Home » One More Cross-Country Showdown: 1993 Chrysler New Yorker vs 1993 Cadillac Sixty Special

One More Cross-Country Showdown: 1993 Chrysler New Yorker vs 1993 Cadillac Sixty Special

Sbsd 4 22 2024
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Good morning! For your Monday edition of Shitbox Showdown, we’ve got one car from our very own Stephen Walter Gossin, and one car to challenge it chosen by me. Both are the same year, more or less the same class of car, and definitely the same level of comfort.

But first, let’s see Friday’s results. I showed you a basic little compliance EV, and a basic appliance ICE car for half the price, to see whether you all thought EVs were ready for beater status. The results were mixed: The gas-powered car won, but not by a whole lot. Quite a few of you expressed concerns over the battery’s remaining life, and I think that’s the biggest hurdle that cheap used EVs are going to have to overcome. I mean, we can’t all fall ass-backwards into a great deal on an electric car with a brand-new battery.

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As for me, if I were staying in Portland, I’d definitely consider an inexpensive older EV or PHEV. There are plenty of places to charge, and distances are short; you can go all the way across town and back and still only travel about 40 miles. But I’m moving to rural Maryland in a month, and I don’t think the place that advertises “Cold Beer and Live Bait” has any Level 2 chargers out front. I’d better stick with gas for now.

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Now, since I’ve already mentioned my impending move, and we’re going to look at one of SWG’s cars, I might as well tell you that we were planning a collaboration for this summer. And not just a collaboration, but an epic cross-country adventure in cheap cars that would require nerves of steel, good senses of humor, and probably way too many roadside greasy spoons. Because of my move, sadly, it isn’t going to work out. Fear not, however; Stephen and I are still talking about a collaboration as soon as I get settled – just a little smaller in scale.

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For now, though, let’s just check out Stephen’s latest rescue, and the closest counterpoint to it I could find for sale in my neck of the woods.

1993 Chrysler New Yorker Salon – $4,400

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Engine/drivetrain: 3.3 liter overhead valve V6, four-speed automatic, FWD

Location: Wilmington, NC

Odometer reading: 113,000 miles

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Operational status: Runs and drives great

If this is the car I’m thinking of, our man Gossin has been working on this one a long time. If memory serves, he found it abandoned in an alley, tracked down the owner, and got it for a song. (Possibly literally.) It’s the final year for the K-based New Yorker, with a 3.3 liter V6, an “Ultradrive” transmission, and the most inviting-looking seats you’re ever likely to see.

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Stephen has put a lot of work into this car, both on the mechanical side and the cosmetic side. It has new brakes, and it has just been aligned and had the transmission serviced. It also has a new landau top in blue, to match the interior, instead of beige, to match the paint. It’s an unusual choice, but I think it works. It also has a new headliner, which is a nice touch. Too many old cars look fine on the inside – until you look up.

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The New Yorker, and its less-fancy sibling the Dodge Dynasty, looked old-fashioned and stodgy next to Ford’s radical Taurus and GM’s sleek W-bodies. There’s a reason for this: Lee Iacocca preferred “traditional” designs, with a formal squared-off roofline, so that’s what Chrysler built. It wasn’t until Iacocca announced his retirement that Chrysler’s designers were free to explore more modern designs, like this car’s successor, the LH platform.

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It isn’t perfect, but it is mighty nice, and I trust Stephen not to let it out of his sight until it’s mechanically as good as he can make it. Yeah, it’s frumpy-looking and it probably handles like a brick supported by a pile of gummi bears, but if you want excitement, buy a Miata. If you want a comfortable, reliable car that’s been gone over with a fine-toothed comb, here it is.

1993 Cadillac Sixty Special – $4,500

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Engine/drivetrain: 4.9 liter overhead valve V8, four-speed automatic, FWD

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Location: Portland, OR

Odometer reading: 68,000 miles

Operational status: Runs and drives great

Cadillac’s full-size model lineup got downright confusing in the late 1980s and early ’90s. You had the DeVille, available in both Sedan and Coupe forms, which became front-wheel-drive for the 1985 model year. Then you had the Fleetwood, which was also front-wheel-drive, except the Fleetwood Brougham, which was the old rear-wheel-drive platform, until it dropped the “Fleetwood” from its name in 1987 and simply became the Cadillac Brougham. In 1987, the Fleetwood Sixty Special appeared, as a fancy version of the Fleetwood. Then in 1993, a new rear-wheel-drive car took over the Fleetwood name, and the Fleetwood Sixty Special also dropped the “Fleetwood” name and became this car: the Cadillac Sixty Special. Did you get all that?

