If you lived in North America in 1967 and you wanted to show the neighbors you’d clawed your way to the peak of the success pyramid, only one car would do: Cadillac Fleetwood. Today’s Junkyard Gem is 4,685 pounds of General Motors luxury hardware, finally knocked off the road at age 53 by an unfortunate wreck and now residing in a Denver self-service wrecking yard.
The Cadillac brand endured some rough years during the 1970s and 1980s, but rode high during the 1960s. The Fleetwood Sixty Special Sedan started at $6,423 in 1967, or just over $50,000 when figured using inflation-adjusted 2020 dollars. A Mercedes-Benz 250SE sedan set you back $6,385 that year, but it weighed barely half as much and packed just 148 horses against the Cad’s 340. Really, you had to get a genuine Rolls-Royce to out-swank the Fleetwood-driving Joneses back then (the Lincoln Continental and Imperial didn’t have quite the snob appeal at that time), and the Roller cost more than several Fleetwoods combined.
This car has been around during its long life. On the windshield, we see 1980 and 1981 parking stickers from the Keeneland Club in Kentucky. This car was already 13 years old by that time, but still very classy.
At some point, the car must have migrated to California. Here’s a U.C. Berkeley sticker.
This ancient In-N-Out sticker comes from the Southern California-only era of the famous hamburger chain.
Sometimes it’s tough to determine the reasons that an old car ended up in a place like this, but that’s not a problem here. Let’s hope the car’s occupants had their belts on (lap belts only in 1967, but still better than nothing), because these old Detroit land yachts didn’t have much in the way of energy-absorbing crumple zones.
The paint and interior are quite rough, so this car depreciated from being worth perhaps a couple of grand to scrap value in an instant.
Cruise control was a very rare option in 1967, and this car has it.
The famous Fleetwood triple-tone horns were still there when I got to this car.
Under the hood, 429 cubic inches (7.0 liters) of super-smooth Cadillac pushrod V8. This engine grew to 472 and then 500 cubic inches during the following few years.
The paint shows some great patina.
Did I buy the horns? Of course I bought the horns — I always bring my trusty lightweight junkyard toolbox when I head out to shoot some Junkyard Gems.