This Week’s Klockau Lust Object: 1988 Cadillac Fleetwood d’Elegance

Today I spotted this front wheel drive ’80s Cadillac on Baltimore Craigslist. Painted in most excellent Sapphire Blue Firemist with matching coach roof and blue velour interior, it cuts a formal look only improved by the new for ’88 4.5 liter V8, which ended the HT4100’s reign of slowness.

It was a much more robust engine, too, with none of the reliability shenanigans the early 4.1s liked to pull. With 155 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque and weighing in at around 3,450 lbs at the curb, it was good power for the time, too.

The Fleetwood d’Elegance, as the top of the line Cadillac, forwent the Sedan and Coupe de Ville’s faux woodgrain for genuine American walnut trim inside, along with the button tufted seating, reminding prospective prosperous buyers of their club or office, no doubt.

While I remember seeing plenty of Sedan de Villes back when these were new, the Fleetwood d’Elegance was fairly scarce, probably because most folks gravitated to the RWD Brougham and Brougham d’Elegance, with their more formal, old school Caddy look.

Anyway, this one looks to be a fine example, and it’s nice to see these in the deep blues, reds and greens, when most 2020-21 cars are MidAmerican Energy Fleet White, Silver Silvermist and Grim Graymist Pearl.

This one is a little pricey, but appears to be in fine condition for a 33-year old car. Per the ad: “Like-new 1988 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham D’elegance (ED: this is not a Fleetwood Brougham, as I mentioned, it’s a Fleetwood d’Elegance, the Brougham was an entirely different Cadillac) for sale.”

“My grandfather was the second owner and it has been kept in the family ever since. This was his retirement gift to himself and he kept it immaculate, as did we. Always garaged, only driven in perfect weather, and mostly on weekends only.”

“No rust, mechanical issues, or problems of any kind. This is in showroom condition. Perfect exterior and interior with very low miles. Comes with original documents and Cadillac gold keys. Price is firm and no trades are considered. Thank you for looking.”

Although my grandparents drove Lincolns in the ’80s, this car is of that era, and reminds me of going to their house for dinner, or out to a supper club. For the nostalgia alone, I’d inquire-if I had the space!

16 Replies to “This Week’s Klockau Lust Object: 1988 Cadillac Fleetwood d’Elegance”

  1. John C.

    I love that close up shot of the texture of the padded landau vinyl roof and how it fitted around the back door. I have always thought that the blending of the door into the roof for aero was the end of the vinyl top, but where there is a will, there is a way.

  2. Tomko

    For me, 1988 was the peak model year for these Cadillac C bodies. Just love that three-sided tail lamp treatment. Even more successfully applied to the 1988 Eldorado facelift. Truly my favourite tail lamp of all time.

    • David A Stanley

      “For me, 1988 was the peak model year for these Cadillac C bodies.”

      For me, that’s the perfect metaphor for the decade, as I did HS from 80-84 and college from 84-88. I miss those days.

  3. Tom Conti

    Great write up Tom. As you know I have a special place in my heart for these. Grandma’s ’87 was THE perfect car for her. Luxury, reliability (even with the last year of the 4.1) class, ease of handling, comfort and prestige all balanced into a great package that she truly adored. She hand polished the wood grain for crying out loud!! As you stated the FDE was fairly rare in comparison to the SDV, especially in cloth as most seemed to have leather. Keep up the great writing!

  4. sgeffe

    Ideally, if I could find a last-year Cutlass Supreme Sedan Bro-ham with every option included (including the V8 and AOD THM), and only a couple-thousand in NOS parts and general sorting needed to bring it back to survivor-shape, I’d rock that as a summer toy to take to a few car shows. But as I’ve said on TTAC about this same subject, any of those that haven’t already been crushed into Chinese appliances have probably been besmirched at the hands of demographics which prioritize seat recliners permanently at a 60-degree angle, sound systems that will shatter the solar panels on the ISS as it passes overhead, and wheels and tires from the increasing number of scrap 747s in the Arizona desert!

    But I’d also do a Caddy like this, or a ‘96 Fleetwood Brougham, or one of the ‘88-‘91s.

    Unfortunately, with my tendency to hem and haw on a big purchase, I’d probably miss out on every opportunity!

    • Carmine

      Clean 87-88 Cutlasses on on ebay fairly frequently…..

      They aren’t the $2000 cars they were 25 years ago, but there are a few still around.

  5. John C.

    It is interesting to think of this super nice car in terms of it being the retirement splurge for the long term owner in comparison to the Broncos, Gladiators, and FJ Cruisers that perform that function for today’s newly retired. Perhaps the pretty drastic change of style relates to the smaller, not intact, family that leaves the owner not reflecting his position in his family and society but rather his need to escape his constant ennui with at least the idea he is about leave on an escapade. Not one of course with no cell service. Sad, but it is to be seen if the auto journalist of 35 years from now will be able to find immaculate examples of the above being kept as monuments to the well missed family head. I doubt it.

    • LynnG

      John C, how right you are. As someone has the opportunity to visit The Villiages, for those of you who don’t get the reference, think of a Del Webb community on steriods :-). Most of the recent retirees seem to treat themselves to golf cars and Prevost/Airstreams RV’s). Oh there are a few Lincolns, Buicks, and Cadillacs in the dirveways but it is much more common to see high end golf carts and an entry level M-B or Lexus. But check out the RV storage facility and there are more then a few $500K Prevost coaches…. You may be seeing the same at your neighbor to the North, HH Island.

      • John C.

        For many years, I was a younger adult resident of the Landings on Skidaway Island, so I know precisely what you mean. The houses second owners were often locals. The old Yankees did have a few interesting cars. When I lived there in the late 1990s, there were two running Triumph Stags.

  6. Mike

    The 3.3 V6 in the similarly-sized Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera made almost exactly the same power. Though I guess the 4.5 V8 was a much smoother powerplant, more befitting a Cadillac. I recall riding in one of these one time, in the late 90’s, and was impressed at how silent and smooth that car was, even being (at the time) about 10 years old.

    I can’t help but see an ’88 or ’98 Oldsmobile in that profile picture.


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