By on July 16, 2011

We don’t have such a thing as “COTD”* on “TTAC”. It’s a shame, too, because without an explicit way to force readers to compete with eachother for an arbitrarily-dispensed, meaningless accolade, you readers out there just won’t grovel at our feet the way we’d like. We’ll work on creating some kind of user rating/slating system, I swear… just as soon as we fix the gallery issues, the Cloudflare business, Ed’s issue with emotional distance, my lovable but ultimately malicious immaturity, and the lack of tall, busty blondes on the staff. I mean, on the roster. Not on the staff. You know. Not that we couldn’t use one or two on the staff. If you know what I mean, and I think you do.

Enough immaturity. In my Fleetwood Talisman review posted yesterday, the subject of GM’s identical B-and-C-cars came up… and a few commenters stepped up to the plate.

The video heading this segment is a famous Lincoln advertisement demonstrating the embiggenedness of the ’86 Town Car. Watch in amazement as a variety of slightly dopey old people try to sort out a hilarious confusion between the Cadillac deVille (or, sadly, Fleetwood of the same year), Buick Electra, and Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight. Watch as the camera focuses, again, and again, and again, on the toy-like C-pillar of the Cadillac. Here’s a shot of an ’85 Fleetwood showing just how ridiculous it looks:

Oh boy. Here’s the Park Avenue:

And, finally, the Ninety-Eight, flipped by yours truly for effect:

Really, the styling sits most awkwardly on the Cadillac and perhaps best on the Buick. Not surprisingly, the Buick is the one which looks least like its RWD predecessor. Regardless, they all look dwarfish today. Imagine how they looked twenty-five years ago, surrounded by 215-inch first-gen downsizers like the ’77 Fleetwood or ’80 Town Car…

…or, for that matter, the ’86 Town Car. Thus we have the subject matter of this video. econobiker brought it up, acc azda atch asked for the video, and Educator(of teachers)Dan found it. Thank you, gentlemen. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to drive my unmistakeable Town Car around this city.

* “Commenter Of The Day”.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

100 Comments on “As Long As We’re On The Subject Of Those Miserable GM FWD Full-Sizers…...”


  • avatar
    Bryce

    Thank god GM in this part of the world stayed away from shit like this and produced good cars rwd with handling ability

  • avatar
    Sam P

    I don’t see what’s wrong with the styling of any of these cars. They look contemporary enough for the mid 1980s. Dated next to the Taurus and the Audi 5000 sure, but those sedans were far ahead of their time.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The problem is that the Caddy wasn’t that much different looking than the lesser brands. I remember that ad, it always made me laugh.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The FWD cars of the era under discussion had their beginnings much earlier, in the age of experimentation when GM (and Detroit) were still something to be reckoned with in the US auto market.

      I owned an Olds Toronado during the late seventies that I bought new at the Frankfurt/Rhein Main GM outlet at the BX. It was huge! Everything about it was huge. The FWD powertrain was enormous. It wasn’t the best handler on the mountainous roads to Berchtesgaden or Garmish but it had plenty of power.

      It was vehicles like that Toronado and its Cadillac and Buick brethern that got us the more refined FWD GM cars we enjoyed in the ’80s, ’90s and beyond. What is a shame is that the foreigners surpassed GM with their FWD development by basing their FWD powertrains on the FWD Audi design of the sixties.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        What do you mean by foreigners developing Audi designs of the ’60s? While it is true that I can’t think of anyone copying GM’s side by side longitudinal engine and transmission joined by a chain, relatively few automakers went with the Audi/NSU longitudinal FF layout either. I think the various Issigonis transverse solutions were more popular and influential. They were improved upon by FIAT and Autobianchi on the Primula in the mid sixties, and those were the cars that showed the way forward. VW copied them for the first Golf. Audi’s design had too much weight in precisely the wrong place to be copied by many. The only thing worse was the FWD-midengine designs used by the French, who apparently never heard of weight transfer.

      • 0 avatar
        Marko

        How exactly was the Audi longitudinal layout different from GM’s original Toronado layout?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        In the Toronado, the engine was directly over the front wheels and the transmission was mounted low and next to the engine. The transmission was mounted backwards, and drive from the crank was connected to it via a chain. In the Audi(and NSU Ro80) the engine was in front of the transmission which was attached to it conventionally. The front axle line went through the transmission, leaving the engine hanging out ahead of the front wheels.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        CJ, I’m impressed! You know your stuff. I lost my original reply to your question but in essence, at that time, the Japanese were on a quest to reverse-engineer German automotive technology from BMW 3-series, Mercedes suspensions, and the Audi FWD system.

        I had German friends who worked in the German auto manufacturing industry who were American-car hobbyists that I kept supplied with American car parts from JCWhitney, Warshawski’s, etc., who told me the Japanese were doing industrial spying to develop their cars for entry into the US market.

        I know of no American designed features ever copied or reverse-engineered except maybe for cup holders.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I found out why my reply to your question was not posted CJ. It was marked as spam because I mentioned names, dates and places. sorry.

        But I am impressed with your knowledge. I wish I could expound upon that.

        There’s no way for me to talk around the subject because it involves foreigners who were reverse-engineering certain European cars for their advanced features.

        I know of no American-engineered features that were ever incorporated in any foreign cars, except maybe cup holders.

      • 0 avatar
        Marko

        @CJinSD I didn’t know that before. Thank you for the great explanation!

        @ highdesertcat Hidden headlamps were an American invention, first seen on the Cord 810 in 1936.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Marko, I didn’t know that. Thanks.

      • 0 avatar
        OliverTwist

        Hate to say this, but you got it totally wrong about Oldsmobile and Audi.

        If you could have time to read this excellent article on Oldsmobile Toronado in “Ate Up With Motors”:

        http://ateupwithmotor.com/luxury-and-personal-luxury-cars/95-out-in-front-the-front-wheel-drive-oldsmobile-toronado.html

        You will appreciate the difficulties Oldsmobile faced when finding the “sweet compromise” of offering the high performance without torque steering and other aggravating front-wheel-drive characteristics.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Oliver Twist,

        On this page of the story you linked to is a photo of the Toronado drivetrain, EXACTLY as I described:

        http://ateupwithmotor.com/luxury-and-personal-luxury-cars/95-out-in-front-the-front-wheel-drive-oldsmobile-toronado.html?start=1

        Here is a photo of an Audi 100 LS. If you know what you’re looking at, you can tell that the engine is mounted far in front of the strut towers, signifying that it is forward of the front wheels because the transmission is mounted behind it and the wheels driven off either side of the transmission:

        http://images.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/796356.jpg

        “Hate to say this, but you got it totally wrong about Oldsmobile and Audi.” What do you think I got wrong?

