By on May 1, 2017

1974 Cadillac Fleetwood in California wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

1974 was a rough year to be an American, but the Cadillac Division wasn’t about to give up on selling opulent two-and-a-half-ton highway dreadnaughts to the plutocracy (that came later).

Here’s a well-banged-up Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham, spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard last month.

1974 Cadillac Fleetwood in California wrecking yard, horn button - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Fleetwood was a coachbuilding company with English roots, absorbed by the Fisher Body Corporation and then into General Motors during the 1920s. The very last Cadillac Fleetwoods were sold for the 1996 model year; I photographed a ’96 Fleetwood Brougham in its final parking spot back in 2013. For you fans of Malaise Era Fleetwoods in this series, we also have this salt-water-assaulted ’74 and this ’76.

1974 Cadillac Fleetwood in California wrecking yard, owner name - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Joyce must have been very proud of her comfy, road-owning Cad back in the middle 1970s.

1974 Cadillac Fleetwood in California wrecking yard, speedometer - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

I recall seeing this exact sticker for sale in gas-station convenience stores in about 1974, while on family road trips in our ’73 Beauville. Could you bring yourself to slap a cheap decal on the dash of a car that sold for $9,537, which is about $50,000 today? Joyce managed the feat.

1974 Cadillac Fleetwood in California wrecking yard, engine - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The 472-cubic-inch V8 in this car took a serious performance hit in 1974, thanks to a perfect storm of corporate and government incompetence (you may apportion blame between the two sides as you see fit, according to the narrative favored by your side of the Culture Wars), and was rated at a grim 205 horsepower. That’s 26 horses per liter of engine displacement, which compares unfavorably to the 134 horsepower-per-liter ratio achieved by the base engine in the 2017 Cadillac CTS. That said, this engine still managed to generate a respectable 380 pound-feet of torque and the Fleetwood had no trouble cruising effortlessly at 80 mph … oh, wait.

1974 Cadillac Fleetwood in California wrecking yard, LH rear view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what tipping point allowed a car to topple into a place like this, but we can see that Joyce’s Cad suffered a wreck that contributed that last bit of depreciation. The way these things seem to work, we can assume the car that bashed Joyce’s Cad was something with about 0.0001% of the class of the Fleetwood, a forgettable machine from the distant fringes of the GM empire.

Cadillac’s pursuit of big market share contributed to the de-exclusivization of the marque during the Malaise Era.

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82 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham...”


  • avatar
    JimC2

    I was about to say “better check the trunk” and then I saw the picture that it’s clear.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Always remind yourself that you don’t get mad, you get even.

  • avatar

    Joyce was aware of her road rage tendency, and this before “Dr. Phil”. Probably handed down to a grandchild, who didn’t want that tank and was secretly relieved when the first gen Dodge Caravan T’boned him at a stop sign intersection. True to Big Car world, the accident happened in another county…but he was now free to look for a used GTi.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I am quite certain the bug deflector on the front provided sufficient down force to keep this 3 ton monster firmly planted on the terra firma when cruising the highways at 55 mph…

  • avatar
    CaddyDaddy

    MY 69′ -76′ was essentially, or actually the same car. There were some dash upgrades in 74′ and outside body head light and tail light treatments. Again, the same car. 472 v. 500, same engine, the 500 was a slightly larger bore to hopefully have you focus on the cubic inch bragging rights as opposed to the dismal horsepower numbers. Some say the 68′ – 71′ were the powerplants to have because of the higher compression heads, but the heads were weak and would easily warp and eat head gaskets. The heads designed for unleaded gas are far superior.

    Mine is a 73′, I’m second owner of an always garaged Triple black Fleetwood Brougham. It’s a fine automobile that after my commercial chassis underpinnings upgrades, eats miles up in isolated bliss. The 472 has plenty of power IMO.

    The Talisman is an abomination made for Pimps and Slicky suit adorned low rent casino operators on the North Strip. The Fleetwood Brougham was a proper car, paid for with clean cash and parked at the country club or effortlessly passing wheezy Mercedes Benz’s on Western Interstates.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      One more comment about the Talisman and I will erase your family to the third generation.

      Maybe not.

      But you will absolutely be the target of a very angry response.

