Requiem For A Legend: 1976 Cadillac Sedan deVille
1976 Bid farewell to the traditional Sedan deVille
The 1976 Sedan deVille was Cadillac’s last pillarless hardtop sedan
And now, the latest episode in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns” we retro back to the 1976 model year. America’s favorite luxury car had stolen the limelight once again. The 1976 Sedan deVille was “efficient as it was elegant, and rugged as it was rewarding.” It was one of America’s favorite luxury cars….the other was the Coupe deVille. This was also the nostalgic end of an illustrious era in luxury car motoring. The 1976 Cadillac Sedan deVille was the last full-size traditional Sedan deVille to roll off the assembly line.
It was also Cadillac’s last pillarless hardtop sedan. The formidable Sedan deVille ruled the highways from 1956 until 1976….this was the historic farewell to an automotive institution, a luxury-icon, the traditional full-size luxury sedan was gone forever. This was the final curtain call for luxury as America knew it. The 1976 model year was the finale for the DeVille and Fleetwood in traditional proportions. It was the end of the low volume Calais series as well. This was also the last year for a Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac. We had no idea at the time, we were witnessing the last of Cadillac’s greats….Farewell to a legend-
There was absolutely nothing like driving the traditional Sedan deVille. They were effortless in operation designed to cosset its passengers with first-class luxury Cadillac style. The ONLY way to travel was Cadillac style….whatever one wanted in a luxury car, Cadillac had in their 1976 editions of the “Standard of the World.” The 1976 Sedan deVille offered four-door roominess and comfort. Its timeless design still looks modern. The Cadillac DeVille series typically out-sold all of the other Cadillac models. The Cadillac DeVille is still a highly valued collectible to connoisseurs all of the world.
The 1976 Cadillac Sedan deVille came fully equipped, here are the more popular standard features: Automatic Climate Control air conditioning system, High Energy Ignition system, power windows and door locks, AM/FM Stereo radio with automatic power antenna, lamp monitors, six-way power seat, steel-belted radial ply wide whitewall tires, Soft-Ray glass, Variable Ratio power steering, folding center armrests front and rear, and quartz digital clock. Cadillac continued to offer more amenities as standard features than any other luxury brand. The 1976 Sedan deVille was once again the forerunner with all important considerations America wanted most in their luxury cars. With it elegant lines, traditional Cadillac appointments, and full-size responsiveness, the 1976 Sedan deVille was set apart from all the other makes distinctively.
Can you tell that I like Firethorn Metallic?
A special edition for the 1976 Sedan deVille was the decadently luxurious Sedan d’Elegance option. This opulent new expression of comfort featured contoured pillow-style seating upholstered by Fleetwood in an elegant ribbed knit material called Magnan and was available in four colors. Deep pile carpeting and 50/50 Dual Comfort front seats added to the elegance of this limited edition Cadillac. Exterior signature features included a stand-up see-through crest on the hood, and exclusive accent striping. It was a most delightful way to express one’s individuality with the Sedan d’Elegance.
Optional features to further enhance the 1976 Sedan deVille experience included a power Astro-roof, wire wheel discs, stereo tape/cassette player, illuminated entry system, lighted visor vanity mirrors, Theft-Deterrent system, Fuel Monitor system, Cruise Control, electric rear window de-fogger, Air Cushion Restraint system, automatic power door locks, Twilight Sentinel, Guide-Matic headlamp control, Automatic Level Control, Tilt & Telescopic steering wheel, remote trunk lock with power pull-down, and Firemist paint finishes.
Interior beauty and comfort were paramount with Cadillac. The Sedan deVille was rich in power assists, conveniences and appointments, and lavish with its elegant fabrics, leathers, and interior trim. New fabrics and added touches of luxury ensured popularity of the Sedan deVille. Eleven leather trim combinations were available, Magnan cloth was available in six colors, Manhattan an elegant velour was available in two colors, and Merlin plaid in two colors. Model code #6D D49 Sedan deVille was base priced at $9,265. For the 1976 model year 67,677 Sedans deVille were built….this is impressive when that number exceeded the entire production for some automakers….and that was just one of Cadillac’s models pulling sales figures like this.
Electronic Fuel Injection was available for the first time on the Sedan deVille. It was the speed-density type with port injection. The system used two electric fuel pumps in-line and in-tank. Electronic fuel injection featured efficient, faster starting, consistent performance, smoother engine idle, and few required maintenance services.
