Friday, September 19, 2014

5k: Down But Not Out: 1977 Cadillac Sedan DeVille

1977 was a pivotal year for full sized Cadillac product offering.  Engine power from the fuel sucking V8s had been down since '73, but you could pick someone up in a one year old '76 Caddy and still kind of wow them with their overall hugeness. However the '77 was to Cadillac kind of what the Mustang II was to the Mustang.  Gone was the 500 cubic inch V8 and rear fender skirts, and in its place was a flimsy piece of engineering that required new paint within the decade...but today's example actually looks tempting.  Find this 1977 Cadillac Sedan DeVille offered for $5,000 in Billings, MT via craigslist.  Tip from Oldsmobuick.

The seller identifies the car as a Seville, but it looks like a standard Sedan DeVille (Seville was a "compact" RWD Caddy). The Fleetwood Brougham would have a wider pillar between the front and rear doors as it was a slight stretch.  This DeVille comes from the first year of the downsized Cadillac and they actually retained more of their brand identity that the other badges were able to accomplish in making the shift from the last '76 barges to the '77 lightweights.

The areas that usually weather/age poorly are the inserts between the rear of the body and the rear bumper.  They usually fade/crack really badly but this one has been repainted. It depends upon which side of the timeline you were born on.. DT's Hunsbloger remembers when these came out.. they seemed absolutely puny compared to the '76s and all of the interior trim pieces looked cheap in his eyes.

Look at the modular piece for the passenger's side door.  Everything was in a little boxy looking arrangement which I'm sure made assembly easy but didn't convey the build quality of the '76's.  Remember, when the '76's departed the only real problem they were having was that the engines for their displacement were becoming so choked with emissions that they were becoming dog slow.  A Caddy owner wasn't so much concerned about the price of gas in '77 as much as what he was going to be getting in the way of acceleration and presentation.

See a better example of a well restored car from the peak of the Malaise Era?


  1. "Forget about it" is, like, if you agree with someone, you know, like "Raquel Welch is one great piece of ass. Forget about it!" But then, if you disagree, like "A Lincoln is better than a Cadillac? Forget about it!"

    1. Yup just like another famous phrase starting with F*, its all in the minor adjustments to tone, timing and inflection! Same goes for my personal favorite... Dude. Surprise.. Dude! Disappointment.. Dude:( Happy.. Dude:)!
      And another East Coast favorite, "you're kiddin' " (depending upon locale that's pronounced ya, yah, yawr, yer)

    2. And it's more strident variant: AYFKM?

  2. At least it was still RWD, and there was an option for EFI, which produced a whopping 195hp compared to the paltry(?) 180hp for the carb'ed model...

  3. Replies
    1. I don't hate on the Cimarron.

      It was a pretty good car, especially in later years with the EFI 2.8 V6.

      It wasn't what a Cadillac should have been, but for a GM car of the period it was reasonably well-built and far better than much of the other junk GM was shoving out the door at the time.

      I can count multiple friends and acquaintances who went into the '80s driving GM product and came out driving Toyotas, never to go back.

  4. The earlier cars were just too big; much as I could see myself being driven around in a '72 Fleetwood I don't think I'd particularly want to drive one myself. The '73-76 cars did not carry their bumpers well; they were just way beyond any rational concept of usability.

    The '77 was a vast improvement in basic size and shape, but from what I can figure GM's labor situation collapsed in '72 and shortly thereafter an edict went out to the production engineers to make sure any new product they came up with could be built by masturbating drunken monkeys.

    Here's where the screw's supposed to go, but we'll use self-drilling screws that can go in an inch and a half in any direction from the target and still more or less work.

    Panel shutlines? Oh, a quarter-inch is fine, plus or minus a quarter.

    If the paint stays on long enough to get it on the train or the truck, then what's left on the car at the other end is the dealer's problem.

    We had a Caprice of similar vintage, it was a surprisingly good car in many ways but it took six years to sort out everything that was wrong with the assembly.


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