Even the Cadillac buying demographic were feeling the pinch in 1973 when the price of crude oil quadrupled. A big thirsty Fleetwood made many think twice during the crisis, especially when Mercedes and BMW were making serious inroads in the US luxury market with their far smaller and more efficient engines. However, though it arrived at the height of the malaise era, few could resist the 1976 Sixty Special Brougham. It was just too regal, too opulent, too grand for wealthy shoppers to pass up. If you wanted traditional American luxury, this was the go-to car.
It was one of the last full-size Fleetwood-bodied cars and had a poised dignity, a hallmark of every Cadillac; elegantly and impeccably built (and at a restricted pace to guarantee exclusivity) it was the epitome of luxury. It had the lot from Automatic Level Control suspension, Automatic Climate Control, handcrafted interiors by Fleetwood which were impeccably tailored as fine furniture (check out the contoured pillow-style seats!) and a fully padded vinyl roof.
Best of all was the magic carpet ride due in no small part to the chassis design which boasted upper and lower control arms, independent coil springs, integral steering knuckle, tapered roller bearings, spherical joints with lower joint wear indicators, rod and link-type stabilizer bar, and hydraulic double action shock absorbers. It sure deserved that laurel wreath and crest adorned on the bonnet, under which sat the largest motor to be installed into a production passenger car in the world at the time — a 8.2 litre 16-valve OHV V8. It produced a peak torque of 488Nm at just 2,000rpm and was mated to a buttery smooth three-speed auto while Cadillac’s triple braking system provided ample stopping power.
The following model year was downsized making this the finale to the “Standard of the World”. If you want one of these beauties today (a task in itself since just 24,000 were built in ‘76), all you need is the bargain sum of around Dh60,000.
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