Home » Going To Great Lengths: 1987 Cadillac Limo vs 1992 Cadillac Limo

Going To Great Lengths: 1987 Cadillac Limo vs 1992 Cadillac Limo

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Good morning! I’m back at the helm of this ship of foolish ideas, and today we’re going to check out a couple of Cadillac stretch-jobbies. They seem similar at first, but they’re different enough that we can compare and contrast them.

On Friday we took a look at all of the previous week’s choices, and although I didn’t include a poll, whoever edited it (Peter? Jason?) decided to add one in. And I’m kinda glad they did; I find it fascinating that an old Peugeot diesel sedan ended up being the leader of this particular pack. I expected either the BMW or the Jag to run away with it.

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I dig the Peugeot, and for me, I think it would come down to either that or the Town Car. Either one will be slow and comfy, though I think I might give the edge to the Lincoln just for parts availability. A car like that Peugeot ends up becoming a lifestyle as much as a transporation device, and sometimes you just want to own a car, not live for it.

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Now then: When I was in Kansas last weekend, I was talking to my cousin, who had just sent his youngest son to senior prom. I had completely forgotten it was that time of year; when you don’t have kids, you don’t pay much attention to the school calendar. My cousin mentioned that he had lent his truck to his son to drive, and that reminded me of borrowing my mom’s car, a red Audi 5000, for my own prom:

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Prom 1990

The rich kids from the other part of town, though, didn’t drive themselves to prom at all. They hired a limousine. And as soon as I found two nearly-back-to-back posts for older Cadillac limos on the Facebook Underappreciated Survivors page, I had an idea: With 1980s and 90s nostalgia running high right now, might there be a market for a retro-themed limo service, to take kids to their ’80s-themed proms? And if so, which of these old cheap stretch Caddys would you use to start it?

1987 Cadillac Brougham 24 foot stretch limo – $3,000

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Engine/drivetrain: 4.1 liter overhead valve V8, four-speed automatic, RWD

Location: Acme, PA

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Odometer reading: 93,000 miles

Operational status: Runs and drives great

First up, we have this twenty-four-foot stretch, based on the Cadillac Formerly Known As Fleetwood Brougham. Once again, we find ourselves in that confusing time in Cadillac’s history when wildly different cars have variations on the same name. If this is a 1987, it should be named the Cadillac Brougham, and it should have an Oldsmobile 307 cubic inch V8 under the hood. However, the seller states that it is powered by Cadillac’s own HT4100 engine, which should make it a 1986 model. Perhaps it was a late ’86 that was converted to a limo in 1987?

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Either way, it’s outfitted the way you’d expect a mid-80s limo to be outfitted: It has a TV, a VCR, a mini-bar, privacy glass, and one of those cool boomerang-shaped antennas on the trunk lid. It seats eight total: Two up front, three in back facing rearward, and three in back facing forward, with plenty of room for shenanigans in the middle.

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It’s not in great shape; there is quite a bit of wear and tear inside, and the seller says it has a little rust outside. Primarily I think it could just benefit from a good cleaning. I imagine, however, that you might want to avoid shining a blacklight around the interior, even after you clean it out – sometimes ignorance is bliss.

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It does run well, the seller says, and the TH200-4R overdrive automatic shifts well. Twenty-four feet is a lot of car to maneuver around, and to park; better practice before the big day. The last thing you want to do is curb-check this monster with the prom king and queen in back.

1992 Cadillac Brougham limo – $4,500

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Engine/drivetrain: 5.7 liter overhead valve V8, four-speed automatic, RWD

Location: Centerville, SD

Odometer reading: 78,000 miles

Operational status: Runs and drives great

Stretch limos aren’t all the same, of course; they can be set up for different uses. This ’92 Cadillac, the final year for the old square body style, has six doors and three rows of seats, all facing forward, unlike the “party limo” above. This probably would have been used to pick up wealthy clients at the airport, or transport families during funerals.

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It’s a hell of a lot cleaner and nicer inside than the other limo, though. The blue velour upholstery in this one hardly looks used at all. And since it has the self-leveling air suspension, I’m sure the ride is smooth and serene. It just looks a lot more formal, with everyone facing forward in neat rows. There is also, crucially, no privacy panel between the driver and the passengers. Gotta wait until you get home, or to a motel room, before continuing the prom night “festivities.”

