: Fleetwood Review: September 28, 1996



Timothy60
04-27-06, 08:23 AM
Larry Printz

The Morning Call
September 28, 1996
This car is like Roseanne Barr. Big and proud of it.
But this is the Cadillac Fleetwood, an automotive dinosaur on its way to the tar pits, among the last of Autobilius Giaganticus (a large type of automobile produced by Detroit, usually rear-wheel drive).
The test car was dressed to the nines. Or even the tens. Take the paint. It was gold. With a matching gold vinyl roof.
The rear wheels are tucked inside the fenders, making the car look even longer than it is. It doesn't need the visual help. After all, here is a 121-1/2-inch wheelbase and a car that measures an astounding 225 inches long and 78 inches wide.
Needless to say, one feels less like a driver and more like the captain of a very large vessel.
Power comes from Chevrolet's 5.7-liter V-8. With 260 horsepower and a whopping 335 pound-feet of torque, the classic small block will motivate this barge to 60 mph in 8-1/2 seconds. The engine is hooked to a four-speed automatic transmission. It's also hooked to the rest of the car; although the steering feel, pedal effort and ride are so insulated you'll wonder what's going on.
But that's the way this car's audience wants it. The ride is floaty and disconnected, so removed from the road you don't know you're in trouble till the tail starts to slide. It will slide, too. A bumpy, rain-soaked corner will make the rear-drive Caddy's tail come around despite all that road-hugging weight.
But the type of guy who wears his pants high on his chest appreciates all this. They're at a stage of life where they don't want to be bothered with what's going on in the real world.
That's the only thing that could explain the instrument gathering (it's tough to call it a "cluster"): an odometer, speedometer and fuel gauge. Everything else is covered by idiot lights.
One of those lights covers the traction control, which, when activated, shoves the accelerator back at you to signal it's working. "Disconcerting" is a mild understatement.
Automatic climate control is standard, with big buttons that are easy to understand and operate. Ditto the AM/FM cassette-CD player, which seemed at its best playing oldies. Somehow, it fits the car. (But then so does driving to Florida come November -- you could hold a party in the 21-cubic-foot trunk.)
All of this is housed in a horizontal dash with a shelf so deep and flat it gives the impression that this car is every bit as big as it is. If it had a bathroom, you could park it on a street in Manhattan and rent it for $1,600 a month.
There's a stand-up ornament at the end of the hood. For those of you who have never driven a car this big, it is functional -- it shows you where the hood ends. (Sometimes it's hard to tell).
But this is a Cadillac. That means luxury, but it depends on which luxuries you appreciate. There are no power moon roof or memory seat settings. But a CD changer is available, even if steering-wheel-mounted radio controls (available in Pontiacs) aren't. A built-in garage door opener is standard. And what Caddy would be complete without a Twilight Sentinel?
This car is for the contrarian. Like Roseanne Barr, it is unashamed of its identity, no matter how much of the sun it blocks from the concrete.
In many ways, the concept of the Fleetwood dates from a time when Cadillac truly was The Standard of the World. But the car is passing into history, as did the Berks County coachworks for which it is named. GM is putting its big-car heritage out to pasture, so this whaler is headed out to sea for the last time, to be replaced by the more sanely sized, but still large, Sedan DeVille.
Ironically, the test car was damaged on its way to being delivered. The famous Cadillac crest was cockeyed at the end of the hood. Somehow, that seemed symbolic of how today's car buyer views these rear-drive behemoths: out of step, out of time.
But it sure was fun while it lasted.
Standard: 5.7-liter OHV V-8, four-speed automatic transmission, power steering, electronic level control, dual stainless steel exhaust, cruise control, cast aluminum wheels, dual airbags, antilock brakes, daytime running lamps, automatic door locks, power heated outside mirrors, Twilight Sentinel, power trunk lid pull down, trunk convenience net, power front seats, electronic climate control, compact spare tire, AM/FM cassette stereo Optional: Security Package (theft deterrent system, auto lock/unlock fuel filler door), leather seating area, chrome wheels, AM/FM-cassette-CD. Base price: $36,995 As tested: $41,855 EPA rating: 17 mpg city, 26 mpg highway

caddycruiser
04-27-06, 09:01 AM
This is a good one, and nicely representative of the newer models. Except for this:


There are no power moon roof or memory seat settings. But a CD changer is available, even if steering-wheel-mounted radio controls (available in Pontiacs) aren't

Huh? That's a good comment about the steering wheel audio controls (would have been nice), but memory seats were on every Brougham model ever made from '93-96, and a moonroof was optional on every Fleetwood from the factory...with several then getting them aftermarket too.

Where do you keep getting these from?

BCs71
04-27-06, 09:26 AM
This is a good one, and nicely representative of the newer models. Except for this:



Huh? That's a good comment about the steering wheel audio controls (would have been nice), but memory seats were on every Brougham model ever made from '93-96, and a moonroof was optional on every Fleetwood from the factory...with several then getting them aftermarket too.

Where do you keep getting these from?

Yeah, seems like he tested a base model (non-Brougham) maybe? Although the price-as-tested was $41K so I dunno.....
Not much mention of the power available, so he must have had the less-impressive gearing in the base model???


That's the only thing that could explain the instrument gathering (it's tough to call it a "cluster"): an odometer, speedometer and fuel gauge. Everything else is covered by idiot lights.
One of those lights covers the traction control, which, when activated, shoves the accelerator back at you to signal it's working. "Disconcerting" is a mild understatement.



There are some honest statements I must agree with...