      • 0 avatar

        OliverTwist,

        Ate Up With Motor should be any car enthusiast’s first stop when researching the history of a marque or model. Aaron Severson’s work is great, he’s got very high standards for his source material and I’d had the pleasure of letting him use some photos that I’ve shot for Cars In Depth.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m not going to defend the FWD Cadillacs, but the styling on the 98 and Park Avenue did improve.

    Also let’s not forget that the FWD switch turned this thing.

    Into this.

    And we also got this.

  • avatar
    pharmer

    Those C/H-body GM cars were ubiquitous when I was growing up in the Upper Midwest in late 80’s and early 90’s. Like corn, cows, and passive-aggressiveness you found them everywhere. Drive past a church parking lot on a Sunday morning in rural Iowa or Minnesota in 1992…it’d easily be 50% C/H-bodies, mostly the Buicks and Oldsmobiles.

    I drove an ’87 Olds “Ninety Eight” (I love that the chrome badges spelled it out) as my college car. White with a white vinyl top, dark blue inside. They tried so hard to make it special…velour upholstery and plastiwood as far as the eye could see. Combine it with the hard plastic steering wheel and the extra-wide speedometer with the lazy orange needle. The 3800 engine was uninspiring, but it got up to speed easily enough, needed nothing but clean oil every 5K miles, and delivered an easy 25+ mpg on my drives home to see the folks. Even with 180K+ on her she took good care of me, never gave me any trouble, and certainly bore witness to a lot of my bad behavior.

    My grandmother had, I think, an ’89 Olds Ninety Eight. Maroon with maroon interior. The last car she ever bought with Grandpa. We drove her to his funeral in it…it sat there in the background as we layed him to rest. She sold it shortly a year or so later. It probably only had 50K or so on it, and I’m sure she didn’t get all that much for it. I wish I still owned it.

    They definitely were not a stylistic high point for GM, but they were good, solid cars. They made a lot of people very happy for a long time. I’m sad that there are not many left on the roads anymore…it makes me realize that I’m getting old. Can you tell I miss the ones that played parts in my life?

    • 0 avatar
      Nick

      ‘delivered an easy 25+ mpg on my drives home to see the folks’

      I think the mileage these cars achieved, not only good for the day but good by today’s standards, is something not many people are aware of. A friend inherited a 98 from his dentist dad, after which it went on many long fishing expeditions. I was always astonished at how much ground we could cover on a tank of gas.

      • 0 avatar
        segfault

        Cars with the 3800 get excellent gas mileage, especially considering the displacement of the engine and the fact that it’s a pushrod. When Oldsmobile offered a DOHC engine in the Intrigue, it got worse mileage than the 3800 in the same car, despite having a smaller displacement and only modestly greater horsepower.

  • avatar
    Detroit Todd

    Wow. Your article is so lazy, it reminds me (almost) of the cars you’re attempting to review here. You don’t get to rest on your Talisman review, Jack.

    In the 80s, you couldn’t walk around the block without stepping on one of these cars. But from your article, we’d never, ever know why.

    It makes my head spin, like an Avalon around a very forviging corner.

    You are capable of so much better, Jack.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    I had a 1988 Buick Electra T-Type (the 4-door sedan version of the T-type which was even more rare than the 2-door Lesabre Ts, but less desirable) and it was probably the best car that I have ever owned overall. Sure it had the infamous GM peeling paint and undersized front brake rotors, but I had 225K miles on the original drivetrain (including complete exhaust system and CV shafts, how many 1988 Accords can you say that about?) when I sold it and it was still running just fine.

    The interior of this body style had MORE room in it than most 1970s full-sized cars, including my 1971 LTD. Rear seat legroom and headroom was unparalleled. The flat floor and optional (THIN) center console made for a ton of front seat legroom also. You didn’t feel shoehorned in as is typical in these new cars where the center console eats about a foot of width out of the front seat.

    I now have a 2001 Lesabre, and I would much prefer to be driving the 1988 (with the Series II 3800 and upgraded tranny). You could actually tell where the car began AND ended! I think that GM made a big mistake by going to the “slugmobile” design that ran out the 1990s and into the 2000s.

    There were a lot of good design elements in these cars that were cost-reduced out over the following years. The Buicks had a tilt-forward hood (a la BMW) which made getting to the back of the engine a snap. Rear spark plugs and O2 sensor were actually visible and easily accessible w/o having to remove major engine components.

    After having had a number of 1960s and 1970s full-sized boats (GM, Ford, and Plymouth), my 1988 Buick was the first FWD and first “mid-sized” car that I bought. Also the first car that didn’t have a V8 in it. It was a major decision for me, as I had never owned a car with electronic engine controls and fuel injection before (which were absolutely reliable for me), and I was scared about the ease of working on a FWD car (turned out just fine).

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      Not only did the big Buicks have a BMW-style tilt-forward hood, there was another minor touch that showed that someone, somewhere was paying attention to small details in an innovative way: The rear license plate holder was wonderfully simple.

      You simply opened the trunk lid and slid the license plate into a slot between the tail lamps. Voila…no tools required.

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        The rear license plate holder was wonderfully simple.

        You simply opened the trunk lid and slid the license plate into a slot between the tail lamps. Voila…no tools required.Many people recall this feature and I can only surmise that the reasons it didn’t catch on are:

        1. The design necessitated a higher liftover height to get into the trunk than the ‘other’ design where the trunk lid extends all the way down to the rear bumper.

        2. The ‘slide-in’ license plate completely eliminates the ability to use any sort of license plate doo-dads like a surround or cover. Personally, this isn’t a problem for me, but I can see others not liking to be able to ‘personalize’ their license plate.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      Ever see the power seat lumbar controls on a 1990 Park Avenue Ultra? They’re something to behold. Fully backlit, and you could adjust the tilt of the support at the front edge of the cushion, as well as the headrest (up and down *and* front to back, if memory serves), in addition to several lumbar pressure points, on both the driver and passenger seats.

      The “bulb working” indicators (as opposed to “bulb out” indicators, which many cars had) on the Buicks were another unusual feature. I think a lot of these features were removed when the next generation was introduced.

