Cadillac Fleetwood History 1981

Cadillac Fleetwood Moels & History 1981


Billed again as the “Cadillac of Cadillacs,” Broughams came in coupe and sedan form with a grille and front-end look the same as DeVille. The coupe had an Elk Grain vinyl Cabriolet roof treatment with flush-look, small-size rear quarter windows and broad sail panels. Both coupe and sedan roofs had a chrome crossover roof molding at the front of the vinyl portion, stretching across the top and sides. Back windows were small (limousine-style).

Options included an Astroroof and leather-trimmed steering wheel. A stand-up wreath-and-crest ornament adorned each hood. Standard wheel covers were vaned chrome with wreath-and-crest on a dark red background. Three powertrains were offered: standard fuel-injected V8-6-4, Buick V-6 with automatic overdrive transmission, or diesel V-8. Standard were the Twilight Sentinel that automatically turned headlamps on and off, illuminated entry, tilt/telescope steering wheel, six-way driver and passenger seats, and electro-luminescent opera lamps. Dual Comfort coupe front seats held three people; rear seats offered adjustable reading lamps.

Standard interior upholstery was Heather knit with Raphael inserts. available in six colors. New door panels displayed an embroidered ‘Fleetwood’ script. Nine varieties of tucked leather in seating areas were also offered. Brougham d’Elegance had chrome wheel covers with body-colored vanes and wreath-and-crest on dark red background, plus d’Elegance script and accent striping on the body. Coupe interiors came in standard dark blue Heather and Raphael knit fabric; or optional Sierra Grain leather for tufted seating areas (de k claret white, black, light slate gray, dark blue, light beige, doeskin, or light waxberry). Sedans had knit fabric in dark blue, dark claret, light slate gray or light beige; or leather in doeskin, light beige, light slate gray, dark blue, or dark claret.

With hardly a fanfare, Cadillac made a V-6 engine available in its full-size DeVille and Fleetwood series in the middle of the 1980 model year. This is the Buick-built 4.1 liter (252 cubic inch) unit, and gives Cadillac its first six-cylinder car ever. The Fleetwood Brougham is basically an upmarket version of the Sedan DeVille and is identical to it in exterior and interior dimensions. The standard engine for 1981 is the 6.0 liter (368 cid) “V-8-6-4.” The 6 liter engine takes 22.6 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph. Even with the 5.7 liter (350 cid) engine it takes 21 seconds.

This rear wheel drive car has lots of room and wide-opening doors to make entry and exit graceful. Ride comfort is plush and soft, but makes for poorer suspension control. Fit and finish are always good.

The price on this unit is lower than the Seville or Eldorado, but it has a full line of standard amenities: electronic climate control; power steering, brakes, windows, and door locks; AM/FM stereo radio; illuminated entry system; tilt-and-telescope steering wheel; six-way power driver and passenger seats; and remote control mirrors

Although the V6 is generally considered to be a good move toward fuel economy, this car is too heavy for such a small engine.


Differing mainly in dimensions from DeVille and Fleetwood, carrying the new crosshatch grille, limos could not have the diesel engine option. Both standard and Formal Limousine models included a dual accessory panel so rear passengers could adjust the climate control and power windows. The formal edition held a sliding glass partition, with seating for seven. Standard limos held eight. Interiors came in dark blue Heather cloth, or black in the back. All carried two fold-down auxiliary seats.

Model Number Style Number Body Type Seating Factory Price Shipping Weight Production Total
6C B47 2-door Coupe 6 $15,777 / 15,942 3854 / 4069 lb 62,724 (total includes the 2-door DeVille)
6C B69 4-door Sedan 6 $16,190 / 16,355 3884 / 4115 lb 86,991 (total included the 4-door DeVille)
6D F23 4-door Sedan 8 $24,464 4629 lb 1,200
6D F33 4-door Formal Limousine 7 $25,323 4717 lb
6D Z90 Commercial Chassis N/A N/A N/A

FACTORY PRICE AND WEIGHT NOTE: Figures before the slash are for V-6 engine, after slash for variable-displacement gas V8-6-4. A diesel V-8 was also available on DeVille/Brougham/Eldorado. By late spring 1981, prices rose on all except Eldorado: Seville reached $23,000 for the diesel, Coupe DeVille $14,345, Brougham sedan $17,420.



