“Bass from the back of my car feels soothing. A Cadillac Fleetwood is what I'm using”: Check out the Beasties’ cool set of wheels

Beastie Boys car action
Not the Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham in question, just Mike D and Yauch chilling in London in 1987 (Image credit: Getty Images/Dave Hogan)

To many the Beastie Boys were the epitome of cool. Even 12 years after their dissolution in the wake of MCA’s (Adam Yauch) death, little tidbits will occasionally emerge that only seem to confirm this.

Take for example the revelation that the trio would bomb around Los Angeles listening to new mixes in a ‘crazy’ soundsystem that Yauch had installed in a luxury Cadillac he had picked up.

In a Facebook post back in 2020 Mike D talked of how when the band relocated to the West Coast after Licenced To Ill Yauch had bought a 1970s Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham and installed a DAT system. 

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He wrote: “We would drive around in this crazy huge car listening to mixes of stuff super loud with the bass bumping while we were making it and it was pretty amazing.” The Cadillac was so spacious it apparently had footrests for the backseat passengers.

This was the era when the classic Paul’s Boutique album was taking shape. Indeed there is a shout-out to the car on the track Shadrac, when Yauch raps: ‘Amps and crossovers under my rear hood/Because the bass is bumping from the back of my Fleetwood.’ 

Beastie Boys - Shadrach (Abstract Impressionist Version) - YouTube Beastie Boys - Shadrach (Abstract Impressionist Version) - YouTube
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Later, on Jimmy James from 1992’s Check Your Head, there’s another reference in the lines: ‘Bass from the back of my car feels soothing/ Eight bazookas is what I'm using’

The most famous motor in the Beastie Boys ouevre is probably the Ford LTD Crown Victoria that was the star of the group’s classic Sabotage and Futterman’s Rule videos. In the former the trio zoom around LA dressed as 70s TV cops, bad wigs, moustaches and all. It was directed by Spike Jones, who of course directed The Beastie Boys documentary, which was released in 2020.

DAT or Digital Audio Tape was a 1990s format that never really took off in the consumer market. It boasted a better sound quality than cassettes or CDs, and was mainly used in professional recording studios. Yauch’s in-car system would have been pretty rare for the time.

Yauch kept the car until 1999 when it was auctioned off for a charity that he had co-founded – the Milarepa Fund – that provided financial assistance to the Tibetan Independence movement. 

It went for just $12,000 or around $22,000 in today’s prices: not much for a luxury car with its own place in music history. It would doubtless fetch a lot more today...

Beastie Boys car action

Ad-Rock tipping a Swiss car over in 1987... (Image credit: Getty Images/Dave Hogan)
Will Simpson
News and features writer

Will Simpson is a freelance music expert whose work has appeared in Classic Rock, Classic Pop, Guitarist and Total Guitar magazine. He is the author of 'Freedom Through Football: Inside Britain's Most Intrepid Sports Club' and his second book 'An American Cricket Odyssey' is due out in 2025