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This being a newer model Cadillac than the other car, it has some important changes, most prominently under the hood. This one is powered by a Chevrolet 350 small block with throttle-body fuel injection, a big step up in power and reliability over the Cadillac 4100. The seller says it runs and drives great, but doesn’t go into any more detail than that.

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It also features that early-90s GM passive-restraint cheat of mounting the front seat belts on the doors rather than on the B-pillars. These were meant to be left buckled, hence the “passive” part, but everyone just treated them like ordinary seat belts.

We’ve discussed the practicality of old cheap limousines for other uses before, particularly as family haulers, but with the Radwood phenomenon, I think there might be a case for pressing these old luxury liners back into their original service, only in an ironically retro way. Or, if there isn’t enough business to be had ferrying prom couples and bachelorette parties around, you could rent it out to one of the endless stream of film and television productions set thirty or forty years ago. The price of entry is cheap enough in either case. As long as you’ve got a place to park them, what have you got to lose?

(Image credits: limos – Facebook Marketplace sellers; 1990 prom photo – Joe Tucker)

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Baja_Engineer
Baja_Engineer
11 days ago

That 92 shares pretty much the same interior layout as a contemporary 3 row SUV but in a much cooler and manageable body style. That’s the one I’d go with.

Ricardo
Ricardo
12 days ago

Is it me or is that milage incredibly low?
Limos where I am are like taxi cabs and would clock up that sort of distance every 5 years at least.

Mark VI
Mark VI
12 days ago

As for me I’ll take the ’87 and swap out the drivetrain. Any ideas? I also like the idea of doing the whole retro prom idea. As a kid who grew up in 80s I only got to ride in a limo once while visiting Las Vegas. It was a three row like the ’92 and didn’t impress me much but who goes to Vegas for the limo ride anyway?

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
12 days ago

I’ll take the 92, it’s MUCH nicer inside and I love all the blue…I COULD start my own Limo service or make my usual joke that it would be cool to camp out of…can hold the tent, gear, etc and if it rains sleep in it. If they kick me out of the campground/don’t allow limos, I’ll at least be cruising out in style to the wilderness wherever I CAN camp
(Although this is all hypothetical and unrealistic- ideally, would backpack in somewhere and do real camping)

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
12 days ago

The 1992 Limo with the 5.7L V8 is the easy pick to me. For one thing, the 6 door variant is far more useful. And that other limo has the gutless-heap-of-shit HT4100 engine.

Anything with that POS engine is No Dice at any price to me.

Cyko9
Cyko9
12 days ago

The decision sort of depends on your use-case. Typical prom revelers will expect the party limo of the ’87, but who wants to clean that out? Graduation attendees (weddings, funerals, etc) would appreciate the 6-door luxury of the ’92. Change the business model and go with the ’92.

MegaVan
MegaVan
12 days ago

Funeral limo for sure. 4100 is a nope nope nope situation.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
12 days ago

Gimme the 1992 with that impeccable Grover-skin interior. The ‘87 has the better party interior layout, but it’s dirty and almost certainly has more seed spread around than your local sperm bank.

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
12 days ago

+1 for “Grover-skin”

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
12 days ago

I’ve owned an ’87, ’88, ’89, and a ’91 Brougham. These two are priced in the “why not both?” territory and I wouldn’t mind having a couple of limos, but if I have to pick one it would be the ’92 for sure. That one looks like something that I could drive pretty-much anywhere right away. Also, the power-difference between the Olds 307 – equipped Broughams and the ones with the 350 is remarkable (even the short-lived 305-equipped Broughams are an improvement). I can’t imagine having that dreadful 4100 lugging around so much extra car.

Last edited 12 days ago by Boulevard_Yachtsman
DDayJ
DDayJ
12 days ago

The 92, no question. Looks much cleaner and more stately as noted, plus a better engine. If this were closer to me I’d buy it to use for my burgeoning soccer carpool needs, which my BMW E90 is proving to be not good at.

Gubbin
Gubbin
12 days ago

The ’87 Caddy immediately brought to mind the drunken limo driver in Short Cuts played by Tom Waits. That kind of thing is fun to watch happen, and no fun to be part of.

