While we rightly mock the 1970s for using traditional coachbuilding nomenclature (i.e. Landau, Brougham, even Berlinetta and Town Car) for nothing but window dressing upon uprated trim levels, traditional coachbuilders were still engaging in proper coachwork in the era of pleather and polyester. Such legitimate affairs included neoclassic coupes with elongated snouts, downsized luxury sedans chopped up to look like neoclassic coupes, a handful of convertible conversions, at least two El Camino-like “Flower Cars” based on luxury coupes, and even “Estate” wagons based on luxury sedans. Let’s discuss the latter—specifically, the Cadillac Fleetwood Castilian wagon.
We recently found this 1975 Castilian wagon on Facebook Marketplace. The owner suggests it is one of 11 ever built by Traditional Coach Works of Chatsworth, California. This example was supposedly bought new, 72,000 miles ago, in Las Vegas by the Western Conference Teamsters Union. That raises eyebrows if true, but at least this Caddy doesn’t hemorrhage money like another such organization’s private golf club. The seller’s asking price is $10,000, a small fraction of the original $30,000 asking price in 1975.
This Fleetwood Castilian was in good company: The likes of Elvis, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. also owned these custom creations. Based on a Cadillac sedan in Fleetwood trim and sporting the brand’s legendary big-block V-8 (a full 500 cubic inches, if a bit defanged by this point) there’s little doubt as to why the Town and Country set preferred to splash the cash on this over an Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser: Limited production and bespoke craftsmanship never go out of style.
About that craftsmanship: Check out the custom roofline with a D-pillar fast enough to make a Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe nod its head in approval. The tailgate is clearly not taken from General Motors’ parts bin: Custom metalwork blends effortlessly with decklid sheetmetal taken from the Fleetwood sedan donor. The result is a tailgate that closes just like the Cadillac from whence it came.
The brushed aluminum C-pillar with lighted coach lamp (compete with Cadillac logo) is a suitably decadent, high-zoot touch. The roof-mount airfoil and luggage rack round out the list of functional changes to the Fleetwood’s body.
Cracked filler panels are commonplace, and not a big deal to address thanks to the aftermarket. But is this wagon worth the effort? Do note that a mint Castilian wagon recently sold for $55,000, making this a not-terrible restoration candidate, provided rust was kept at bay. A pre-purchase inspection seems mandatory given this Castilian’s residence (Anchorage, Alaska), not to mention its status as a rare and obscure piece of Malaise Era automotive history.