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Cadillac wasn’t exactly on the cutting edge of style during this time either. This car has a very formal roofline, lots of chrome, a landau roof, and damn-near tailfins. Under the skin, it’s a hell of a lot more modern than its rear-wheel-drive stablemates, with four-wheel independent suspension and a transverse “HT” V8 driving the front wheels. I know this platform pretty well; I had an ’89 Coupe DeVille for a couple of years. I liked it a lot, but it got awful gas mileage and was a bear to work on. Unbelievably comfortable, though.

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This one has only 68,000 miles on it, and the seller says it runs and drives great, and everything works. It sure looks nice and clean. The leather interior is an option, I believe, and this one is in beautiful shape. One thing to check is the seatbelt buckles; on my DeVille, one of them was broken and wouldn’t latch, and I test-drove another Fleetwood sedan of this era that had the same problem. You can replace them with any old GM seatbelt buckles, but then they won’t have the Cadillac crest on them.

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Outside, its biggest flaw seems to be a couple of missing wheel center caps. This is also not an uncommon Cadillac thing – they fall off when the brakes get hot. Up until just a couple of weeks ago, I had a spare one from a junkyard hanging on the wall. I hemmed and hawed about keeping it as I was cleaning out the garage, but I threw it out in the end.

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I have long thought that “grandpa” cars like these are one of the best ways to get an affordable ride in good shape. Sure, you have to give up some handling, but you gain a whole lot of comfort. One of them I can pretty much vouch for mechanically; the other, well, it’s at a dealership, but it looks good. Which one is your pick?

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
1 month ago

Normally I’d take the Caddy, I had my late uncle’s ’90 CDV for a few years and it ran great- despite PITA issues like a driver’s side window that wouldn’t stay in it’s track. The 4.5 and 4.9 liter HTs are far better than the Nopestars that followed.
But the NYer was owned by SWG, and that makes it at least somewhat of a known quantity. I’d probably always vote for the car owned by one of the site’s writers.
Well, maybe not Lewin Day.

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
1 month ago

I briefly considered the New Yorker only because it had the SWG seal of approval, but then I saw how nice the ’93 Cadillac was and decided to stick with what I actually like. I’ve had ’93 and ’94 deVilles, both with the 4.9 engine. Both were nice, comfortable cars with plenty of power and minimal issues.

I grew up driving K-car variations – can’t say that I miss ’em.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 month ago

Not really the Cadillac type, myself. And, knowing that SWG has been through it—along with those amazing pillow seats—I voted New Yorker.

but I honestly can’t see a timeline in which either would be in my driveway

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
1 month ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

With String theory stating that there are infinite alternate dimensions out there, I’m sure there has to be one with this New Yorker in your driveway, my friend.

Thanks for the kind sentiment re: the mechanical reconditioning!

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
1 month ago

The thing that bothers me most about string theory is the size of infinity.

Have you yet realized the true implications of infinite timelines?

Infinite timelines means there’s not just one where that New Yorker is in his driveway, but there are infinite timelines where that New Yorker is in his driveway.

And another infinity of timelines where that New Yorker is in his driveway with a ketchup stain on the passenger seat. And another infinity of timelines with…

And not just infinite timelines where some little trivial detail is different. Infinity is so large that there would also be infinite timelines where everything is absolutely identical!

Every time I think about infinity, it grows larger. That’s why I don’t think I’ll ever understand string theory, even as a concept. It makes for some nice science fiction, though.

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
1 month ago

I’m going with the Cadillac. It is a nicer looking car than the New Yorker. It also looks like it is in great condition. $4500 is a good price for this car.

I am far less enthused about the New Yorker. It is probably a decent transportation appliance, but it is way overpriced for what it is. The exterior also looks rough. Maybe it is the lighting conditions, but the paint looks bad. The paint looks faded and appears to be peeling in a few places. The trim also looks rough. Some trim pieces are worn and a few are absent. It also looks like there are dents on the driver’s door and the left rear door. Overall, the exterior of this car is not great. Fortunately, the interior looks to be in better condition than the exterior. The seats look very comfortable. I don’t want this car, but I wish modern cars had seats like these.