      • 0 avatar
        doug-g

        Jack, few people love the older Cadillacs more than I do. That being said, even I can tell that the generation introduced in 1971 was the beginning of the end. The product was seriously compromised beginning in 1971, but the name was still there. The first oil embargo in the Fall of 1973, combined with the introduction of the 1973 Mercedes-Benz 450SE, would begin to chip away at the name. Suddenly big looked out of style and the 450SE had a look that people began to appreciate. The Talisman edition was lipstick on a pig. It would be interesting to see who actually wrote a check for a new Talisman.

    • 0 avatar
      doug-g

      “MY 69′ -76′ was essentially, or actually the same car.”

      Your ’73 is part of the ’71-’76 generation. The’69 was part of the ’65-’70 generation.

      • 0 avatar
        CaddyDaddy

        ….hmmmm. I’ve owned and wrenched on all 4. ’63 Series 62 Conv, 69′ SDV, 73′ FB and 75′ Series 75. I’ll have to compare my factory service manuals and frame specs. Thanks for the info. I can’t be caught with my pants down quoting specs with my handle CaddyDaddy.

    • 0 avatar
      Erikstrawn

      Awesome engines! I’ve owned two Cadillacs from this era. 472 and 500 have the same bore and are interchangeable. The 500s had a larger stroke crank. The earlier heads have smaller chambers and dished pistons for 10:1 compression. The later heads have 8.25:1 compression and a smog channel running through the head that limits flow. http://www.cad500parts.com/catalog/page2.htm

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      What?!? The Talisman is awesome – just don’t ever let anyone eat or drink in one. I sure as hell wouldn’t.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    Some friends of my parents lived in a condo and had the pricey luxury of an optional private garage. They bought a brand new ’74 Fleetwood Brougham Talisman. Much to their dismay, they discovered they could not shut the garage door with the Cadillac in the garage – the broughamey beast was too long. The car had to sit out in the regular parking lot with the commoners, exposed to the Florida elements.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Of the 1971-1976 full size Cadillac generation, 1974 had to be the homeliest. That front end looked more like an Impala’s than a Cadillac’s. A low point.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      That would probably be due to the transitioning of the ‘egg crate’ style grill?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The ’75’s front end looked a lot better.

      But Caddies of this era were junk (or at least the ones my family was unlucky enough to own were).

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      I’d have to agree about the ’74’s styling. One of our neighbors (a barber) had a ’74 Coupe de Ville. An aunt and uncle of mine bought a ’75 Coupe de Ville, after an oil well came in on land in Wyoming that the uncle inherited. The next year, her sister, another of my mom’s sisters, had to (of course) one-up them, buying a ’76 Coupe de Ville with the optional fuel injected 500. Sort of a Cadillac arms race.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “The 472-cubic-inch V8 in this car took a serious performance hit in 1974, thanks to a perfect storm of corporate and government incompetence ”

    I hate to be “that guy,” but how is saying “cars can’t spew that much pollutants anymore” an example of incompetence?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      And is it really “incompetence,” or just not having the actual mechanical knowledge in 197X of how to cut back emissions without choking performance?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        They had a lot of the technology they’d have needed, even then. I think it was a question of cost.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        IIRC it was Michael Karesh who noted that pre-EFI emissions controls were the result of mechanical engineers being asked to solve a chemical engineering problem.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        it wasn’t even the lack of knowledge, it was more or less corporate inertia. I mean, it’s not like any of the concepts for emissions controls didn’t exist; the catalytic converter was invented in the 1930s and in use on industrial equipment in the 1950s. and emissions regulations don’t just suddenly appear overnight. The “inertia” or “big company disease” they were suffering meant that instead of, y’know, getting ready for the new standards by re-designing their powertrains (or designing new ones) they were just going to try to make these enormous lumps of cast iron compliant. Which lead to the embarrassing 1976 500 cu. in. Cadillac V8 which wheezed out all of 180 hp. while at the same time Mercedes was getting 180 hp out of a 275 cu. in. V8.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          This. They didn’t get that the market was shifting. They figured they could get away with restyles, more gadgets, bigger vinyl roofs, more velour, etc. They were wrong.

          And for my money, 180-hp Corvettes were even more embarrassing.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m going with the corrosive aspect of the 55 mph speed limit. Since no one could legally drive fast, Detroit designed to the low speed limit. All you needed to do was go from that to a car designed for the autobahn to feel a huge difference…even if the autobahn car was crap in different ways.

