1969 Cadillac DeVille Convertible: A Masterpiece From The Master Craftsmen

Rock steady…

1969 DeVille

“As the Standard of the World Turns”

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The 1969 Cadillacs are masterpieces from the master craftsmen. Cadillac had an all-new design that made them longer, lower, and wider…they hugged the road. The DeVille was the only luxury convertible built in the land at the time. There is no finer way to view the world than from behind the wheel of a 1969 Cadillac. It is open air motoring at its finest. Powered by a 375 hp V8 engine, makes it a rare combination of luxury and high-performance few automobiles would ever achieve. The dramatic elegance and majesty of its new design is eloquently portrayed with the classic DeVille convertible. The 1969 Cadillac DeVille convertible makes a stunning encore performance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.“

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This is a unique era in motoring. An automobile of such stature had never before been endowed with this type of spirited high-performance. Cadillac had surpassed its own great reputation with the introduction of the 1969 Cadillacs. In luxury…in performance…and in craftsmanship, these new Cadillac creations by far, surpassed the famous cars they supersede. For 1969, there’s a new spirit of vitality and youth in the dramatic DeVille convertible. Luxury is your constant companion.

It is the most eloquent expression of glamour. Among all the manufactured products available, few can claim the excellence of design, dedication of assembly, and the universal acceptance that was at the time…accorded the Cadillac automobile – Cadillac was without conjecture the finest expression of the new era of automobile elegance and exclusivity…will the brand ever return to such regal stature?

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1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado

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The all-new 1969 Cadillacs are a design based upon the highly successful 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado. It is the chiseled front and rear fenders that makes it so distinguished in appearance. The all-new wrap-around parking/turn signal and cornering lamp modular unit and its integrated appearance would soon be copied throughout the industry. Cadillac was a style leader…never a follower. The long hood and short rear deck are designed to make the car appear even longer than it is. The front and rear bumpers are sculptured artfully into the architecture.

Dual horizontal headlamps and a wider grille gives it a more refined look. The 1969 model distinction is a winner; it is one of the most popular Cadillacs in the history of the brand. For the 1969 production run, 163,048 Cadillac DeVille models were built. The aggregate total for the DeVille model alone exceeded the entire total production run for the competition combined for the 1969 model year. The calendar year production for 1969 is 223,237 total units built. The 1968 production totals are 230,003. The reason the sales for the 1969 models are lower is because of the strikes that interrupted the 1969 production run.

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The 1969 Cadillacs were completely redesigned from the ground up. The rear ensemble for the DeVille, Calais, and Fleetwood models are totally in character for a Cadillac. The tapered tail fins and Cadillac-style taillamps make it exceptionally beautiful. The beveled rear deck lid is in proportion with the elegant styling. There isn’t a single line on the 1969 Cadillac that isn’t out sync.

The silhouette looks as though it spans for miles. With the top folded the car looks even longer, lower, and wider than the other Cadillac models. The neatly chiseled lines and shadows create a luxury car of distinction. It also is adorned with fancy fender skirts – these are my favorite feature on luxury automobiles from this genre. It gives the car a finished look. The 1969 Cadillac DeVille convertible is a masterpiece from the master craftsmen – 

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Model #69-683 Style code #68367F two-door DeVille convertible for 1969 was base priced at $5,905 and only 16,445 were built. The base shipping weight is 4,590 pounds. Here are some interesting production milestones: Cadillac built its four millionth car as a 1969 Coupe deVille on June 19, 1969.

Cadillac was so successful that it took 47 years to build the first million cars…nine more years to build the second millionth vehicle…the three millionth vehicle came just six years later, and only five years more to build the four millionth Cadillac – now that’s an impressive production history…Cadillac used to be the world’s most desired luxury automobile.

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Less than four percent of all 1969 Cadillacs were built without air conditioning. It was all about luxury back then. Cadillac had all the glitz and glamour of a true thoroughbred automobile. There were 11 distinctive models available in three series: Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood.

The best-selling model for the 1969 model year is the hardtop Sedan deVille with a total production of 72,958 units which is the best ever for a single Cadillac model. This was the most popular luxury automobile in America. The Sedan deVille held this title until the 1973 model year when it was outsold by the Coupe deVille. This is why the Cadillac DeVille Series was and always will be America’s favorite luxury cars…

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Among new innovation for the 1969 Cadillacs are a theft-deterrent steering wheel, ignition, and transmission lock which is so important for convertible lovers. Once the key is removed from the ignition, the car is disabled. Power front disc brakes are standard equipment on all 1969 Cadillacs. It has noticeably reduced pedal effort. A new Flow-through ventilation system eliminates the need for front vent windows. This not only contributes to the long, sleek look of the roofline but also increases visibility.

For the 1969 model year, Cadillac introduced a closed cooling system which is the first of this type in the entire industry at the time. A translucent plastic reservoir connected to the radiator’s overflow line captures coolant as it expands and contracts according to engine temperature.

This prevents an overflow when a hot engine is shut down, and captures excess coolant that is returned to the radiator by vacuum as the car’s engine cools. This new system allowed 1969 Cadillacs to idle for prolonged periods of time with the air conditioning system operating without over heating the engine. This closed cooling system soon spread throughout the industry. Cadillac has always been an eminent trend setter introducing firsts to the automotive industry – 

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1949 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe deVille

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DeVille exclusivity dates back to 1949 when it was a prestige trim level for the Series 62 luxury coupe. It is among the first pillarless hardtops in the entire industry. The Series 62 Coupe deVille was opulently trimmed. Inside, there are stainless-steel roof bows to give it the appearance of a convertible hood lining. The Coupe deVille was introduced at the 1949 GM Autorama. It was built on the long wheelbase Series 60 Special platform.

The production version was released late in the 1949 model year. The Cadillac DeVille was an immediate success. It became available as a full production model. In 1956, Cadillac introduced the four-door hardtop Sedan deVille, and in 1964 the elegant DeVille convertible was introduced to the world of luxury. DeVille production ran from 1949 until 2005 when DeVille nomenclature was retired. It was renamed “DTS” until its demise. The last one rolled off the assembly line at GM’s Hamtrack plant in 2011 – 

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The 1969 DeVille convertible is not only beautiful but powerful as well. The 472 CID was introduced the previous year and further refined for 1969. This was the largest production passenger car engine in the industry at the time. Cadillac introduced an engine with even larger displacement for the 1970 Fleetwood Eldorado which was 8.2 litres and 500 cubic inches. Cadillac powered their luxury cars with engines rockin’ the largest displacement in the industry to satisfy their customers – the “Standard of the World” gave the world luxury automobiles of distinction.

The 1969 Cadillacs are powered by the Cadillac 7.7 litre 16-valve 472 CID naturally aspirated V8 engine. The engine has a cast iron block and cylinder heads. It is equipped with overhead valves, a #7028230 Rochester 4-bbl downdraft Quadrajet carburetor, hydraulic lifters, and equalized manifold. It has an intake silencer, improved automatic choke, mechanical fuel pump, and dry-type air filter. The engine runs in five main bearings. An Air-injection Reactor system was added to reduce hydrocarbons in the exhaust for cleaner air. The engine is mated to GM’s Turbo Hydra-Matic 3-speed automatic transmission. It has a torque converter with fixed stator. The converter multiplies engine torque for increased driving thrust to the rear drive wheels during acceleration in any gear.

The aggressive 472 CID V8 engine produces an astounding 375 hp @ 4,400 rpm packing a prolific punch with 678 Nm of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as: 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds, 0-100 mph in 25 seconds, and 0-110 mph in 34.9 seconds. It does the ¼ mile @ 86 mph in just 16.3 seconds. It has a top speed in the 126 mph range. 

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The 1969 Cadillac DeVille convertible’s interior elegantly compliments its exterior styling. A new instrument panel groups the controls in front of the driver and allows more front seat passenger room. The biggest styling refinement is the deep-seated high-back lounge seating. The front seats have adjustable head restraints and a center folding arm rest. This type of six passenger spaciousness was usually found in four-door sedans. The DeVille came standard with a power, fully automatic folding fabric roof.

A Cadillac DeVille convertible has a youthful zest. Cadillac had no peer among open luxury automobiles. Handsome new Ostrich grain leather upholsters the interior lavishly…Cadillac-style. The 1969 DeVille convertible provided power windows, power two-way adjustable front seat, Variable Ratio Power Steering, power brakes, and automatic transmission as standard equipment. Power 60/40 individually adjustable front seats were a popular option along with power door locks, power trunk release, cruise control, and Automatic Climate Control air conditioning. The 1969 Cadillacs are more luxurious than the models they supersede – 

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The 1969 DeVille convertible is built as body on frame construction. It uses a new, longer perimeter frame that is boxed in its entirety. The frame has hidden bulkheads for additional rigidity. The 1969 DeVille has the luxury length of 225”; it rides upon a long 129.5” wheelbase and is 79.8” in width. It is a very large, front engine rear-wheel drive vehicle. It is built in the solid Cadillac tradition.

The front suspension uses Cadillac’s traditional upper and lower control arm configuration with spherical ball joints and independent helical coil springs. Rubber-mounted strut rods and rubber bushings absorb road impact and isolate road noise. The rear suspension is Cadillac’s four-link drive, along with helical coil springs. Rubber bushings are used to quiet and soften the suspension. The rear hypoid type rear axle has an offset differential housing to facilitate Cadillac’s Straight-line Drive. It has a stronger axle and differential that is designed to accept the unusually high engine torque of the ferocious 472 CID V8. These fine automobiles are among the last of a dying breed…

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Cadillac used a triple braking system. The brakes are self-adjusting each time the car is driven in reverse and the brakes applied. The braking system used front discs and rear drums. A split hydraulic master cylinder provides independent operation of front and rear braking systems. The vacuum release parking brake is a true auxiliary brake and could be used as an emergency brake since it would not lock with the engine running and the car in a drive gear.

Also standard is Cadillac’s Variable Ratio Power Steering. It provides fast response and a shorter turning diameter. An energy-absorbing steering column and heavily padded steering wheel hub has been incorporated for safety. This type of steering is effortless; it makes the 1969 Cadillac DeVille drive like a much smaller vehicle. The variable ratio is precise and is constantly changing to suit the driving situation.

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With its many power assists and personal conveniences, color combinations, and its wide selection of options and accessories, the 1969 Cadillac DeVille convertible is an outstanding classic automobile for investment purposes. It has a youthful zest. Open air motoring is no more magnificently stated than in the only luxury convertible built in the land. It’s long, low, and sleeker than previous models.  An automobile of such elegant stature had never before been endowed with such high-performance that would shame a sports car, as the DeVille convertible.

Cadillac was completely redesigned for the 1969 model year. The design is based upon the highly successful 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado. The 1969 Cadillacs are among the most popular models in the history of the brand. Power, performance, and presence are yours with the Cadillac DeVille convertible. It is one of the world’s most exciting motorcars. There is no automobile more glamorous than a classic Cadillac convertible. NotoriousLuxury gives a round of applause and a standing ovation to this luxury barouche…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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The 1969 and 1970 Cadillacs are truly the end of a spirited era of motoring…one of which we will never enjoy again – 

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Special thanks to Liberty Old Timers, Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars, and Bob Adams Classic Cars for the photos of these extremely rare automobiles – 

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1970

NotoriousLuxury presents three decades of the Cadillac DeVille

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1949 Cadillac Series 62 with Coupe deVille option

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1959 Cadillac Series 6200 Coupe deVille

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1969 Cadillac DeVille convertible

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…those fabulous fins

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The flamboyant 1959 Cadillac is still a favorite

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The fins of change…

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1949

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1959

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1969

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NotoriousLuxury salutes America’s favorite luxury car…

Greg's World

…”As the Standard of the World Turns”

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