1972 Cadillac Sedan deVille
…and the DeVille legend continues
Cadillac set another sales record for the 1972 model year at 267,827 vehicles. The previous sales record of 238,745 vehicles was for the popular 1970 model year. Two models in particular made up the volume of the 1972 sales record….if you guessed the Coupe deVille with 95,580 and the Sedan deVille with 99,531 you are quite correct. This is roughly 72.7% of total Cadillac production. Why, the Sedan deVille alone produced more for the 1972 model year than the complete production totals for rival automakers.
The popular Sedan deVille for 1972 missed the 100,000th mark by 469 cars! The 1972 model year celebrated Cadillac’s 70th Anniversary and building more than a quarter million vehicles in just one model year. Model code #68349 6D49-B Sedan deVille had a base price of $6,390. This milestone DeVille encore performance was another superlative superlative….in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
The 1972 Cadillac Sedan deVille was spacious and elegant. It was a spirited sport sedan enjoyed by more luxury car buyers than the other luxury brands. Even its re-sale value was tremendous. Since its inception in 1956, each model year brought greater innovation, more features and accessories standard, and that peace of mind knowing there was nothing more satisfying to own and drive. The Sedan deVille had everything that made a Cadillac a Cadillac, in fact, the DeVille had always been America’s favorite luxury car. The 1972 Cadillac Sedan deVille was the “Standard of the World” in comfort and convenience.
The Sedan deVille boasted six passenger comfort. Its luxurious deep-seated Cadillac style was further enhanced by new Majesty cloth with leather available in four brocaded colors. Or elegant Medley cloth with leather in three colors. A Fully leather upholstered interior was available in twelve trim combinations with notch back front seat. Power windows and seat, Variable Ratio power steering, power brakes, electric clock, and head restraints were among the many standard Cadillac amenities.
There was no wondering how this model out-sold the competitors….building 99,531 units speaks for itself…right? The Sedan deVille and Coupe deVille took turns beating each other for the title of “America’s favorite luxury car.” I always enjoyed the way the Sedan deVille took on the Lincoln TownCar in a stance like ‘Eastwood’ jeering at the TownCar as if…. “Go ahead….make my day…..” and the TownCar folded every time…….There was NOTHING to compete with the formidable “Standard of the World.”
For the 1972 model year Cadillac gave the Sedan deVille a “Beauty Treatment” with a front end that used a bumper system that yielded upon minor impact. The parking lamps were moved from the bumper to the headlamp housings. The front grille was more pronounced and now made of plastic. The rear received new taillamp lenses, and the ventilation ducts in the rear deck lid were gone. Basically it was a refreshed version of the 1971 model. The “Standard of the World” was still the luxury leader.
The 1972 Sedan deVille was powered by the Cadillac 7.7 litre 472 CID V8 16-valve OHV V8. It was equipped with a Rochester 4MV 4-bbl downdraft Quadrajet with equalized manifold, mechanical fuel pump, dry-type air filter, intake silencer and an improved automatic choke. GM used a purging system for the utilization of stored fuel vapor and to reduce emissions.
The engine produced 220 hp @ 3,800 rpm with 495 Nm of peak torque @ 2,400 rpm. The engine was mated to GM’s Turbo Hydra-Matic THM-400 3-speed automatic transmission. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 10.5 seconds, 0-100 mph in 50.5 seconds with a top speed of 119 mph. It could do the ¼ mile @ 80 mph in 17.7 seconds.
The 472 CID was very impressive in 1968 when it was introduced without a lot of emission controls unlike the 1972 model year. The use of low to no-lead fuel and the EPA mandated emission controls made this powerplant turn into junk. The 472 didn’t like all of those (AIR) Air Injection Reactors, (EGR) Exhaust Gas Recirculators, etc.
The 8.2 litre 500 CID was better suited for those pollution control devices. The bad thing about it, those ‘faux’ pollution controls did nothing but robbed your engine of gas mileage and horsepower. Those engines were designed at a time when we were burning leaded-premium fuel. The switch to regular un-leaded killed many V8 engines that were used to the lead and high-octane of a different era….
