Money Laundering: 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood

In the movies, the mob guys always drove black Cadillacs. Expensive, but sinister was the image that Hollywood tried to get across.  Strangely, during summers off from college, I ended up working for a business that had some executives that were, shall we say, connected. They all drove black Cadillacs. Every one of them. I often wondered if this was life imitating art, or the other way around.  Needless to say, I liked their style but wasn’t interested in becoming part of the business. Speaking of the business, it involved cars, and I always thought that it was the perfect cover for laundering money and moving it across the country. This 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 limousine reminds me of my time with my former bosses, who were, by the way, very nice and easy to work with. Found here on craigslist in Chattanooga, Tennessee, this beautiful ebony executive hauler has been the recipient of a lot of restoration work. Far more money has been spent on this Caddy than the $4,444 asking price, so it may be a bargain you can’t refuse.

When I say a lot of work has been done to this car, you really have to see the ad to understand the scope of it.  Some highlights are a rebuilt engine, rebuilt air conditioning system, rebuilt radio system, new carpet and insulation, new vinyl roof, and the whole front assembly was removed to lift the car off the frame to sandblast and coat much of the undercarriage.  The only problem stated by the seller is that the hood hinges are worn.  Given that the hood probably weighs more than a whole new Cadillac, I can kind of understand why.

Inside, the blue velour upholstery looks to be in very good condition, but the foam may be a little weak.  The upholstery in Cadillacs of this era was loose and comfy by design, but the area between the seats looks pretty unsupported.  While 1976 wasn’t exactly a stellar year for quality, the Series 75 cars were some of the last of the factory built limousines.  Therefore, I feel it is safe to assume that these got a bit more care during assembly.

In the elongated rear passenger compartment, we see that the car was equipped with both jump seats and foot rests.  These cars also boasted rear controls for the air conditioning and radio, and the seller has rebuilt these as well.  Surely that was no small feat, as many of the parts are likely difficult or impossible to obtain.  After spending what must have been a king’s ransom to get this car back to showroom condition, I hope the seller at least had someone drive them around town, as they sat in the back and enjoyed all that old school Cadillac comfort.

Powering this enormous ride is a 500 cubic inch Cadillac V-8 engine, backed by a three speed automatic transmission.  While emissions equipment choked these engines down to 190 horsepower, torque numbers were still impressive at 488 lb/ft. at 2,000 RPMs.  This was probably the shift point of the transmission, so the car could operate with the smoothness that high end Cadillac owners expected.  After all, it wasn’t a race car, and the car obviously has a lot of bulk to carry around in style.

I can’t help but feel sorry for the seller.  A fortune has been sunk into this beautiful car, and it has been on Craigslist for 24 days at this bargain basement price.  If I bought it, I would hire a driver, then get a tailor made suit and some dark sunglasses so I could ride in the back in a manner befitting the owner of such a fine automobile.  Better yet, I have another idea.  Hot Rod Magazine released the route of the 2018 Power Tour this past week.  Considering that this Caddy has been pretty much restored from bow to stern, it would be the perfect ride for myself and three friends.  All we would need to do is split the costs of the car, use it on the tour, and sell it afterwards.  We would probably take a small loss, but this plan would be a pretty cheap way to have a cool car on the Power Tour.  Suits and sunglasses optional.


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  1. Miguel

    That is a very pretty car for the money.

    If I had a 1976 black hearse, this would be the perfect family car.

    • Matt Member

      I know a guy who owns one, and it has stacks coming up behind it, it looks so stupid, but sounds so nice. The guy also has a full size limo caddy that does good burnouts.

      • Miguel

        I hate when people modify hearses. They were made to be elegant cars and should not be modified with stupid add ons.

    • Roger

      I know a local funeral director who used one like this as a car for the families to ride in,don’t know if he still has it in service or not.

  2. Fred w.

    Limousine services often have demand for “classic” limos for weddings and photo shoots. If in the condition it appears in, this one should be scarfed up quickly by one of them. Imagine what it would cost to duplicate using a typical “rode hard and put away wet” limo. The seller should contact a few upscale limo businesses about it, they cant even get an upholstery job on one of their modern cars for this price.

  3. Pookie Jamie P

    Okay Jeff. After reading this post about your “former bosses”, I can safely say that it’s been nice to know you. Lol. All kidding aside, this is a nice car. My grandmother drove a white Fleetwood with a blue top… same year same interior. Although I was only 6 at that time I felt important riding in the back whenever she took me anywhere in it. Nice find.

  4. Karguy James

    I think they made a mistake in the price when typing the ad. The engine rebuild alone cost that. I would buy that in two seconds if it were local.

