By on December 23, 2015


Four and a half years. That’s how long it’s been since I served as a cross-country delivery driver for TTAC reader doctorv8‘s 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Talisman.

As the more eagle-eyed of the Best & Brightest noticed earlier this week, that same Fleetwood is now for sale after a $10,000 freshening. So let’s catch up on what’s happened with the car, and the characters, from that once-in-a-lifetime trip.


The story went like so: I picked the car up from a dilettante-ish RV dealer in Columbus, Ohio, loaded up my trusty G&L S-500 Deluxe and headed to Houston. Long-time TTAC readers will recall that the Talisman broke down in Franklin, TN. I can now reveal that, although the breakdown was unplanned, my stop in Franklin was absolutely planned because I’d fallen in love with the woman I came to call “Drama McHourglass” the moment I saw her for the first time at a New Year’s Eve party at the end of 2009. My plan was to steal her heart and, although I failed miserably that June evening in 2011, by November we’d embarked on a relationship that would prove to be utterly devastating for both of us.

After a week of indifferent servicing, I picked up the Talisman and drove it to Houston via the “crossroads” in Mississippi. I will always remember the look on “Sanjeev’s” face when I drove that Cadillac around the corner of his parents’ street. In all fairness, I should mention that I used the Talisman the night before for an assignation with a Latina street racer who was trying to hide our on-again, off-again affair from her terrifying drug-dealer gangster fiance. Not to worry, prospective Talisman owners: we didn’t do anything in the car itself.

My review of the Talisman appeared shortly afterwards. Much attention was paid to the makeup-free sporty blonde with the killer figure who appears sitting in the back seat with me in some photos. We’ll get to her in a moment.

But first, let’s fast-forward four and a half years and see where everybody ended up.

We’ll start with the Talisman itself. It can be yours for the modest price of $15,000. I corresponded with doctorv8 today and he showed me about $10,000 worth of receipts, all work done by a respected shop using new parts. Given that the car made it across the country before all that work got done, I have to believe you could drive it anywhere in the country now.

In fact, I am willing to drive the car to you if you buy it. All you have to do is pay for the fuel and any miscellaneous expenses.

What about the owner, doctorv8? Well, he married a lovely woman and bought a lot of neat cars after the Talisman. He’s always been more of a Ford guy than a GM fan and I wonder if perhaps that isn’t why the Cadillac is on the block while his Lincolns stay safe at home.

The girl in the photos? She is, and was, TTAC writer Sam Miller. I’m sorry to say that although we’ve spent a fair amount of time together, she has always been absolutely impervious to my charm. On the positive side, I had the privilege last year of watching a fellow who writes for Motor Trend strike out with her in somewhat more embarrassing fashion than anything I ever managed.

My Latina street racer from Houston went legit and decided to work in an office. She became a grandmother when her fifteen-year-old daughter decided to follow in her teen-mom footsteps. If I ever see her again, I will make fun of her for this while simultaneously envying her for basically being over and done with parenting well before her 40th birthday.

The girl from Franklin, TN waited a whole week after I broke up with her in 2012 to start dating a very handsome, if not terribly accomplished, fellow from her hipster neighborhood. He got her a ring earlier this year. My requests to play “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” at their wedding have gone unanswered. I’m not bitter about this.

The Church’s Chicken At The Crossroads is still open and doing quite well.

As for me, your humble author, I won some races, lost some races, broke both of my legs, lost my spleen, gained some titanium bolts, fell in love, fell out of love, had unforgettable experiences and unfathomable despair, drove a Rolls-Royce in Beverly Hills and a Peugeot wagon in Malaysia and a Miata in Spain and an Accord in Ohio, took Dilaudid and Vicodin and Oxycodone and various other things that don’t bear mentioning in a family publication like this, and wrote the new marquee feature at Road&Track, “Performance Car Of The Year,” for each of the three years it has existed. I continue to reside in flyover country where I haggle with my creditors and attempt to parent my son. In my bedroom drawer there is a worn and weathered hood ornament, opaque from time and wind. It is from 1976 and it is a Cadillac wreath and crest. The end.

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32 Comments on “Finally, Your Chance To Be A True Fleetwood Mack...”

  • avatar

    Oh! And you also brought me into the fold since the Fleetwood. Don’t forget that one. :)

  • avatar

    Don’t think I could live with such a large car that only sat four people.

  • avatar

    I wish I had $15,000 laying around.

    Sounds like J.B. and the Talisman have had an equally eventful 4 years.