    • 0 avatar
      MadHungarian

      Through some clever selection of the right data to emphasize, GM claimed that these cars had the same interior room as the 1977-84 Cadillacs, which in turn were allegedly as roomy as the preceding 1971-76 generation. I’ve owned all three of them, and the FWD car definitely FEELS smaller inside. You can only shrink the length and width of the car so much before it catches up with you. There is no way to seat three across comfortably in the rear of a 1985-92 Cadillac, but it’s easy in the two preceding generations. Don’t even think about trying it in front. Also, in order to get maximum leg and hip room, the rear seat is pushed back all the way to the rear window (necessarily vertical for headroom), and the armrests in the coupes are recessed into the side panels. The overall impression is of a full size car interior jammed into a midsized car space and of desperately fighting to use every cubic inch. Whereas the beauty of the 1971-76 fuselage design is that the bodysides curve out and away from the passengers’ hips and elbows. It looks and feels much more spacious in the real world. It’s not like you are up against every side and corner of the passenger compartment.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    This is precisely why, after decades of climbing the GM brand hierarchy, my grandfather drove Town Cars.

    Until 1995, that is, when he dropped American cars for good with his first Lexus LS.

  • avatar
    pdieten

    Maybe I’m too young (40) but I can’t work up any hate for the FWD C/H cars. It was the style at the time. They were incredibly popular around here – everyone owned a Buick LeSabre or Park Ave or an Olds 88/98, or knew somebody who did. And it was the 1988 models of these cars when GM finally figured out how to build a reliable, high quality FWD car. The driveline in these things would keep you rolling past 200K, at which point you’d get rid of it because you got tired of the bad brakes and all the interior electrics would start to quit.

    I didn’t have one, my big GM was an ’89 Riviera. Say what you want about the styling, but other than the unreliable and expensive CRT in the dashboard, that car, which used the same drivetrain, was bulletproof. Bought it with 100K, ran it for four years up to 205K, sold it because I got married & we were starting a family. No car seats in a Riv.

    They’re among the few relics of the mid-’80s still to be seen regularly around here, because they’re the only cars of that age with enough rustproofing and mechanical reliability to stay alive this long.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      I also can’t work up any hate on these cars. They were comfortable, quiet, had great packaging efficiency, and great fuel economy. I thought GM was innovative in details such as the outrageously adjustable telescopic steering wheel and the indicator bulbs that told you when you had a burnt out light.

      I personally lusted for the Olds 98 Touring Sedan and the Park Avenue (Electra?) T-Type during the late 80’s.

      Ironically, these cars occupy the niche that the 300C, Avalon, Taurus, Azera, and Maxima occupy today, none of which are big sellers. Blame SUV’s and crossovers as their modern day replacements.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        Yes, as I posted above, I had the Electra T-Type. I was cross-shopping the Olds 98 Touring Sedan at the same time, but opted for the Buick, as the Olds had a NADA value (at 5 years old) more than $5K OVER the similarly-equipped Buick (could never figure that one out, but at the time, it made a huge difference in the annual registration costs in our state which used to be based upon vehicle value).

        The “bulb-out” indicators were fiber optic, and here is an excellent writeup on them as used in a number of cars:

        http://automotivemileposts.com/autobrevity/lampmonitor.html

      • 0 avatar
        MadHungarian

        I would gladly take an Electra T-Type or the LeSabre coupe of this generation today. Although, reality, I would still prefer a ’77-’79 LeSabre coupe over the FWD successor all things being equal.

        Cadillac got not only the clunkiest styling of the three brands; it also got the horrible HT4100 engine for the first three years of this platform. The double whammy of that is what really sent Caddy into a tailspin.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I commend your cromulent description of the Lincoln.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Hmm, one of the first car I ever drove on American soil was a Cadillac deVille from this era. Rented, of course. I found it to be pretty nice, but that’s from a guy whose previous car experience is limited to a 1982 Corolla, with no power steering or power window, so it’s not as if I had high standard then. I remember the looooong front overhang scraping the pavement quite often. This was in San Francisco, of course. I’m sure even today it will be considered a pretty nice car (and sold pretty well) if it can be priced like a Nissan Versa.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    These were good cars and the 3800 was a heck of a motor. I am by no means a GM fan, but we must give credit where credit is due. GM did what Ford did not do and downsized their line drastically with this line up. Maybe Lincoln got lucky selling a ton of TC’s during this time but that does not mean it was the better car. I drove both back in the day and the FWD GM would be my choice again if I had to make it. I know this is Panther love territory but the FWD GMs out accelerated, out handled and had as much room (if not more)than the Lincolns did hands down. If reviewed today side by side, I don’t think the Lincoln would be seen in such a positive light.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No way the C&H cars out handled a Panther they are under-steering pigs. I’ll give you that depending on the exact models in question that they may have been able to out accelerate a Panther.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        Depends upon the model – the Olds 98 Touring Sedan and the Pontiac Bonneville SSE/SSEi both equipped with factory 16″ rims would certainly out-handle a stock Panther (but probably not the police version).

      • 0 avatar
        mazder3

        There is no way the C&H cars couldn’t have outhandled a Panther, at least a TC from the same era. From PM via Google books:

        ’88 LTC Cartier
        Slalom: 51.4 mph
        Skidpad: .69

        ’87 Bonneville SSE
        Slalom: 59.88
        Skidpad: .77

        Best quote in the TC test: “an overloaded Jeep Comanche could out-corner [this car].”

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        You compare the sportiest GMs with the softest Panther so you are stacking the deck a bit. There is a huge difference between how those performance versions with their sticky, at least for the time, low profile high performance tires and the ones with the skinny all season tires.

      • 0 avatar
        mazder3

        Yeah, sorry about that. Let me try again. How about Fox platform vs C, just for fun (and that I can’t find numbers from one brand of magazine online to compare panther to h/c directly). PS via Google:

        ’85 Lincoln Continental
        0-60: 11.6 sec
        60-0: 192 ft
        Handling test: 58.0 mph
        Maneuverability test: 24.0 mph

        ’85 Cadillac Fleetwood
        0-60: 12.8 sec
        60-0: 176 ft
        Handling test: 58.3
        Maneuverability test: 25.0 mph

        Lincoln is quicker and quieter but has cruddy brakes. Caddy is noisy, slower but can handle slightly better.

        http://books.google.com/books?id=ZITvPQYcXoAC&pg=PA34&dq=Oldsmobile+98&hl=en&ei=k3oiTrf_GI–tgeI-_2aAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CFMQ6AEwBTgK#v=onepage&q=Oldsmobile%2098&f=false

  • avatar

    these cars sold rather well, unlike what happened with the downsized Riviera and it’s sisters.