            You were an actual outlaw doing 80 mph back in the day. My big box escort + CB meant that I was a “professional speeder”…I was even called that in public debate on the topic….

        • 0 avatar
          Salzigtal

          Nothing prevented Cadillac from licensing CVCC heads for this and reverting to three-twos and a 16 runner manifold. Except greed & pride. Also, something tells me “Joyce” was about owner #5 of this baby.

    • 0 avatar
      CaddyDaddy

      Jim, you like the guy who always throws in a baby Ruth Bar into the pool at a party. Not all of us live in high density human zoo cages where density levels impeded lifestyles to 700 SF rent controlled apartments, wher vermin-infested alleys replace back yards and where income inequality from controlled economies leads to high crime. Viva! Suburbia! Yes, automotive pollution was horrible in Denver, LA, Salt Lake and Pittsburgh, but it was a small percentage of the landmass.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Who says that he does? Personal attacks don’t accomplish anything besides making the attacker look bad.

        It’s not the percentage of landmass, but the percentage of population, that makes air pollution a problem. Especially since there’s a higher percentage of that population that didn’t even have cars to begin with.

        • 0 avatar
          CaddyDaddy

          Drzhivago. There always seems to be a contingent of TTAC commenters that are always degrading the good ‘old USA, and JimZ’s no exception. I have a good memory of the flavor of his past snarky comments.

          BTW, Saabs were tin cans, and Volvos would not get out of their own way. BMW’s seats were like stone park benches. For Volvo to even market a serious premium car they had to go to the French and purchase the horrid long bolt Renault V-6. Also, the only people that drove European brands were near do wells or University Professors who wanted to make that I’m better because I don’t conform to societal / pro American norms.

          This Cadillac was made and purchased by WWII and Korean War vets who did not want to travel in a car that reminded them of the hours spent in bone breaking deuce and halfs or hot / freezing Sherman Tanks. They wanted to be coddles in isolated climate controlled comfort.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “Also, the only people that drove European brands were near do wells or University Professors who wanted to make that I’m better because I don’t conform to societal / pro American norms.”

            Actually, my father was one of those “near (sic) do wells.” He made a s**tload of money selling women’s clothing, and starting his own company. He never graduated from college, much less taught at one. There’s a phrase for that type of guy: self made man. And he switched to European brands in 1980. Why? Because he had two Caddies (a ’75 DeVille and a ’80 Eldo) that were utter s**t. Worse yet, Cadillac knew they were s**t (in fact, they knowingly delivered his DeVille to him with a bent frame), and refused to do right by him as a customer. He wasn’t alone. His business partner had a Fleetwood sedan that was also a piece of garbage.

            Meanwhile, the ’75 Mercedes 450SE he bought lasted for 12 years.

            But he tried two more American luxury cars over the years – a mid-’90s Town Car and a late-’90s Riviera, and guess what? They sucked too.

            There are perfectly good reasons why Cadillac and Lincoln took it in the shorts. In the end, they hurt themselves.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            @CaddyDaddy, I for one wasn’t disparaging the good ‘old USA, but anyhoo…

            Funny that you’d say the Volvos of that era wouldn’t get out of their own way. Um… as compared to contemporary Caddys?

            You’re right about what the customers wanted- big, quiet car with couches and not worried about much else.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            But how does any of that justify any personal attack, especially if it’s not true?

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “There always seems to be a contingent of TTAC commenters that are always degrading the good ‘old USA, and JimZ’s no exception.”

            oh whatever. part of being the best country on the planet is recognizing and fixing our own flaws when needed. and yes, we do have them. I don’t know where these people came from who are infatuated with the idea this country was “perfect” in the 1950s.

          • 0 avatar
            Salzigtal

            I passed many a land yacht in my Volvo 122S. On mountain roads & in gas stations.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “Jim, you like the guy who always throws in a baby Ruth Bar into the pool at a party.”

