Classic Fourth Generation Cadillac Coupe Deville

Bermuda Blue 1976 Cadillac Coupe DeVille
Bermuda Blue 1976 Cadillac Coupe DeVille. Photo by Mark Gittelman

When you see a fourth generation Cadillac Coupe Deville several words come to mind. Land yacht, behemoth, aircraft carrier and cruise ship are just a few that pop into my head. When I snapped a picture of this beautiful Bermuda Blue 1976 Cadillac Coupe Deville, I had to switch to a wide-angle lens to fit it all in.

In the early 1970s, these giant size Cadillacs transported American Presidents and Kings to their destination in style.

Of course, when I say King I'm actually talking about Elvis Presley. It's said that Elvis purchased more than 100 Cadillacs in his short life. In fact, he shot his beloved sixth generation 1968 Cadillac Eldorado with a gun when it refused to start.

Elvis Presley owned a 1971 Stutz Blackhawk Sedan and a bunch of fourth-generation Cadillac Devilles. He gave many of them away to family members, friends and charities. These cars are now considered by classic car collectors as the last of the big Cadillacs. Join me as we learn a little more about these special automobiles built in the turbulent times of the early 70s.

Background on the 70s Cadillac

Cadillac designed and built the largest displacement engines of any American car company. Despite the size of the 500 cubic inch motor, they never really got involved in the muscle car wars. They wanted to provide plenty of power, but the main focus was always luxury.

As General Motors moved into the 1970s, it became apparent that the death of the muscle car would change the face of divisions like Pontiac and Chevrolet. Nevertheless, Cadillac tried to remain focused on its niche market. The company would continue to install massive engines with as much horsepower as they could squeeze out.

Despite tightening regulations and the pending gas crisis the first fourth-generation Cadillac Coupe Deville came standard with a 472 CID V-8. In 1971 the engine produced a healthy 375 HP with a spread bore four barrel carburetor. Unfortunately, the engine pulled down less than 9 miles per gallon on the highway.

The Deville rode on the longest and widest wheel base in company history. The land yacht weighed in at more than 5,000 pounds. By 1974 the company realized it had to change its strategy. In 1975 General Motors ordered the design team to draw up plans for downsizing the Coupe and Sedan Deville.

In 1976 Cadillac used the old marketing technique of scarcity to move units. Ads circulated stating this is your last chance to get the full size Cadillac before it’s gone forever. The public responded as the division sold almost 310,000 units in 1976.

The Fourth-generation Cadillac Coupe Deville

When you look at a Coupe Deville from the mid-70s it transports you back to the time in which it was manufactured. Remember that brightly colored velvet fabrics and shaggy carpet were all the rage at this point in time. However, Cadillac did show some restraint.

They offered the deep pile carpet and the loose pillow style velour interior, on the d'Elegance package.

They also offered traditional leather interior and standard loop carpets for those not ready to embrace 70s style. Cars built from 1971 through 1976 came loaded with all the usual power accessories.

However, technology allowed for some breakthroughs in automotive safety systems. The Cadillac line up started offering supplemental inflatable restraint systems in 1974. We call them airbags today. In 1976 the Cadillac division installed maintenance-free Delco batteries in all models.

The Track Master rear wheel anti lock brake system became an available option for the 1976 model year. A Fourth-generation Cadillac Coupe Deville is an inexpensive way to preserve a piece of Americana.