1985 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Coupe: See You On The Dock, Senator!

One 1980s Cadillac you don’t see often is the Fleetwood Brougham coupe. Wait, you may be thinking. Fleetwood Broughams were always pillared sedans or four-door hardtops! At least until the downsized front wheel drive Cadillacs appeared for model year 1985! Au contraire. Mid-year in 1980, for the first time ever, a Fleetwood Brougham two-door entered stage left!

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As with the newly-restyled 1980 Fleetwood Brougham sedan, Coupe de Ville and Sedan de Ville, the Fleetwood Brougham coupe featured a smoother body and front end to aid fuel economy, in addition to a more upright C-pillar and backlite.

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If you like American luxury cars, you have to agree this was a great design. Strong, bold and clean, with squared-off styling that left no doubt you were looking at a Cadillac. From the bold grille, to the quad headlights…

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…to the rear finlets and vertical taillights, this was the car to arrive in at the golf course here in the Midwest. Although he drove a Silver Cloud III convertible in Caddyshack, I can easily picture one of these sitting next to the Roller in his garage. These Cadillacs, and especially the Fleetwood Brougham coupe and sedan, were a signal that you knew exactly what you wanted, and you didn’t care about flaunting your wealth!

Especially in yacht club approved Cotillion White with matching top and matching Sierra Grain leather, with navy carpeting and trim! Yowza.

I am a big fan of triple white American luxury cars of the 1970s and 1980s, so when I first spotted this immaculate example on the electronic bay a few years back, I knew I had to show its Broughamtastic finery with the world! And I did so, in a post over at some other site that doesn’t need to be mentioned by name.

How could you drive this car and not have a big, stupid grin on your face! These were the last of the really big American luxocruisers, though this chassis had been the first downsized variant in 1977.

85 Sedan de Ville

But after the 1980 refresh, and seen among its 1985 Aries, Celebrity and Tempo contemporaries, it looked pretty darn big. Park an ’85 Fleetwood Brougham coupe next to a 1985 Sedan de Ville and it’s no contest.

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As far as style was concerned, the traditional “big” Cadillac had it in spades during the first half of the Eighties. So did the Eldorado, and even the polarizing Seville–especially if you loved Hooper-bodied Rolls-Royce Silver Wraiths and Daimler DS420 limousines.

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The retro-styled bustle back Seville may or may not have been the best idea after the remarkably contemporary 1976-79 Seville, but the 1979-85 Eldorado and these deVilles and Fleetwoods were beauties.They were so classic that they lasted through model year 1992 with only a minor restyling in 1990, with flush headlamps and a slightly revised instrument panel.

80 Fleetwood coupe

Halfway through model year 1980, the Fleetwood Brougham, a four-door sedan exclusively since its inception decades before, introduced a coupe model. Like the elegant sedan, it offered even plusher accommodations, a padded vinyl roof, and a limousine-style backlight.

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Fleetwood Coupes utilized a landau-style top instead of the full-length version used on the four-door, but added a frenched-in opera window instead of the more conventional quarter light used on the more common Coupe deVille. The chrome rocker trim from the sedan was also applied.

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The Coupe, as attractive as it was, never sold like its four-door companion, and 1985, the year of our eBay find shown here, was the last time you could get the “big” Fleetwood Brougham Coupe. That same year, a non-Brougham “Fleetwood Coupe” appeared on the downsized, FWD C-body, but it obviously did not have the sheer presence and heft of the 1980-85 Brougham Coupe.

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I love these cars. And I also love these Cadillacs (and Lincolns, and Imperials…) in triple white. This one is just a stunning time capsule, with only 43K miles on it. The condition is amazing. And the blue trim contrasts nicely with all that plush white leather.

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And, approximately fourteen square feet of simulated wood trim! Chrome trim on the accelerator and brake pedals, too. It’s all these little touches that make me love these cars. I love the little Cadillac logos and wreath and crest emblems everywhere. They’re like little Easter eggs for you to find. The classy exterior styling makes it even better.

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Even the driver’s seat is pristine on this car. Someone really loved this Cadillac. It is essentially in showroom condition.

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Yes, that is original mileage, 43,900 and change. It shows in the remarkable condition throughout.

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These Fleetwood Brougham coupes were certainly a car of their time and place. Especially if that place was a country club in Grosse Pointe in the fall of 1984. So, what price Broughaminess? Well, there were seventy-five bids for this Cadillac, and it finally hammered down for $16,500 in 2014.

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But wait! There’s even more! I didn’t know him at the time, but the car was owned by Robert Reed, a Cadillac collector in the Golden State. I have since connected with him via Facebook and many of its Cadillac- and Brougham-related hobby groups. His website, FleetofCads.com, I can recall browsing as far back as 2005-06. At any rate, I learned recently that he had bought the car back!

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Since it had been sold, the car had been driven only two miles! So he got the car back in identical condition. The only change he’s made since the car returned home is to replace the wire wheel covers with genuine wire wheels, a factory accessory. Which makes it look even better in my opinion! You can see even more pictures of this car on its page over at FleetofCads.com. Check it out. And Brougham on!

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All photos courtesy of Robert Reed and FleetofCads.com. Thanks Robert!

20 Replies to “1985 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Coupe: See You On The Dock, Senator!”

  1. Shortest Circuit

    Not sure about Czervik having one of these, he was the archetypal ‘new money’ tasteless guy… maybe if Cadillac offered golden Landau bars and a gold grille.

    Reply
  2. stingray65

    Beautiful pictures of a real time capsule, which unfortunately cover up the reality of why Cadillac was already slipping badly. Acres of fake wood and fake plastic chrome adorn the interior, but do not compare favorably to a mid-1960s Eldorado or Fleetwood where you got real wood and chrome plated metal. Aside from tiny details such as different opera window treatment and chrome rocker moldings – there isn’t much besides the badge to see how you are getting “top of the line” relative to the cheaper deVille version – which again was much more obvious in the 1950s-60s era Cadillac. But worst of all, the engine choices were terrible – diesel Olds (one of the worst engines ever), or the “new” pushrod OHV 4100 Cadillac V-8 with no horsepower and reputation for self-destruction. A Caprice Classic with 305 would blow this thing away at the stoplight, and run just as smoothly and more economically, meanwhile BMW and Mercedes are continuously upgrading the power outputs of their models during the 80s to offer real autobahn cruisers. This is a very pathetic car to represent what was supposed to be the top-of-the-line model of the top-of-the-line American brand – and a key reason Cadillac slipped to being the 4th and likely soon 5th best selling luxury car brand in America today. Its only saving grace is it at least looked like a Cadillac (in a good way), which could not be said of the even more pathetic downsized FWD models that replaced this. A car like this should have been a Buick, while Cadillac should have set its sights much higher.

    Reply
    • Carmine

      I guess its just impossible for people to enjoy this car without putting on a “This is why Cadillac sucks” wanna be class-dissertation powerpoint etc…..that no one asked for…….thanks Paul er Stingray…….

      Reply
      • stingray65

        Post pictures of a 1965 or 1955 or 1949 Cadillac and all I would say is there is likely the best car in the world for its time, which is why I hate what idiot GM management did to this proud brand starting in the late 1960s. If you want to go back further, then I would have to go with Packard as the best most of the time.

        Reply
      • Sean

        No joke!
        It’s like the “American’s still don’t like Diesel because of Oldsmobile” junk I see on occasion across the “enthusiast” sites.

        Reply
    • George

      Cadillac has been fifth for awhile now -with Acura and Infiniti potentially putting it in seventh place soon.

      I remember this car when I was a kid -it was a big joke among my friends then.

      Reply
  3. Patrick King

    Uncle Freddy was a successful life insurance salesman, although admitedly early in his carreer he’d benefitted from a captive audience. Fresh out of the Army Air Corps after WWII, where he’d piloted C-46 cargo planes over the Himalayas to supply Madame Chiang Kai-shek’s China, he’d visited local Air Force bases in Massachusetts and elsewhere in New England, extolling the parsimoious virtues of investing in the future to airmen compelled to listen to his sales pitch in return for weekend passes. He’d supposedly won a gold-plated Packard as a reward for his outstanding sales efforts in the early ’50s (although the “gold” immediately flaked off), but this predates my memory of things automotive. What I DO remember was his black ’58 four-door DeVille (later repainted white for some reason), his ’64 four-door hardtop painted the most exquisite shade of metallic lilac, and his Marina Blue ’68, with its mighty 472 under the hood. To his core, Uncle Freddy was a Cadillac man.

    Freddy (who looked exactly like Don Rickles and never read a book in his life but conjured money out of thin air) would back that ’68 Caddy out of its slip on Kendrick Sreet, put it it drive and mash the long, metal-trimmed gas pedal with a smug look of pure delight as we hurtled toward Brighton Center at twice the 30 mph limit before we hit Lake Street near Boston College.
    .
    Me? I grew up severely disadvantaged. Neither of my parents drove. My other uncle Gogo’s arrival on a Sunday afternoon in his ’65 Coronet sedan, brownish/maroonish, meant a chance to get behind the wheel on my learner’s permit. So when I finally convinced my parents that we needed a “familly car” my suggestion was a factory-ordered 1969 Dodge Dart GTS 340, later repalced with a ‘’71 BMW 2002 when I told my parents that the muscle car was all used up at 26,000 miles.
    .
    Still, I remember taking the B branch of Boston’s Green Line streetcars to automobile row along Commonwealth Avenue when I was just shy of driving age and sampling the current wares of all the car stores along the three or four mile stretch of that city’s chief boulevard before all the car dealerships moved to the suburbs around my time at junior high.
    .
    Predominant among those dealerships, along with Clark and White Linclon/Mercury, Clay Chevrolet, Muzzi Ford and Commonwelth Dodge (where, when I brought my Dart in for its first oil change, I witnesed one of the yard crew’s attempts to keep the dual quad Hemi in a brand new, copper-colored Charger 500 (NOT a Daytona, Google it) fired long enough to move it out of my way), was Peter Fuller Cadilac/Oldsmobile.
    .
    If I can link it here’s the the five-story building by noted architect Albert Kahn that anchored all automobile commerce in Boston around the time I rode my bycicle to Peter Fuller’s, day after day, where I saw Oldsmobile 442s and the rare W31 Cutlases being prepped for delivery. But the most memorable car I sat in, in the cathedral-like Peter Fuller showoom, was a 1969 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 sedan, with a dashboard not unlike the one in your fine article, Tom.