        Like him? I’ve never even met him.

        n.b. I don’t live in a big city. I am, however, a realist. which is why I’m going to ignore the rest of your presumptuous garbage.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Yep- it wasn’t a 50/50 split between corporate and government incompetence. Consider that three model years later, Volvo, SAAB, and Bosch had pretty well perfected feedback oxygen sensor fuel injection and three-way catalytic converters and getting a respectable 3/4hp per cubic inch. Meantime Cadillac’s world class engineering department had their pants down and was fumbling around with the automotive abominations that were malaise-era carburetors and oxidation catalytic converters (one-way). I guess “luxury” means different things to different customers…

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        This. Domestic automakers in that day put their money into things like power gadgets, velour seats, and what not, versus real technical improvements (or better quality control, for that matter). That’s why they lost market share to brands like Saab, BMW, Mercedes, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      ClayT

      As an example.
      We bought a Chevy Pickup new in 1976. Drove it 100k miles, towing a boat around the country, then rebuilt the 350.

      Took off the smog pump. Put a torquier stick in it, new pistons, carb, and headers.

      Towed around the country another 50k. More power and 4 mpg better.

      We replaced it with a van and gave the truck to dad.
      Problem was, dad couldn’t get it registered because he couldn’t get it smogged… no smog pump.

      We bought a junkyard pump and plumbing for the manifolds.
      No place to screw the plumbing to the headers so I welded some nuts to the tops of the headers.
      They didn’t actually go into the headers, just held the plumbing in place.
      Good enough to fool the smog check dude anyway.

      It passed smog and was far cleaner than stock.
      As clean as dad’s ’85 BMW 528i.

  • avatar
    Ko1

    I have my doubts that Joyce was the first owner but I’d put money down that she was the last. I’ve seen a lot of middle aged women driving around in completely impractical or out of character vehicles simply because they wanted to do something crazy for a year. So, in this case, Joyce wanted to be able to say she drove a Caddy and this car came up as a cheap way to do it.

    The accident would’ve written the car off but maybe she or a family member kept it parked somewhere thinking they were going to fix it someday. They probably pulled the tarp off one day, saw the rust that had developed and came to their senses.

  • avatar
    skor

    “The 472-cubic-inch V8 in this car took a serious performance hit in 1974, thanks to a perfect storm of corporate and government incompetence (you may apportion blame between the two sides as you see fit, according to the narrative favored by your side of the Culture Wars)”

    Murilee, you’re one of the most sensible auto journos in the good ol’ US of Murica.

    BTW, the Lincoln Town from this era was the last of the 3-box land barges. I believe the Town Car remained ‘full-sized’ until the 1979 model year.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      In fairness, I’m not sure the performance hit was as big as it might seem. 1972 also ushered in the SAE “net” horsepower ratings, and I’d bet dollars to donuts the Caddy V8’s previous “gross” horsepower numbers were… uh… *grossly* over-rated.

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    The idea of this car is what Cadillac and Lincoln should be making, at least in some models: huge, almost ridiculously opulent, highway cruising missiles that are dead silent inside.

    The styling and under-powered engines would have to go. But that back seat and trunk space…..yes. Please.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Sounds like you want an Escalade.

      • 0 avatar
        newenthusiast

        No, I want a luxury sedan that has no pretensions of sportiness at all, that doesn’t need 20+ inch wheels to look proportionally correct, and isn’t BOF construction.

        Lexus and the Germans offer big sedans, and the LS is the most like this. But still too stiff a ride for my tastes. I haven;t seen a new Continental, much less been in one, but why can’t Cadillac make a car that doesn’t try to be a German car? Is that too much to ask?

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          No interest in the Korean offerings?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Yeah, that would be my second comment: what about a K900, Genesis, or Equus/G90?

          • 0 avatar
            newenthusiast

            Like the new Continental, I haven’t had a chance to drive or ride in a Genesis to know if that’s a valid comparison.

            I see that they are the value play, so to speak, and sort of trying the approach of Lexus’s initial offerings.

            But is that really the same thing as what I described? They look clean, but a bit anonymous.

            I have read, here on TTAC, and elsewhere, that a used Hyundai Genesis (say off lease or otherwise low mileage) is probably one the best values for buyers in or looking to get into a luxury brand.

            They had slipped my mind. Which is probably part of their problem right now. I think they are often overlooked by buyers out of snobbishness or lack of cache/rep in that market. It will take a while.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I have no idea how the Hyundai/Kia luxury line is to drive, but until their resale improves, they’ll be swimming upstream.

            That makes it a ridiculous deal used. But still…a prestige brand that makes more sense used is going to have an image problem, particularly when the car next to it on the lot is a $15,000 Accent.

