1985 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Coupe: See you on deck, Senator!
Anyone remember the 1980–85 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham coupe? You could be forgiven if it doesn’t ring a bell. For almost all of its history, the Fleetwood Brougham was a four-door sedan—a body style that is amazingly disappearing in 2021. But starting in mid-1980, for the first time ever, a Fleetwood Brougham two-door was added to the Cadillac lineup.
As with the newly-restyled 1980 rear-wheel-drive Cadillacs, the Fleetwood Brougham coupe featured a smoother body and front end to aid fuel economy, in addition to a more upright, formal C-pillar and rear window.
If you like vintage American luxury cars, you have to agree that 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 …
… to the rear finlets and vertical taillights, this was the car to arrive at the golf course in. Although Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) drove a Silver Cloud III convertible in Caddyshack, I can easily picture him having one of these sitting next to the Rolls-Royce in his garage. These Cadillacs, and especially the Fleetwood Brougham coupe and sedan, were a signal that you knew exactly what you wanted, and that was premium American luxury.
Especially in yacht club-approved Cotillion White with matching top and matching Sierra Grain leather, with navy carpeting and trim. What a combo!
I am a big fan of triple-white American luxury cars of the 1970s and ’80s, so when I first spotted this immaculate example on eBay years ago, I knew I had to share its Broughamtastic finery with the world.
How could you drive this car and not have a big, stupid grin on your face? These were the last of the big American lux cruisers, though these cars were pretty small compared to the Nimitz-class pre-’77 Cadillacs.
But after the 1980 refresh, and seen among its 1985 Aries, Celebrity, and Tempo contemporaries, they looked good sized. Park an ’85 Fleetwood Brougham coupe next to a 1985 Sedan de Ville or front-wheel-drive Fleetwood, and it’s no contest.
As far as style was concerned, the traditional “big” Cadillac had it in spades during the first half of the ’80s. So did the Eldorado, and even the polarizing 1980 Seville—especially if you loved Hooper-bodied Rolls-Royce Silver Wraiths and Daimler DS420 limousines.
The retro-styled bustle-back Seville may or may not have been the best idea after the remarkably contemporary 1976–79 Seville (one of my favorites, I must admit, especially in triple Naples Yellow), but like the 1979–85 Eldorado, these de Villes and Fleetwoods were beauties. They were so classic that they lasted all the way to 1992 with only a minor restyling in 1990, with flush headlamps, bodyside cladding, and a slightly revised instrument panel.
And so it was that during the 1980 model year, the Fleetwood Brougham, a four-door sedan exclusively since its inception in the mid-’60s, introduced a coupe. Like the elegant sedan, it offered even plusher accommodations, a padded vinyl roof, and a limousine-style backlight when compared to the Coupe and Sedan de Ville.
Fleetwood Coupes utilized a landau-style top instead of the full-length version used on the four-door, but it added a frenched-in opera window instead of the more conventional quarter window used on the Coupe deVille. The chrome rocker trim from the sedan was also applied.
The coupe, as attractive as it was, never sold like its four-door companion, and 1985—the year of our featured car—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 didn’t have quite the presence of its bigger, Broughamier predecessor.
I love these cars, especially in triple white. This one is just a stunning time capsule, with only 43,000 miles on it. The condition is amazing. And the blue trim contrasts nicely with all that plush white leather. It makes me think of Ted Knight in Caddyshack during the marina scene. Hence, the title of this column … “Spaulding, get your foot off of the Brougham!”
Approximately 14 square feet of simulated wood trim, even on the steering wheel. Chrome trim on the accelerator and brake pedals. Hood ornament standing proudly several feet ahead. It’s all these little touches that make me love these cars. The little Cadillac logos and wreath and crest emblems are everywhere … like little Easter eggs for you to find. The classy exterior styling makes it even better.
Even the driver’s seat is pristine on this car. Someone really loved this Cadillac. It is essentially in showroom condition.
Original mileage, 43,900 and change. It shows in the remarkable condition throughout.
These Fleetwood Brougham coupes were certainly a car of their time and place. Especially if that place was a country club in Grosse Pointe (Michigan), Des Moines, or Kansas City in the fall of 1984. So, what price Broughaminess? Well, there were 75 bids for this Cadillac, and it finally hammered down for $16,500 back in 2014.
But wait! There’s more! I didn’t know him at the time, but the car was owned by Robert Reed, a Cadillac collector in California. I have since connected with him via Facebook and many of its Cadillac- and Brougham-related hobby groups. I can recall browsing Reed’s website, FleetofCads.com, as far back as 2005–06. At any rate, I learned recently from him that he’d bought the car back.
Since it had been sold, the car had been driven only two miles. Yes, two. So he got the car back in identical condition. The only change he has made since the car came back is to replace the wire wheel covers with genuine wire wheels, a factory option. Which makes it look even better, in my opinion. You can see even more pictures of this car on FleetofCads.com. Thanks Robert! Brougham on, sir.