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Three-axle bumper-pull travel trailer by Airstream, a luxury "land yacht"
1960 Lincoln Continental, length: 229 in (5,817 mm)
1969 Mercedes-Benz 600, loaded weight: 3,048 kg (6,720 lb)
1972 Cadillac 75 sedan, length: 248.9 in (6,322 mm)
1974 Mercury Colony Park station wagon, curb weight: 5,066 lb (2,298 kg)
1975 Imperial four-door hardtop, length: 232.7 in (5,911 mm)

A landyacht is a metaphorical term used to describe luxurious recreational vehicles and is also an informal term for large automobiles.[1][2][3] Other descriptors of these cars include 'slab', 'luxobarge', 'lead sled', or 'yank tank'. These terms refer to the largest full-sized cars made by U.S. and German auto manufacturers from the 1950s through the 1990s.[4]


Land yachts are essentially large cars and recreational vehicles (RVs) compared to yachts that ride on land, evoking the relative size, maneuverability, and luxury of the water vessel. An extravagant RV with two floors designed for entertainment and super yacht lifestyle was valued at $3 million.[5] The Airstream luxury recreational vehicle manufactureer uses "Land Yacht" as a model name.[6][7]

In automobiles, the term is most commonly applied to the large American cars of the "Golden Age of American Automobiles" or the pre-oil crisis era.[8] Cars of this era remain known for size, large and powerful V8 engines, and an emphasis on ride comfort at the expense of handling. Features commonly found in landyachts include very generous exterior proportions, somewhat vague steering, and a soft ride.[9] Consumers purchased these large cars for many reasons and practicality was usually not one of them. They were designed "for the open road where living room comfortable seats made the front seat seem like a plush couch with a windshield and steering wheel in front of it."[9]

One of the largest production sedans were the 1974–1976 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 sedans that reached 252.2 in (6,406 mm) in length and weighed 5,500–6,100 lb (2,500–2,800 kg).[10][11] Many landyacht-type cars are four-door sedans or hardtop (no "B" pillar) body styles, but large coupes, convertibles, and station wagons were available.[12][13]

However, the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman (2017 and onwards) has a total length of 6499 millimetres, which translates to 255.9 inches.[14] This is nearly four inches longer than the 1974-1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy-Five.


Design, as much as size, distinguished the landyacht automobiles. While European and later Japanese car manufacturers often produced cars just as large and expensive, American marques distinguished themselves with eye-catching and innovative design and marketing. Cars from Cadillac, Lincoln, Imperial, Buick, and many other American brands featured elaborate, styling. In addition to simply being a large car, landyachts often included the following:

Modern use[edit]

After the oil crises of the 1970s and 1980s, U.S. consumers become more interested in fuel economy than glamor. Downsizing by the domestic automakers meant more efficient mid-size cars like the Ford Taurus. GM's discontinuation of both of their B platform, which included the Buick Roadmaster and Chevrolet Caprice and its D platform (Cadillac Fleetwood) in 1996 marked the demise of that company's "true" land yachts.[15] Ford's full-size V8/rear-drive Panther platform, which underpinned the Ford Crown Victoria, Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Grand Marquis continued through the 2011 model year (although the Crown Victoria was sold as a fleet model only from 2008-2012).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Burkhart, Bryan; Hunt, David (2000). Airstream: The History of the Land Yacht. Chronicle Books. ISBN 9780811824712. 
  2. ^ "Definition of Land Yacht". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Dirven, René (2003). Metaphor and metonymy in comparison and contrast. Mouton de Gruyter. p. 504. ISBN 9783110173741. Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  4. ^ Quinteros, Luis (10 October 2010). "Ten Great Land Yachts". Jalopnik. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Lucareli, Ben (24 September 2013). "For $3 million, the ultimate land yacht?". Road and Track. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Cox, Tara (2013). Airstream: The Silver RV. Shire Publications. ISBN 9780747814054. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "Land Yacht". Airstream. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  8. ^ Kunz, Bruce (25 August 2014). "The Imperial Crown was Chrysler's top-of-the-line land yacht". St. Louis Dispatch. Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Sutherland, Jim (4 February 2012). "Why Every Car Guy Needs To Pilot A Giant Old School Land Yacht Barge". Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  10. ^ Flammang, James (1999). Standard Catalog of American Cars 1976–1999 (Third ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 978-0873417556. 
  11. ^ Niedermeyer, Paul (10 February 2013). "Cadillac Fleetwood 75 Curbside Classic: 1973 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 – The Longest Production Car Ever And The Red Giant Of Broughams". Curbside Classic. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  12. ^ Stone, Matt (19 August 2013). "American Dreamboats". Hagerty Classic Cars. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  13. ^ French, Laura (25 April 2008). "The Station Wagon: Though mostly gone, these noble land yachts had rich history". StarTribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  14. ^ Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman (UK brochure MBX222PL/0517). Mercedes-Benz Cars UK Limited, Tongwell, Milton Keynes, MK15 8BA. Brochure date May 2017.
  15. ^ Krebs, Michelle (19 May 1996). "Buick Roadmaster; A Land Yacht Sails Into the Sunset". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 May 2015.