Wow, those things are ugly", and that the demand in general just really fell off.

The Ford Panther cars still live on, with little updates almost every year and bigger ones every 4 or 5, despite the decline in demand. Having ridden in a few ex-police Philly cabs, there's definately still a market for a cheap to build, tough as nails, and basic to maintain car.

But, has been discussed recently, even these dinosaurs are nearing an end, or at least the traditional BOF rwd Town Car is, paving the way for a new and more advanced large sedan based on a new Ford platform, and with AWD available. The traditional "old" Ford and Merc are still supposed to stay on for a while, with a new refresh sometime soon.

Back to GM though, I'm ALL for a brand new, large RWD luxury liner with the character of the mainstay Fleetwood line. And, just like now, I'd be first in line to buy a 10 year old one at a big discount:thumbsup:

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-28-06, 02:25 PM
I wonder why GM's "dinosaurs" never sold well and Ford's did sell well at the same time...

caddycruiser
04-28-06, 04:09 PM
I wonder why GM's "dinosaurs" never sold well and Ford's did sell well at the same time...

I still do too. I'm old enough to remember things like the Roadmaster in the last 2 years, at least a little bit about it, and also the elusive Fleetwood or too which intrigued the heck out of me, but I never knew anything about it, honestly, until I started looking them up around about 2003.

And, from what I remember, at least where I lived, Roadmasters and Caprices when new, were still something that was rare enough to get pointed out. Wasn't true of the same year Fords, though, I don't think.

I guess it might have something to do with the fact that, in the 90's, these were great cars but still came across as just a bit more "classic" and not as overall modern as the Fords--at least in terms of some styling cues, interior materials and assembly, etc.

But definately an interesting question that I've yet to see anyone really, honestly and accurately have an answer for. Anyone else have any ideas?

Benzilla
04-29-06, 12:06 AM
Even though the hunt and demand for these cars today is incredible, that wasn't the case when they were new, strangely enough. I talked to someone once who worked at a GM dealer back in the 90's when the Caprice/Roadmaster, etc. were brand new and he said, particularly towards the end, people used to come in and say "Wow, those things are ugly", and that the demand in general just really fell off.

I consider myself to be an open minded person, but how the **** could anyone say that about one of those cars!!! Huge? yes. Boaty? yes. Slow? sometimes. But flat out ugly? hell no!

caddycruiser
04-29-06, 03:34 PM
Well, some Caprices aren't that great looking, and a lot of people hated the woody trim on a lot of Roadmasters. Most have a VERY classic look and feel, though, and into the mid/later 90's, not a lot of people were attracted to that anymore.

I don't think they were talking about the Fleetwood, per say, but this guy (who's only one example) did say very few people even wanted to go near these cars on the lot towards the end.

It's sort of telling, too, how the most popular one of all, the Impala SS, ended up in a lot of cases sitting around collecting dust on many dealers lots well into 1997 after production stopped because no one was buying them. Of course, they sold after some time and some nice discounts, but they weren't always hot movers.

BCs71
05-01-06, 02:32 PM
I wonder why GM's "dinosaurs" never sold well and Ford's did sell well at the same time...
GM pretty much dominated the fleet market (taxi, police, etc.) with the Caprice. Ford crown vics were the only competitor in the 90's and GM had the edge on them by a landslide.

The engineering design debuted in 1977. By 1996 it was pretty darn old.....

SUVs were all the rage in the mid-to-late 1990's. Everybody wanted them. Gas wast just over a dollar per gallon. Instead of re-engineering and redesigning an old platform and continue with fleet sales (engineering is very expensive), GM decided to get rid of the platform and rework the plant to manufacture SUV's which were in demand and profitable. A business decision.
The RWD B/D body plant was an easy changeover (in comparison to other alternatives) to RWD SUV's. Same wheel drive, plant was already setup for it!
It all comes down to dollars and sense.

Too bad for us.:rant2:

I~LUV~Caddys8792
05-01-06, 05:04 PM
Yes, but why was it that the Ford big bodies sold so well in the civilian markets compared to the FWB/Caprice/Roadmaster. Their platform isn't much newer, I think the panther platform debuted in '80 and they still use it now.

caddycruiser
05-01-06, 05:38 PM
Yes, but why was it that the Ford big bodies sold so well in the civilian markets compared to the FWB/Caprice/Roadmaster. Their platform isn't much newer, I think the panther platform debuted in '80 and they still use it now.

Yeah. Why the B and D bodies went out of production is a known fact (SUV's). The real question is why did the Fords always seem more common...or was this just a regional fluke, and the GM's actually DID sell better during the 90's?

I only wonder, as well, because I don't remember ever seeing as many Caprice/Roadmaster/Fleetwoods as I did the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis/Town Car crowd.

N0DIH
05-01-06, 06:46 PM
Actually the front suspension debuted in 1970, and the rest of the car in 1973 with the A/G body.

Yup, very old!


....The engineering design debuted in 1977. By 1996 it was pretty darn old......

