By on April 22, 2019

1981 Cadillac Fleetwood in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsFinding a Malaise Era Cadillac in a self-service wrecking yard is interesting, especially when it has Cadillac’s not-so-successful first attempt at a cylinder-deactivation engine. Those cars don’t make me sad, though.

A nicely customized show-car Cadillac with metalflake paint and pro-applied airbrush work in a junkyard — that makes me sad, even if it did suffer from the wretched V8-6-4 engine. I found this once-glorious Cad in a Denver-area yard last summer.

A car like this needs a name, of course. Meet Big Sexxy!

1981 Cadillac Fleetwood in Colorado wrecking yard, LH side view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsSorry about the beschmutzified images; I had touched the camera lens with greasy fingers after removing an Integra shifter. Don’t try that at home.

1981 Cadillac Fleetwood in Colorado wrecking yard, custom paint detail - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsBig Sexxy is covered with quality airbrush work. If I had to guess, I’d say this car was customized during the 1980s, then entered a long-term downward spiral.

1981 Cadillac Fleetwood in Colorado wrecking yard, V8-6-4 engine - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsUnder the hood, the V8-6-4 engine. GM never could get this engine to work correctly, and most owners simply unplugged the connectors for the valve de-actuators (located on the valve covers).

1981 Cadillac Fleetwood in Colorado wrecking yard, interior - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe interior has been gutted pretty thoroughly, so we can’t tell how much tuck-n-roll used to be there.

1981 Cadillac Fleetwood in Colorado wrecking yard, landau roof - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsRest in peace, Big Sexxy.


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43 Comments on “Junkyard Find: Big Sexxy, the V8-6-4-powered 1981 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Lol, love it! Nothing says pretense and malaise like a donk early 80s Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. The only thing missing is the addition of “D’Elegance”, but I guess “Big Sexxy” will work

  • avatar
    redapple

    V-4-6-8.
    Great Idea for the time.
    Bad- real bad execution.
    Again.
    GM has a history of this.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Yes, cylinder deactivation is baaack, but I think it works this time around. How about dem GM diesels?

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      All this is true. There wasn’t enough computing power to make the engines run right, let alone get this wizardry right.

    • 0 avatar
      Duaney

      We had one a few years ago. The engine worked perfectly.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        That’s very nice, but these were released when Cadillac’s customers returned to the dealers like spawning salmon. Nothing could stop them, until the V8-6-4, Olds Diesel and HT4100 made Cadillacs the butts of jokes instead of objects of desire. If there’s anything the internet has taught us, it is that there were some Vegas that didn’t have engine issues, some Diesel Dashers that won every stop-light grand prix, and some Cadillacs made in the ’80s that didn’t set their buyers up to be future Lexus and Mercedes-Benz owners. It is just a matter of time before Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster show up on Twitter.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    “Nicely customized” yuck! I guess that depends if you were a pimp or trying to play the roll of one, that purple roof, hideous!

  • avatar
    CaddyDaddy

    CaddyDaddy meet Big Sexy, Hello Baby!

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    You are the Duke of New York! You’re A-Number One!

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Check the ownership records, did this car belong to Kevin Nash at one time?

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    With the liberal use of teal and purple in addition to the geometric shapes, lines, and 3D bubbles – I’d place this as happening between ’88 and ’93.

    Which reminds me, it’s almost time for me to pull out my fluorescent green checker pattern Umbro shorts for summer. I can probably put away my Hypercolor sweatshirts now.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Yep, the paint job is solidly neon era, though I suspect whoever commissioned it wasn’t at the front edge of style and fashion trends, so I’d put the actual spray date around 1995.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    “In matters of taste, everyone else is wrong” .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Duaney

    This is not the “Fleetwood Brougham. Just a Coupe DeVille

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Disappointed to not see more underhood shots. I worked with a guy that owned a black Fleetwood Brougham four-door with the V-8-6-4, and his was one of the rare ones that actually worked. He liked the thing, and it got decent mileage IIRC.

  • avatar
    V16

    At least, the purple Fleetwood is more distinctive than the new XT6..

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    This looks pretty awesome, I have to say. However, I can see how the Big Sexy declined. My neighbour has a show car, and it’s a massive money pit.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    It’s not surprising that the bumpers and plastic “Endura” fillers are gone.
    When these were popular it was during a time of peak car theft including just the parts. In New York the major Cadillac dealer would tack weld the bumpers to the impact absorbers.
    In parts of the sun belt the plastic fillers would deteriorate.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I think there actually are aftermarket fillers now available, though fiberglass rather than “Endura.” I think the manufacturer has traded durability/flexibility for cost savings and longevity. Not many owners born between 1890 and 1920 to daily drive these and park them by feel anymore, so the flexibility of Endura isn’t as critical. (In the short to medium term, Endura actually did do its job of surviving minor mishaps better than sheetmetal did.)

