The 1989 Cadillac Brougham Is the Best Cadillac From 30 Years Ago

The 1989 Cadillac Brougham Is the Best Cadillac From 30 Years Ago

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this is a 1989 Cadillac braum d'Elegance and it was the nicest most expensive most luxurious Cadillac Sedan you could buy 30 years ago that isn't saying much today I'm going to take you on a tour of this car and I'm going to show you all of the quirks and features of the pinnacle of American luxury from the 1980s I've borrowed this Cadillac from a viewer here in the San Diego area and
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his father-in-law bought it new on September 22 1988 more than 30 years ago now back then the original sticker price was thirty one thousand four hundred and ninety four dollars which is equivalent to around 67 thousand dollars today and back in 1989 if you wanted the top-of-the-line most opulent most luxurious Cadillac Sedan then you wanted the braum d'Elegance first a little background for many years the flagship Cadillac model was called the Fleetwood
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and the most luxurious version was called the Fleetwood Brahm but for a few years in the late 1980s Cadillac split off the braum to have its own special ultra luxury model and that's what we have here now this particular car is powered by a five liter v8 that made 140 horsepower no that's not a mistake this car has about the same horsepower as a Chevy Sonic it's also 221 inches long which means this car is
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two-and-a-half feet longer than a Range Rover it's also a total relic back in the 1980s Cadillac was having a lot of trouble competing with foreign luxury brands like mercedes-benz whose cars were more desirable better to drive better-looking and better built the president was ferried around in one of these but that made sense because at the time the president was almost 80 years old just like practically every one of Cadillacs buyers now of course a few
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years later the Escalade came out and Cadillacs reputations started to change but back in the 1980s Cadillac was a very different type of car brain and so today I'm going to show you exactly what you got from old-school Cadillac when you bought the flagship luxury model from 30 years ago first I'm going to take you on a tour of this car I'm gonna show you all of the quirks and features of the ultimate Cadillac luxury sedan from 1989 then I'm gonna drive it and then I'm
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going to give it a dug score and for more of my thoughts on the braum d'Elegance click the link below to visit autotrader.com slash oversteer where I've also rounded up a list of the best-preserved older Cadillac models currently listed for sale on auto trader now I'm gonna start the quirks and features of the Brom d'Elegance with the door panel which has a couple of interesting items one of which is the light that turns on when you open the door now a lot of cars have a little light that comes on to let traffic or bicyclists know that a door is open and sometimes it's red sometimes it's white
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Cadillac was like we'll do both so on the door panel you have a white light square and then inside that there is a red light square and then inside that there's a little silver box not sure why now the door panel also has a couple of other interesting items there's a switch panel up there and you can see there are seat controls in the front part of the switch panel in the back part you have the power window controls and the power locks very luxurious I've always loved the wooden handle on these doors there's not just a fixed handle the pole to close the door like in your car instead if this
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wouldn't handle that pivots as you pull it giving you a more luxurious door closing experience than in a normal car but my favorite thing on the door would have to be the mirror control there's a little mirror joystick you move it and the mirror moves which seems simple enough except you'll notice there's only one mirror joystick so how do you move the passenger mirror excellent question capacitor mirror is controlled with a separate mirror joystick on the center control stack so you have two mirrors and two joysticks used to control them
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one other funny thing about the center control stack mirror control I like the fact that on the other side they have just a square with a square inside to mimic the mirror control on the other side just for symmetries sake they didn't know what to do with that's they were like I got it a square with a square now before we move on to the other interesting stuff inside the car one other note about the mirrors they're heated and you know that they're hated because printed on the outside mirrors themselves is the word heated Cadillac water to make it as simple and as obvious as possible
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by the way heated isn't the only word printed on the mirror you can see the other corner of the mirror it also says power control on it I guess so you can brag to people that you have a power mirror actually it's probably on there so you don't go and try to manually adjust it by accident and break it now next we move on to the seats in this car which are just absolutely absurd and today's cars there's so much attention paid to like perfect support for your your lower body and this thing they just gave you pillows like an old-school leather couch that your grandma would
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have had or the booth you would have sat in at an Italian restaurant in the 70s they're basically seats with these ridiculous pillow cushions on top with these buttons in the middle and this is all the speeds front and rear in this car this was old-school American luxury I especially like the fact that in the front there is a middle seat meaning that this car can actually see six people but where would you sit in the front you have these arm rests right in the middle and so there is a seat here and a seat belt but it would be
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tremendously uncomfortable to actually sit here nonetheless it is available just in case you have to transport six anyway next I'm moving into this interior with some of this cars rather interesting controls and I start to the left of the steering wheel at the bottom you have cruise control which is a little switch you can flip on or off and at the top you have the wiper control which is a switch and a button the one I like best though is in the middle that would be the headlights you pull it out to turn the headlights on and how about the fact that the little knob that controls the headlights is a wood not aluminum or plastic like in your car but
