What Was America's Greatest Land Yacht?

Illustration for article titled What Was America's Greatest Land Yacht?
Photo: Cadillac

This is kind of a silly question. The great American land yacht is a dream. It’s a worthwhile dream to have, but it’s not something that has a tangible realization. Take the 1988 Cadillac Voyage for example.

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The problem with the Cadillac Voyage is that it, well, isn’t. It’s not a car. Well, it’s a concept car. It previewed what Cadillacs would look like in the ‘90s, with such glittering high-tech features as four-wheel discs, four-wheel independent suspension, all-wheel drive and ABS! It had a five-speed automatic transmission. Wow!

The later two-door version of this concept, the Cadillac Solitaire, rocked a Lotus-designed V12, but the Voyage was still V8-powered. The interior was a mix of restrained lines and overstuffed seats. That is to say, it was everything you wanted from the old era, and everything you wanted from the new. It even had GPS!

But the Voyage didn’t go into production. Not exactly, as Cadillac noted in its brief history of the car:

This luxury sedan had all-new computer-controlled all-wheel technology hidden under its streamlined body; the front axle was automatically engaged when rear-wheel slippage was detected. The Voyage was equipped with ABS, an electronically controlled five-speed automatic gearbox and a voice-activated telephone system. Its orthopedically-designed seats included more than 20 pneumatic and mechanical adjustments, three memory positions plus cushion massage. The Seville CTS adopted a number of the Voyage’s styling cues when introduced in 1991.

The Seville CTS is an underappreciated design, but it’s far from a realization of classic style mixed with modern amenities taken to a world-beating level. It’s just a car.

But the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that there is no perfect American land yacht. The expectations are too high! There’s no way that a car can be comfortable enough, luxurious enough, stylish enough.

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The dreaming is what’s important.

But I’m probably wrong. I’ve never even driven a Continental Mark II. What do you think was the greatest land yacht America ever produced? 

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

DISCUSSION

When one must master of the roads in a land yacht, there is but one choice... The Buick Roadmaster.