The Downsizing Decision

Posted on September 1, 1984 by LCT Staff - Also by this author

Smaller limousines will be seen on the streets more often these days with the downsizing of the 1985 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 Limousine; overall length shorter by 25.7 inches, wheelbase clipped by 10.1 inches, and curb weight 1,182 pounds lighter.

The new limousine features front-wheel-drive, a transverse-mounted V-8 engine with digital fuel injection, a four-speed automatic transmission with viscous converter clutch, MacPherson strut front suspension, independent rear suspension, and body/frame integral construction.

Although the new-generation Cadillac Fleetwood limousine features significant reductions in exterior dimension and vehicle mass, it retains the same seating capacity as the previous model, eight passengers. A seven-passenger Fleetwood Formal will be introduced later in the model year.

Door-into-roof design, basecoat/clearcoat exterior paint finish, front side window defoggers, digital fuel gauge, fuel data center, and outside temperature display are standard features of the Fleetwood limousine, as they were on its predecessor.

Performance and ride features include front-wheel-drive and the transverse-mounted 4.1 liter digital fuel-injected V-8 engine.

Among the standard features is a new power rear door unlatch for the convenience of passengers exiting from the rear seat. Automatic door locks are also standard to prevent unintentional rear door opening.

Two rear control panels located in the passenger’s compartment include a pushbutton for the rear door unlatch feature. The right side panel also includes a rear climate control panel with interior set temperature digital display.

In addition, the right panel houses the rear controls for the optional remote, electronically tuned AM/FM stereo with cassette player. Rear radio controls include a frequency scan control.

A major factor in the overall weight reduction of the 1985 model is the extensive use of a material called sheet molding compound. This material consists of chopped fiberglass, resin and filler formed into a sheet and then molded into components. Sheet molding compound material is used for the 1985 limousine rear doors, hood and roof insert.

A new, rear center, high-mounted stop lamp is standard on the limousine. A dual-function, rectangular red stop light, which is approximately 4.5 square inches, is mounted on the center of the rear package shelf inside the rear window. It is designed to provide an additional indication of vehicle braking to help reduce the frequency and severity of rear collisions in heavy urban traffic. Government regulations will require its use on all cars starting with the 1986 model year.

The brain of the engine is the Engine Control Module (ECM), a digital microprocessor that provides the computation capability for the engine controls, including spark timing, fuel metering and idle speed controls.

The ECM unit continuously monitors the engine control system, engine sensors and actuators. It memorizes malfunctions — even temporary ones — and alerts the chauffeur by telltale lights on the instrument panel. An amber “service soon” light indicates the need for vehicle inspection and service whenever feasible. A second amber “service now” telltale mandates vehicle inspection and service as soon as possible. Only one telltale can be lit at a time, with “service now” taking precedence.

The Body Computer Module is a digital control system that provides enhanced function of body-related customer convenience items, at the same time minimizing complexity, maximizing reliability and improving serviceability. The BCM controls 13 major functions.

An example is the heating/ventilating/air conditioning systems, providing such operating enhancements as: continuous air conditioner compressor operation at idle, compressor load anticipation in conjunction with the ECM, as well as enhanced engine performance.

Interior temperature control is improved through the ability of the BCM to anticipate the loss of a set temperature by monitoring engine coolant and refrigerant temperatures.

For added convenience, the BCM Retained Accessory Power function provides operation of the power windows and remote trunk lid release for 10 minutes after the ignition has been turned off, or until a car door has been opened.

The Cabriolet roof features tuxedo grain material and narrow, textured lace moldings around the roof periphery and windows. Traditional Fleetwood Limousine opera lamps are used on the sail panel, with the “Fleetwood Seventy Five” script, wreath and crest ornamentation.

Trunk space, a concern for many operators, has been reduced 1.1 cubic feet, to 15.7. Reaction to the downsized vehicles has generally been positive, although some Cadillac buyers appear slightly skeptical. You can bet Cadillac will be busy showing off their new downsized flagship to limousine services over the next several months.

To help introduce the new Fleetwood 75 Limousine, Cadillac has appointed Mark Foucher (fo-shay’) as limousine marketing manager, a new position within the car division.

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