          • 0 avatar

            My 81-year-old father drives a Genesis and loves it – absolutely raves about it. His driving history includes a ’73 T-Bird, an ’80 Sedan de Ville and an ’82 Seville.

        • 0 avatar
          Roberto Esponja

          My father has a Chrysler 300 with factory 18″ wheels. It looks proportionally correct, and sounds like what you’re looking for. His is a 2010, and it’s been a solid, reliable car. The 2017’s are still available with 18″ wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I do believe the “big, long, black Cadillac/Lincoln with a massive V-8 and pillowy ride” has now replaced the brown manual-transmission diesel station wagon as the official TTAC Unicorn Car.

      Is that progress? Discuss.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        yes, I think it’s progress, if only because it’s more realistic. At least once everyone else realizes trying to “out-German” BMW and Audi is a pointless exercise.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Given how the market for luxury sedans is going, I think Revenge of Land Barge is pure fantasy. But, yeah, I’d take one over a brown diesel wagon any day.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “Is that progress?”

        Yes. A few brown diesel wagons actually existed in the modern era. Maybe that means Lincoln or Cadillac will build a V8 car again.

      • 0 avatar
        newenthusiast

        “I have no idea how the Hyundai/Kia luxury line is to drive, but until their resale improves, they’ll be swimming upstream.

        That makes it a ridiculous deal used. But still…a prestige brand that makes more sense used is going to have an image problem.”

        Re-sale value for me is no issue, as I tend to go 150-200K/7-10 years per vehicle.

        I’m not currently in the market, but just admitting that ‘yep, you’re right, I DID forget that Korea has been making efforts at luxury’. And the cars do look pretty good. I have make sure to keep them in mind when I DO go car shopping next time.

        That still doesn’t excuse Cadillac for not understanding that they should be making a car like that for their home turf, as its probably the only place in the world where luxury is defined as such.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Because the majority of those buyers are more than happy with a full-size pickup or BOF SUV.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          …and for a guy like you, newenthusiast, something like a lightly used Genesis sedan might be a good fit, assuming they’d be reliable long term.

          But that’s not how most luxury car buyers “profile” these days. They want the latest and greatest every couple of years, and leasing is ideal for that.

          As far as Cadillac “not making a car for its’ home turf” is concerned – I assume you mean “not making a big, flashy, cushy sedan with a V-8”. Except they did, until a couple of years ago (DTS). Lincoln made one too, and it was even RWD, with BOF construction. Neither model is made anymore because sales dried up. It’s not like GM or Ford were incapable of building something like you’re talking about – the truth of the matter is, folks who want a big, flashy, in-your-face blingmobile are buying Escalades and Navigators nowadays.

          • 0 avatar
            newenthusiast

            It sounds like I came of age and to the point in my life where I could get those cars a little too late.

            I actually don’t care about FWD/RWD/AWD or a V8. I actually don’t want BOF construction, since that denotes ‘drives like a truck’ to me. I just want comfortable, quiet, quality, and durability.

            So, yes, it might be that the Genesis is what I am actually looking for, if it proves reliable and durable.

            Or possibly the Continental, since I have no idea what the space and comfort levels are for that.

            But the Cadillacs? Too small inside for their size. (My mother in law has one…nice to sit up front, but not so much in the back)

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ FreedMike – OK, that got a chuckle out of me at least.

        Did anyone watch the embedded ad? 0:05-0:08 made me cringe: “Number one by more than double in sales . . . .” That. Shouldn’t. Have. Been. The. Point.

        Packard’s demise was the worst thing to happen to Cadillac. Discuss.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          That, and Huggy Bear switched to a Mercedes.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            Speaking of which, here’s a car whose presence on the Starsky and Hutch imcdb.org page completely gobsmacks me: http://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_713766-Lancia-Beta-Coupe-1975.html

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    For a split second there I thought I saw a headlight washer nozzle. haha

  • avatar
    RedRocket

    These cars are a product of their time of course when longer and bigger was seen as more prestigious. There were still vestiges of Cadillac’s traditional quality materials (see the seat fabric still holding up) and design. but by now the GM bean counters had taken over and so we see plastichrome moldings and badges and a plastic faux-wood steering wheel center and door panel emblems. A shame.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    “The very last Cadillac Fleetwoods were sold for the 1996 model year…”

    Not technically true. There was a LWB DeVille marketed as the Fleetwood Limited in 1998 and 1999.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    The American companies were better at making money than the Europeans.

