The 1976 Fleetwood Talisman was the Broughamiest Brougham that ever Broughamed
Have you ever had a car you were immediately infatuated with at first sight, meant to write about as soon as possible, but kept getting displaced by other subjects? It happens to me frequently. Other car shows intervene, more and more photos get taken. Bright, shiny, rolling vehicles with opera windows and crushed velour distract your author.
In that same vein, after a long hiatus, I finally got this most excellent GM luxury cabin cruiser onto the page. May I present the Broughamiest Brougham that ever Broughamed? Well, at least in my opinion.
Sure, there are other good candidates: the 1977–78 Oldsmobile Toronado XSR, 1978 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham four-door hardtop, 1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible, 1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IV Givenchy Designer Series, and many others. But the 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Talisman is especially decadent—and well loved by yours truly.
Today’s subject is a Fleetwood Talisman in the most attractive color combination of Georgian Silver with a matching silver padded vinyl roof and Light Antique Blue velour interior. Maximum Cadillac. Maximum Brougham. Maximum Awesome.
I have had a serious jones for the 1971–76 Cadillac Fleetwood since I was a kid. A navy blue metallic, 1/64 scale toy Fleetwood Brougham by Pocket Cars had a lot (correction: everything) to do with it.
I loved that little model Fleetwood, and its companion, a Pocket Cars Continental Mark IV in the same blue with an off-white top. Explains why I do so many Cadillac and Lincoln articles, doesn’t it?
My parents got me both of them at about the same time, when I was perhaps two or three years old. They immediately became my favorite toy cars and I carried them around with me, virtually everywhere. And while those originals survived to the present day, they’re a little too rough for publication here. I added mint examples to my toy car collection, and they are shown above.
1976 was, in my opinion, peak Brougham. Over at Cadillac, the sky was the limit in Broughamtastic Broughams. If you loved long wheelbases, opera lamps, velour, leather and wire wheel covers, you were in luck. Coupe de Ville, Sedan de Ville, Eldorado, Eldorado Biarritz (a mid-year arrival), d’Elegance packages, the Fleetwood Brougham, the Fleetwood 75 limousine and sedan … and the Fleetwood Brougham d’Elegance. And the creme de la creme, the totally excessive, totally decadent Cadillac: the Fleetwood Talisman.
1976 was the last year for the truly large, truly opulent full-size Cadillacs, though the Eldorado would continue in 100 percent full-sized form through model year ’78. The last year for the Fleetwood Talisman was 1976.
The Fleetwood Talisman originally appeared in 1974. It combined the Fleetwood Brougham body with velour. Velour, everywhere. And the 1974 Talisman was the most opulent, Broughamtastic four-seat luxury automobile you could buy that year. Yes, that’s correct, it was a four-seater, with giant, velour-clad center consoles in both the front and back.
The 1974 Talisman was an excessively luxurious, velour-bomb of epic proportions. Of course, I love them. Many a driver accidentally fell asleep due to the cosseting plushness, leading to few Talismans surviving today. I’m kidding, of course, but with their massive center consoles front and rear, long wheelbase, and options on top of options, the ’74 Talisman was a special car. Either you got it, or you didn’t. This was unapologetic American-style luxury.
The four-seater Talisman lasted for 1974 only. In ’75, the front velour-clad buckets and console remained, but the rear seat console went away, leaving room for one additional lucky passenger. All the usual refinements, other than that back-seat console, remained as before. Talisman production was 1898 for the inaugural ’74 model, and 1238 were built in 1975.
The 1976 Fleetwood Talisman was introduced alongside all the other ’76 Cadillacs on September 12, 1975. In its final year, 1200 Talismans were built. Our subject car, photographed by my friend Jayson Coombes in autumn 2018 at the Gilmore Museum, is one of them. She appears to be a lovingly preserved example, and the silver over blue combination is just plain excellent. Special thanks to Jayson for documenting this most excellent Cadillac!