: Got a Ride in a 96 Fleetwood Eureka Limo...

12-11-06, 12:45 AM
Last tuesday my grandfather died.
This was not unexpected or even sad, really, he was quite senile and the man I knew died long ago. Anyway, after a long drive to New Jersey with my mother, father, grandmother (96 years old!) and my ladyfriend, after the usual preperations, we got to ride in the Limousine -a venerable 1996 Fleetwood by Eureka Master Coachbuilders. I was, unfortunately, unimpressed. The six-door conversion seemed to go rather well; the middle doors had their own power windows and controls just like the rears, although they were overlong as is common on this type of car. What really brought things down though was the interior. While the back seats were the factory ones, the middle row seemed to be made of a poor quality naugahyde. I've seen good naugahyde that looks and largely feels like leather, but this stuff reminded me very much of the awful naugahyde they use in so many school busses. Anyway, it was poorly color-matched and not nearly as comfortable-looking as the last row. The pillars (would they be B & C pillars, with the last being "D" or is such a car considered as having two "B" pillars per side?) were covered with a felt-type material not unlike the headliner but it was either poorly color-matched or faded at a different rate than the rest of the similar material, because it was noticably different.
The final dissapointment was the trunk. It was almost impossible to get my grandmother's wheelchair into it, as there seemed to be some added equipment (most likely air con) under the package shelf, which was seperated from the rest of the trunk by a not-at-all-color-matched piece of carpeted board of some sort, as it reduced the trunk to about half its capacity.

It's a shame, though, as the car rode nicely and the driver confirmed that it indeed "goes like stink" when he steps on it (something he only does between jobs, ;) ), and the Cadillac factory bits were quite nice.

12-11-06, 01:01 PM
Interesting review. The trunk is huge in these cars, but on most limos (at least that I've seen as well), they do install that board of sorts to block off space under the shelf for extra components.

The 6-door cars are mainly for funeral homes and such--just like your case--and most that I've seen also have a less than stellar middle row. It's alright, but nothing extraordinary.

Did this one have outside/inside door handles on the middle two doors or were they pneumatic? A lot are made without, and they open via solenoid. Similar deal with the middle seat in "24 hour" cars, where the seat can be power flipped to face either front or back depending on what it's used for.

I've never actually been in a limo, and one thing I've always wondered about was how they got OEM (or at least very, very close) matching trim pieces and such (like the chrome panels and gray rub strips on a Fleetwood, and the upper thin trim as well), and also how solid the cars actually are--having been chopped in half and then an extra section welded in essentially.

Either way, sad to hear about your grandfather, but nice review of a seldom talked about limo Fleetwood:)

12-11-06, 04:28 PM
The middle doors were ordinary car doors with handles inside and out. I handled and used them from the outside and there was nothing unusual about them. There was some sort of mechanism under the middle seat but it was not able to be flipped; there were three-point safety belts in all outboard positions with not obvious provisions to move them.

I would suspect that matching parts are simply ordered from Cadillac or from Cadillac's suplier, in the case of trim materials like the rub strips, exterior chrome, etc, as are some interior parts like safety belts, door handles, etc. In other cases it may be that the rub strip on the whole car is changed for continuity's sake. The interior fabric was obviously a close match, though. This was bought, I suspect, on the basis that people mourning their dead would not be critiquing the Limousine. But my Grandfather LOVED Caddies -I'm sure he would've been as interested as I was. ;)

I had been in a nicer Fleetwood Limo when my Father's mother died; it had dark maroon leather, rear seats that faced eachother so the passengers could talk (it was less like a bus), and extreemely deep and well-done film tinting on the rear windows. It COULD NOT be seen through from the outside. Before that I rode in a Town Car limo when the father of the girl whom I car pooled with in highschool ended up taking home the car from the firm he worked for because they had locked up early that night and he didn't get it back in time. It was weird but fun, and a pleasant change from the crummy Tercel he usually drove.