    Fuel Injection cost money. That cost had to be passed onto the consumer. It was cheaper to peddle vinyl roofs.

    Also, Fuel Injection required a higher level of service (more cost) than carburetors.

    Except for Mercedes, Volvo, BMW, Audi, and Saab, the Europeans could not compete.

    Also, with tiny market share, it is easy to grow. Big share is hard to keep.

    I don’t disagree that many American cars, perhaps most, from the 1970s were junk. However, the imports were really not better, often worse. As a kid, we had two 70s cars, a Pontiac Ventura (Nova) and a Ford Fairmont. Neither was a bad car or overly troublesome. And I’m quite certain their cost of ownership was a LOT LESS than an imported car of the same size (room for 4), Japanese or European, of the same vintage (No, we could not fit in a Corolla or even “FWD” Accord).

    My father wanted to buy American, but he also looked for value. He had no problem buying Volkswagen Beetles, when my brother and I were small.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “the imports were really not better, often worse.”

      I disagree.

      At one time I was a huge fan of Oldsmobiles, Chevy pickup trucks, the Lincoln Towncar and the Ford F150. Owned all of them at one time or another, even though their reliability was in line with that era.

      That was before I knew better.

      So I was very reluctant to buy my very first (ever) brand new Japanese-built 2008 Highlander. Glad I did!

      Toyota won me over with their reliability, durability and retained value to the point where all I own these days is three Toyota vehicles.

      Not a lick of problems. Great ownership experience.

      And I ain’t ever goin’ back to domestics.

      I’m not the lone ranger, either. Lots of people made a clean break with the domestic brands. That’s why the foreigners do so well in America.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        “the imports were really not better, often worse.”

        HDC you can’t ignore his context entirely. The rest of his statement is about the inception of fuel injection.

        You citing your 08 Highlander is not relevant in this context.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Corey, I’m not ignoring his context. I’m disagreeing with the contention that imports were not better. IMO imports were better by a long shot.

          My 1972 M-B 220D (Euro Spec) had Bosch fuel injection, and fuel injection was common in Europe prior to 1972. In the eight years (180k km) I owned that Benz I had zero fuel injection problems.

          Citing my 08 Highlander is relevant because it was MY first excursion into the Japanese import realm, and it also utilized fuel injection.

          That Highlander is currently the DD for my grand daughter and it has had zero problems with its fuel injector system.

          I could contrast that with the fuel injector problems that people I know have had with the domestic vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            In that case, yes I’m sure your Highlander is vastly superior to this 74 Fleetwood.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I was reluctant to believe that the imports were better than the domestics, because I was such a fan for decades.

            My best friend owns a ’93 S-10 with the two injectors and he, and his neighbors who own similar, have had nothing but problems with that system over the decades.

            Fortunately, it is an easy job to replace them.

            No doubt that the fuel injection systems used by the domestics are great today because everyone, transplants and domestic, all use the same suppliers, like Takata and their exploding airbags, or the CTS gas pedals.

  • avatar
    86er

    I have my own theory re: “Joyce’s Cad”.

    That dash decal appears to be period-appropriate, and a dealer install. The husband of Joyce put it on as a sentimental token, since it would face Joyce every time she rode shotgun in the car.

    Husband passed, Joyce might have kept the car for a few years as a sentimental attachment, but eventually sold it, as no one in the family wanted it.

    It went to some young person who drove it ironically, put on the “get even” sticker above the steering column, couldn’t drive it to save his life, and was promptly t-boned at an intersection.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Is this the Cadillac model Nixon gifted Leonard Brezhnev in May 72?

    I recall the newsclip of Nixon handing Brezhnev the keys. Apparently Nixon got a Soviet made hydrofoil in return.

    1973 saw Brezhnev gifted with a Lincoln Continental. 74 a Monte Carlo – per Brezhnev’s request.

    I can’t find which Cadillac model though.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    I think HighDesertCat’s experience is typical of many–and so is mine.

    For domestics in the 70s malaise era, I think of cars big three with SIX or more cylinders. The Vega was bad. The Pinto was cheap, but not so bad. The Japanese cars did have better fit and finish and clever features to feel less cheap.

