Carrozzeria, Italian meaning coachbuilder, is an individual or company that bodies carriages or automobiles. The name in German is Karosserie. These skills were needed during the early part of the 1900's to fabricate enclosures for rolling chassis. The materials used were mostly wooden or metal. As the evolution of automobile production evolved, manufacturers brought the design and development in-house, making individual coachbuilders a dying breed.
Unibody construction has mostly eliminated the need for coachbuilders. Many coachbuilders were purchased or merged by the automobile manufacturers. Others became highly specialized and worked on a contract basis, mostly for high priced, luxury automobiles.
Fleetwood Metal Body was a coachbuilder during the early 1900s. The name is from Fleetwood, Pennsylvania the birthplace of the company. They specialized in the production of wood and metal bodies. They were large and luxurious and often purchased by the rich and famous. Fleetwood was purchased by Fisher Body in 1925 and integrated into General Motors in 1931.
The luxury segment of General Motors was Cadillac, so it was only natural that Fleetwood would aide in the design and creation of bodies for the Cadillac marque. In 1927 the name appeared on Cadillac's representing their top of the line vehicles. In 1946 Cadillac offered an upscale version of its Series 60, dubbed the Series 60 Special Fleetwood. The name was later used on the Series 70 and Sixty Special models through 1976. The name continued to appear on Cadillac vehicles as late as 1996.By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2007