I~LUV~Caddys8792
05-01-06, 06:51 PM
Yeah, but the 121" wheelbase chassis dates back to '77.

N0DIH
05-01-06, 09:06 PM
They stretched the A/G to the 121 in 77 for the D Body only, the primary wheelbase for the B body remained. The platform was already designed in 1973. It just got a facelift, tummy tuck and a boost in the toosh....

From Wikipedia:
1973 Cutlass
The F-85/Cutlass was redesigned for 1973-1977 using GM's new "Colonnade" A-body platform. The model lineup consisted of the Cutlass "S", Cutlass Supreme, Cutlass Salon, Vista Cruiser station wagon, and the 442 appearance package on the Cutlass "S" colonnade coupe.

From Musclecarclub.com

Comments: The Pontiac Grand Prix was restyled again with a new fixed-pillar "Colonnade" styling, which had fixed rear opera windows. The front end styling mimicked the previous generation, with a large vertical slatted grille, headlights set in square bezels, and turn signals cut into the leading edge of the front fenders. The slim bumpers were not as massive as the '71-'72 ones, but jutted ahead of the grille. The rear of the car was similar to previous years, although the taillights were no longer set in the bumper. The Grand Prix now shared its chassis with the 116 inch wheelbase Monte Carlo and all A-body four doors, a decrease of two inches. Overall length actually increased 3 inches to 216.6" but the real killer was overall weight, which increased 125 pounds on the base GP, but up to 500 pounds more on a fully loaded SJ model. Engine choices were limited to a 400 cid 4 barrel V8 rated at 230 bhp (net) or an optional 455 4 barrel V8 rated at 250 bhp (net). Although there were rumors that the legendary Super Duty 455 engines would be offered in the Grand Prix (as well as GTOs), this never happened and they were only available to the '73-'74 Firebird Formula and Trans Am. Despite all this, sales actually increased tremendously to 153,899 units. There was no special Hurst prepared SSJ models. Although the Pontiac Grand Prix would continue to the present day, 1972 is considered the end of the performance Grand Prix's.

From Conceptcarz.com
1994 - 1996 Impala SS
Exterior
Length 214.101 in | 5438.2 mm.
Width 77.501 in | 1968.5 mm.
Height 54.701 in | 1389.4 mm.
Wheelbase 115.901 in | 2943.9 mm.

BCs71
05-03-06, 01:09 PM
Yeah. Why the B and D bodies went out of production is a known fact (SUV's). The real question is why did the Fords always seem more common...or was this just a regional fluke, and the GM's actually DID sell better during the 90's?

I only wonder, as well, because I don't remember ever seeing as many Caprice/Roadmaster/Fleetwoods as I did the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis/Town Car crowd.

I think you're on to something here....
Because around Chicagoland there are B (and quite a few D) Bodies EVERYWHERE. These are beloved cars..... even the boxy style is very common. Tons of Roadmasters and wagons as well.
Much fewer vics and marquis cars around here, especially pre-96 vehicles. Even back in the day when it was a heads up race.
A lot of 98 and newer vics/mercs around here, partially because they are newer vehicles than the B-bodies and also because they had the market to themselves starting in 1997.

caddycruiser
05-03-06, 01:45 PM
Must just be a regional thing then. Not that I see a huge amount of Ford Panther cars anymore either, but it just seemed like (living in western PA and now DE) that I never really remember seeing much of anything in the way of a B or D body, even in the years they were new.

Then again, maybe it was even the RWD factor that limited a lot of sales in western PA, as GM FWD cars of the same era certainly were never in short supply...

STS 310
05-03-06, 02:18 PM
So for someone who obviously doesnt know, whats the bodsy des. on the Marauder? D? Thats the vic/merc cop taxi cruiser of the 90's?

I still rent the merc (cop car) from enterprise today as its a great compramise to the Deville in price 65 to 85 dollars per day. Very comfortable despite lower hp to the Deville and that RWD still brings a smile to face turning corners..

caddycruiser
05-03-06, 03:01 PM
So for someone who obviously doesnt know, whats the bodsy des. on the Marauder? D? Thats the vic/merc cop taxi cruiser of the 90's?

I still rent the merc (cop car) from enterprise today as its a great compramise to the Deville in price 65 to 85 dollars per day. Very comfortable despite lower hp to the Deville and that RWD still brings a smile to face turning corners..

Think of the Marauder as the Impala SS of the '90s brought into the 21st century...then not selling well at all and being canned.

It was basically what you get when you take a stock Mercury Grand Marquis, toughen up the looks, tighten the suspension, and drop in a more powerful engine--just like the Impala SS was a dressed up and more tightly tuned version of your typical Caprice.

The regular Ford Crown Vics, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Town Cars--all based off the same body-on-frame RWD platform--still sell pretty well today, even though the higher performance Marauder has been dropped.

Still, the Fords are getting pretty long in the tooth, and should be due for an update pretty soon, though there hasn't been much of any details out yet.