Why on earth would you want to even try traveling close to 100 mph in a car that handles like a house boat??
These cars were rock-solid at 100mph. As for going 150, I sort of doubt it, because top end speed was really not a strong suit for any late 70's cars. As has been pointed out, the lower gearing in these heavy cars was not conducive to high speeds. However, even at their top speed of around 120, they were still very stable and competent cars.
Stable at 120?? These cars weren't even stable at 20 mph, but that boat like ride and handling is what makes them so special. All modern cars pale in comparison for sheer comfort. These cars were designed for boulevard cruising, not making laps on the track. Comfort was king, handling was an afterthought in those days.
It really puzzles me why many of Cadillac's new models are advertised as being track tested. I know I never drive on a smooth round track; my commute takes me over pot holes and dips that cars like the '78 Marquis and the like could handle 100x more comfortably than a track tested Cadillac!
"It really puzzles me why many of Cadillac's new models are advertised as being track tested."
So they can attract younger buyers?
Cadillac currently builds the fastest four-door sedan and station wagon on Earth (the CTS-V). I'd expect them to be track tested.
Well I'm 28, and it completely turns me off! Plus, what are all of the older more mature buyers that still appreciate large smooth sedans supposed to buy??
"Used" full-size cars I guess. There are still plenty of Crown Vic/Grand Marquis/Town Car for sale. If you don't care for those, try the 300/Charger.
I prefer GM big cars, but they won't be around forever either. And for those of us that want a fresh, new car, that isn't a very appealing option. I guess it's better than buying a brand new boring compact though.
I'm one of those "older, mature buyers", and I really don't understand why anyone today wants or needs a giant, gas guzzling car. They are hard to park, hard to maneuver in tight traffic, and any power advantage of a larger engine is cancelled by the massive extra weight. I long ago switched to smaller cars, mainly due to my desire for more performance and more nimble handling, not to mention twice the fuel mileage.
And anyone who regards compacts as "boring" has obviously not driven the Volkswagen GTI, Ford Focus ST, Mazda 3 Speed or any of a great number of very exciting small cars. The acceleration and top speed of these cars exceed any large luxury barge ever built.
As an elderly American, I have never understood the obsession of many of my fellow seniors for huge, unwieldy gas guzzlers. The current crop of large cars such as the full-sized GM vehicles offers plenty of room. I recently had the pleasure of driving a new Impala LTZ for a few days. The interior was very huge and very plush. The ride was silky smooth, and the large V-6 put out more horsepower than most older luxury cars.
I'm 24, and it would be my dream if you could still walk into a Cadillac dealership and purchase a new Fleetwood. I'll take the 1976 styled one. I own a clean Crown Victoria, and will soon be complimenting it with a 82 Oldsmobile Delta 88 in a beautiful Seafoam green color, which I believe they called Light Jadestone.
Cost of ownership is a big factor that many people overlook. Expect to pay more for engine-related repairs because of the cramped engine bay in compact cars. Mechanics will have a harder time in some cases. Time is money...
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and car preferences, however I strongly disagree, I am 28 and I only drive large, rear wheel drive, V-8 powered, North American land yachts. Why, you ask?
1. Low purchase price, usually senior owned, dealer maintained, garage, stored, low mileage, etc... the perfect used car purchase.
2. Interior comfort and luxury - no modern car can compare to an 80's Town car, Caprice Brougham, Crown Vic, Fleetwood Brougham, etc... that is a non-argument.
3. Elegant stylish looks. Sure it's not everyone's style, but some of us love the chrome bumpers and trim, vinyl landau roofs, square headlights and boxy styling that defined the glory days of Detroit Iron, and a time where cars had distinctive styling and identity.
4. Low maintenance and high reliability. I got really tired of computer and sensor problems in my newer cars, leading to expensive and hard to diagnose repairs. Haven't had any problems with my older models!
5. Parts and repairs are super cheap. Mechanics love to work on these cars, you don't have to take the whole engine apart to change some spark plugs, and also do it yourself repairs are actually possible.
6. Smooth, low revving engines at high speeds. These cars are slow off the line, as they are geared for highway driving. However these cars can accelerate fast once in motion, and handle very high speeds with no engine noise or excessive revving. They're very quiet inside too, and they handle high speeds way better than smaller newer cars, which begin to shake, rattle, and swerve at high speeds.
Anyways, you were wondering why anyone drives these cars, I think those are a few good reasons!
I agree with everything in comment 03:54 except the last part about small cars being unstable and rattling at high speed. Some years back I owned a Dodge Omni 2.2 that topped out at about 133 mph. It was solid as a rock and no rattles. My current 4-cylinder car will very effortlessly hit the computer limited top speed of 120 in 4th gear (it's a 5-speed). It only turns about 2000 RPM at 65 mph and is whisper quiet with no shakes or rattles. I have no idea where the idea comes from that smaller cars become unstable at speed. Many compact cars will effortlessly hit 150 mph, which is way faster than any large American luxury car ever built.
That's great that you envision yourself as a boy racer, however those of us that prefer comfort and luxury over power and handling are all but overlooked in today's market. I think that is very unfortunate. There was a time when people wanted their cars to pamper them and make a statement about who they were and where they were in life. Modern cars are totally void of that. I for one am more than sick of the bloated turtle look!
I drive an 87 Chrysler Fifth Avenue, and I know this car is somewhat smaller than Ford's CV, GM or even Impalas or Caprices, but boy does it drive so smooth at 110mph, which is where it sizzles out at. It is so quiet, I wish I knew what RPM the 318 V8 is spinning at.
Lots of misinformation here.
For starters, a lot of those late 70's land yachts were totally choked of power. At that time emission equipment hadn't yet really been integrated with the powertrains of the day. Basically most of those engines had been developed decades before, and when emission controls became required, the manufacturers simply slapped them on, and as a result, the power was pitiful. If you want further proof of this, take a look at any number of muscle car models from pre and after 1974: Anything before is worth many magnitudes more than anything made after that date. The reason is because some of the post 1974 cars were incredibly sluggish in comparison.
Secondly, I'm not sure where the notion that a compact car, simply from having an engine compartment with less room for the mechanicals, would be less reliable. So far of the smaller cars we've owned, most made it well past 200,000 miles. Also, as someone who actually works on all of my family's cars, just because an engine compartment has less room for the engine, doesn't mean it's harder to service. It all depends on the layout and design of the drivetrain. For example my Grandmother owns a 1997 Buick LeSabre. It's got a massive amount of room under the hood. Yet changing the plugs is a nightmare, because they are stuck in some of the most unbelievably inconvenient places. On the other hand, the Corolla we used to own had the spark plugs all in a row on top of the engine. Just unscrew em' and stick new ones in. Done.
Lastly, beauty is certainly in the eyes of the beholder, so I guess I too can throw my opinion in the hat. I'm not a big fan of late 70's American full sized cars. The design theme seemed to be one where the cars were made into big bricks with little design flare. I know, because my Grandmother back then owned a 1980 Delta '88. Boy was that a fugly car. Just a big box on wheels.
Some of the new Cadillac cars, including the just released CTS, are beautiful cars, that in my opinion more closely take that brand back to its glory days, versus the cars they used to make from the 70's-90's, that were more like their wayward years when they totally lost their prestige and relevance. If I had the money, you better bet I'd buy a CTS or ATS no problem. Those are fantastic cars that are designed to handle and drive very well, not only due to their engineering, but their actual construction materials as well. Give credit where credit is due.