The 1976 Sedan deVille was powered with the proven 8.2 litre 500 CID 16-valve OHV V8 engine mated to GM’s Turbo Hydra-Matic THM-400 3-speed automatic transmission. The engine was equipped with a Rochester M4ME 4-bbl down-draft Quadrajet, mechanical fuel pump, and two fuel filters, one in-line and one in-tank. The engine produced 190 hp @ 3,600 rpm with 488 Nm of peak torque @ 2,000 rpm. Performance was rated as 0-60 mph in 12.6 seconds, 0-100 mph in 42.2 seconds with a top speed of 115 mph. It did the ¼ mile @ 75 mph in 19 seconds.
The 1976 Cadillacs were built as body on frame construction using Cadillac’s perimeter frame with heavy gauge boxed side rails. The 1976 Sedan deVille rode upon a long 130” wheelbase, had the extreme luxury length of 230.7” with a 79.9” stance. The front suspension used upper and lower control arms, independent helical coil springs, integral knuckle, arm, and caliper support, integral hubs and rotors on spindles. It used a spherical joint with lower wear indicator, tapered roller bearings, and a rod & link type stabilizer bar. Double action hydraulic shock absorbers were fitted to the front and rear. Cadillac’s four-link drive and helical coil springs made up the rear suspension. It had the hypoid type axle differential with ring gear. The propeller shaft had front and rear constant velocity joints. These were the major elements of Cadillac’s magic carpet ride.
Standard was Cadillac’s hydraulic power braking system with dual master cylinder for independent front and rear operation. Ventilated discs were fitted to the front axle with single sliding piston calipers, and finned drums to the rear. The braking system was self-adjusting every time the car was driven in reverse and the brakes applied. The Cadillac power braking system provided smooth, straight stopping without fade. The parking brake had an automatic vacuum release and therefore could be used as a true auxiliary brake since it would not lock with the engine running and the car in gear.
The 1976 Cadillac Sedan deVille had a unique spirit among luxury cars with its own distinctive exterior identification and a wide selection of exclusive interiors. They were powered as all Cadillacs with the highly refined 8.2 litre 500 CID V8 engine. Teamed with the reliable Turbo Hydra-Matic Drive it provided responsiveness that made Cadillac a true driver’s car. Cadillac led the industry with standard and optional features and accessories. The 1976 model year for Cadillac was the end of an illustrious era in motoring splendor. The Fleetwood series, DeVille and Calais models made their final appearances as full-size luxury cars. This began an ominous decline in quality and eventual market share loss in the luxury car arena. The 1976 Cadillac Sedan deVille will live on in automotive history among the last full-sized traditional Cadillacs. The 1976 model year was the finale for the “Standard of the World.”
These are my favorite Cadillac model years 1970 & 1976
Was a buzzer standard when headlights were left on for 1976 Devilles?
Was a buzzer standard when headlights were left on for 1976 Devilles?
I have my Grandparents 1976 Sedan DeVille, 93K original miles. Still drives like a dream. Looks like the white over red in on this site , only it has red leather interior.
That color is called Firethorn Metallic” and was a very popular color choice in 1976 for Cadillac. That Sedan deVille will outlast you if you take the proper care of it. I sold my 1976 Fleetwood Series 60 Special Brougham in 2005 because I needed the garage space and it had 135,900+ miles on it and that car ran like a scalded cat! I purchased it new and it never gave me the grief my newer Cadillacs gave me. I drive a 2002 DeVille as a beater, and it also runs like a scalded cad with 136,500+ miles on it. It will be the last Cadillac from the 21st century I will ever own. The music stopped for Cadillac in the mid 1980s. They cannot seem to win the world as “The Standard of the World” with the crappy puddle jumpers they are building currently. It’s a shame this illustrious legend ended up as a kitschy-faux luxury car and the butt end of jokes. I miss the good old days of grandeur for Cadillac. The feeling is gone forever…Take care of that 1976 as it is the last full size Cadillac. The 1970 Cadillac was “the last real Cadillac” unfortunately. If you place them side by side you’ll see what I mean. At 93,000 miles, it will still keep on like the Energizer Rabbit with the 500 CID engine…it’s a dynamo!