Growing up in the 1970s, the name Fleetwood meant two things to me: it was part of the name of a successful rock band and also the moniker for a luxury Cadillac brand. I didn’t realize there was an actual town of Fleetwood, from which the latter got its name.
If you’re visiting the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles in Pennsylvania, an excellent auto-themed takes you 15 miles northwest to the small hamlet of Fleetwood, former home of Fleetwood Metal Auto Body. Founded in 1909, Fleetwood built coaches for Packard, Pierce-Arrow, Cadillac and other high-end brands.
Fisher Body Company/General Motors acquired it in 1925, moving the operations to Detroit within six years. The Fleetwood name was long associated with Cadillac models until it was retired in the 1990s.
Visiting Fleetwood today you’ll still find an original manufacturing building marked “1909 Fleetwood Auto Bodies” at the corner of Locust and South Franklin Streets as a tribute to that long ago legacy.
But there’s more to the Fleetwood legacy, at the Boyertown Museum they feature a 1872 Hill Car that was built by teenager James Hill, who just happened to live in Fleetwood.
From Fleetwood to Mack
Ok, I couldn’t resist that pun, but if you’re visiting Fleetwood, you may as well complete the circle and head 25 miles northeast to Allentown (the former home of Mack Truck) to tour the Mack Trucks Historical Museum.