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2023-06-14 19:33:51

Last of the Olympic-Sized Cadillacs - The 1976 Cadillac Coupe Deville Was 20 Feet of Luxury!

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When it comes to large .

And in charge Cadillacs , few can beat the 1975 .

And in this case , 1976 Cadillac Deville , these vehicles rode atop 100 and 30 inch wheel base and measured 230 inches in overall length .

They were not the longest production Cadillac which would have gone to the Fleetwood limousine , the 75 limousine which rode atop 100 and 52 inch wheel base or even the Fleetwood Brome , which rode atop 100 and 33 inch wheel base and was a few inches greater in overall length .

But nonetheless , these 1976 Villes really represent the last of the Olympic size behemoths that Cadillac put out before the model lineup was downsized very significantly for the 1977 model year .

And I will say downsized quite successfully by this point .

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These calls had become so large that some owners were having trouble fitting them in their 20 ft long garages because the car is just 10 inches shy of being 20 ft long and it was time given the energy crises and also the reputation Kali was getting for just producing oversized gas guzzlers to change up the line up for 1977 .

But let's examine this 1976 in a bit more detail now and perhaps there's no better place to start than this authoritative front end on this 1976 Deville .

The Deville's front end was redone for the 1975 model year and some minor changes were done for 1976 including the grill texture , which now was a more coarse egg crate design and had an egg crate within an egg crate shape .

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The 1975 as I mentioned , grilled texture is a bit more fine in terms of the egg crate and then the hood ornament is also a bit different on the 1976 is , but aside from that , this front end is pretty similar and you can see there's a huge bumper because of the five mile an hour impact standards up front and notice the square headlights which had changed from the round headlights that were used in the 1974 .

And before model years , the Cadillac aficionado will also spot the fiber optic indicators at the top of the fenders .

Those fiber optic indicators allowed the driver to see if the parking lights headlights and bright lights were working when they were turned on .

There were also fiber optic indicators in the headliner that would signal to the driver if the rear tail lights were working last but not least you'll see this car exhibits one of the symptoms of these vehicles .

It's pretty typical now that these cars are becoming quite aged and that is the passenger side , bright headlight is kind of cockeyed .

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That's because these use plastic headlight adjusters .

And as time goes on , they become brittle and break and then they lose tension against the headlight .

They are not fun to replace either .

So , something to just bear in mind .

It's not a terrible job , but it's just not fun .

So if you see these with the cockeyed headlights , that's usually what happens is that one of those head lamp adjusters or in some cases , both head lamp adjusters have broken and you can still buy them by the way .

And here's one more close up where you can see the egg crate within an egg crate grill texture .

For whatever reason , the egg crate grill became synonymous with luxury vehicles and a number of other cars imitated it .

Even the Chevrolet Caprice , the old 98 among others .

So egg crate grill equals luxury .

Now , let's check out the length of this vehicle by looking at it from the side .

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It's amazing that Cadillac sold so many of these 1976 Coop Deville because they're so huge .

But I guess everybody wanted to drive around in one of these vehicles at the time in 1976 sold 100 and 15,000 coops and 67,004 door hard tops .

So the coup was actually more popular than the hard top and had a great sales year in 1976 selling a little over 300,000 vehicles .

Take a look at the sheer size of this vehicle again .

230 inches in length .

You can see those rear fender extensions that are not sheet metal , they're pliable if they're original and if they're not original , then they're usually fiberglass and hard .

But notice how they allow the bumper to take the impact .

And those would compress if the vehicle were hit in the rear and it wouldn't damage the sheet metal .

That was G M solution for the five on our impact standard .

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Unfortunately , I don't think it's a very elegant solution .

And nowadays , those original bumper fillers are generally cracking and have to be replaced .

And unfortunately , the replacement quality is not very good .

So if you buy one of these and the car is mint , except the bumper fillers , be prepared to pay about 2000 to $2500 to have them fitted either to the front or rear .

It's not cheap anymore and requires a lot of labor hours .

You can also see from this side view , another Cadillac trait and that is the square wheel arches and this car because it's low mileage sports its original Cadillac Uniroyal tires with the wide white stripe .

We'll talk a little bit more about those here in a second .

Here's an up close look at the tread pattern on original equipment .

Uner tires that were used on these Cadillacs .

And once you see it , it will be kind of etched in your memory and you'll know if a vehicle has the original tires or not .

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As I mentioned , this coup de did come with those thick white walls from the factory .

And General Motors specified this tread and Uniroyal produced it .

This was not offered on any non General Motors vehicles .

So it was a specific tire tread , specific to General Motors and you could really only get it on those cars .

And if you see this on a Cadillac with low miles , then you know that it's the original tires .

A lot of times people used to keep the original tires on these low mileage cars to kind of show off that they were original .

But now the rubber is just getting to be almost 50 years old .

And if you want to drive the car at all , uh you really just should change this out .

You don't want to risk a blowout , it's not safe driving on 50 year old tires .

And before turning to the insight , we'll take one last look at the rear end of this particular vehicle .

One interesting thing about these Cadillacs in the 1975 and 76 model years is that the tail lights were no longer vertical .

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The car clearly has this very vertical fin theme but the main tail lights are horizontal , you can see them , they're in the bumper filler just below the deck lid as well as the reverse lights .

That's kind of a strange trait that I'm not sure why the designers did that on these Cadillacs since the vertical tail light signature was so Cadillac to transition to the horizontal lamp being the main lamp was just something that seems very strange .

And by 1977 Cadillac would go back both on the El Dorado and the Deville to having vertical tail light .

So this was just a short theme that lasted for a brief bit of time turning .

Now to the inside , we can see that this particular coup Deville is equipped with a split bench seat and cloth trim .