I also am not a fan of this generation New Yorker. I think it was intended to be a luxury car, but it looks like a generic cheap ’80s economy sedan (I’m aware it is a ’93). Plus, I hate hidden headlights. They an unnecessary design feature that only serves as a potential failure point. Cadillac didn’t have a problem designing a nice car with fixed, exposed headlights; why couldn’t Chrysler do the same? The landau roof also looks like an afterthought. This car would look so much better without it. In general, the styling of this car looks quarter-assed. The designers really phoned in this one.

(I’m sorry for ranting about how much I hate your car, SWG; I really mean no offense)

MegaVan
MegaVan
1 month ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

If you check the hood on the Caddy it appears to have issues as well.

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
1 month ago
Reply to  MegaVan

I think the rain, weird camera angles, and suboptimal lighting conditions are making it look bad. This car might have issues, but it is hard to tell with these photos.

MegaVan
MegaVan
1 month ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

Right above the drivers headlight. When I had one 13 years ago it had similar oxidation on the trunk and hood.

Probably took pictures in the rain for a reason. Still what I would choose.

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
1 month ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

Honestly, your above take is mostly accurate. The left rear door does have a dent in it and the plasticized chrome trim on the exterior has peeled away (needs to be sanded and painted over in body color).

The rubberized door trim moldings were missing when I found the car in an alley, and they are pure Unobtainium. Believe me, I tried for 3 years to find them, so it is what it is at this point. Not for a lack of effort.

The paint on the roof, left fender and deck lid is fresh (1 month old)! Most of the sun-facing surfaces have been addressed. But yes, the paint on the rest of the car is from 1993 and has been obliquely in the Carolina sun for 31 years. After dropping $1400 to paint the above panels ($300/qt for Chrysler “Linen Gold”!) I’ll leave it to the next guy to address all the dents and paint on the remainder of the car if they really want to take this <$5K car to that level.

A car like this is unique in this used car market of 4cyl CUVs, and is in top mechanical shape with a killer interior (every single button, switch, item, etc working as designed). Obviously it speaks loudest to a very particular, specific buyer; the kind that would definitely get along great having a few beers with Mark Tucker and I.

The price on it isn’t firm and I honestly would love to see someone take this car the rest of the way, since it is a great remaining example of Iaccoca’s final “Extended K” stand.

HUGE thanks to Mark tucker for having such badass taste in cars and for being such a great writer and friend.

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
1 month ago

You might have posted this before, but do you have any pictures of the car before you worked on it?

I like that you took the time to fix this car and get it back on the road. I don’t like this car, but I like that someone else does. I appreciate car enthusiasm, even if I don’t always appreciate the car.

I also like that you volunteered this car for shitbox showdown knowing those of us in the peanut gallery might be a bit harsh in our assessments of your car.

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
1 month ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

I posted a few of the “before” photos of the car from when I found it mostly-abandoned in an alley on the Autopian Discord and I’m also planning on using them in the upcoming rescue article (pending DT approval).

You are 100% accurate with my expectations of at least 3 Autopians being wicked harsh in the comments. I figure if this car’s presentation can withstand the harshest barrage from such a discerning crowd, it can hold its own with the general public.

Like I said in another comment here, the price isn’t firm and is a little high, but I’m in no rush to sell it and will reduce it by $100/month over the course of the upcoming year until it moves. It’ll hit some Cars & Coffee events until then and will be a fun weekend cruiser. I figure it’ll sell once it goes under the $4K mark.

This car will need to find some enthusiast that wants to drop another $1500 at a body shop to make it perfect or someone that doesn’t care so much about external aesthetics as they do about pillowed velour and about having something unique.

Last edited 1 month ago by STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
1 month ago

I hope you write the rescue article soon – those are always entertaining reads.

I will be curious what this car ends up selling for. The number I was thinking as I read this originally was around $2,500, but I was looking at it as a generic car and not a collector/enthusiast vehicle. This car has a lot of positive features so I could see it being appealing to someone who is interested in these vehicles. Those seats are awesome (blue pillowed velour needs to come back in style) and it is great that everything works. It helps that not many of these cars were saved. Although, I did find one on Ebay that looks amazing:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/335326307322?hash=item4e130163fa%3Ag%3An-IAAOSwih9mCLpI&mkevt=1&mkcid=1&mkrid=711-53200-19255-0&campid=5337650957&customid=&toolid=10049

I don’t like these cars but even I would appreciate seeing that one. Preserved ordinary cars are great.

