A couple of points need to be clarified here.
First, the power output was not "halved" by emissions controls as many people believe. The main culprit in the loss of power came from lowering the compression ratios.
What made the power figures look even worse was the way in which the figures were quoted from about 1972 on. A 1971 500CID Eldorado with a 10.5 to 1 compression was quoted at 400hp. This figure was given using a bare-bones block with a free exhaust at the flywheel. Post 1972 outputs were quoted also at the flywheel, but with the reduced (8.5 or 8.25 to 1) compression AND all auxiliary components - generator, water pump, a/c etc etc plus a restricted exhaust. In other words, the engine was tested as it would be installed in the car. I don't think I need to tell anyone here that there's a lot of "auxiliary components" in a Cadillac!! Professional opinion actually puts the real-world power loss at around 35hp. But peak power is almost superfluous in these cars anyway, they're a torque-monster, not a 10,000RPM eardrum-bashing VTEC or rotary.
Second, to the guy who made the comment about them being under-engineered - they're still kickin' after 30-plus years. Where's the "under-engineering" in that?!?
9:04 O.K., so maybe I wouldn't want the car to be exactly like this. However, I wish you could still buy a car with this comfort level, size, and style. So the handling and a few other things could be modified. That's the diference 32 years of engineering makes. Overall though this car has a lot of things going for it that the modern luxury cars can't touch. Electronic gizmos are only good for so much. In my book that is only one of the many elements that make a true luxury car. Modern luxury cars retain few of them.
I had a '73 Coupe De Ville. The handling was great, and the outward visibility was outstanding, with a low dash and very high 'greenhouse'. Wonderfully comfortable car. That one had the 472 version of the fine Cadillac v8, and it had adequate power. It only got around 8-10 mpg, but you have to remember that the standard of living of the ordinary American was much, much higher when these cars were made. Now we have to drive around in horrible little front wheel drive lightweights - dangerous and unpleasant, but what can you do when you're poor?
I own a 76 Coupe DeVille and have driven numerous modern luxury cars, and I cannot compare a single one to mine.
The suspension in the 76 is incredible; the only car I know that can be so comfortable and handle so well.
If you cannot afford gas, then I can see a problem, but if you don't have a long commute or have a decent amount of money, there is no better car on the road.
Thirty years down the road, I doubt any car from the 90's or early 2000's will be seen, but I am willing to bet that this car still will be, just because it is built so much better.
As an outsider from the UK, I appreciate most of the comments made here. The overriding fact is that 1970's GM, Ford and Chrysler 'Luxo barges' as I've often heard these cars called are testament to American engineering. These vehicles were over engineered and designed to cope with all that the American roads and drivers could put them through.
My late fathers company, Lendrum & Hartman imported ALL GM products. I grew up with Cadillacs, Olds, Buicks, Pontiacs and Chevy's. WE were all amazed at the durability, strength, equipment and styling. NO other cars on our UK roads commanded such presence, especially the Cadillacs! US cars from the 70's were distinctive in appearance and had soul! Not like todays cars which resemble Japanese clones, ie: plastic jello moulds, and that includes most US metal.
Apart from the retro-styled Mustang, Camaro and Charger. I miss the America of the 1970's when individual style ruled supreme! Martin.
1976 Cadillac Coupe Deville - This was my very first car, and even though she was already 30 years old by the time I got a hold of her, she didn't quit.
I've always loved Cadillacs ever since I was small, so what better car to get for your first?
She was a beast, and damn did I learn how to drive in that car. Once you drive a road-boat, you can get behind the wheel and murder anything.
My friend has a 2005 PT Cruiser, small little thing, and had trouble backing up. I could drive backwards on the freeway with my Cadillac.
At any rate, I love this car so much, it hurts. I drove it strong for about two years before, people convinced me to get a newer, "more reliable" vehicle. Bah! I've never paid so much for a piece of plastic crap. That new car had so many engine problems within its first few months, while my dear Cadillac still ran strong. Despite people trying to get me to sell the Cad, I've held onto it, and I intend to. So poo poo on all you brainwashed haters. Let's get in an accident and we'll see who walks away from it all.
I once test drove a '76 Coupe DeVille just for fun, as I also have always loved those huge land yachts. It was a lot of car for me and my everyday car is a Buick Park Avenue. If you can drive those, you can drive anything, dump trucks and buses included!
Just purchased a 1976 Cadillac Coupe De Ville. It is in very good condition. I plan to make it a near perfect show car. Will keep everyone updated.
I have owned 2 76 Cadillacs: one Coupe DeVille and one Sedan DeVille with the D'Elegance interior. I have owned Cadillacs, Lincolns, Buicks and Imperials. Currently I have a BMW 740il, a Mark 7, a Brougham D'Elegance, and an Allante. So, I have a pretty good handle on the differences of luxury car dynamics, attributes, quality, and driving impressions.
I have to say that the 76 Cadillac had the quietest interior, and the softest suspension, smoothest ride, soaked up pot holes and rail road tracks, and truly felt smooth as if you were gliding. It was like a different world inside the car to outside, surrounding you with soft, elegant and quality materials, isolating you from the outside completely, including road feel, steering feedback, etc, but that's what luxury was then.
Modern cars are faster, the handling more precise, and fuel economy better, and easier to park, but no modern car has the "feel" and "soul" of an old Cadillac. There truly is a special kind of magic in an old Cadillac that no new car I've seen can match. Their luxury is in some ways their decadence, the seats are wider, the car is longer and the interior is quieter than is needed. There is more chrome, metal and buttons than are needed, and to me that is the real luxury, the car is just more of everything; buttons, knobs and dials are made of metal, all the ornamentation on the car looks like jewelry, there are 4 accessory plugs in the car (what were referred to as lighters then); even the little door that you open to get to the lighter is heavy metal with the Cadillac crest embossed into it..
The only thing new luxury cars have that the old ones don't is wood veneer and complicated electronics, and yes they are more efficient, but really, is that all there is to luxury?
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