The 1972 Sedan deVille rode on a long 130” wheelbase, had the luxury length of 227.4” and was 79.8” wide. It was built as body on frame construction. Cadillac’s fully boxed perimeter frame had new front members for added protection with increased impact absorption.
The front suspension used upper and lower control arms, integral steering knuckle for greater dependability and longer life, helical coil springs, rubber mounted strut rods, and rubber bushings to absorb wheel impact and isolate road noise. The rear suspension used Cadillac’s four-link drive, helical coil springs, and large rubber bushings to improve ride quality.
The 1972 Sedan deVille came standard with Cadillac’s dual power braking system with independent operation of front and rear systems. It had ventilated discs in the front with finned composite rear drums. The system used a large two piston power booster and larger front wheel brake cylinders for increased capacity.
The brake shoes had a self-adjusting feature each time the car was driven in reverse and the brakes applied. The parking brake could be used as a true auxiliary brake, it had an automatic release feature when the car was shifted into gear, therefore, it wouldn’t lock when the engine was running and in gear. The 1972 Cadillacs incorporated an impressive array of features for increased occupant protection, accident prevention, and theft deterrence.
With luxury, power, and spirited performance, it was no mystery why the sedan deVille was the perennial favorite among luxury car buyers. Its spacious six passenger interiors were endowed with comfort and convenience features and accessories standard but were optional at extra cost on other luxury brands. Cadillac also offered more features and accessories than the competition.
Once you have driven the traditional Cadillacs NOTHING else comes close….The 1972 Sedan deVille maintained a poised dignity that was the hallmark of every Cadillac. It was just another jewel in the crown of the leader….in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”
1972 Fleetwood Brougham
Fleetwood-bodied Cadillacs 1972 upper and 1975 lower
Thank you Mike Calhoon/MJC Classic Cars!!!
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The 1972 model year for Cadillac was a bit taxing. There was an issue called “Phantom Brakes” where the braking system would fail for no apparent reason then correct itself by the time the car was taken to a repair facility. This was an issue for Cadillac model years 1968 through the 1972 model year. This happened to me. I was bringing dad’s 1972 St. Moritz Blue Firemist Sedan deVille to a halt at an intersection…when the brake pedal went all the way to the floor – causing me to miss a police cruiser by a hair. By the time I got the car home – you guess it – the pedal was normal, brakes fully functional. This caused a severe rift between dad and myself, he took my set of the car keys grounding me!
That was the night of a very important function for me, I was in the 12th grade and dad had taken the car! It wasn’t until the next day when mom went to the post office…and the brakes failed again. This terrified mom, she had the car towed home. Guess what? By the time the car was unloaded from the flatbed tow truck…it was fully functional – again! The car was taken to the local Cadillac dealer and it was discovered “Phantom Brakes” became an issue for which there was no rhyme or reason. Dad’s car, like the others involved, had a piece of optional equipment which was a primitive form of traction control assisting the car’s braking system. I never drove that car again – neither did daddy, he traded it for a 1974 Sedan deVille. Cadillac had some ‘interesting’ issues when pollution control devices became mandatory at a time when gasoline changed to unleaded and safety control assists were placed upon these cars that had never before seen such sophistication. The 1972 Sedan deVille I had a few years later had to be ‘re-programmed’ in order to drive. I tweaked the tuning while over-riding the smog controls to make the car perform as the 1969-1970 versions of the 472 CID (GAS-guzzling) V8. This V8 wasn’t easily adapted to the smog controls like the 8.2 litre 500 CID V8 which Cadillac used as the primary engine for the last of the full-size Cadillacs (1975-1976 finale). This is why Cadillacs of this vintage are so rare. They turned to junk over night! Of course, all of the bugs have been worked out of the survivors. Good luck finding one for sale.
As for corrosion…OMG rust ate these cars relentlessly so be careful to check the underside in key areas. Underneath those fancy padded vinyl roof treatments lurks a world of corrosion so NEVER put a killer paint job on these cars without removing the roof covering no matter how solid it appears. Weld studs are the detriment to these beautiful cars. It starts corrosion in places that cannot be seen – inside out. For these reasons any survivors will appreciate favorably. The last REAL Cadillacs were built in 1969 and 1970…it was downhill all the way after this.