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        I’d like to find who & where to buy aftermarket fillers for my 1980 Fleetwood……

        TIA,

        -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          Google is your friend:

          http://sandkindustries.com/CADDY.HTML

          Not a bad price.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            Interesting, and *not* fiberglass, per their home page – ABS in this case. I swear I read or heard fiberglass from some manufacturer or other [shrugging].

            Huge tip of the cap to Nate for having a 1980 Fleetwood.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            Interesting and, per their website, *not* fiberglass – ABS in this case. I swear I read or heard fiberglass from some manufacturer or other [shrugging].

            Huge tip of the cap to Nate for having a 1980 Fleetwood.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            THANK YOU KIND SIR ! .

            I did google and everything else it for years, never once got any hits .

            Don’t be too impressed by my Caddy ~ it’s a low spec. S&S Victoria Hearse…..

            I got it from Dapper Cadaver in L.A. who was using it as a prop car.

            -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            I once dated a women in the mid 80’s who would occasionally drive her folks 81 Coupe Deville in champagne and brown with the V8-6-4. I drove it a couple of times and found it to be smooth while keeping one eye peeled on the digital economy gauge below and next to the climate control.
            GM good ideas, not always fleshed out, then dropped.

  • avatar

    The engine name was incomplete – it should have read V8-6-4-2-0 because sometimes it would shut down by 2 cylinder groups until to NO cylinders were firing. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Joking aside, isn’t conventional wisdom that the 368 is a fundamentally good engine if the 8-6-4 system is disabled (which apparently is quite easy to do)? Basically what you then have is a de-bored 425.

      That’s not to excuse Cadillac’s failure to bridge the gap between the 425 and the 4.5.

      And I’m still unclear on *what* they changed to transform the unloved 4100 into the solid efforts that were the 4.5 and 4.9.

      Also, I’d love to hear a mechanical engineer weigh in on alloy block/iron head engines, since it’s such a rare set-up. The Vega I4 and Cadillac 4100/4.5/4.9 are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        RE: Cadillac 368CI V8 engine :

        Yes, it’s a stout thing, long lived because it cannot work very hard in spite of the 4V carby on it .

        -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          The only 368 that used a 4BBL was the 1980 Deville/Fleetwood series C body cars. The Eldo/Seville used a fuel injected 368 and all 8-6-4 engines used the same basic Digital fuel injection. Both were stout engines and were hitched to the equally stout THM 400 transmission.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            Thanx Ponchoman~

            I didn’t know that, only that they’re strong and hard to wear pout engines .

            This car has the TH400, not the TH350C, I like the lock up torque converter my self .

            When the 4-6-8 was new, I know a (wise) guy from New York City who bought one as a status symbol turns out it was really a 53-5-7, the dealer never could make it right, if they’da just unplugged the de activators like mentioned here he’d have loved it I’m sure .

            -Nate

      • 0 avatar
        tomLU86

        The 425 was a debored or destroked 500, which was a bored/stroked 472.

        If the 368 is a smaller 425, it’s really a much smaller 500.

        Wow!

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Both 4BBL and FI 368’s were stout motors that could go the distance. The vast majority of these had the wire snipped that tied into the transmission lockup system.

        The engineers at Cadillac should have known better than this. A far simpler and much less costly thing they should have done is beef up the 1981 introduced 200R4 transmission with overdrive .67 top gear and mated that to the FI version of the 368. Highway mileage would have exceeded the 21-22 ratings the 8-6-4 engines was supposed to achieve and customer satisfaction would have been way higher than with the 8-6-4 system or the early to the party underpowered 4100 engine. And the 4100 could have been brought out when it was supposed to in 1985 on the new downsized cars with 3 more years of development time.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I’m…to sexxy for this paint…too sexxy for this paint…’cause sexxy it ain’t…

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I’m…too sexxy for this yard…too sexxy for this yard…get me back on the boulevard…

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I’m…too sexxy for this yard…too sexxy for this yard…get me back on…on the boulevard…

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I’m…too sexxy for the crusher…too sexxy for the crusher…help.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I’m late to this one – vacation and all that – but the old man had one of these during his brief love affair with (used) Cadillacs.

    He bought a used brown ’81 Fleetwood with the 8-6-4 engine, which, oddly enough, my uncle designed some of the machinery that made the parts. The car came with a switch – from a previous owner – that made the engine 8 all the time. In that mode it was actually a pretty nice car. But once I accidentally turned the switch off and wondered what the heck was wrong with the car.


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