Feature Std. Brougham Opt. Brougham & Std. Limousine Commercial
Type 90-degree, overhead valve V-6. Cast iron block and head 90-degree, overhead valve V-8. Cast iron block and head 90-degree, overhead valve variable-displacement. Cast iron block and head
Displacement 252 cu. in. (4.1 liters) 350 cu. in. (5.7 liters) 368 cu. in. (6.0 liters)
Bore & stroke 3.965 x 3.40 in. 4.057 x 3.385 in. 3.80 x 4.06 in.
Compression ratio 8.0:1 22.5:1 8.2:1
Brake horsepower 125 at 3800 R.P.M. 105 at 3200 R.P.M. 150 at 3800 R.P.M.
Torque 210 lbs.-ft. at 2000 R.P.M. 200 lbs.-ft. at 1600 R.P.M. 265 lbs.-ft. at 1600 R.P.M.
Main bearings Four Five Five
Valve lifters Hydraulic Hydraulic Hydraulic
Fuel supply 4-bbl. carburetor Fuel injection 4-bbl carburetor
Manufacturer Buick Oldsmobile
VIN code 4 N 6




  • Wheelbase: 121.4 in. Overall length: 221.0 in. Height: Width: 76.5 in. max. Front Tread: 61.7 in. Rear Tread: 60.7 in. Standard Tires: P215/75R15 SBR wide WSW


  • Turbo Hydra-matic transmission, column shift.
  • Gear ratios for Brougham & limo V8-368: (1st) 2.48:1; (2nd) 1.48:1; (3rd) 1.00:1; (Rev) 2.07:1
  • Other three-speed models: (1st) 2.74:1; (2nd) 1.57:1; (3rd) 1.00:1; (Rev) 2.07:1.
  • Four-speed automatic in Brougham w/V-6: (1st) 2.74:1; (2nd) 1.57:1; (3rd) 1.00:1: (4th) 0.667:1; (Rev) 2.07:1
  • Standard final drive ratio: (Brougham) 2.41:1 except w/V-6, 3.23:1; (limos) 3.08:1
  • Steering: recirculating ball (power assisted)
  • Suspension: same as 1980.
  • Brakes: front disc, rear drum
  • Fuel tank: (Brougham) 24.6 gal. exc. diesel, 27 gal. and V-6, 25 gal.; (limos) 24.6 gal.


  • 4.1-liter gas V-6 engine ($165 credit)
  • 5.7-liter diesel V-8 engine ($325-$351); N/A limo.
  • California emission equipment ($46-$182).
  • Engine block heater ($22).
  • 100-amp alternator ($41).
  • Heavy-duty cooling ($59).
  • Limited slip differential: Brougham/limo ($86).
  • Electronic level control: Brougham ($173).
  • Heavy-duty ride package: Brougham ($270).
  • Trailering pkg. ($59-$100).


  • Brougham d’Elegance: cloth seating ($1066); leather ($1536)


  • Astroroof ($1058); N/A on limo.
  • Controlled-cycle wiper system: limo ($45).
  • Rear defogger, grid-type ($134-$175).
  • Automatic door locks ($129).
  • Garage door opener ($125).
  • Illuminated entry system ($67).
  • Memory driver’s seat ($169).
  • Power river’s seat recliner ($130).
  • Power passenger seat recliner: Brougham ($71).
  • Leather-trimmed steering wheel ($79).
  • Tilt/telescope steering wheel ($147).
  • Power trunk lid release and pull-down: limo ($96).
  • Theft deterrent system ($157).
  • Twilight Sentinel: limo ($65).
  • Guidematic headlamp control ($78).
  • Trumpet horn ($28).
  • Thermometer on left mirror ($35).
  • Electric remote mirrors w/thermometer on left: limo ($99).
  • Twin lighted vanity mirrors ($116).
  • Electronic-tuning seek/scan AM/FM stereo radio with 8-track tape player ($195); with 8-track and CB ($480);
  • Electronic-tuning seek/scan AM/FM stereo radio w/cassette ($281); w/cassette and CB ($547).
  • Rear-control electronic tuning radio with 8-track: limo ($398).
  • Firemist paint ($208).
  • Door edge guards ($16-$24).
  • License frames, each ($11).
  • Leather seating area ($439-$595).
  • Carpeted rubber floor mats: front ($35-$38); rear ($20).
  • Trunk mat ($16).
  • Locking wire wheels: Brougham ($755).
  • Locking wire wheel covers ($266-$328).
  • Puncture-sealing tires ($106).