(Incidentally, thank you for referring to us commenters as a “discerning crowd.” “Yahoos with too much free time” is probably more accurate, but I’ll take it)

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
1 month ago

Holy flippin’ crap! You spent $1400 on paint for a shitbox like this without fixing all the dents? And you didn’t even get a full respray?

Wow. That is true dedication to originality that I can admire.

The next owner probably won’t give two shits about retaining the authentic original paint color, but you gave them an option that few others would have given.

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
1 month ago

Thank you!

I was surprised at how much the cost of paint has increased in the past couple of years. My longtime friend and body shop owner said the same. Most paints have doubled in price since Covid.

If I went with a generic gold it would’ve been a little cheaper, yet it wouldn’t have matched perfectly. The majority of the cost was sanding, dent repair and prepping each surface, so about $300 per body panel (roof, deck lid & fender) plus paint cost and materials. All in all it was a pretty solid deal compared to what some body shops would charge for the same job.

The dent in the left rear door can be cleaned up at a paintless dent shop for a couple hundo; it’s really a “small potatoes” aesthetic item that isn’t “mission critical” right now.

Same goes for the faded plastic chrome trim. Nice to have, but this is a $4K car, not a near perfect show car.

Thanks again for the kind words!

Dodd Lives
Dodd Lives
1 month ago

Neither? I can’t look at these without thinking of a throwaway line from Car & Driver from more than 30 years ago: “Martin Landau should sue.” To this day, I don’t understand whatever possessed automakers to think that covering part of the roof in tacky vinyl was appealing. Maybe I’m just the wrong generation.

If you’re gonna force me to choose, it’ll be Fleetwood. Those aren’t “the most inviting-looking seats you’re ever likely to see.” They look like a cheap overstuffed couch, and I can smell them through my screen. And they smell like a nursing home.

FrontWillDrive
FrontWillDrive
1 month ago

I really like the New Yorker, a lot, but I’ve always wanted to have a 4.9 Cadillac. I’ll deal with the Barney the dinosaur interior.

Pneumatic Tool
Pneumatic Tool
1 month ago

Sixty Special for me. It may not be a Fleetwood per se, but I know one when I see one. Fun fact: I live in the little town that gave it that name to begin with.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
1 month ago

Sorry SWG, have to go with the Caddy over your New Yawker. That pillow-top velour upholstery almost swayed me your way, but the V8 in one of these land-yacht wannabees is a necessity.

Last edited 1 month ago by MaximillianMeen
Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago

With competition like this – it’s no wonder Lincoln sold so many Towncars…

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
1 month ago

Normally I’d go Caddy, but SWG provided the X factor today.

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
1 month ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

My man! (high five in your general direction)

Fuzz
Fuzz
1 month ago

We used to call them “G” cars and you were the lucky teen who inherited one. Take all your friends in comfort, fit a bike in the trunk(or make it a low rider by tossing a full keg in), just generally useful!

Baker Stuzzen
Baker Stuzzen
1 month ago

Has to be the New Yorker because it’s the first car I ever drove. And I don’t mean my first driving lesson; I mean 6 years old sitting on some phone books with my dad sitting across the seats with his feet in the footwell down our country road. Mum was brave enough to be in the back too. It was few years older than this one, white with red interior. I forget what colour the top was, but I still remember it was the comfiest couch.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
1 month ago
Reply to  Baker Stuzzen

Part of my reasoning for taking the New Yorker is that my grandma had one. It could have been some other type of K car, but I remember seeing a white trunk with generous amounts of chrome and New Yorker on it. She had stopped driving by the time I was 10 so my memory could be playing tricks on me. Knowing my grandparents it would have been the most entry level version of the New Yorker you could get.

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
1 month ago

Grandmas know what’s up, yo.

Last edited 1 month ago by STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
XLEJim700
XLEJim700
1 month ago

I grew up in a neighborhood of Cadillacs, and you knew that the older guys would always be out washing and polishing on Sundays.

Mr. C. was a NYC sanitation man, and he had two Sedan DeVilles: a ’58 and a ’62, both black. I never saw either of these cars away from their garage. The doors were usually open, however, and man they gleamed!

Voting Caddy: Standard of the World

10001010
10001010
1 month ago

I owe my mom a New Yorker so that got my vote

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
1 month ago
Reply to  10001010

COTD candidate right here. Points for brevity and levity.