    That said, in 1970, Fiat was big. We had French imports. By 1980, they were gone.

    In 1970, Toyota and Datsun were big. They paved the way for Japanese cars.

    Another thing to consider: 1970s Japanese cars had a lot fewer A/C, power window/lock, power steering issues. Because they didn’t have them, American cars did.

    In the 80s, it was easier to incrementally engineer these features into new models for the Japanese, than for the Americans to shoehorn them into smaller cars.

    IMO, the gap between domestics and imports (ie Japanese and German/Swedish) started in the 1980s and grew until it started to narrow with the widespread use of multi-point fuel injection (and more experience) in the 1990s.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      tomLU86, many people who used to own an imported Japanese or German car, will stay away these days from that same brand made in the US of A. Think Toyota, for one. They ain’t the same as the imported ones with the JT VIN.

      Often the reason is that the OEMs share the same suppliers among all the brands made in America/Mexico/Canada, like Takata, CTS gas pedals, Bosch Mexico, crap from China, et al, so the foreign brands really are just domestic brands with a foreign name, and vice versa.

      What the transplants are attracting these days are NEW buyers who buy based on the brand’s past reputation for reliability, durability, longevity and retained value.

      I’m relatively new to the Toyota brand, but so far I have had excellent ownership experiences. So I switched.

      We’re an all-Toyota, all-the-time family now. Got three in the stable, errrrr, garage.

      I haven’t had ANY issues with fuel injection on my Toyota vehicles.

      I have heard of injector fouling on other brands because of impurities getting into the high-pressure fuel stream causing the engine to run rough, or too rich if the injector needles do not fully seat in the injector body because of grit or dirt.

      But that sounds like maybe a high-pressure fuel filter passing crud.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    BTW- It’s “Bro-Ham”

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Highdesertcat–Did your friend’s 93 S-10 have a V-6? The reason I asked is there was a problem with the injectors on the V-6 S-10s. I have a 99 S-10 with a 2.2 I-4 5 speed manual and over 18 years I have had zero problems with the fuel injectors or the engine. I have not heard of any problems with the I-4 but I know of several issues with the V-6s. As for the above comments there were some issues with foreign vehicles in the 70’s especially with German, Italian, and British, but the Japanese vehicles were fairly reliable. Most of today’s vehicles are much better than those of the 70’s and to compare a 2008 Highlander to a 74 Cadillac Fleetwood is not a valid comparison. A better comparison would be to compare a current American made sedan to a Fleetwood to measure the actual improvements in overall durability and quality improvements over the years. I don’t hate American vehicles as much as some on this site, for the money you can get many years of trouble free service with lower ownership costs than most European brands. I have no problems with Japanese or South Korean brands as well but I believe it is inaccurate to judge all GMs, Fords, and FCAs on their past products especially the Malaise Era. I am not saying that American brands are the best but they are much much better than they were and offer a good value especially when getting a discount.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    As for the 472 cubic inch Cadillac motor, my mother had one in a 72 Cadillac Sedan de Ville. It was an excellent motor that was easy to service and did not burn or drip any oil during the 12 years that she owned her Caddy. Yes the car was a land yacht but it was a very smooth riding and comfortable car and for its time it was reliable but it was a gas hog. The 472 was an extremely under stressed engine that would go for many years with low maintenance.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Jeff S. (Did your friend’s 93 S-10 have a V-6?)

    Yes, the 4.3L 160hp 160 lbs ft V6, and his wife’s S-10 had the 2.8L V6 with the same injector problems.

    After replacing the injectors, they sold his Wife’s S-10 to illegal aliens who left the state in it, so he lost track of that one. But he still has the 4.3L one.

    Says he’s got too much money into keeping it running so he can’t afford to get rid of it and buy something new. He had so much go wrong with it besides normal wear and tear. Things like the digital instrument panel died. Intermittent “Service Engine Soon” light coming on. Water pump. Alternator. Radiator. Fan motor. And on and on.

    All this with less than 100K on the clock.

    As far as judging an OEM on their past product performance? That is the crux of the matter, isn’t it?

    If you got food poisoning at some fine restaurant where you ate, why would you want to eat there again? Ptomaine is no fun!

    Ditto with cars. If you had a bad ownership experience, why would you reward that auto company by buying something else from them? Repair bills are no fun either.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @highdesert cat–Agree, if one has a bad experience with a product don’t buy it. I had given up on GM products until I bought my 99 S-10 18 years ago and it is one of the most reliable vehicles I have ever had. I know someone who had Toyotas for years and got 2 lemons and bought Fords after that. The reason I ask about the V-6 was I have had several mechanics tell me there were problems with the injectors in V-6s but as far as they knew there were no problems with the 2.2 I-4. You can learn a lot about mechanical issues by talking to mechanics.

    I am not saying that I have never had any problems with my S-10 but they have for the most part been maintenance and if you keep any vehicle long enough, even a Toyota, you will have to replace some parts. I have replaced a clutch, alternator, air conditioning compressor, tie rod, brakes, rear brake lines, tires, batteries, and have had the radiator coolant changed. I don’t really feel those are major items especially after more the 18 years and 112k miles. Another thing even a vehicle with low miles can have issues especially if it is not used. Many vehicles with high mileage are usually more reliable in that most of the mileage is highway and many owners with high mileage vehicles maintain them. Extreme temperatures either hot or cold can wear components out. My dash is all analogue except the digital odometer.

    A 1993 S-10 is 24 years old so even with low mileage anything can go wrong. Your friend might be better to get rid of the 93 S-10 and get a newer vehicle which are much safer. There comes a point where it is not worth fixing a vehicle and it is time to let it go. I have had to make that decision several times and even my S-10 will have to go at some point but for now it has been very low cost to maintain and it is being used to get rid of things in preparation of retirement and an eventual move. I will probably donate my S-10 to the vocational school at the nearby high school for some aspiring future mechanics to learn on. At this point I have gotten more than my money’s worth and have no problems.

    As for vehicles I have only had one vehicle that was absolutely terrible, a 1985 Mercury Lynx that one of my brothers gave me. I should have gotten rid of it much sooner–lesson learned. I have never had a Toyota but we have had the following Japanese vehicles: 1985 Mitsubishi Mighty Max pickup (14 years), a 77 Honda Accord (17 years), and my wife currently has a 2013 CRV (4 years). Not saying I would never have a Toyota, but honestly is a Toyota any better than a Honda and how much more reliable is a Tacoma than my S-10 over 18 years of use? I maintain my vehicles and keep them at least 10 or more years.

    A bad experience with a Toyota dealership is the main reason I have never bought a Toyota. The dealer was of the opinion that I should be grateful just to have the opportunity to buy a Toyota regardless of price and that I should lease instead of buy even though at the time I put too much miles on a vehicle to make leasing feasible and was a cash buyer. It was a car for my wife and we had not even discussed price. Thanks to that dealer we went to the Ford dealership and bought a brand new Escort wagon with more options at close to half of what the Corolla wagon was. If anything I should have thanked that dealer. The Escort was an excellent vehicle with very low maintenance over the time we owned it.

  • avatar
    DEUSVULTbuddy

    Ah yes, the Cadillac Fleetwood Broughams. I have an uncle down by San Bernardino, Ca who brought a brand new (black) 76′ Fleetwood Brougham sedan back 1976. I don’t know too much about the ride, because my uncle wouldn’t talk much about it, but I do know that he drove the Fleetwood for around 20 years before the engine reach it maximum lifetime. Since then the car sits in his drive way, coming down with rust and parts missing (or falling off). It totally became a rust bucket when I first laid eyes on it. Him and his family never really thought about getting rid of it, since he loved that car so much.

    When I get better on understanding cars more, I hope to restore it one day because his car sparked my interest into cars when I still small.

  • avatar
    bultaco

    I had a turquoise 1970 DeVille convertible for a summer in college. Must have been around 1983. I bought it for $600 to drive while I restored my TR6. With the high compression 472 (I think it was rated over 350hp in 1970 gross hp) it would light the 78-series rear tires at will and turn them into vapor. I think the combo of skinny tires, decent power, and vast tons of road-hugging weight created an inertial perfect storm for tire smokage. Upon seeing it for the first time, in all its bloated, hideous splendor, the owner of the bar where I worked remarked “that’s the god-damndest automobile I’ve ever seen”. I sold it for what I paid for it at the end of the summer.


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