    American luxury cars of that era had no rational counterparts. I sat in the back seat of that emerald green Fleetwood in the spring of 1969, in the expansive back seat with my feet on the pull-down footrests, thinking life couldn’t get much better.

    The jury’s still out but I’m not sure I was srong.

    Reply
  4. arbuckle

    Nice car. Unfortunate situation going on under the hood in ’85 though. Even if the 4.1L and 5.7L diesel had improved reliability by ’85, compared to what Lincoln, Chrysler and even the other GM brands offered the diesel V8 had a major horsepower deficiency and the gas V8 had a major torque deficiency.

    The move to the Olds 307 was helpful, but the 350 4bbl from the 9C1 would have been a killer optional offering for the RWD Cadillacs of this era. Unfortunately it took GM 5 more years to reach that conclusion.

    Reply
    • stingray65

      1985 – they could have given the top-of-the-line Cadillac the port-injected 350 Corvette engine with 230hp – something that would have blown away the MB S-Class or BMW 7 series of the time, but management was too timid to offer a powerful Cadillac.

      Reply
  5. ArBee

    Beautiful Cadillac. I’m amazed at the condition of the white leather in this car, no matter how pampered it’s been. This car is so very evocative of summer evenings at the beach, of dinner out with a lightly tanned companion wearing a strapless dress, and then a moonlight drive…Hell, I didn’t know I was a romantic! Cars like this just have that effect on me.

    Reply
  6. Patrick King

    Speaking of Cadillacs, last year (2017, at the Rolex 24) I had just parked my 2002 E46 325i in free parking (I refuse to pay as long as my sixty-six year old legs are capable of self-motivation) behind the new Bass Pro Shops across from Daytona Rising when two white, CTS-Vs with Michigan manufacturer plates pulled up beside me. It was funny because the guy driving the lead car just about put on a driffting demo as he parked while the woman in the second car demurely slotted in beside him. Gender imprinting at its most insidious I suppose, but that’s a topic for another day. They then took one of the cars with its infield pass over to the Speedway.

    What I remember most is the sound of the small-blocks in those cars, and the way they looked. Jack, I know you like the new Continental and I’ve seen several of them, but I just don’t get it. To me, the current CTS-V is the real deal, a four-door C7, and the Conti is just a fancy Taurus. Correct me if I’m wrong. And how about those TV commercials that ask the question, “Why build a sedan capable of 200 MPH?”

    Or is that simply the wrong question for the US of A in 2018?

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth

      Well, that’s the problem. Cadillac shouldn’t be in the business of building four-door C7s — that is the role originally envisioned by John Z. in the Sixties. They should be in the business of building American S-Class competitors.

      The Continental doesn’t resonate with many people and there’s a lot I would change about it but I think it is the first American car in two decades to have LUXURY as the focus rather than SPORT-LUXURY. If that makes sense.

      Reply
    • Compaq Deskpro

      I think the sales speak for themselves, no one sees sedans as luxurious unless they have top notch badging, and Cadillac doesn’t cut it. They should scrap all the sedans except for the XTS, and make the Corvette tuned 6.2 available in an Escalade V, and get the 3.0 TT V6 into the SRX. That’s where the real money is. A Malibu rebadge for a MKZ like car might be alright, as long as its cheaper to make and roomier than the CTS, probably still not worth it.

      Reply
  7. Sean

    Perfect combination. The two tone interior and the spoke wheels really make it a standout.
    This may draw some hate. But.. I would make an engine change. This is the car that the Cadillac 500 belonged in. A mild 472 or 500, a beefed up a 200R4, some 3.73 gears and hit the highway.

    Reply
  8. Patrick King

    I guess it depends on where you start your timeline. A friend’s father had a very early S Class (small bumpers so it must have been a ’73). Vinyl seats, huge plastic steering wheel, very few bells and whistles compared to contemporary Lincolns or Cadillacs, or the average ’73 Caprice Classic for that matter. The “luxury” of the big Benz was the way it stepped out and didn’t slow down for curves. That dynamic competence didn’t make the car “sporty” exactly but it certainly provided a distinct choice to buyers looking to spend a bunch of money for a big sedan in the early seventies when very few Americans had ever heard of BMW and the Japanese luxury brands were still years away.

    Reply

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