When in doubt, write up a Brougham. That’s always been my motto. At least, it has since 2012 or so. I’ve always liked the classic Cadillacs and Lincolns and Imperials from the 1950s to the 1970s, but it really came to a head once I started randomly typing about cars I like.
Yes, I like Broughams. I’m a Brougham man. I don’t apologize for it. And why not. In a world where silver silvermist combovers…oops, I mean crossovers, with Dark Black or Putty Tan interiors, with ‘infotainment’ that probably won’t last 15 years reliability-wise if you’re in it for the long term…but I digress. I do that a lot. But it’s why I love the Brougham Era. Such size! Such color! Such choice! When you could customize your new luxury car in so many different ways.
And in 1976, Cadillac was still king. If you’d arrived, in the United States, a Cadillac was still the golden ticket to preferred parking spots at country clubs nationwide. Oh, sure, Mercedes-Benz, and to a lesser extent, BMW, were making inroads, but they hadn’t taken over yet! And we might as well dance as long as we’re here! And Cadillac Motor Division did.
1976 was the final model year for unsurpassed size, unsurpassed options, trim, color and Broughamtastic options list for Cadillac connoisseurs. And the creme de la creme, new (and more expensive) Seville aside, was the Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham.
Model #68169, the Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham, retailed in the Year Of Our Lord 1976 for $10,935. Previously, the Fleetwood Brougham had been top dog on the Cadillac totem pole, with the exception of the Seventy-Five sedan and limousine, but the new ‘international size’ Seville, at $12,479, changed things.
But! But for sheer size, stretch out room, and pure luxury, it was hard to beat the Fleetwood Brougham. As with all Cadillacs save the Seville (which made do with a 350 CID Olds V8 with fuel injection), it was powered by a mighty 500 CID (yep, that’s right, five hundred cubic inches!) V8, backed by GM’s creamy Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission.
The emissions and fuel economy requirements had had their way with the sumptuous Cadillac V8 by MY ’76, with 190 horsepower. With optional fuel injection, that got bumped to 215 horses. But the hp ratings vastly underscored the remarkable torque of these cars, ample curb weight notwithstanding.
And the colors! Yes, in 1976, most luxury car buyers were not infatuated with black, silver and gray. No less than twenty-two exterior colors were offered, with a myriad of greens, blues, reds on offer. There was only one black color choice, Sable Black, and only one silver color choice, Georgian Silver.
But for my money, one of the finest colors was Firethorn Red. A simply spectacular color, it looked good on any, and I mean ANY, 1976 GM product. As on this 1976 Fleetwood Brougham, espied by my friend Jayson Coombes at the Cadillac show at the Gilmore Museum on September 22nd this year.
As some of you fine folks may remember, I have already done a post on the 1974-76 Fleetwood Brougham. But when I saw this car on Jayson’s homepage, there was no question-NO QUESTION!!- that I was going to write it up!
Everything looks good in Firethorn. Vega Cosworth? Yep. Grand LeMans station wagon? Yep. Plain Jane Nova sedan? Yep. And a 1976 Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham? With white Sierra Grain leather and Firethorn dash, carpet and seat belts? Oh heck yes!
And with the optional Turbine Vaned Wheel Discs? Sign me up. This car was simply spectacular. Jayson took over 600 pictures at this show, and this car was the one I most wanted to take home with me. I only wish I’d seen it in person, but through these most excellent pictures, it is the next best thing to being there in person.
I mean, just look at it! I could take a nap in those seats. Could we, maybe, possibly, do away with the American luxury car companies chasing Nurburgruing times and skidpad figures, and go back to something like this? Could we, perhaps, go back to umpteen color and trim choices, and leave the firm seats and race-tuned suspensions to the imports? I know such changes would pique my interest. And maybe even cause me to open my wallet and obtain a genuine non-import focus group-centered domestic lux car as a daily! We can only hope. In the meantime, we can sit back, and enjoy such Broughamtastic survivors like this ’76!