  • avatar
    ehaase

    I still see a good number of these cars. However, GM may have been better off financially had it not developed the C/H FWD cars and just continued refining and updating the 1977 B/C cars as Ford did the Panthers.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Style-wise, these cars were pretty poor. Too much looking back to their full size past, they didn’t fare well with the forward thinking styling of other cars. All was not lost however. Mechanically these cars, once past the “let the buyer be our beta-tester” period, were pretty durable. The drivetrain in particular only got better and better.

    What I find interesting is that these cars seemed to be very popular despite the paint and teething issues that seemed to be the hallmark of most non-truck GM products for the first year or two. The General seemed to have the ability to get buyers, but couldn’t keep them. Each model generation brought fewer and fewer buyers. Today, finding a GM dealership is like finding a Nissan dealer in 1975. They do exist but you have to travel for them.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Golden Husky: Where do you live in the US that you can’t find a GM dealership?

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      GM dealerships exist in pretty much any small town that supports a new-car dealer.

      Go to http://www.chevydealer.com and type in a ZIP code. They’re more common than just about any other marque.

    • 0 avatar

      I assume that was hyperbole. At the peak, GM had about 7,000 stores. Right now after carmaggedon and closing down a bunch of dealers it’s about half that amount. Even before the meltdown Ford and GM were trying to reduce the number of dealers but more in urban areas, where dealers are more likely to compete with each other. One of my first pieces for TTAC was a look at the Big 3’s small town dealers as a strategic asset that the import brands don’t have. Toyota has about 1,500 stores, not sure about Lexus. Their business model is no dealers in cities of less than ~100,000 people. I think Toyota’s dealer model has hurt them with pickup truck sales.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    When these first came out, I remember being somewhat enamored by the Buick T-Type version of these cars. It seemed to be the most sporty of those cars. My old boss had a 1985 Sedan DeVille back then, this car seemed like a knock off version of his previous Caddy. In other guises, I didn’t mind the styling, it was rather the mode for the mid-80’s, a kind of melted, boxy look. They were pretty darn tough and roomy. Too generic, and really didn’t advance the brands they represented. Bummer.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    When I first learned that the Fleetwood had been shrunk, i was a lil’ kid, and had recently watched “Honey I Shrunk the Kids.” For a little while I truly believed Rick Moranis turned his shrinking cannon onto the poor Caddy.

    What’s so ridiculous is that these cars are still almost 200 inches long, as long as a Taurus. They’re not small cars, but they LOOK like dinky compacts. It’s a trick of the eye, and not one that particularly impresses.

    That, and whenever we parked beside a Fleetwood in our ’87 Pontiac Safari wagon, it made no sense to me that such an expensive car looked like it could fit inside our family hauler.

    While I now appreciate that size isn’t a requisite of excellence (Ariel Atom, anyone?) there are still some cases where it is. A Rolls Phantom, for instance, or a Cadillac flagship…had better be gi-frikkin’-normous.

    – 3-time COTD-winner philadlj

  • avatar
    Zarba

    My father’s last car was an 88 or 89 Olds 98. His lunched a tranny at 50K, and a motor at 75K. He was a salesman, and maintained his cars by the book.

    A few months after he passed, we traded the Olds and a 1984 Chrysler New Yorker (why he bought that POS, I’ll never know) on a 1992 Camry for my mother. She drove that until she couldn’t drive any more,,, about 2008. That Camry was so much better than the Olds or the Chrysler; it was scary. I’m sure that Camry is still out there, rollin, and the ’98 and ‘Yorker have become sheemetal for a new Camry.

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    For the record, I think these were pretty good cars for the most part, as I noted in the Tally review. They just didn’t seem like full-sized cars.

    Although I’m no Robert Cumberford or Michael Karesh, my styling analysis of the C-bodies is this: The packaging miracle that made these 200-inchers more spacious than the 221-inch ’77 C-body is responsible for the silly looks. The passenger compartment is bigger, while the hood and trunk are much, much smaller. It’s the Toyota Echo effect, if you will.

    • 0 avatar
      Philosophil

      The Echo echo. I realize that many design elements often evolve incrementally (borrowing here and there), so it’s kind of silly to ask about ‘firsts’ sometimes, but was the Echo really the first to alter proportions like that? It would interesting if it was, a small, otherwise innocuous car like that having such a revolutionary effect on design.

      Edit: Upon further reflection I think my question might be just a tad anachronistic. So was there a single vehicle that set the trend here, or was this just a system-wide redesign?

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        European vehicles had those proportions from the jump, more or less, since most Euro countries had displacement/size taxation almost immediately after automobiles appeared. Sometimes those proportions can be cute — think Citroen 2CV or Honda City. Sometimes they are miserable — think Echo.

      • 0 avatar

        JB, if you look at Euro cars from the late ’50s and early ’60s like the Renault 4, the Sunbeam Imp, you’ll see some of those same proportions. Long cabin, short front end and short rear deck. Even Sir Alec’s Mini’s cabin in relation to the front end is pretty big, with just a tiny little bubble but rear end (not that much unlike the Renault).

    • 0 avatar

      Jack, I was wondering about the styling comment, knowing how you feel about autojournos and styling comments. I often quote you on the subject, explaining why we have Jason White, who actually designs cars and teaches auto design at CCS, doing styling commentary on Cars In Depth.

      http://www.carsindepth.com/?p=400

      I guess it’s a rule we all break at some time or another.

      I like Michael, he’s a great guy and his aesthetic judgments aren’t too far off from my own but the idea of a statistician talking about styling makes me giggle just a little.

  • avatar

    I was too young to have any driving impression of these cars, but, outside of the Cadillac, I liked the look. I prefer clean, boxy cars. However, they could stand to lose the carriage lights and white wall tires. Why change the look so dramatically they hold on to those old styling cues.

    My best friend’s parents had a 1991 Sedan DeVille and it seemed like a fine car, but I could never understand why anyone liked the horizontal speedometer. The climate controls were on the left of the steering wheel, and the headliner was hanging down after only a few years.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Honestly I was just amazed to find an ad that didn’t run for very long on You Tube… but anyway.