I would say the cloth trim is not bad but maybe not befitting of a car with a sticker price of $9100 at least in base price that would then be significantly more expensive once options were added on , but it's ok .

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And overall , I think that's kind of the theme of this interior is that it's ok .

It's not overly luxurious , not overly rich , but also not overly offensive either .

That steering wheel is a leftover from the 1974 model year when it was introduced .

Although by this point , the full wood grain had changed in its texture and coloring from the so called jaundice 1974 model year wood grain .

And by 1977 that steering wheel would change to a two spoke design .

Although this wheel would live on in the GMC Motor Homes and the Buick Electra Park Avenues in subsequent years .

And here's the Power Sea controls on this Cadillac .

You may ask , why am I showing the power seat controls ?

What's exciting about them ?

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Well , it's not necessarily the power seat controls themselves that are interesting , but the way that general motors activated the power seat on these vehicles is interesting and somewhat strange and that there's one electric motor on here and that when you push the power seat switch , a gear transmission is engaged and that enables that single motor to operate the six functions .

So it's again , one motor and a gear transmission that enables the six way power seat .

And oftentimes you'll find nowadays in particular that they're inoperative or they don't work or you push a button and you'll hear a clunk uh but it won't move .

It's just a cheap design .

And I would say these were the slowest moving power seats in the industry , but that's how general motors did it .

By contrast , the power windows in this car will take your finger off if your finger is in the way of the window going up , certainly very different from the eighties era G M power windows that would move about as fast as molasses in the winter time .

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And here we have the door panel which has tons of faux wood grain and a lot of soft touch materials uh does have faux wood grain in multiple forms , including even on the casket handle itself to close the door , but it doesn't look overly rich in spite of the fact that it is soft touch .

And unfortunately on these vehicles , one of the things that they tend to exhibit after just a short amount of time is the typical seventies era G M door sag that these doors were so heavy and the bushings really just couldn't handle it .

Once you replace the bushings , then you'll be fine .

Overall , here's a shot of the passenger side door which looks very similar .

You will know that there's no door handle for the rear passenger to exit on the passenger side .

But that was true on the Eldorado .

So you could get that on the El Dorados .

It came standard but did not come on the Coup Deville , I guess somehow Cadillac had to justify the incremental $1500 in base price between the Deville and El Dorado .

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And here's a picture of the driver side of the instrument panel , those that the climate control here is on the driver side .

So if you're a passenger , you're not controlling the climate at all .

You have to ask and beg the driver to increase or decrease the temperature , you'll notice .

Also there's an economy setting on there which is kind of humorous on a electric car .

But in every one of these positions , aside from off the air conditioning compressor is running full time unless the temperature is below about 35 or 40 degrees outside .

So , if you have it on auto and it's 50 degrees outside , even if you don't really need the air conditioner running , it is running .

So , what I typically do on these is just disconnect the air conditioning compressor in the cold weather because I don't need it to defog the window .

I'm not driving these cars daily and just saves a little bit of wear on the compressor .

They get plenty of workout when I plug it back in in the springtime .

By the way , in the off , setting off is not really off .

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The fan still runs on low speed continuously , which was a feature of General Motors cars of this time to the left of the climate control panel , you can see this car has a few optional features on the headlamp control .

The first is what it says , auto dimming at the top .

That's the guide Matic headlamp control .

You could leave your bright lights on all the time and it would automatically dim them for oncoming cars and the bottom you can't read in this picture .

It would say twilight Sentinel that would automatically turn your head lamps on .

You could adjust the delay after you turn the car off for how long the headlights would stay on .

You can note this car does have cruise , cruise control and a tilt wheel as well .

It does not in spite of all those options have delay wipers , you could see the wiper control at the top .

There is just a missed section .

If this car did have delay wipers , you'd see a delay label with low to high delay times .

So that was one option that this particular customer didn't opt for on this vehicle .

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And last but not least we have the under hood area in this 1976 Coop Deville and under hood is Cadillacs largest V eight ever produced a 500 cubic inch , 8.2 liter V eight was introduced in 1970 1970 was the only year where it was a high compression engine making 400 gross horsepower .

Sadly , by this time and with the S A E horsepower ratings changed to the net system , this engine was making just 100 and 90 horsepower in carb form .

There was an optional fuel injected version which you could tell because it , instead of having this black air cleaner , it had kind of a gold design to it .

I'll show a picture here , but that gave you 215 horsepower from 8.2 liters and 500 cubic inches .

So neither version was very powerful , although they did both have around 380 ft pounds of torque , which is pretty good at , at very low R P MS .

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It's kind of humorous though today , Chevrolet's 5.3 liter VA puts out 380 ft pounds of torque .

So by just about any measure , this was not a powerful engine , but I can say having owned a number of these vehicles and still owning some , this engine is very , very smooth and very durable .

They also wake up pretty easily if you put dual exhaust on them and you advance the timing a little bit and rich and the jets and the carburetor , you can pretty easily pick up about 30 40 horsepower without making any major engine upgrades .

And that's a big difference when you only start with 100 and 90 .

You can also tell that this is a coup Deville and not an El Dorado because it has the vacuum assist brake booster .

Eldorado's had hydro boost systems where that boost was powered off of the power steering pump .

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But the Coup De Villes and the Fleetwood had this vacuum booster set up and for those who aren't Cadillac V eight aficionados and you want to know how you can discern a Cadillac V eight aside from the dark blue engine paint , check out and make sure that the engine has a compressor in the middle of the V like you see here in the distributor up front on the driver side of the engine .

Those are a couple of telltale signs .

Hope you enjoyed the spotlight on the 1976 Deville .

If you did be sure to check out the video thumbnails at bottom , left and right for some suggestions for you


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