  • avatar

    BTW, Columbus Ohio to Houston Texas with a breakdown in Tennessee, is not “across the country”. My ’65 Impala made two round trips from San Diego to Providence RI with no breakdowns, and that IS across the country. The Talisman would have been more comfortable though, especially on the second round trip in July – the Chevy had no AC. The states between the Mississippi and Colorado rivers on Interstate 40 can get a little toasty in July.

  • avatar

    The Fleetwood was cool, but my soft spot in the Mehta fleet was for the MGM coupe.

    • 0 avatar

      LOL, make me an offer, and the MGMC can be yours as well!

    • 0 avatar

      Damn. That is one clean machine.

      If that was a Lincoln, the pile of cash I’m sitting on would be in doctov8’s pockets.

      • 0 avatar

        My advice is a last gen Town Car (2003-2010 MY). For under $10k you can get a low miler (well under 100k mile) example. Watch out for the A/C($1500) and the air ride suspension ($2000). Otherwise, you get a last gen, bullet proof piece of automobile. It is perfect as a turnpike cruiser on the interstate with gasoline at $2.00 per gallon.

  • avatar

    Alas it is not to be, as I have committed to a house purchase before the eagerly awaited classic Caddy comes home with me. :(

    Sadly it also wouldn’t fit in my garage until the purchase of said new house is done. I had to make sure that my current garage would fit all 225 inches of a late 60’s/early 70’s Deville (and it will, with an entire 1/2″ to spare ON EITHER SIDE! Just hang a tennis ball) but it will definitely not accept a 19 1/2 foot Talisman. Maybe next time it comes up for sale I’ll be ready for it.

  • avatar

    You know, Doug Demuro is in the market right now.

  • avatar

    Funny you mention Fleetwood Mac, this is my current favorite song:

    Also, seeing this land yacht reminds me of my own land yacht dreams…got a 77-79 Continental Town Coupe?

  • avatar

    I want to hear about driving the Peugeot wagon in Malaysia–especially if it was a 404. The latest PCOTY was terrific.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes indeed. PCOTY was a thoroughly enjoyable read. But the Huracán review a couple of months earlier was the best, most thorough and most successful at putting the reader in the position of knowing the limits and behavior of a car that is totally beyond most peoples’ abilities.

      That is truly an all-time classic of automotive journalism, at least in my book. And I have been reading the tree-based variation of auto journalism going back decades, so I do have a basis for comparison.

  • avatar

    Those old Caddies were great to be sure .

    I’d rather have a ’51 Coupe but in truth , the only Caddy I recall ever actually owning , is my ’80 Fleetwood S & S Victoria hearse and I gave it to my Brother knowing he’d love it as a Shop Truck so I still get to ride in it now and then .

    I don’t actually like driving Caddies , (or any other large vehicle) but I sure do love their presence .


  • avatar

    “After a week of indifferent servicing”… I see what you did there!

  • avatar

    Ah 1976…the last of the behemoth DeVilles and Fleetwood. 1978 for the Eldorado. Funny how “downsizing” became the thing to do after the alleged “gas chrisis”. Probably a good thing actually. I don’t think the auto manufacturers cared about gas mileage, or pollution up until then. As far as styling goes, Lincoln had better looking cars…IMO. Either way, it was the beginning of the end of an era. That’s for sure!

  • avatar

    I seem to recall in the original piece the interior ergonomics being similar to an Accord’s of the previous generation. Amazing.

    • 0 avatar

      Always struck me as interesting that the basic dash layout was unchanged between the last of the big Caddies and the downsized ones on the C-platform. (And that basic layout was also used on the Seville which was loosely-based on the X-platform.)

      IIRC, the biggest problem with the 2nd-Gen Seville, at least in the first couple (1980-81) years was the fact that the Olds Diesel 350 was standard on that car, with much fanfare being made about it; did the Eldorado get the V8-6-4 standard, or the HT4100? I thought the bustle-back Seville is somewhat sought after today if you can find an undonked one in good condition.

      (I thought that the aftermarket actually figured out a way to make the DoD in those engines actually WORK, rather than just pulling the solenoid, vacuum cable, or whatever simple trick disabled the system. As with anything I say, B&B, no flames — just point me in the right direction.)

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    Living near Franklin, I am tempted to buy the car just to have a chance to meet Jack.

  • avatar

    My only Caddy was a ’94 Eldo Northstar. I loved it; it was deceptively quick. Alas, the interior was not well-attached and it lost value as fast as I could pay it off.

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