    Some of the B&B are having trouble putting everything in context. Remember that the downsize FWD A-body cars had come out in 1982 (Chevy Celebrity, Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, Pontiac 6000, and Buick Century) and (typical GM) once the teething problems were cured were fairly solid cars. In 1985 the downsized Buick Electra & LeSabre (1986), Oldsmobile 88 & 98, Cadillac DeVille & Seville (1986) and then in 1987 Pontiac Bonneville (oh and don’t forget the 1988 introduction of the W-body.) My point? Well the A-body’s rode on a 104in wheelbase, the 88, 98, Electra, LeSabre, Cadillac DeVille, Seville, Pontiac Bonneville all rode on a 110.8 in wheelbase, while the W-bodys had a 107 in wheelbase.

    Now I’m not arguing that these cars weren’t good, or weren’t well packaged on interior space, or didn’t give their owners years of sevice. And honestly if a relative were to suddenly pass and will to me one of these 1985 to 1991 (or so) autos I wouldn’t turn it down. But imagine a church parking lot, a family reunion, a mall parking lot, or even a multi-brand GM dealers lot filled with these things. I don’t have to imagine it, I just described my childhood. Imagine trying to sell these cars with HUGE differences in the base prices.

    The net result was that Panther sales shot up (saving the platform again), Caprice sales exploded (the only car not “downsized”), G-body sedan sales picked up (Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Pontiac Bonneville, Buick Regal), and GM scrambled to recreate the Fleetwood as RWD V8 formal roofline and grille again while ensuring that the next generation of the B-body RWD platform included a Buick version and a new Fleetwood.

    I owned a 1982 Celebrity and while it was in the shop in the mid 1990s the dealership loaned me a 1991 LeSabre off the used lot. Other than the fact that it had tons more power (3800) the interior and exterior dimensions didn’t seem that different from my beat up old Chevy. If I had been forced to choose between the LeSabre and a late production Celebrity with the fuel injected V6 I’d have likely bought on price.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Lincolns are always silver. Everyone knows that.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    When these cars were launched, my parents had just purchased an ’84 Fleetwood (RWD). I remember Dad and I taking one of the new FWD Cadillacs out for a test drive, and while the HT4100 engine was far better matched to the smaller car, something about the entire package left us a bit underwhelmed. Of course, both my older brother and I tried to convince Dad to look at the then-new Mercedes-Benz 190, to no avail.

    To this day I never understood why GM didn’t simply refine and adapt the then-current E-platform to the task. It would’ve given the packaging advantages of FWD with a fairly well-tested drivetrain, although I’m not sure that the same weight savings would have been realized.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    I like these cars. I’m looking for a driveable cadillac now of this type. I think they look cool, they are smallish and dopey looking on the inside… oh well, it s a gm after all. the seats are uber comfortable, it definitely has presence. As for the pretenders, so what. Everyone knew about it, geeze they are all but identical.

    As for front wheel drive vs. rear, its irrelevant to these cars. they are luxo barges, wallowing safely along, cosseting their passengers. IF anything, the FWD arrangement saves interior room, more space to be cuddled by tufted seats. And teh problem is….what?

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I remember these cars well, not that I ever had one, nor did anyone in my immediate family had them, but I knew people who did at various times over the years and they DID sell quite a few of these in various guises over the years, and while I’ll admit the C pillar design was a little weak, especially on the Cadillac where it didn’t distinguish itself enough from the rest of the pack.

    That and the rather dated design elements of column shifter, bench seat, horizontal speedo etc left these cars both modern, but old fashioned in my mind and thus never were the cars I was interested in.

    But I have to agree, these cars did well once you got past the teething issues, hell, even the old Celebrity et-al were decent cars later in their life cycles as was the Cavalier (even though it lasted MUCH longer than the Celebs and such but was left to rot on the vine in it’s final decade of life with little more than a reskin on older mechanicals). A YouTuber who lives in Illinois loves these old 3800 based GM cars and has one that’s got so many miles on it that they await the day it finally dies and one video shows his brother replacing the cam sensor pulley on their 87/88 Buick Park Avenue, dubbed the “long, cold forgotten Buick” that looks like it’s sat out in the weather all its life and is slowly rusting away in spots (being from Illinois, not surprising) and it has something like 250K miles on it and the last I saw, it’s still going. THAT has to say something about GM back in the late 80’s in so far as their drive trains are concerned even though the rest of the car is lackluster at best.

    I’ll also wager that even though the ride is still soft by today’s standards, it’d probably handled MUCH better than the ’76 Fleetwood ever could have hoped for and that didn’t mean the later models handled all that well, but were MUCH improved none the less.

    Sadly, by the early 2000’s, the cars only appeared to have been mildly updated in many respects with better looking bodies and more updated dashes, the car’s mechanicals were still largely based on the 3800/3900 motors and such although by the, the series III 3800 had come and gone and the 3900 took its place but outside of that, I doubt they were MUCH improved in other respects than their 1980’s counterparts.

  • avatar
    Stainsey Stainselstein

    These cars had awkward proportions. In an era where luxury equalled long wheelbases and hoods, these were an epic fail.

    Also, although GM managed to turn the old Buick 231 V6 into a durable engine (“3800”), Cadillac failed miserably with the 4.1 V8. they typically grenaded by 75,000 miles. If you look on eBay Motors, every 4.1 engined 80s Cad listed for sale is rebuilt. Thus, only the Buicks and Oldsmobiles were the reliable ones.

    Finally, the driving dynamics of these cars were awful. Those of you raised on front-heavy FWD appliances might think it normal, but these cars had a very uncomfortable bobbing effect when you drove down the road. It felt like you were sitting on your living room couch positioned right on top of the front wheels.

    One nice thing I can say is with the expansive glass on all sides and vertical, upright styling, they had very airy interiors.

    • 0 avatar
      Flybrian

      “Also, although GM managed to turn the old Buick 231 V6 into a durable engine (“3800″), Cadillac failed miserably with the 4.1 V8.”

      HT4100 begat the 4.5 which begat the 4.9, which is a rather rock-solid motor preferrable to a Northstar of similar vintage. Properly tuned, they generated a very muscular exhaust note that the DOHC Northstar simply couldn’t. Also…torque…lots of it.

    • 0 avatar
      pharmer

      “Finally, the driving dynamics of these cars were awful. Those of you raised on front-heavy FWD appliances might think it normal, but these cars had a very uncomfortable bobbing effect when you drove down the road. It felt like you were sitting on your living room couch positioned right on top of the front wheels.”

