Home » Good Deal Hunting: 1993 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham vs 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis

Good Deal Hunting: 1993 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham vs 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis

Sbsd 3 27 2023

Good morning, and welcome to another edition of Shitbox Showdown! Today’s search takes us to Boston to look at a pair of old-school body-on-frame American land yachts. Before we set sail, let’s settle up on Friday’s European two-doors:

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Yeah. Even with the higher price, that 300CE is too good to pass up. That is a nice car.

You know what wasn’t a nice car, though? That ratty blue Oldsmobile that Chuckie, Ben Affleck’s character in Good Will Hunting, drove. It looked like hell, and probably got about eight miles to the gallon, but it got Will and his friends where they needed to go. Big old American cars like that make good city cars, at least for the rougher parts of a city: the soft suspension soaks up the potholes, the big heavy bumpers and doors shrug off minor altercations with objects both stationary and moving, and they’re not worth anything, so no one is going to steal them. I started wondering what Chuckie might have driven today, twenty-five years later, so I fired up Boston’s Craigslist and took a look. (Oh, like you never wonder about stuff like that.) Here are the two cars I found.

1993 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham – $2,500

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

Location: Lowell, MA

Odometer reading: 190,000 miles

Runs/drives? Yep

This is a car with an identity crisis. In 1985, Cadillac downsized its DeVille to a front-wheel-drive platform, including a top-of-the-line model called the Fleetwood. But it kept the previous rear-wheel-drive platform around (probably to keep the livery/hearse conversion companies happy) as the Fleetwood Brougham. Two years later, after confusing the hell out of customers with two different cars of the same name, Cadillac dropped the “Fleetwood” from the name and simply called it the Brougham – until 1993 when the front-wheel-drive Fleetwood went out of production, and the rear-wheel-drive car regained its Fleetwood badging, and Brougham became a trim level. Did you follow all that?


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This car, along with its platform-mates the Buick Roadmaster and Chevy Caprice, gained a serious horsepower bump in the form of a multi-port fuel injected LT-1 V8 – but not until the year after this car was built. This one makes do with a more sedate throttle-body injected version of the good old Chevy small-block. This one is said to run well, and the car has recently had its starter and brakes replaced.

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Inside, this one might be too nice for Chuckie and Will and the gang to take to the burger joint. Its blue leather interior looks good, and since it’s a Brougham, it comes with all the toys. I know from experience that on an old Caddy, you can’t take for granted that all that stuff works, but I also know that it’s fixable with a little work.

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Outside, the big Fleetwood looks pretty clean, but those stainless-steel lower panels could be hiding some rust issues. It’s straight, though, and shiny from what we can see. Parallel parking it might be tough, but think of it as a challenge.

2001 Mercury Grand Marquis – $2,499

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Engine/drivetrain: 4.6 liter overhead cam V8, four-speed automatic, RWD

Location: Boston, MA

Odometer reading: 103,000 miles


Runs/drives? Sure does

Well would you look at that – another Ford Panther-platform car! This is Mercury’s version, the Grand Marquis, or as an old co-worker of mine at the service station used to call it, the “Grandma-rquis.” Admittedly, when these cars were new, it was rare to see anyone under the age of 70 behind the wheel of one, but these days we can all enjoy the comfort and reliability of these big overstuffed sofas on wheels, and for cheap.

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These cars are known for their comfy interiors, but this seller has chosen not to provide us with any photos of it. They do say that the 4.6 liter modular V8 runs “fantastic,” as it should with only 103,000 miles on it. We don’t get much else to go on, but the Panthers are known for reliability and longevity. All the potential issues are well-known and well-documented, so keeping this beast on the road should be easy.

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This one appears to be a special edition of some sort, but I can’t make out the little badges on the fenders. The green landau top on a gray car really makes me wonder what color the interior is; if it’s green as well, I’d like to see that. Not enough cars have colorful interiors any more.

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It does have some noteworthy rust, especially the bottom of the driver’s side front fender. It looks like the bottoms of the doors might be starting to bubble as well. It kind of adds to the urban-warrior motif, honestly, as do the two missing wheel covers. Rust or not, I imagine this car has quite a few potholes left to bounce over.

Big body-on-frame sedans like this haven’t been produced in many years, but they do still have their fans. They’re tough, simple, comfy, and best of all, cheap. Either of these looks ready to do battle on the mean streets. Which one is more your style?


(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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Matt Huber
Matt Huber
1 year ago

I’ll just recycle my COTD on the Panther Platform from a few weeks ago with minor tweaks:

This isn’t even a contest.

Mercury, hands down.

Look, it’s got the 4.6L V8, in it’s plain jane 2V glory, that makes enough power to move this barge, and do it with surprising efficiency and smoothness. It’s also reliable. How reliable? Toyota fanbois can’t talk shit about it levels of reliable. The damned things just don’t break when taken care of. They have a lighting control module that may fail eventually, and if it has the rear air suspension, it’ll eventually do what all airbag suspensions do and wear the bags out, and that’s IT.

Too slow for you? A 4.6 4v, 4.6 Terminator, 5.0 Coyote, and all of the rest of the Ford modular V8 family are bolt-in swaps, or the original 2V mill doesn’t mind a bit of boost. Bam, now it’s not slow, but it’s still reliable.

You need to venture off the beaten path? Go on Youtube and look at the stock Crown Vic (this car’s platform-mate) conquering MOAB like a damned Jeep. Look at all the lifted off-road builds of these out there. Why is this happening? Because the Panther platform these are built on is full-frame and every bit as rugged as a pickup, they even have 1/2-ton pickup towing capacity for crying out loud. There’s a gentleman in my town that tows a tandem-axle flatbed trailer with his lawn care equipment with one. Yup, all those dummies riding around in jacked up 3/4-ton diesels to tow a couple of lawnmowers? They could be riding in luxury and saving a ton on fuel instead.

Then there’s the trunk space. You open the trunk on this and you’ll find two amazing things:

1. A full-sized spare.
2. As much cargo room as many modern crossovers.

What? You don’t want a big luxury sleeper? You don’t want the correct answer to “which truck should I buy?” You don’t want a crossover SUV alternative with the sweet sounds of a V8 and the same gas mileage as a buzzy 4-banger brick-on-wheels?

What about a lowrider? What about a super-comfortable commuter? How about a comfortable mobile office? These cars are so roomy, so well built, and so comfortable that you can adapt them for nearly anything.

The Cadillac is cool and all, but the Mercury has WAY more going for it.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x