: The 76 Sedan deVille

Neil Clarke
06-30-10, 08:05 AM
Well I figured it was time to get involved

Last August I purchased this car in Sacramento on the recommendation of a female friend in the area
She said the car was in good cond and worth the money
SO after seeing it passed in on ebay 3 times... pricing dropped from $3100 down to $2900 then finally to $2700 ... I bought her

When I got to Sac in November for holiday sadly I was greeted by a classic car with some minor probs
The hose from heater tap to back of block had split while she was driving it and tripped the coolant sensors and there were bells and whistles aplenty when I tried to start her for the first time
Easy fix... a new hose , some coolant and we were driveable

The wheel spats (fender covers) seen in the pics weren't with the car.... so I had to buy some off ebay and luckily found some in the right colour at an affordable price.. so they were shipped over
Unfortunaly... the mounts they sat in on the right side were bent so I couldn't fit them till I made some "adjustments"

The rear hubcaps were with the car but not fitted
Someone had balanced the wheels and put the weights in such a way that I couldn't fit the caps without damage
So they went into the boot (truck) to be fited after getting the wheels rebalanced with stickon weights not in the wrong spot

She's a great car to drive and I enjoyed her while tidying it up alittle inc many attempts to wash and clean the vinyl roof
Not doing such a great job I resigned myself do doing it when I got her home to Oz

I drove the old girl around like this for 2 mths locally and down toLA where she was shipped in late January to me in Western Australia

Now she's home I got to giving her a good clean and trying to get it registered
Had to swap the rear lights from side to side and make the reverse lights into indicators (flashing amber) and stop the brake lights flashing
Then had to replace the headlights as ours need to dip the opposite direction... easy... but required some thinking on the wiring... not a straight swap

Made a battery clamp , fixed the damaged factory exhaust (deleted the tailpipe muffler and added a chrome droopy)
Fitted a passengers side door mirror I "borrowed" from a Fleetwood
Fitted an alternate washer pump for the wipers as unfortunatly the original doesn't work (might get a new one one day)
Many little bits and pieces and fronted up for my rego inspection yesterday............

Now the dissapointment begins
Rego knocked it back and won't licence it for the following reasons
1. Couldn't find the engine #... so I need to identify it and show them where it is
2. Speedometer is in miles and needs to read in kilometers
3. Clean and rectify power steering leak
4. Tare weight... I need to weigh it and show them a printed reciept... they wouldn't accept the weight in the manual I have
5. Needs to comply to certain ADR (Australia Design Rules)

Now this is my main problem.... those damn ADR's
The seatbelts are the biggest thing ... they don't have proper locking mechanisms on the inertia reel ... and the buckles aren't "self ejecting"
So now I have to figure out how to make this passable without butchering the car to fit belts
Being a pillarless hardtop and the belts coming from the roof... no idea how I'm going to do this... ideas would be great

I'm really happy with the car... love it infact and can't wait to burn some dinousars and clock up some miles... if I can get past these rego authorities

OK... pics
First up... the pics I recieved on purchase (the ebay pics... not an honest representation on the car sadly)


When I got her home Customs had "cleaned" her and charged me $250 for the priveledge.... thieves


Then it was onto the hoist for a look see ... she was good and clean and only needed a little wash , oil changes and the exhaust repairs


In disgust after failing the test I have brought her home from the workshop where I will throw a cover over her and let her sit for abit till the enthusiasm returns

Unless I can get motorvated again

I want her legal and driveable for the GM owners day in November... so I know she really won't sit for long

So thats it for now

06-30-10, 09:00 AM
That's a great looking car! I love those hardtop sedans. Too bad the car can't be exempt from all the changes due to its age and classic status. Good luck and we're all here to help. Dave :)

06-30-10, 09:32 AM
that sucks man...

The speedometer swap shouldn't be too hard...The real problem will be the seat belts. I'm sure someone has retrofitted one of these old beasts with proper seatbelts though. I'd ask around to some classic car guys over there.

I don't see anything (other than the seat belts) that should prevent you from getting this car on the road quick!

06-30-10, 03:44 PM
Ask the folks here. They likely have plenty of experience satisfying the Aussie gendarmes.


There's a user here goes by the screen name "albymangled" who's down in Oz with a recently imported 1970 Calais coupe. Hopefully, he'll look in here, or PM him.

06-30-10, 08:46 PM
So what exactly needs to change about the seatbelts? Do you have to put a different kind?

06-30-10, 11:54 PM
Hey Neil....going thru the same things here with my 1970 Calais. :banghead:

Headlights....cheap and easy....swapped 'em out for locally sourced 5 3/4 inch rounds...you should be able to hit ya local Autobarn or whatever and just buy local sealed beams to fit your car.

Seatbelts....dunno bout your WA legalities on 'em but here in Rannistan (SA) we need to fit ADR 4 compliant belts which means they must not allow partial engagement of the clasp ie: none of the old type similar to those found on airplanes.

What shits me here is that the belts in my car (and I'm sure in yours) are of the type (buckle wise at least) required....they are the same as HQ Holden ones.

As they are not clearly marked "ADR 4" compliant they will not pass.

My car has belts for 6.

Our local registration authority informed me that I only require (due to the age of my Coupe) two retracting belts (lap sash) for the outer front seats and one lap belt for the center front position. There is no requirement for a 1970 car to have rear belts whatsoever but if they are fitted, again they must be ADR 4 compliant.

They suggested I could just remove the belts in the back prior to inspection. Unbeleivable eh? :confused:

If the car was only a couple of years older it would reqiure no belts at all...!

It's safer with no belts rather than the ones already installed....logic? government?


In this state at least Willshire Motor Trimmers are the folks to see in regards to belt supply.


They use and supply Klippan belts which are OEM quality standard and available in every state.

Australian Retailers
Auto One
Auto Pro
Coventrys / Motor Traders
Rare Spares
Sprint Auto Parts
Super Cheap Auto

I know from previous experience with my 76 'Vette they will pass muster at Regency Park (RTA).

Oil leaks of any kind will not be tolerated and as a rider of motorcycles I wholeheartedly agree....I don't want my shiny scoot and my fat ass sliding down the road thanks.. ;)

As far as indicators go I get away with my stockers front and rear....yayyyy...

Dunno bout your local boys but here we have some seriously delusional regulations about what you can and can't have in / on our LHD vehicles...


No visible CD players or modern speakers

No paint / trim colors not available at the time of manufacture

No substitution of parts with later or high performance gear..

If anyone is interested, here's what I have to work with to drive my car on local roads...


I'm sure it WILL be worth it when I'm cruisin' to the first show of the upcoming season in a few months!!




Until then I just go out in the garage and check her out when I get a little dejected with the powers that be....

07-01-10, 12:32 AM
Good luck to both of you! Regulations - hate 'em! :) Very nice looking Calais Coupe!

Neil Clarke
07-01-10, 06:58 AM
Heya Alby
Yeah fun isn't it
I've already sorted all the lighting... the only issue I might have is the indicators need to be visible from an 80 degree angle to the rear of the car.... theres a bloody fin and bumper filler in the way

The seatbelts I have contacted a local mob "Seatbelt Solutions"
They advised me there might be a loophole and I can get a permit for an exemption on the belts for $50
I can get them rewebbed to ADR4 but the buckles won't be... so that doesn't help
They are doing a 76 coupe deville for a customer on the east coast who's doing some mods to make them fit
Hopefully they can pass on some details or his info to me so I can contact him
I'm lead to believe he's doing a fit , rego and remove deal

I don't mind taking the retractable lap belts out of the back and putting lap sash... minor mod to the car
But the fronts are difficult as they come from the roof

And yes we can bring in older cars that aren't as safe , don't stop as well... but hey they will licence those... sigh

I've put her away for now till I can save some coin then I'll get the engineer to scope it and advise how I can get the old barge back onto the street

07-01-10, 08:57 AM
both of those cars are beautiful. If it were me inspecting them...I'd pass them just so I could see them driving around from time to time!

One great thing about maine, if the car is over 25 years old you don't need to get it inspected at all! :D

07-01-10, 09:34 AM
both of those cars are beautiful. If it were me inspecting them...I'd pass them just so I could see them driving around from time to time!

One great thing about maine, if the car is over 25 years old you don't need to get it inspected at all! :D

And a better thing about Florida, we don't have vehicle inspection.


But no I really like Maine. :highfive:

07-01-10, 10:25 AM
Love the deVille, love the Calais.

Good luck gentlemen.

07-01-10, 10:28 AM
:D the funny thing is...I've never had a vehicle fail inspection. Back home, I knew the mechanics very well since I was like 6...when I'd take my car in they'd just say "Anything wrong with her, Matt?" I'd say nope, and they'd give me the sticker.

Down here in South Portland, I found a great garage that loves working on older cars. My 87 and my girlfriend's 99 cougar both passed no problem.

Neil Clarke
07-01-10, 10:32 AM
I'm only having the issue because I shipped the car from USA to Australia

Once she is rego I don't expect any issues even if I reverse some of the "new features"

I'll take some washed and in the drive pics on the weekend

07-01-10, 08:42 PM
Local Caddy specialist here Andre from Old Yankee Imports reckons use belts from a Trans Am in the front...


07-01-10, 11:12 PM
So once your done with rego, you can customize from there?

07-02-10, 07:50 AM
If the car is converted to RHD you can perform mods legally...

if its a lefty you must comply with (and have a read of this, it would be a laugh but unfortunately they're serious)


it's all just part of the price we pay to grace our highways with America's most stylish automobiles... :)

in reality I've seen some pretty wild cars (even lefties) that get away with blue murder cause they only come out to play on cruise / show days...






for when the cops aren't looking...

Neil Clarke
07-02-10, 07:58 AM
I don't think I need to modify anything after rego
Just enjoy her for what she is

Maybe a twin exhaust and some extractors for a meatier note and a few HP... but otherwise I like her just the way she is

Just need some door belts and little things to make her fresh and new again

07-02-10, 08:36 AM
Absolutely Neil....I rarely think of anything more than a decent note and mebbe some wire wheels for mine...

07-02-10, 09:18 AM
What's wrong with the blown Bel Air? That's a sick looking car.

Wait wait wait... so you can't have a LHD car there that's under 30 years old?

That means no Z06 or ZR1. There goes my idea of moving to Australia. :(

Neil Clarke
07-02-10, 10:26 AM
Depends where you live
On the west coast where all the cool people live and the weather is nicer
And the hottest girls live
We can have LHD cars as long as they are 15+ yrs old

Most other states are 30 yrs

But really... who wants a newer car anyway ???
I have 8 cars.. .the 76 is my newest one :)

07-02-10, 12:37 PM
I think we need to see your collection, ASAP.

And I want a ZR1. Like so badly.

But 15+ years means I could have the wagon, sooooo... :D

Neil Clarke
07-03-10, 12:55 AM
Sadly my cars aren't anything to get excited about
Theres a few Datsuns amongst them and some Toranas (local GM product about Nova sized)
Happy to say not a single McPherson strut amongst them ... infact my dattos still have leaf springs in the front
All in various states of rustoration

On a side note... how can I determine my cars birthdate based on the VIN
I'd like to know the month as some ADR's came in mid 76... so if my car can be proved to be earlier... less things to comply with

Heres one pic of one of my girls before I pulled her apart though

07-03-10, 12:57 AM
Post a shot of the body plate, located on the driver's side firewall under the hood. It will have a date code that tells the month and week the car was built.

Neil Clarke
07-03-10, 01:17 AM

07-03-10, 01:22 AM
Your car was built the fourth week of September, 1975. It was originally color 19 (Sable Black) with a matching vinyl roof and interior.

Neil Clarke
07-03-10, 01:25 AM
Can you explain how that is determined
I have to explain it to rego cause now I have less things I need to comply with :)

07-03-10, 01:31 AM
The first line of the data plate tells the model year and style (1976 Cadillac Sedan de Ville with body number 5686). The second line tells the interior trim (19C, which is black, I think the C stands for cloth) and the paint (19-Sable Black) and vinyl top (19T-black) code. The third line tells the build code (09=September, D=fourth week of the month), with the balance being option codes (don't own a 1976 data book, so I can't translate those for you). Hope this helps.

07-03-10, 09:50 AM
Craig to the rescue. Somebody get this man a cape!

Neil Clarke
07-03-10, 11:34 AM
I hope that doesn't mean he's going to wear his undies on the outside

07-03-10, 02:13 PM
I don't know, he's from California. They're strange out there.


(Disclaimer: Craig FTW)

07-03-10, 09:44 PM
The don't call it the Land of Nuts and Fruits for nothing! :) However, for the record, my drawers are properly stored well out of sight. There are some things the average citizen should not be called upon to see.

Neil Clarke
07-03-10, 10:37 PM
I spent 6 mths in CA last year
Some of the people appeared normal

Back to the car... might take some new pics if the sun comes out

Neil Clarke
07-10-10, 04:30 AM
Grr... always something to go wrong
Sunday my daily beater got broken into and a gym bag taken.... idiots left cash , sunglasses and a nice bottle of red wine
And took my bag of.... um... toys

Today I went to bring the 76 out to take some pics... got 6" and staked a tyre on some debris in the carport I didnm't know was there

Wonder what next auto screwup will befall me

07-10-10, 02:47 PM
Sunday my daily beater got broken into and a gym bag taken.... idiots left cash , sunglasses and a nice bottle of red wine

So they broke in, stole your stuff, and left cash, sunglasses and wine behind? :confused:

Neil Clarke
11-15-10, 07:25 AM
Well the cars all ready for its next inspection
Engineered and ready to go

However my brain dead apprentice who for some reason when he brought my car in tonight into the empty workshop tried to drive it onto a 4 poster hoist
But he drove it INTO the hoist instead
So now I have fresh new dents down the passengers fender and a trim strip broken

SO now I'm on the hunt for some stainless (I assume) trims strips that run down the middle of the bodywork
The 2 main ones I need are front passengers fender and drivers door (previous damage)

Anyone parting one out and want to send me a bunch of metal to Autralia.... or know where to look ?

I also need the stainless small trim pieces on both fender skirts.... the blocky bits closest the door openings

11-15-10, 10:31 AM
Sounds like you need a new apprentice.

Neil Clarke
11-15-10, 07:06 PM
I need 2 new ones

I've got boneheads... but sadly thats about all thats on offer atm
Anyone with half a brain is riding the mining boom

But more importantly...I need trim

11-15-10, 08:11 PM
Not sure there actually WAS a KM speedo for the 76. While Canadian cars now have KM (and have had them for years), my 71 is miles, and I had a 75 Buick that was also miles. I do remember that my 81 Impala had KM. To get yours through inspection, just make up a new face in KM using a graphics program. Print it out, and install in your cluster. Remove when done inspection.

11-15-10, 08:50 PM
Nice looking car,hang in there, anything worth while takes time (and $$$) One small thing you can do that might surprise you is to take those chrome door edge protectors off,
they stick out like a sore thumb and break up the flow of the car, I took them off my 80 cdv. on advice from my body shop guy, surprising how much better it looks, you cant control other people from dinging your car,but you can control your own doors.

Neil Clarke
11-16-10, 06:35 AM
My engineer put N/A on the report for speedo so should be good for a pass on that one... fingers crossed

I looked at the car and damage today and actually wondered what it would look like minus the trims and door edge protectors..... not sure at this stage
So I'll keep looking for the parts

Got a reply from a guy on ebay... $190 + $60 postage.... your freeking kidding me... I wanted the trim... not the fender and door !!!!

11-16-10, 12:56 PM
The door edge protectors can go either way, but I recommend keeping the side rub strips. They help to break up those very large expanses of paint and also draw the eye horizontally, adding to the visual length of the car.

Neil Clarke
11-16-10, 06:56 PM
In that case............. still looking for side strips

Neil Clarke
11-19-10, 08:57 PM
Rego inspection... fail
Seems the first inspector and the engineer both missed the fact the car needs the upper control arm bushes replaced

SO now I have to import them , get them fitted , more permits and inspection fees... then try again

Sucks... GM owners day is tomorrow... held once every 2 yrs.. .and I'm going to miss it now

11-19-10, 10:04 PM
Can't you just sneak it out for a day?

Neil Clarke
11-20-10, 07:07 AM
It might be difficult to sneak 231 inches of black steel out and drive it all that way

So I might go for a look but the car will stay in the shed

Ordered the bushes and a power steering box rebuild kit from Rock Autos Friday... Fedex has got it almost half way here already
Should be here Tuesday

11-20-10, 08:25 AM
Ah, well, look at it this way, you've still got the summer ahead. Still time for a car show or tour or three! :)

Neil Clarke
11-23-10, 10:00 AM
Well today was like Xmas
I got my new tyre to replace the damaged one
I got the upper control arm bushes and power steering box kit I ordered on Friday from Rock... awesome service
And I also got the window sweeps for the Cad

Now to put it all together and get some plates on the old girl

11-23-10, 10:09 AM
What's all involved with the steering rebuild kit? Were you able to choose your steering ratio? Also, new window sweeps?

Neil Clarke
11-24-10, 06:50 AM
Err... no just a rebuild kit , gaskets , seals , bearings
No input shaft though... so I hope it doesn't need rechroming

Yes window sweeps... the rubbers inner and outer that the window runs against ... where you arms sits if your an arm out the window kinda guy

11-24-10, 08:53 AM
Where did you get the sweeps from?

Neil Clarke
11-24-10, 09:11 AM
Check with them first to make sure they do them for your vehicle of course
They are an ebay seller too.... their ads usually list a pic of the sweeps showing dimensions and designs to confirm

Convertible Top Specialists
1760 North US Highway 41
Inverness, FL 34450
United States

Description Unit price Qty Amount
1555 window sweep mtl, pair
Item Number WW310 $35.00 inner
1369 window sweep mtl, pair
Item Number WW308 $35.00 outer


11-24-10, 09:50 AM

Neil Clarke
12-17-10, 05:10 AM

12-17-10, 08:06 AM
Good effort Neil.....result!

I've been allowing myself to get too distracted lately....

I am simultaneously really pleased for you and bloody envious mate.

Well done.

12-17-10, 08:29 AM
what a beautiful car! You are lucky