      I’ll second that. You really did feel like you and every other component that mattered was sitting right over the front wheels. The handling was not exactly dynamic, but they at least understeered predictably and were safe for appliance lovers (aka most car buyers) in the snow and what not. They were, however, really comfortable highway cars. You could set the cruise control and just basically go into auto pilot.

      The other thing I’ll second is the visibility. Even with that strange C-pillar you could see everything, including all four corners when parking. I know safety standards have changed, but I kind of wish we could go back that direction somehow. The big, swoopy A- and C- pillars on cars made today are not always fun.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        You are describing the driving dynamics of the non-sport models. I can assure you, if you had driven the Buick T-Type, Pontiac Bonneville SSE or SSEi, or Oldsmobile 98 touring sedan, you would not even believe that the cars shared the same underpinnings.

        I drove both (std Olds 98, and 98 Touring Sedan) on the same day, and everything was different – steering (less power assist on sporty models), brakes, suspension.

        The suspension was so firm on my Electra T-Type that the original, elderly owners had one of the front sway bar links removed! I figured that out a few months after I bought it while underneath doing an oil change. Olds 98 Touring Sedan was even a firmer ride than my Buick, with the Bonneville SSE being the firmest. I verified this later by measuring front and rear spring diameters with some calipers.

        If you ever get a chance to drive one of these “sport” models, do so, you’ll be amazed. It ain’t your father’s Oldsmobile!

      • 0 avatar
        MadHungarian

        “You really did feel like you and every other component that mattered was sitting right over the front wheels.”

        That’s a good way of describing it. I had an ’89 FWD Fleetwood Coupe for about 3 years and found it to be a very comfortable and surprisingly efficient daily driver. You could tell how hard GM had tried to make it ride just like a ’76 Fleetwood. But somehow you were always aware that the front wheels were very, very busy.

    • 0 avatar
      pharmer

      “You are describing the driving dynamics of the non-sport models. I can assure you, if you had driven the Buick T-Type, Pontiac Bonneville SSE or SSEi, or Oldsmobile 98 touring sedan, you would not even believe that the cars shared the same underpinnings.”

      Yep, you’re right on…I was talking about my own personal experiences with two different non-sport 98s. I described my sentimentality for both of those cars above. They were both serious floaters.

      I always really liked the looks of the Nienty Eight Touring Sedans. I was just Googling them again and still love the greyed-out grille and those sharp wheels that I think were shared with the Trofeo. No one in my small Midwestern town bought “that sporty stuff”…white walls and chrome hubcaps ruled the day. I remember really liking the 11th generation 98 Touring Sedan a lot when it came out. A huge venture from the 3-box style of the previous cars, and I liked all the buttons on the dash.

  • avatar
    Drissel

    I get kind of confused whenever I read about the down-sized Cadillacs from the 1980’s and how GM’s decision to build them basically ceded the rwd luxury car market to Ford’s Lincoln Town Car… Didn’t GM continue to build the Fleetwood Brougham on a full-sized D-Body platform throughout the 1980’s and then build a new one on the Roadmaster platform in the 1990’s?

    To my eyes, those Fleetwood Broughams are still very good-looking cars, more attractive and stylish than Lincoln Town Cars of the same period. Cadillac DID have a traditional RWD flagship sedan in the 1980’s… Why did the Town Car outsell it so badly that people talk about Cadillac going all front-wheel-drive in the 1980’s as if the Fleetwood Brougham did not exist? Why would the FWD Deville be the Town Car competitor instead of the Brougham? Was it overpriced? Limited production? Why is the Brougham forgotten and/or left out when we talk about Cadillac vs. Lincoln in the eighties?

    • 0 avatar

      They were rarely seen or merchandised as I remember…and unless you really followed the marque and kept up with the changes, the Broughams looked just like a Deville from before the FWD changeover. That’s how I remember it.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The Fleetwoods were expensive as hell and weren’t in any way distinguishable from deVilles of previous years. The new Cadillacs were dorky-looking, but at least they were obviously THE NEW CADILLAC. Think of how many people traded in their fake-W126 LS400 for a fake-W140 LS430 just because the new one was so obviously new.

  • avatar
    SCR

    Really I’d love to have any one of those as a winter beater, preferably the Cadillac just for the name. I have driven my grandmothers A-Body (?) early nineties Buick Century. Power, there really isn’t any, with what iirc is the 3.3. It is afraid of corners as well, but it rides almost as smooth as my 300CE. Although to be fair, my car also does not like to turn.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I remember when the top salesman at a company I worked for at the time got one of these – don’t recall what it was – an Olds or Buick, but I really liked it and thought of it as a very well-packaged car and enjoyed riding along to and from customers with him. Ditto for the Buick our cousin bought that my honey swooned over – me too, pretty much. Even though it was stuck with the infamous GM half-way mentality of rear window roll-down limitations, I would’ve bought one on the spot, had I the resources. I didn’t, so we made do with our K-Cars all through the eighties. We survived quite well, though, thank you. Still, I thought these were the way to go, but being a cruiser and not a driver, driving enthusiasts must look elsewhere.

  • avatar
    rdeiriar

    +1 on the long-term durability of these cars. My neighbour, an elder gentelman, still has his H-body Oldsmobile from the late 80s, which, as far as he can remember, has had only routine service done for 150k miles.

    Of note, a 4.3 litre V6 diesel, derived from the infamous Olds 5.7, was offered as an option. I wonder if any of these still runs ?

  • avatar

    What I like about these cars is they had windows instead of slits

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      You’re correct about the windows, but the feature I really liked were the “plug” or “limousine” doors, where the window frame was part of the door sheetmetal and not an after-thought of channelized, squared-off, welded steel as was common for most other models.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I give GM credit for developing credible FWD luxury cars, but once again, their execution never really matched the concept. Worth noting: the eventual evolution of this platform brought some really excellent full size models, like the ’03 LeSabre I have.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Describing the final LeSabres as “excellent” is stretching it quite a bit. They were monuments to mediocrity.

      My parents had a 1999 Park Avenue, and it was reliable for the first 100,000 miles. After that, it manifested several problems – both major and minor – that led to them trading it at 158,000 miles.

      A friend bought a low-mileage 2000 Park Avenue Ultra about a year ago, and it has been nickle-and-diming him regularly since that time.

      Based on what I’ve seen, with many GM cars, people tend to confuse low costs for various repairs, ease of repair and widely available spare parts (including entire engines) with reliability.

