1971-76 Cadillac de Ville: Buyers Guide

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1971-76 Cadillac de Ville 1971-76 Cadillac de Ville 1971-76 Cadillac de Ville
1971-76 Cadillac de Ville 1971-76 Cadillac de Ville 1971-76 Cadillac de Ville

America’s Rolls-Royce offers plenty of real estate for your money

1971-76 Cadillac de Ville: Buyers Guide
Buyer's Guide: 1971-76 Cadillac de Ville

 

1971-76 Cadillac de Ville

WHAT IS IT?

There was a time when the two best luxury car makers in the world were Rolls-Royce and Cadillac. One made exclusive, hand-built cars for royalty and the upper class, the other mass-produced big, brassy autos for self-made millionaires and wannabes.

From its beginnings in 1902, Cadillac built innovative, upmarket cars for those who could afford more than just transport. Almost 70 years later, Cadillac introduced a new range that would run from 1971-76 with minor annual facelifts. The massive de Ville came in four-door sedan and two-door coupe body styles that were 5.73 metres long and weighed up to 2245kg.

Contributing to that weight was every known luxury feature including climate air-con, power front seats, power windows, brakes, and steering with tilt-reach column, leather and eight-track stereo system.

Powering these huge cars was an equally huge 472ci (7.7-litre) V8 that made 257kW in the low-compression tune needed for low- and no-lead fuels introduced in 1971 (from 1975, displacement was 500ci or 8.2-litres). It drove through a three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic which, incidently, was later used by Rolls-Royce.

HOW'S IT DRIVE?

If comfort is your priority then few cars provide more than a big Caddy. Inside there is room for six large adults cocooned by opulent cloth or optional leather trim. A plush ride was rated as more important than cornering ability by owners.

Standard power seats, power windows and climate-control air-con were relatively rare in the late-’60s and early-’70s, which makes the Caddy a well-equipped car even by today’s standards.

The Coupe de Ville is a pleasure to drive and will comfortably cruise at 130-140km/h all day, rowed along by a mountain of torque, although Vmax tops out at around 177km/h. The downside of all that weight and the big donk is a drunkard’s thirst – figure on fuel consumption of 20-24L/100km.

CHECKLIST

Cars sold new in this country were probably sold through recognised dealers and coverted to RHD by reputable companies like Melbourne’s Chapel Engineering, but it’s worth having an engineer check over private imports. Look for shoddy welding, dashes falling apart or at the wrong angle and steering wheels at odd angles.

Caddys are prone to rust, especially if they’re from an area that gets snow and ice. On 1974-76 cars look for rust in the C-pillars, front guards, wheelarches, sills, floors, plenum chamber and bonnet.
Replacement stainless-steel trim is expensive and can be hard to find.

Cadillac made its own engines and they are bulletproof with no problems expected until at least 240,000km. So too is the Turbo-Hydramatic 400 and the diff, but parts for them are available. Suspension
and brakes are simple and rugged and parts are also easy to source.

Any electrical problems are probably caused by a shoddy conversion – check connections and joins in wires. Cars from hot US states may suffer from cracked dashes and seat trim, which is available.


SPECIFICATIONS

1971-76 Cadillac de Ville

Body: 4-door sedan, 2-door coupe
Engine: 7725cc or 8189cc V8s, OHV, 16v, four-barrel carburettor
Power: 142kW @ 3600rpm*
Torque: 488Nm @ 2000rpm*
Weight: 2245kg*
Gearbox: 3-speed automatic
Brakes: power disc/drum (f/r)
Price: $6000-21,500

* 1974 Cadillac Coupe de Ville

 

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