  5. jeff6599

    Some of us readers are just enthusiastic but you, Bennett, should know that this is not a limousine but a formal sedan. Most all Cadillac Series 75s were of this ilk. But it took an additional option checking to order the divider window assembly which would then qualify it as a limousine.

    No divider, No Limo! pretty simple

  6. Matt

    Its a fake listing. Don’t believe me? Email the guy who listed the vehicle. That car was for sale locally by me here in the Philadelphia area and I even spoke with the vehicle owner and have seen the car in person. (It is gorgeous – but he was seeking a more appropriate sum of $14k!) This listing is fraudulent!

  7. Solosolo KEN TILLY Member

    Back in the day I owned a 1972 Limo that was originally the State President of South Africa, P. W. Botha’s official car. A potential buyer wanted me to turn the jump seats around to face backwards so that the rear section became a conversation pit, but it became such a mission that after many hours of effort I gave up, and lost the sale. I eventually sold it to a local funeral parlour who, as far as I am aware, still use it.

  8. SAM61

    Ok, I know it’s the wrong year, BUT…I immediately thought of the final scene in Blazing Saddles where Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little ditch the horses and ride off into the sunset in a Series 75.

    More beans Mr. Taggart?!

    • mds47588

      Yup…me too. And it’s “Hedley”

  9. jdjonesdr

    I want this so bad I can’t look at the ad or I’ll buy it.

  10. Dovi65

    Beautiful car. Very elegant. I’d love to have it as a Sunday driver. Fleetwoods are my favorite Cadillacs, with 1959, & 1976 editions being at the top of my love list. 1976 was the last year of Cadillac’s big bruisers, and this one deserves a good home.

  11. Fred w.

    I hadn’t looked at the Craigslist ad when I posted earlier. There are two dead giveaways for fake ads and this has one of them, the price ($4444). No one prices cars that way, and no one outside of an occasional dealer comes up with prices like “$7356” either. Sign # 2 of a fake ad is an email at the bottom, usually in a large font, attempting to go around the Craigslist messaging system where correspondence is on record. Often the purpose of these ads is to A) get you to send a deposit or B) get your email so they can spam you. I began to notice these fake ads years ago, but until recently the crooks usually left classic cars alone.

    Like 1
  12. Bert Ritsma

    My father had the same, 1974 in white, leather seats. Amazing cars. Bert Ritsma, the Netherlands

  13. Phil Daugherty

    Nice car. It’s a model 75 Sedan not a limo, no divider window behind the drive. Limos have the window to close the passenger area off from the driver

  14. Miguel

    They are beautiful drivers and not much bigger than a 4 door pick up truck.

  15. Gay Car Nut

    As luxury cars go, the Cadillac Fleetwood is *the ultimate* in luxury cars. I find them more attractive than either the Imperial or the Lincoln of the same vintage.

  16. Daved N.

    Yes, definitely a fraudulent listing. I contacted the “seller” asking to view the car since I was in the area and he only replied that he couldn’t because he was in the hospital for “surgery”. Yeah ok…

    • Daved N.

      …and this was over a month ago…

      • Mountainwoodie

        I know the depth of human stupidity knows no bounds but what exactly does the moron placing this ad get for his trouble? Unless he’s 450 lbs and housebound in his bathrobe with nothing else to do all day, why go to the trouble? No one with an iota of common sense ( see above characterization of the depths) would send this clown money. So why do it?

  17. Rustytech Member

    Another problem I often see on Craigslist is adds with no contact information. I don’t know if there fake, or just stupid people doing the listings, but they’re frustrating. This car looks great though.

  18. RoughDiamond

    I live in Chattanooga and this car is still listed for sale. Most serious CL sellers will include a number to either call or text. Probably bogus listing.

  19. Kumar Covenden

    I am in Durban, South Africa. I used to own a 1983 Fleetwood Series 75. It had 13 000 original miles. I was informed that it belonged to the President of Ciskei back then. I sold the cat to a friend in Johannesburg. Saw it a month ago. Still in use. Enjoyed the car thoroughly. Lots of good memories

  20. Dan

    You are way off on the torque figure. I know torque is related to displacement, and with 500 cubic inches, there is no lack of displacement here, but the correct maximum torque figure is 360 lb-ft, not 488. It’s funny that an 8.2-liter V8 engine in those days made 190 hp when nowadays a 2-liter turbo 4 cylinder can easily make 240 hp while poluting less and using much less fuel. I guess that is progress.

  21. parker woodson

    i am looking for a 1976 Cadillac (series 75) Fleetwood limousine (with divider) for sale. Does anyone know where one is (closest to Minneapolis, MN)?

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