      In fit-and-finish and driving dynamics, these Buicks unimpressive. The 3.8 V-6 was reliable (once GM corrected the intake manifold gasket problems), and did give good highway mileage.

      But that’s about it.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Agree with Jack, the Buick looks the best of the three.

    This was truly the darkest of the dark dark darkest days at GM and their engineering. Just about everything made during this era (well OK, the ’84 Vette was a big step back in the right direction) from GM was a big, fat, steaming pile of badge engineered crapped.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Kluttz

      The 1984 Vette? Really? Did you fall and bump your head? obviously you have never read a review on it. It was pitiful. Look it up.

      • 0 avatar
        mazder3

        Only thing worse than an ’84 Vette is an ’83 Vette :)

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Only thing worse than an ’84 Vette is an ’83 Vette :)

        Heh, heh, cheeky!!! (you need a rim shot sound effect after reading that) One thing is for sure, the 1983 Corvette was the lighest one every built! ;-) *

        The last worthwhile C3 rolled off the assembly line all the way back in 1970 (and only a handful of big block Vettes were built that year). The C4 was a huge step in the right direction. 205 HP was only available in a handful of cars in 1984, exotics included; in ’84 that was serious horsepower. For comparison an ’84 Honda Accord produced 86 HP, a Camry of the same year, 92 HP. Mustang, 175 HP with the biggest motor option. Shoot a Porsche 928 for the era produced 239 HP for North American distribution.

        The son of LS1 5.7 under the hood produced a more impressive 290 pound feet of torque. It was 250 pounds lighter than the C3 Vette it replaced. The problematic t-tops had been dropped for a “targa” style top, a styling cue still carried today. The C3 Vette it replaced had a CoD of .44 – a freakin’ brick in comparison.

        The C3 ’82 Vette could burn up 0 to 60 in a blistering Prius grade 9.2 seconds, 1/4 mile in 16.1 seconds. The C4 ’84 shipped out at 6.7 seconds and 15.1 in the quarter. One year later it was an extremely impressive 5.7 seconds to 60 and 14.1 in the quarter. In comparison the 1984 Porsche 928S was 0 to 60 in 7.0 seconds and the 1/4 mile in 15.4, the 911 Carerra was 6.2 seconds and 14.6 seconds, the Mustang SVO was 0 to 60 in 7.9 and 1/4 mile in 15.8. The ’84 C4 Corvette did the slalom at 63.8 MPH and pulled .90 on the skidpad, thank in part to Bilstein gas-over shocks and the massive stock Goodyears on 16″ rims.

        How good were those numbers? Well for the same model year:

        * Porsche 944 60.9/0.818
        * Ferrari 308GTSi 60.6/0.810
        * Porsche 928 59.7/0.810
        * Datsun 280ZX Turbo 58.6/0.754

        So how bad was the ’84 Corvette again?

        Let see, what did the media complain about back then:

        1) It’s suspension with the Z51 package was too stiff, and better suited for the track, but that was only from some reviewers.

        2) Exhaust noise too loud in the cabin. I say cry me a river.

        3) The only proper thumping I can find is the manual tranny was an over-engineered 4 speed (what, no 5th gear???), with a way ahead of its time not ready for prime time (so GM of the era) 4+3 setup with step down gears within the top three gears to squeeze out better fuel economy. The heavy clutch, clunky shifter, and balky computer didn’t make for a fun experience. The automatic version was well preferred. Very valid complaint, the Mustang of the same year had a 5-speed.

        4) Loathing and hatred for the digital dashboard; a popular addition to many cars of that era.

        It received high marks in the reviews I read for handling (a huge step up from the God awful C3), braking, and acceleration (which had been completely neutered due to pollution controls).

        The C4 was a huge step forward to the steaming pile that the C3 had become.

        * Seriously, if you’ve read all this and are now compelled to write, “there wasn’t a 1983 Corvette,” than you did not get this bit of humor. If you think this was to mean that a 1983 Corvette was actually built, do yourself a favor. On Monday morning call your doctor, make an appointment, and get an evaluation for Asperger’s. You take things far too seriously.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        There WAS an ’83 Vette. I’ve seen it. It’s white, and it sits at the NCM in Bowling Green. There may have been two of them with 83 VIN plates according to the display. :)

        Incidentally, the ’84 Vette had a great run in SCCA Solo and Showroom Stock. As recently as two years ago, C4s were still winning National Solo events, usually the six-speed/L98 combo cars.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @Jack

        Sheer awesomeness. I know no ’83 was made for production, I did not know any ’83 of any flavor was actually built, even as a one off for the museum. One day I will get to Kentucky. I need motivation to get to Kentucky. I need A LOT of motivation to make up a reason to go to Kentucky.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Ugh, blast from the past. My Grandparents (who raised me) had an ’85 98, bought when they first came out in the Fall of ’84.

    Utter, epic, piece of crap in every possible way. It NEVER ran quite right, the interior started to disintegrate the moment the warranty was up, and the ride, handling, and acceleration are best described as “theoretical”. That thing was MY daily driver my senior year of high school, as Gramps had a Suburban and Gram was still commuting in the ’82 Subaru. Eventually they gave me the Subaru and she started driving the Oldsmobarge.

    Was supposed to be my Grandfather’s retirement present to himself, but he hated the thing. They did keep it until the early ’00s, but only because they always had something else and it rarely got driven. Had about 50K on it, I think.

    After this car, they never even considered another GM product. Though to it’s credit, it was not nearly as big a heap as either of thier loaded Windstars.

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      Heh. My grandparents had one, too, a brown Regency. Same thing, never ran right, lots of first-year quirks. And The whole concept of taking a fairly aerodynamic, efficient package, and saddling it with carryover styling from the ’84 Ninety Eight made for a bizarre, disjointed package overall.

      They eventually traded it for a ’91 Eighty Eight Royale, which was much more reliable and was a more handsome car with less-dated trimwork.

      The Cadillacs really were a disaster, especially with the HT4100, but the longer ’89-’93 car with the 4.9 V8 became a pretty decent, nice-looking car. The dashboard was a joke that had no business in a “full size” or luxury car, though.

      Oddly enough, the Buicks, which was the “traditional” GM brand in the ’70s and again in the ’90s, came off as the most modern and best-looking of the three. Buick had a good run in the ’80s as Pontiac and Olds lost the plot. The turbo cars brought buyers into the showrooms, while the family cars still felt like a step up without screaming “Old man car.”

