If you ignore the mysterious stains on the seats and the smells coming from the trunk, this $650 American dream boat can take you on the ride of your life – until the accelerator pedal sticks to the floor and the brakes fade so bad that you have to slam it into park just to stop at every red light, scaring the piss out of everyone around you.
(Full Disclosure: I'm a cinematographer, and I currently work in the firearms industry, which is a trip, to say the least. As a gearhead, I'm lucky enough to enjoy the full range of vehicles associated with the work – whether it's WWII deuces, jet boats, tanks, ORVs, fully kitted overland Jeeps and Tacomas, ExMOD Land Rover Defenders, or 8-wheeled Soviet troop carriers. In this particular case, I needed a running junker for a commercial shoot – so I picked up this Cadillac.)
I know very little about Cadillacs and their heritage. Here is what I do know:
- My grandparents drove a '97 Cadillac DeVille. Back seats were alright.
- I had a fully restored 1960 Cadillac DeVille brought to a shoot a few months ago. I thought it was beautiful, and so did all the bystanders who kept interrupting while cameras were rolling.
- Those CTS-V wagons are SICK.
That being said, I checked out the car – and it ran. One window was stuck up, one stuck down, and the rear driver's side door wouldn't open. The seats stuck to me, I was afraid to open the trunk, and the seller repeatedly begged me not to blow it up. I told him that I would never do such a thing. (I'm the director, not the pyrotechnics dude, obviously.)
So I handed over $650 and prayed that it would just run long enough to get a few shots.
Was it overpriced? Yeah, probably.
Are you kidding? This thing is awesome.
Will it get airborne?
Not without several takes and worker's comp for your stuntman.
Will it do a J-turn?
Absolutely. I tried this out myself, and for a brief moment, I thought I had more fun in that Cadillac than I do in my BRZ.
Imagine putting a burrito under your foot and then pushing on it and then running into the car in front of you.
Quite bad. The carbs would bog if you floored it – so I'd estimate that you could get to highway speeds in 15ish seconds. With a tailwind.
Halfway into the shoot, our actor peeled out and drove away without notice. When we finally caught up to him, we discovered that the gas pedal was stuck to the floor. He got back to our shooting location by using a method called "driving quickly until you need to stop, then throwing it into park." We then wired up a system where our stunt driver could manually control the throttle by pulling on a cable out the window that was attached to the throttle body.
I absolutely loved my commute the day I bought it. The difference between the Brougham and my BRZ was unreal. I have no idea if the struts were working, or if I was just riding on springs or bump stops or what – but man, was it soft. A true American boat.
All I can really say is that when you turn the steering wheel a full 45 degrees, you're still going straight.
Sticky seats, dirty ceiling fabric (I can understand dirty seats, but how do you get the ceiling liner that dirty?) Cracked dashboard, but tasteful faux-wood trim – the only remaining scrap of its fine heritage. Driving this Cadillac is much like going to Vegas to see a washed-up celebrity, only to get front row tickets and see things that you regret seeing.
Couldn't figure out how to connect my phone via Bluetooth, which was a big disappointment. However, the cassette player worked.
Given the accelerator failure within the first 5 miles of driving it, I'd give this a solid 3. It looked great on film, at least.
Would I ever buy one with my own money? Definitely not.
Would I ever consider chopping the roof off, grabbing a shotgun, driving down a deserted highway behind a trailer with a skeet thrower on it and shooting clays at 60 mph? Absolutely!
Will it weather a hurricane?
Apparently so, If you believe the previous owner – who claimed to have slept through Hurricane Ivan in the backseat. (I'm even more worried about those sticky seats.)
I hope this helped out everyone who's on the fence about buying a late '80s Cadillac!
Engine: 5.0L L02 V8
Power: 140 HP at 3,200 RPM / 255 LB-FT at 2,000 RPM
Transmission: 4 Speed Automatic
0-60 Time: Around 10ish seconds
Top Speed: We got it up to 60, which was too fast.
Drivetrain: Rear wheel drive – the mark of a True Car or whatever.
Curb Weight: 4,500 pounds
Seating: Probably 5-6 legally, or a whole lot more if you want.
MPG: Suck it!
1989 – Wikipedia doesn't know
2014 – KBB won't go past '94, but I believe I got ripped off at $650!
You can find me on Instagram @maxdaines.