10001010
10001010
1 month ago

I’ve told the story a few times already here and on the old site but long story short, in 1987 mom was looking to trade in her Pontiac Phoenix and for unknown reasons had her heart set on a Chrysler New Yorker. While we were visiting Chrysler dealership lots 11yo me was walking around looking at other cars because the New Yorker was boring. I didn’t have any luck at all talking her into an awesome Fiat X1/9 I found but at the 2nd lot there was a Chrysler Conquest TSi that I successfully talked her into.

Almost 40 years later and I still joke with her that I owe her a New Yorker.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
1 month ago

I voted for the red interior 😛

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago

I was going to vote for the New Yorker because of the hideaway headlights. But it’s hard to beat a Caddy with a V8 and red interior for late 80s/early 90s American Luxo-Barge.

Mike
Mike
1 month ago

“Pop-up” headlights and comfy seats. SWG gets my money.

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike

Another smart car buyer^. Thanks Mike!

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike

I actually have to re-gear the headlight motor which is an easier job that you’d expect. Why any automakers thought plastic gears were ever a good idea outside of cost and weight escapes me.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
1 month ago

I feel bad that I didn’t vote for Stephen’s car but the fact of the matter is that the Caddy is a nicer car with 1/2 the miles of the New Yorker and it only is $100.00 more. .
Sorry Stephen \(´ ε` )/

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
1 month ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

Mark knows how to pick’em! The man has an uncanny ability to find the most-entertaining match-ups literally 5 days a week for 2+ years. I think he may have viewed more For Sale ads than any of us in sine the site started.

I’ll admit that I priced the New Yorker a little high, but that’s because I’m in no rush to sell it. I’m going to reduce it by $100/month over the course of the next year until it sells. Until then, it will be enjoyed for weekend cruises. I feel like it’ll move once it gets under the $4K mark.

Thanks for reading and for the comment, regardless!

Last edited 1 month ago by STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
1 month ago

I’m voting for the apple of Iacocca’s eye. The SWG connection makes me much more confident that the car has been sorted out, especially compared to an aging Caddy being sold by a rando dealership. I absolutely love that red interior though.

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
1 month ago

Lee was a man of wisdom, antiquated design taste and sometimes questionable business decisions, but his North Star kept him true enough to say yes to making a commercial with Snoop Dogg. What a legend.

Thanks for the comment and the vote!

Disphenoidal
Disphenoidal
1 month ago

I was going to say Cadillac until I saw HT engine. Not good.

MegaVan
MegaVan
1 month ago
Reply to  Disphenoidal

This should have the 4.9L which ironed out a lot of the early issues.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago

I’m a sucker for that red interior. Throw in the two extra cylinders and I’m sold. I can probably find a couple center caps or replace the wheels. Caddy for me (but not really–I could go to Portland for it, but I don’t actually want it).

Last edited 1 month ago by Drew
Jon S
Jon S
1 month ago

This style of car never looked good or appealed to me in any way, so it’s hard to get motivated to even vote for one. I guess the Cadillac is slightly less hideous with the black paint job & better looking tail lights, but the Chrysler does have a better front with the hidden headlights.

I’ll flip a coin to pick.

Dogpatch
Dogpatch
1 month ago

Caddy,used to have one as my commuter car.Bought it used for 7 grand off an estate sale with only 19000 miles on it.Drove it till it had over 200,000 on it and sold it for 1500. Not great on gas but it was a nice ride and most importantly dependable.

That Chrysler is one butt ugly car,ouch.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
1 month ago

I am absolutely buying the owner, not the car, in this one. Gimme that Noo Yawkuh!!

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
1 month ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Yesssir! It took 3+ years, but every single system on the car is “right”. Cheers to your smart car buying approach and wisdom, sir!

Alexk98
Alexk98
1 month ago

Vinyl roofs are awful, but if I’m stuck with one, at least make it body color. Caddy all day

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
1 month ago
Reply to  Alexk98

False. The gold paint with a tan top was not the right move here. Although subjectivity can be a fickle mistress.

Alexk98
Alexk98
1 month ago

Admittedly, in my undercaffeinated mind this morning, I didn’t do much more than skim pictures and specs, but knowing the Chrysler is a genuine SWG fixed car I’d legitimately have more faith in its longevity than a crusty Cadillac, but super maroon just called out to me in my groggy state. I’m not sure I’ll ever come around on Landau tops though.

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