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    Sorry, but I cannot in any way, shape, or form take Lincoln seriously after rolling a hideous broze-ish Continental with its awkward proportions, gutless motor, and god-awful air suspension into the shot.

    In true GM vs Lincoln fashion, the execution may (though not to me) have been off on the FWD C/H-bodies, but at least you see these bastards everywhere. Name the last time you’ve seen a bustleback Continental…or the FWD Conti that succeeded it…or an early ’94-97 Conti that still has a managable suspension.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The Fox-based Continentals didn’t sell in very high numbers (they debuted in the midst of a severe recession). But they were far better cars than the comparable Sevilles. You don’t see either one on the road anymore – although both of them do pop up at car shows.

      The difference is that the Cadillacs tend to be low-mileage garage queens – otherwise, given their crappy drivetrains, they would have been long scrapped – while the Lincolns were actually driven regularly.

      The front-wheel-drive Lincolns weren’t very reliable. This is true. But, based on my experience, neither were the GM front-wheel-drive C- and H- bodies from the 1980s (although they were better than the front-wheel-drive Continentals). The reason many of the GM cars are still plying the road as beaters is because of low repair costs and a ton of easily found replacement components. Easy repair and common parts are not the same thing as reliability.

  • avatar
    nova73

    The earliest one I experienced belonged to a client of my employer. He bought it new and owned it for a couple of days. He told my boss, who was his lawyer, that the dealer sold him a new Cadillac with different size door frames on either side of the car. Incredulous, she sent me to accompany him to the dealer. Sure enough, the difference between driver’s side and passenger’s was noticeable from a distance. I didn’t even bother to see how many fingers I could jam between the driver’s door and door frame and the front passenger’s door and frame. I would guess one could wedge an index finger sideways on the driver’s side but a whole thumb could be stuck straight in on the passenger’s.

    I confirmed this to my boss and I guess she was able to work something out with the dealer. Our client was allowed to return the DeVille and purchase a new Monte Carlo SS. He was very happy with the Monte. Later I read that GM was having teething problems with its new robotic welders. No kidding.

    A few years later, maybe in ’88 or ’89 Dad rented a LeSabre for a business trip. He let me take it for a spin. The power impressed, and the interior seemed well finished. The LeSabre T-Type made my short list when I searched for a used car in ’93, but I opted for a Taurus. I recall it was impossible to find a late-80s LeSabre with the T-Type package but without the door mounted belts.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      Later I read that GM was having teething problems with its new robotic welders.

      Nothing sums up Roger Smith’s legacy (I can’t believe his name hasn’t been mentioned yet for this article) at GM than the 1985 mid-to-upper level full-size GM cars. These were GM’s highest profit cars and the one market segment GM simply couldn’t afford to lose, and Smith pissed it all away with his finance-guy mentality.

      The robotics fiasco is also appropriate. The story goes that Smith toured a Toyota plant and was so impressed with the ‘lights-out’ way of building cars (i.e., robots) that he decided GM would embark on a similiar program. The problem was that Smith couldn’t comprehend that Toyota had achieved something as complicated as converting to robotic manufacturing thru incremental stages. Simply put, the Toyota way was to change one small process at a time, perfecting it until it was operating properly before moving on to the next stage. It took a while, but it ensured that the changeover went smoothly.

      Smith, OTOH, wanted lights-out now, in one fell swoop, and didn’t understand it couldn’t be accomplished by just throwing a bunch of money at it.

      But Smith’s decision to allow the downsized 1985 upmarket cars to be the most extreme badge-engineered vehicles GM had ever produced (classically shown in the famous Lincoln commercial), save for different grills, tail-lights and emblems (and pricing) defines his tenure better than anything else he did during the ten years he was GM CEO.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        The automation/robotics was introduced prior to Smith becoming chairman. Robotic welding (and other functions) was used for the 80X cars. The problem wasn’t so much the robots, but the fact that they’d ship the cars that the robots screwed up. That’s not second hand information – I was there and witnessed it myself.

  • avatar
    Ralph ShpoilShport

    “We don’t have such a thing as “COTD”* on “TTAC”.”

    No there isn’t and that’s fine with me. But we used to have a “TWAT” and I miss that. I regarded it as constructive criticism.

  • avatar

    Jack,

    The big Caddy limo on my site is bigger than your dwarf Caddy limo. It’s even bigger than the ’76 Talisman.

    Behold the 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy Five Limousine in all it’s 151.5″ wheelbase, 252.3″ total length and a weight just a fashion model shy of three tons.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    What we have here is a company that focused on the technical without recognizing the spiritual. There are a lot of technical reasons for these cars, much of it good and reasonable. What we see today, however, is how soul-less and anticeptic they turned out to be.

    These cars were not Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles and Buicks – they were Chevrolets and Pontiacs in old people drag. The Cadillac was done in dowager drag, the Oldmobile was done in frump drag, and the Buick was done in Southern drag. Beneath the powdered wigs, girdles, blue hair, leopard skin velour and foundation garments, were Chevies. There is nothing wrong with a Chevrolet, but there is something wrong when a Buick buyer buys a Chevrolet with the Buick option. It isn’t a Buick.

    GM focused on technical issues without considering how to ensure that each division’s spirit lived on. What they ended up with were decent sedans interchangable within divisions. That made a mockery of the divisions as well. It should come as no surprise to see Cadillac, Buick and Oldsmobile plateauing and losing sales in the immediate future.

  • avatar
    catbert430

    “These cars were not Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles and Buicks – they were Chevrolets and Pontiacs in old people drag.”

    Um – except that there were no equivalent Chevrolet or Pontiac models in 1985. Pontiac didn’t get a new Bonneville until the following year. There was never a Chevrolet on this platform as far as I know.

    My Mother-in-law still has a 1986 Olds Delta 88 Royale Brougham. It’s in great garage-kept shape. She bought it because it was the only ‘luxury car’ without those ‘darned electric windows’.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • mcs: “Building a production facility and “testing for over a year”… Actually, it does mean something....
  • kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh: one guy here in oregon was crushed under a prius, his jack collapsed and he suffocated...
  • FreedMike: Possibly true, but who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks?
  • BOJO: Many comments hit the nail on the head… further details: 1. Smart phones & car touch screens distract...
  • FreedMike: …and the Salton Sea. https://www.kcet.org/news-comm unity/as-lithium-drilling-a...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber