California classic luxury vehicle collector Tony Gaudenti bought his 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy-Five stretch limousine in 1999 and used it for his daily commute for five years.
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — Luxury vehicle collector Tony Gaudenti tools around in a 36-year-old vintage limousine, knowing he still has the best ride in the limo world.
There is no late model like — nor will there ever be a model like — his 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy-Five. It’s number 246 of 834 Cadillac limousines built for the 1976 model year, in case you wonder about its livery exclusivity.
“It’s definitely smoother, especially in the rear compartment,” said Gaudenti, who worked for 16 years at a cosmetics retailer and now is a caregiver. “You don’t feel the speed bumps at all. I couldn’t tell I was going over them. The seats are softer, too.”
Gaudenti bought the Cadillac limo in 1999 for $3,000 after seeing it advertised in Recycler Magazine. He bought it with 59,474 miles on it from an owner in Pacoima who obviously had not driven it much. The limo now has about 98,500 miles, with the original engine, transmission and interior.
“I actually used it as a daily driver to work for about five years (4 miles one-way),” Gaudenti said. He now drives it about once per week.
A look at the Cadillac’s stats is like a politically incorrect journey into a pleasurable bygone era:
- Wheelbase: 151.5 in.
- Length: 252.2 in. (about 21 feet).
- Weight: 5,980 lbs.
- Fuel mileage: 9-12.5 mpg
- Amenities: Glass power-operated partition window, power door locks for the driver and right rear seat passenger, separate front/rear climate control, rear radio controls, jump seats and cruise control.
- Style: Triple black with vinyl roof; a black leather front seat; and crushed velour rear seat.
LCT 1976 CADILLAC FLEETWOOD LIMO PHOTO GALLERY HERE.
Before he bought the stretch, Gaudenti had a 1971 Fleetwood Brougham which inspired him to buy the 1976 Cadillac. “I kept looking at limos and felt it was nice to have the top of the line model and the roomiest model,” he said. “It’s not that expensive when compared to muscle cars.”
In addition to the 1976 Cadillac, Gaudenti, a subscriber to LCT Magazine and admitted limo enthusiast, owns three other livery-worthy vehicles: A triple black 1969 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, a 1966 Plymouth Fury VIP, and a 1995 Lincoln Town Car.
Gaudenti keeps the 21-foot limo in a 22-foot garage and holds his trips to once a week at 40 miles or less so the mileage stays down. He also treats the leather front seats three times per year, regularly vacuums the interior, and keeps the interior clean. The only item needing replacement for now is the carpet.
“It’s a very enjoyable car to own, drive and ride in in the rear seat,” he said. “It’s an elegant automobile with a quiet and very smooth ride. I've been known to relax in the rear compartment with the radio on when the car is parked in the garage.”
— Martin Romjue, LCT editor