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the knob for the headlights is wood same goes for the radio the knobs to adjust the volume and the tuner on the radio they're not plastic or even metal they're wood to impart the finest luxury feel next up would be a crime to make this review without showing you the horn because it's ridiculous take a listen now next I'm moving on to the center control stack one interesting item this car has electronic automatic climate control just like modern cars do
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even though this one is 30 years old and it works a lot like modern electronic climate control you can make the temperature warmer or cooler the car has sensors and it will blow air until it reaches your desired temperature now one item I like is the fact that if you want to know the outside temperature there's a button in the climate control screen for that you press outside temp and then the screen that displays the climate control temperature temporarily changes to display the outside temperature so you can see what temperature it is now next up we move on to the glovebox where the door is of course finished in
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beautiful wood you open the glovebox and you'll note there's a bright yellow button to open the trunk I don't know why this isn't just a normal button somewhere else in the interior maybe they were worried you would accidentally open it while driving but it's in the glovebox and it is bright yellow you push it then the trunk opens now next up we move on to probably my favorite interesting and weird quirk of the Brom d'Elegance and that would be the turn signals okay so you put the turn signals on by the turn signal stock like in our normal car and the little lights light up in the instrument panel to let you know the turn signals are on fine but little lights also light up on
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the front fender to let you know that the turn signals are on there are little lights facing the driver that let you know your turn signal is lit apparently to let you know if the bulb is out so you look down there and if that light isn't lighting up then your turn signal bulb isn't working those little lights do the same thing for the headlights as well you turn on the headlights and a little light lights up on the fender to let you know the headlights are on and there's one on the passenger side too and you put on the right turn signal and the passenger side fender light lights up and lets you know that the turn
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signal is on same with the headlights on the passenger side and it's even crazier than that when you put the brakes on obviously the brake lights light up and back but there are little lights in the roof facing your rear-view mirror that light up to let you know that the brake lights are working that your brake lights are on and you can see those lights light up every time you press the brakes so you're gonna check your brake lights you don't have to get out you can see from inside the car very interesting feature and speaking of the lights next we move on to the dome lights in this vehicle which are actually kind of
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interesting they're right above the mirror on the ceiling and you just kind of push them and the dome lights come on maybe more interesting is the fact that there's this little plastic thing that says Cadillac next to the dome lights you can push that in for some reason I'm not really sure why maybe it's so you can stick your garage door opener on there another interesting item in that vicinity would be the Sun visors which are rather unusual you drop them just like normal Sun visors but then you open up the visor mirror and you can see that it's a rather large operation it's a big panel with a big mirror and the visor
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mirror lights have two settings low and high so you can look at yourself in both good light and sort of dim light just to make sure you're looking your best but maybe the strangest thing vicinity is the rearview mirror now this rearview mirror is auto-dimming just like almost all modern cars have but this car you can see there's a lot of controls on the mirror so how does it work well you press auto and then you can set the distance at which it automatically dims if you select mirror
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it will dim only when there is a car with headlights near to your vehicle if you set it too far it will dim when the car is far away in other words it will dim sooner so you can actually set the dimming distance in this vehicle with the auto dim mirror and there are nine different settings to choose from with this little auto dimming mirror dial now next we move on to the owner's manual which is in the glovebox and which frankly is rather hilarious starting with the first page the section called
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the penalty of leadership and this is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever read in every field of human endeavor he that is first must perpetually live in the white light of publicity blah blah blah how about this when a man's work becomes a standard for the whole world it also becomes a target for the shafts of the envious few the chef's of the envious few you can tell this was old-school Cadillac I guarantee the penalty of leadership is not in an
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Escalade I buy one today this owners main was actually full of ridiculous stuff a few pages later it has a photograph of the general manager of the Cadillac brand Jay o Bretton Berger welcome Cadillac owner and then a few pages later it shows you the gold keys when you bought this car they actually gave you gold-plated keys rather than silver ones to emphasize just how special you were for having a luxury vehicle like a Cadillac but my favorite thing about the Cadillac owners manual comes a few pages later introducing the car it says owners information 1989
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rather than just printing the number they write it out because I guess that was some sort of symbol of opulence or luxury Cadillac was busy doing that Mercedes was busy building better cars next up we move on to the outside of the Brahm d'Elegance I want to start with the trunk and specifically accessing the trunk see there's no keyhole on the outside of the trunk but that's deceptive to access the keyhole you fold away the Cadillac logo and then there it is then you stick the trunk key in and you
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can open it right up now when you open up the trunk you'll notice that it's rather large as you might expect for a vehicle of this size obviously in this era these cars were known as kind of mob boss cars so this was the trunk where you stuck the bodies now one interesting thing about the trunk is that when you close the trunk you don't just slam it down instead there is an electronic trunk closer take a listen and you could see the trunk sort of automatically clamping down so it gets the perfect
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clothes again a more elegant experience than just slamming your trunk like in a Chevy a couple of other interesting things in the back of this car one is this badge here which says Cadillac 5.0 liter of course having a v8 and advertising it was part of why you got a Cadillac you'll note though that Cadillac didn't advertise the fact that that 5-litre v8 made only a hundred and forty horsepower now one other interesting thing I like on the back of this car this was one of the last cars that had the tail fins the Cadillac tail fin era they were nowhere near as
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pronounced as they were in the 50s and 60s but they're here and one thing I've always found interesting is the tail fins were sort of made out of a different material than the rest of the car and so even though they were painted the same color as new they have worn differently over time and you can tell that over on the passenger side now interesting lis on the driver's side that isn't the case the driver's side tail fin has worn much better than the passenger side and it looks a lot nicer maybe the passenger side of the car was parked in the Sun or something and it just faded differently but what you see on the passenger side of this car is more characteristic of what usually
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happens to these old Cadillac tail fins next we move on to the front of the braum d'Elegance where there are a few interesting quirks and features first though let me cover the vinyl top you can see this car is finished in dark blue the vinyl top was in the same color now vinyl tops look absolutely ridiculous today no one would put a vinyl top on a luxury car but back in the 80s especially with American luxury sedans vinyl tops they made you look cool and everybody who got one of these the vinyl top it just gave the car a
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more luxurious look such was the fad of its day anyway moving on to the front a couple of interesting things up here one is the Cadillac logo you can see the wreath and crest hood ornament is present on this car something that a lot of people don't know about these hood ornaments is you could move them it was stuck on this tight tension wire thing because people would steel hood ornaments and so Cadillac made sure that you can kind of move it around but you can't steal it another theory for why was moveable was pedestrian safety if the car hits somebody they would hit the hood ornament it wouldn't puncture them
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instead it would just sort of fold away next up another interesting item in the front of this car you have the Cadillac emblem with the hood ornament as you can see but you also have the Cadillac emblem on the turn signals which is rather odd you don't see a lot of automakers putting their emblem in the turn signal which is traditionally like a safety feature of the vehicle or obscuring it a little bit with their emblem but that's kind of par for the course for this car because Cadillac struck their emblem and their brand name in an unbelievable number of places on
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the outside of this car alright you ready you got the hood ornament like you saw before and you have the turn signals like you saw before you also have the Cadillac name on the grille up here in front and you have it on the covers for the outside mirrors you have another badge on the rear pillar on the vinyl roof and on the rear fender you have the Cadillac logo again on the rear turn signals on both sides and the wreath and crest on the trunk like I showed you before you also have yet another logo on the backside below the trunk and then you have the Cadillac wreath and crest
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on the wheels and of course near the wheels on the accessory mud flaps there was just endless Cadillac branding and badging on the outside of this vehicle just to make sure everybody knew that you were driving a Cadillac next up on the outside of this car we move under the hood and you can see where the magic happens the five liter v8 that delivers 140 horsepower so you might be wondering why did a five liter v-8 make only a hundred and forty horsepower obviously it was a different era it was one where
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more stringent emission controls were coming into place and not that many cars back in the day made that much horsepower in fact this was considered low horsepower for the time for a v8 luxury car but not tremendously low even Mercedes flagship v8 models were only making something like 200 210 horsepower Jaguar was getting like 160 170 nobody was really getting a lot of horsepower out of VA it's back then and one other item worth noting when you close the hood you can see that the windshield wipers do not appear on the windshield
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they're tucked under the hood at the base of the windshield just to give this car a sleeker look I'm sure that helps with the aerodynamics when you're putting down those hundred and forty horses and finally we move into the backseat of the braum d'Elegance which is of course a lovely place to be you can see once again we have the same pillow leather seats just like we did in the front ridiculous by modern standards but actually surprisingly comfortable just not especially supportive you kind of sink into them now the back seat is a good place to
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mention that just like the outside of the car you are bombarded with an onslaught of Cadillac logos and crests and scripts back here starting with the door panel you have the script that says d'Elegance on the leather and then on the wood part of the door panel you have the Cadillac wreath and crest and on the back of the seats themselves once again you have the Cadillac wreath the seat belt buckles have the Cadillac logo on them you wouldn't expect anything less and there is also a Cadillac wreathen crest logo on the inside of the rear pillar now it's worth noting that also
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on the inside of the rear pillar you can see there is a light there you could turn that light on the intent was it was a reading light so if you were being chauffeured in your Cadillac you could sit there with the newspaper reading with your light on and lumen ating what you were looking at now the other thing I absolutely love about the back of this car is the third brake light in the United States there was a requirement to put third brake lights in the middle in the backs of cars sometime in the late 1980s 85 86 87 somewhere in there so there were a lot of cars that were already being sold that didn't have
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third brake lights and automakers scrambled to stick them in place and some did it in the most ridiculous ways possible just clearly afterthoughts in this car has an excellent example of that they just made this little plastic molding they just stuck an extra brake light in the back window they ride of rear visibility and it is incredibly obvious that that brake light was never intended to be part of this cars original design they just had to comply with the regulations in the middle of this cars life cycle so that's what you got and so those are the quirks and
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features of the 1989 Cadillac braum d'Elegance now it's time to get the land yacht out on the road and see how it drives all right driving the bra all right now you can see the headliner is kind of like I mentioned the owner of this car his father-in-law bought it new 30 years ago so it's a one family owned car so it's been pretty well preserved and the headliners really the only trouble spot everything else was in great working order and the owner is paint told me
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he's paying a lot of money in order to make sure that it stays in Nice shape you know carburetor work and all that kind of stuff you know I haven't been tremendously charitable of this car so you know the foreign brands had better cars and this thing has a lot of old-school features for old people but the thing about it is it's not that this car was great because it wasn't this was an old person's luxury car but even though it wasn't the best car on the market at the time the best luxury sedan it's just really cool you don't see a lot of these you don't see any of them
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preserved in this nicest shape this is a special car on this big old body Cadillac totally different era of car and it isn't the fastest and it isn't the most willing to drive it and it wasn't the best car with the best tech but everybody has the little big body S Class sedans from the 80s and 90s they're common people preserve them they kept them they made a lot of them these weren't preserved as much and so seeing one especially seeing one in Nice shape like this is a pretty special thing it feels
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exactly how you would expect it to feel which is to say it is a total and complete boat of an automobile you turn the wheel I mean I'm turning the wheel you can't see it but I'm turning the wheel eight inches side to side and nothing occurs nothing occurred it was intended to be a floaty comfortable car that you weren't supposed it wasn't hustling it wasn't going fast around curves it was just a
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nice floaty luxury card now these seats I made fun of they are tremendously unsupportive if you have back problems you're not getting any support but they're really comfortable this pillowtop seat just feels very nice it feels even bigger than it is you know you drive a Range Rover now it's got ten cameras in every direction and it's easy to see where you're going on this thing you don't have any cameras you don't have good brakes you turn the wheel and you feel the body roll and the bow dienes it feels like it is a huge car and it feels like a huge car and nothing
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was done to try to minimize that the steering is just really not all that good light steering slow to respond the car has a ton of body roll but the steering is nothing compared to the acceleration I am now flooring it foot on the floor I'm passing somebody barely going 40 it is incredibly slow this is one of the slowest cars that I have ever driven for a review and so when you drive this car your driving experience is not about the
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steering and handling aspect of it it's not about the speed of it it's about the fact that you're driving I wouldn't say a relic but sort of like an icon like a car that perfectly captures a period this was 1980s American luxury and so that's the 1989 Cadillac braum d'Elegance the flagship Cadillac luxury sedan of today is one of the most technologically advanced vehicles on the market it drives itself and Cadillac currently has a much broader appeal than it did back then but in the 1980s if you
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wanted to celebrate your 80th birthday with a soft cushy big old-school luxury sedan than you wanted Abram d'Elegance and now it's time to give this car a dug score starting with the weekend categories and styling the Brom d'Elegance is cool in an old-school head-turning kind of way it gets a 5 out of 10 acceleration is a very obvious 1 out of 10 handling is tremendously bad not dangerous but heading in that direction and it gets a 2 out of 10 fun factor is low is a driving experience but there is something fun about piloting this
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old-school land yacht and it gets a 4 out of 10 cool factor 2 is high these weren't cool back then but they're certainly coming up in the world and this gets a 5 out of 10 for a total weekend score of 17 out of 50 next up are the daily categories and features this did well for the time but it's mediocre by modern standards and it gets a 3 out of 10 comfort is good with a nice cushy ride but the seats are unsupportive it gets a 7 out of 10 quality is OK the interior is nice enough but reliability isn't great and it gets a 6 out of 10 practicality is lower than most other sedans yes the interior is big and so is
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the trunk but the car is so huge that driving it in tight spaces is a challenge and fuel economy is abysmal it gets a 4 out of 10 finally value these are tremendously cheap but they have a lot of presents and cool factor for the money it gets a 7 out of 10 for a total daily score of 27 out of 50 add it up in the dug score is 44 out of 100 and here's how it compares to some other in 1980s and 1990s luxury sedans amazing to see it beat out the LS 400 that never would have happened back in 1989 but the LS 400 just feels like a used car now with
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a braum feels like a portal into a different era this car isn't fast it isn't fun it is it's sporty but it's special and I like it you [Music]

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