VanGuy
VanGuy
12 days ago

Gotta say, I kinda like both of these (as much as I can like limos, which I generally dislike). Even that first one isn’t terrible with the limited passenger capacity. I’ve been in a longer limo that had a weird wraparound layout and moving in and out was a pain.

I definitely prefer the ’92 layout here, though. That’d be something I could take my friends on vacation with, if we planned the parking situations ahead of time.

MegaVan
MegaVan
12 days ago
Reply to  VanGuy

The 92 should be about the length of a crew cab long bed truck. Not impossible to park as long as you get the rear overhang over the curb.

Geo Metro Mike
Geo Metro Mike
12 days ago

A long time ago I was working on my Geo Metro when a limo that looks just like the ’87 came creeping down the alley. It stopped right next to me and the back window rolled down a few inches. A voice inside said: “you like to collect metal.” The window then went up and the car slowly drove away. Ever since I get an unsettling feeling when I see a Cadillac limo. I’ll be sitting this vote out.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
12 days ago
Reply to  Geo Metro Mike

That sounds like some kind of mafia code, like if you had given the correct answer they would have known you were the hitman they were supposed to pick up.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
12 days ago

I voted for the ’92, but part of me wants to buy the ’87 and reenact parts of Die Hard in it.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
12 days ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

Didn’t Argyle drive a Town Car limo?

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
12 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Doh! I had to look it up, but you are correct.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
12 days ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

Don’t let me and technicalities crush your dreams! You crash that Caddy limo through a security gate!

Pneumatic Tool
Pneumatic Tool
12 days ago

The ’87, because if you’re gonna get an (ostensibly) 80’s stretch limo, it should not be practical in any way. It should be rife with the possibilities of all the debauchery tassociated with such a thing. So yeah…and let’s have some fun finding out what’s tucked into those seats and in all of the various compartments, amirite?

Winsome Badger
Winsome Badger
12 days ago

A friend had the same business plan. He made good money in prom season, but just about nothing the rest of the year. He gave up after a couple of years and sold the car for about what he paid for it. He street parked it outside his Mom’s house which didn’t help.

Disphenoidal
Disphenoidal
12 days ago

Had and 85 Fleetwood Brougham with the HT4100. Get the party wagon and start planning on a Olds 307 swap.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
12 days ago

Eh, despite the advantages of the 6-door (newer, better engine, cleaner) I’m taking the party pit. Pull both sets of rear seats out, steam clean everything, toss in a couple of twin-sized memory foam mattresses on either side of the drive-shaft hump, and start my #VanLifeInALimo IG.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
12 days ago

DO NOT buy an early HT that is 4.1 liters. Just don’t. The 4.5 and 4.9 are WAY better.
Buy the blue one and convert the rear into a bed and storage. Use it for cross-country jaunts, one drives while one sleeps. Pretend you’re in the Cannonball Run.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
12 days ago

As a former Brougham owner (1990) that’92 brings back fond memories. That being said, I voted ’87. Only for the “room for shenanigans”.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
12 days ago

Get the ’92 instead of a 3 row SUV! Look like a VIP in the school drop off line!

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
12 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Hell, you’ll be the school drop off line.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
12 days ago

The 80s were good to me. I’ll take the prom special with the passion pit.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
12 days ago

Wow I’d forgotten just how large the gas pedals were in these old guys – like the size of a pamphlet they’d give you on the benefits of the undercoating.

UnseenCat
UnseenCat
12 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

And the bottom-hinged ones like in these Caddies were properly fixed down, as well 🙂

Library of Context
Library of Context
12 days ago

I’d be a little nervous about getting a used limo from PA.

Bendanzig
Bendanzig
12 days ago

PA has pretty rigorous state inspections. The accident you linked to was in New York, which does not.

WR250R
WR250R
12 days ago

Meh, I’ll take the older cheaper one with less seats. I’d just use it as a truck anyway

Forbestheweirdo
Forbestheweirdo
12 days ago
Reply to  WR250R

Less doors but same number of seats. I agree though, if I am going to drive a bus, it needs to be fun not practical. Though I would much rather have the 350.

Douglas Lain
Douglas Lain
12 days ago

ALSO FEWER!!!!!!!

Douglas Lain
Douglas Lain
12 days ago
Reply to  WR250R

FEWER!!!!

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