N0DIH
04-27-06, 02:58 PM
My mom's 97 Deville has the steering wheel controls, and her wheel and my wheel are identical except for that. Can we upgrade???

They needed to test a FE2 car not a FE1. And a V4P would have got a much better review with the more lively trans shifting. I know, I just put in the non V4P shifting (Corvette based right now) and it is definately more sedate. Ok, but sedate. But the mpg seems to like it more....


This is a good one, and nicely representative of the newer models. Except for this:



Huh? That's a good comment about the steering wheel audio controls (would have been nice), but memory seats were on every Brougham model ever made from '93-96, and a moonroof was optional on every Fleetwood from the factory...with several then getting them aftermarket too.

Where do you keep getting these from?

they probably tested some stripper R1P car. Not a production FWB with average options. They should never be allowed to test a base model, always top of the line with every possible driveline option to ensure they get a good review on it.

My stereo rocks, may not be the loudest, but excellent quality considering it is a OEM stereo. MUCH better than my 91 SDV stereo.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-27-06, 06:03 PM
That's one thing I dont like about my deVille, the lazy 1-2 shift at WOT, does the V4P tranny shift firmer?

N0DIH
04-27-06, 07:58 PM
Yes, much. Trans pressures are firmer across the board, shift points are higher, lockups are higher.

But, you likely will loose mileage in the city. But you are geared for power more, so your typical shifts are in the 1800 rpm range from gear to gear, the non V4P seems more like 1200-1500 rpm range.

It is all PCM controlled in the 4L60E. Got TunerCat or LT1 Edit and I can hook you up....

I~LUV~Caddys8792
04-27-06, 10:33 PM
Oh so it shifts higher too....

It's kinda like a sport mode for the regular 4L60-E, firmer shifts, higher shifts, more tranny pressure etc etc, sounds like the way to go.... I'm really liking the idea of a LT1 Brougham, I've really started to miss my Roadmaster again recently, even if it did have it's flaws..

BCs71
05-01-06, 03:07 PM
My mom's 97 Deville has the steering wheel controls, and her wheel and my wheel are identical except for that. Can we upgrade???


A lot of Impala/Caprice guys add a Monte Carlo steering wheel (cruise/radio controls with air bag I think) to their car.

So likely it is possible on a Caddy as well. I guess anything is possible with enough research and motivation....

ShadowLvr400
05-01-06, 09:31 PM
Traction control is easily turned off... Though I will admit, the instrument panel is a little blah.

N0DIH
05-01-06, 10:26 PM
My .bin file has a switch setting for "traction control". Default is OFF. Is this the software traction control like the N* cars have?

ShadowLvr400
05-01-06, 10:27 PM
Nope, it just turns off that pedal kickback. It's in the glovebox of the Fleetwoods.

96Fleetwood
05-02-06, 01:34 PM
Next up on my list of modifications in the next year or so:

1) Beef up the stock seats (bigger side bolsters)
2) Floor shifter with custom console
3) Steering wheel radio controls from 1997-1999 Deville

:thumbsup:

I wish they could come out and take a rid of one of our "modified" Fleetwoods... that might change the review a bit, eh?

caddycruiser
05-02-06, 01:46 PM
Next up on my list of modifications in the next year or so:

1) Beef up the stock seats (bigger side bolsters)
2) Floor shifter with custom console
3) Steering wheel radio controls from 1997-1999 Deville

:thumbsup:

I wish they could come out and take a rid of one of our "modified" Fleetwoods... that might change the review a bit, eh?

Yep. How do you plan on accomplishing the steering wheel radio controls? I've read through it being done on a Caprice/Impala, but these cars are set up a bit differently wiring and electronics-wise, at least for the stereo.

http://carad.ebayimg.com/i11/04/a/06/d6/12/85_4.JPG

Then again, maybe it isn't that hard at all...someone just needs to be first to figure it out:thumbsup:

I want to do a console/floor shifter too, and beef up the seats a tad, but probably not for a few more years.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
05-02-06, 03:35 PM
Floor console + Center shift = way cool!!!

What do you do about the stock seats though?

caddycruiser
05-02-06, 04:52 PM
Floor console + Center shift = way cool!!!

What do you do about the stock seats though?

If you keep the stock seats (which a lot do), you just cut the extra section off of the driver's side "60" portion, which means cutting the extra frame off there as well as the padding, then just get the upholstery re-closed over the area. Walla, then you have two "40" section buckets.

Or others have done buckets of out of other vehicles, and just ditched the stock bench seat. Neither is tremendously hard to do, just takes some time.

Like this, which is a case of the stock driver's seat cut down and then a custom-built center console:

http://www.uniquekind.net/caddypage/Images/114_1495%20(Medium).JPG

But enough hijacking this thread...BACK ON TOPIC:)

I~LUV~Caddys8792
05-02-06, 05:31 PM
That's probably the coolest FWB I've ever seen!

caddycruiser
05-02-06, 05:49 PM
That's probably the coolest FWB I've ever seen!

It's definately ONE of the cool ones (especially with the 6-speed) but the award, at least in my book, would have to go to SSStealth (here on the board sometimes) and the interior he did in his DGGM '94 Brougham with well over 300k miles on it, starting with an Eldorado center console and then doing a TON of extra work to it:

http://memimage.cardomain.net/member_images/7/web/499000-499999/499994_12_full.jpg

Like I said, this is probably the best, and easily one of the most well sorted out and OEM looking (except for the aftermarket head unit & Nav/video screen, but even that is integrated as well as OEM).

I wonder what the reviews would have been like with an interior like this one?:rolleyes: