: which body style to buy: 77-79 or 75-76



fslay
07-05-11, 12:47 AM
Ok so I've regretted selling my 79 coupe for some time now. Been thinking about getting another cadillac and I reall like the older, bigger cars. For those of you with experience, how would a 71 compare with a 76 and a 79 model? Let's just say they were all 3 coupes. How does the ride compare with each, power, all that good stuff for a potential buyer?

cadillac kevin
07-05-11, 01:10 AM
71 will have more powr than the 76 and 79. 76 will probably get the worse fuel mileage. IMO, I would go for the 71, followed by the 79 followed by the 76. IMO the mid 70s (pre downsizing) was the low point for cadillac. the cars were massive, heavy, got bad mileage, couldnt handle worth crap, and didnt go fast in a straight line. on the plus side though they were some of the most luxurious cars made during that era. the 71s still get bad mileage and handling is not great but they go really fast in a straight line and have gobs of torque. the 79s still had good power but were hundreds of pounds lighter that the pre downsized cars, which made them respectable performers. mileage was up too because of the loss of close to 1000 lbs. IIRC 77 was the last year for rear footrests, which were a nice luxury touch. I'm more of a fan of the 77-79 interior than the mid 70's interior (IMO some of the interior were downright gaudy).

fslay
07-05-11, 01:53 AM
I really liked my 79, and it was a nice car. I just always found myself wanting a bigger, softer-riding car. And to be honest, I'm not above gaudy stuff.

sven914
07-05-11, 02:40 AM
From an ascetics stand point, I'd say (from best to worse) '74-'76, '71, then 78-'79. If I was looking for power, I wouldn't be getting a Cadillac.

The '74-'76 Cadillacs have a very imposing appearance, which makes them look larger than they are. They have more options than other generations, so they have a pretty wide range of luxury.

SDCaddyLacky
07-05-11, 06:58 AM
I owned a 72 Sedan Deville for awhile as a daily driver. I can tell you that I never ever had any issues with that car. The drivetrain was solid and dependable, but for some reason the damn Rochester carbs they had on those cars were a pain to keep adjusted. I can't count how many times my rebuilt unit kept backfiring, or dieseling when I would shut the car off. I had the same exact problem with my 68 Cadillac Deville carb, which are similar in design, the 68 also would diesel upon shut off, and I could never seem to stop it from happening, even after taking it to a mechanic.

Besides for the cars excellent power and performance, I hated the interior! It is so bland and boring, the seats were nice and the interior room in the Caddy was massive!! But the quality of everything seemed a bit low compared to the 68 Deville I owned at the same time. The 72 has hardly any chrome, or anything exciting to look at on the inside. All of my door panels had small little cracks in them. I did like the stitched headliner though. What I did love about the car was it's heaviness, the doors, hood, and trunk felt like a tank. The doors are really heavy to open, the same with the huge hood, which takes some serious muscle to lift open.

The ride quality was decent, but considering it being so big, the car didn't ride as serene as I hoped for. Going over bad streets tented to rattle the interior, it wasn't pillowy at all, a nice highway ride, but I am sure a Lincoln Town Car of the day would have been a much better ride, or even an older Cadillac, because I remember the year I sold off the 72, I was checking out a 70 Sedan Deville, took it for a test drive, and that car had an extremely nice ride, going over huge pot holes and road imperfections didn't once jolt the Caddy, it rode right over them as if they were never there. My 72 would of shook, and felt like it was being hurt by the bumps and pot holes, rather than fighting them off one by one like the 70 did.


I knew an old co worker than had a 75 Deville he drove to work all the time, we would hop in his Caddy and get lunch during our breaks. The interior in his car, looked and felt much better than my 72, the styling was more impressive because it had some, unlike the 71-73's!. It even rode a little better than the 72.

Personally I would look at the 74-76's for a better ride and interior looks/comfort. Exterior styling is all subjective.

I wouldn't mind owning a 76 Coupe Deville though, I saw one at a car show the other day, and man was it beautiful. Also the 71-73 Eldorado's are bad ass, and are much better looking cars than the Devilles of the 70's IMO.

amunderdog
07-05-11, 10:45 AM
I agree SDCaddyLacky
If i were in the market for a full on big Caddy i would look at nothing newer than 1970.

PRdeVille
07-05-11, 11:10 AM
IMO the mid 70s (pre downsizing) was the low point for cadillac. the cars were massive, heavy, got bad mileage, couldnt handle worth crap, and didnt go fast in a straight line. on the plus side though they were some of the most luxurious cars made during that era.
I feel sad... then happy how you describe my '75!
LoL

It's all good!!

sven914
07-05-11, 02:38 PM
I've been inside several '70-'72 coupe de Villes and more '76 Coupes; all of them unfortunately decommissioned. The '70-'72 interiors have always been consistently bland (Like Jeremy Irons Cereal; there is no prize in the box, only more cardboard), but the '76's always had something different or unique about them (no two have had the same options).

fslay
07-05-11, 02:47 PM
I would be satisfied with any coupe from the 60s or 70s, but they are almost impossible to find around here. For instance there are 2 cars here locally. One is a 76 4-door with 30K miles and rough paint. Man wants 10,500 dollars for it. The other is a black 79 coupe. It has low miles but the paint is horrible. They want 3500 for it. But the 76-earlier have astronomical prices.

Bro-Ham
07-05-11, 05:03 PM
I don't think you can go wrong with any of the 75-76 or 77-79 Cads. I like all of these years in particular because they have the best combination of super ornate luxury interiors, impressive styling, and also still large V8 power. I'd drive a 76 full size Cadillac any day, particularly a d'Elegance - what a luxo boat!!

As far as finding a nice car in your area, I wish you good luck. I find this website to be helpful in finding cars locally or nationwide (leave the location blank): http://www.jaxed.com/cgi-bin/mash.cgi?cat=cp

Good luck! :)

DouglasJRizzo
07-05-11, 08:18 PM
In a nutshell here's how it works:

The 71-76 car is Cadillac in the grand manner. Big, bold and (to my eyes) beautiful. The most hp would be in the 71, as it is least encumbered by emissions, but none are underpowered. Beware 75-76 Fuel injected cars that have been neglected or tampered. many of the parts are LONG GONE and a pain to fix. I'm VERY partial to 74-76 but love all of them. Great examples abound and prices are reasonable. If features and accessories are your thing, DeVilles are usually better equipped than Calais, but Calais are less common. Something else to look for - the fiberglass fender extensions on 74-76's go BAD fast and while they are repro'd, there is cost involved. 74 was the first year for the 3 point seat belts, 73 was the first for the hydraulic bumpers.


The 77-80 cars are trimmer, lighter, and not as bold. BUT - they have their strong points and are all Cadillac. The revised '77 body was very tightly built and rigid. It has held up well in the years since, and the 425 (368 for the 80) engines are very durable. 80's are down on power compared to their 425 powered 77-79 brethren. Anything after 80 and you have even less power and exotic power plants that may be more than you want to handle for maintenance. The 77-80 cars still look fairly current, and maneuver much better than previous Cads did. You can actually jockey one around quite rapidly. Beware of cars with the Olds 5.7 diesel, it's a horrible motor - prone to pushing the crank down through the oil pan and hideously underpowered. There are some 4.1 Buick V6 equipped 80s but they are even less powered than the 368 cars, so I'd avoid those.

Other things to watch for are fuel injected versions if they're not in tip top shape (same as above) and the fender extensions. Some 79's had aluminum hoods (only a few) and they can be prone to damage. There were some paint problems on some 79s and 80s as well.

All in all, both generations of Cad are worthy cars, and I'd be proud to own either - and in fact have owned both.

fslay
07-05-11, 10:35 PM
Does 3500 for a 78 coupe (with bad paint) sound reasonable? Its got 53K miles. If somebody wants to look, check out craigslist for hattiesburg mississiippi.

DouglasJRizzo
07-05-11, 11:18 PM
Does 3500 for a 78 coupe (with bad paint) sound reasonable? Its got 53K miles. If somebody wants to look, check out craigslist for hattiesburg mississiippi.

Provided the rest of it is reasonable and it runs well, it could be a great project.

sven914
07-05-11, 11:23 PM
It looks like they dredged it out of the bayou... http://hattiesburg.craigslist.org/cto/2416953392.html

I wouldn't pay anything more than $2,500 for it, but you should still check it out and find everything wrong with it. If it just needs a paint job, then it would be a good deal at $3,000, but if there are other problems with the engine or interior, I'd pass it up for something better.

You might have to search outside your area. There's a pretty good '77 on eBay in Tennessee; 1977 Coupe DeVille 79K miles, Near MINT Condition (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1977-Coupe-DeVille-79K-miles-Near-MINT-Condition-/170662115582?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item27bc4138fe)

Bro-Ham
07-05-11, 11:39 PM
I agree with Sven. Unless you have the patience or the pocketbook for taking on a car that has needs, I'd advise looking for the nicest example you can find that someone else either maintained really well from the beginning, or already invested their blood, sweat, and tears to make nice. My 2 1/2 cents. :)

pompste
07-06-11, 08:00 AM
From an ascetics stand point, I'd say (from best to worse) '74-'76, '71, then 78-'79. If I was looking for power, I wouldn't be getting a Cadillac.

The '74-'76 Cadillacs have a very imposing appearance, which makes them look larger than they are. They have more options than other generations, so they have a pretty wide range of luxury.

Ditto on the '74-'76`s having a very imposing appearance.It seems the "rear fender skirts" always make any car look longer.
Even though the '77-'79`s did`nt have true fender skirts,they did`nt have a full open rear wheel well either----the rear tires were parially covered by the "flared out" rear fender which made cleaning the whitewalls easier.
More attention to quality was given to the '77`s and up Caddy`s.I know firsthand since i worked as a Die Maker at GM during those years.Part of my apprenticeship at GM required several months in the Quality Control Dept. More attention to quality/detail was given to '77 and up models compared to pre-'77`s.

PRdeVille
07-06-11, 11:27 AM
I know firsthand since i worked as a Die Maker at GM during those years.Part of my apprenticeship at GM required several months in the Quality Control Dept. More attention to quality/detail was given to '77 and up models compared to pre-'77`s.
Wow! That's awesome history!

Any other cool tidbits you can share?
Maybe another thread?
Working at GM during those years must have been pretty cool!

77CDV
07-06-11, 01:53 PM
One point in the 77-79's favor over the earlier cars is improved rust prevention. The older cars seem to rust out a lot more around the backlight and under the vinyl roof, and in the lower rear front fenders. The older cars do ride better, though, thanks to all that extra road-hugging weight.

sven914
07-06-11, 04:01 PM
I Think it was '76 that the government (either the EPA or DOT) started regulating automakers on rust prevention, and that's why '77 and up cars don't deteriorate as badly.

Aron9000
07-06-11, 05:25 PM
IMO the 71-73 Cadillacs are kind of ugly and a low point in quality. The interiors got better in the 74-76 cars, along with the styling. The 77-79 cars are built a lot tighter as mentioned above. IMO I'd just buy a 69 or 70 Cadillac if you want that 70's sort of styling, they blow any of the later cars out of the water in terms of style. Another big plus is the 472 in those cars has no emissions bs and A LOT more horsepower. They move out pretty quick and will fry the rear tires off if so prompted.

pompste
07-06-11, 07:05 PM
One point in the 77-79's favor over the earlier cars is improved rust prevention. The older cars seem to rust out a lot more around the backlight and under the vinyl roof, and in the lower rear front fenders. The older cars do ride better, though, thanks to all that extra road-hugging weight.

Yes,nothing provides a better ride than "road hugging weight".GM went to using more "zincro-metal" in the '77 and up models to help prevent rust.
My '78 Deville,now 33 years old,only has/had a little rust on the door bottoms and nowhere else.I recently got rid of that little rust.I`ve been under my '78 and there is absolutely no rust at all on any of the inner fenders--the zincrometal coating is still clearly visible on all inner fenders and it`s still preventing rust.
After 33 years the only rattles i hear when driving is when driving over really bumpy railroad tracks.These minor rattles originate within the dash and could probably be eliminated by tightening some of the dashboard screws.Overall it`s a very quiet ride and i love it!
I also own a mint 1995 Deville and it`s clear it has much tighter fit than my '78 and the '95 has by far the quietest interior of any car i`ve ever owned----mainly due to the extra thick window glass on all doors.
One of the major customer complaints on pre-'77 Caddy`s was the sometimes loose door window glass and windnoise leaks since the door glass was all "un"framed.Most '77 and up models,as we all know, had "framed" window glass which made the glass more secure.

fslay--if you`ve got pockets deep enough for a '75-'76 gulper--go for it dude! This era of Caddy`s are the longest/widest and heaviest of all time.If i had the $$$ i`d get one for sure to add to my collection.

DouglasJRizzo
07-06-11, 10:17 PM
I Think it was '76 that the government (either the EPA or DOT) started regulating automakers on rust prevention, and that's why '77 and up cars don't deteriorate as badly.

What you're thinking of was Jimmy Carter's chastising of Chrysler's Aspen/Volare models that began rusting thru in 77 and 78, even though they had only been introduced in 76.

Although, on topic, the 77-80 cars are MUCH better at resisting corrosion than the 71-76 cars - not that the earlier ones were rust buckets, but the 77 and up vehicles are very resistant to corrosion. I've seen examples that have sat outside untouched for decades and the panels are still fairly straight.

SDCaddyLacky
07-07-11, 07:10 AM
Speaking of rust and corrosion, I had rust issues with my 72. The vinyl top created problems for me, I had rust all around the edges where the trunk met the top.I had rust along the wheel wells, and various spots. GM did use good steel during that era, but you can tell they didn't use a whole lot of rust preventives. My 68 also had rust issues, so it's not just 70's cads.

I do prefer the interiors of the later years, Cadillac finally started adding more detail and quality on the inside as time went on surprisingly. Even the 1969-70 looks blandish inside. But the seats were great, and it just felt like a little more solid car compared to my 72. What makes those Cads worth picking up is not for it's interior, but for it's exterior styling that is one of the best ever when it came to Cadillac grills.

My friends brother used to own a 73 Olds 98 coupe, that thing was nice! It didn't have the looks of the Caddy, but the car rode so smooth, and the interior was great. He sold it a year later:(

brougham
07-07-11, 08:04 PM
Id get whatever year you like the looks of the best. If you like them all go for whatever is the nicest one you can find for the price you want to pay.

pompste
07-08-11, 07:20 AM
Wow! That's awesome history!

Any other cool tidbits you can share?
Maybe another thread?
Working at GM during those years must have been pretty cool!

I`m glad you think that`s awesome history!

Working at GM during those years was`nt exactly pretty "cool"---it was hot sweaty work in that hot factory in the summertime for sure.What was cool was the excellent benefits we had back then as GM was king of the hill in the 1970`s.We even had "personal paid holidays" for about a year or so,in addition to all the regular holidays.
Models for cars were done in clay then--no computers yet.
Everytime the CADILLAC "trunk lid,door panels,hoods,roofs" etc. lines ran,all the white shirts in management had to come down personally to inspect these parts in a specially lit quality control room.They did this for CADILLAC`S only,"not" buicks,oldmobiles,pontiacs,chevrolet`s etc.
I started working there in "production--press room".My job was to help load Cadillac trunk lids in racks---Caddy trunk lids were huge and heavy in the '70`s so it took 2 people to load each lid into shipping racks.After 1 year doing that i applied for an apprenticeship in "die making" and was accepted.Took 4 years to complete that and i got my journeymans card.
It was overall good working there in the '70`s.Things began going downhill for us when company execs started shipping our american jobs overseas.Then came many "corporate downsizing`s"--closing many GM plants,including the one i worked at.

SDCaddyLacky
07-08-11, 08:45 AM
I`m glad you think that`s awesome history!

Working at GM during those years was`nt exactly pretty "cool"---it was hot sweaty work in that hot factory in the summertime for sure.What was cool was the excellent benefits we had back then as GM was king of the hill in the 1970`s.We even had "personal paid holidays" for about a year or so,in addition to all the regular holidays.
Models for cars were done in clay then--no computers yet.
Everytime the CADILLAC "trunk lid,door panels,hoods,roofs" etc. lines ran,all the white shirts in management had to come down personally to inspect these parts in a specially lit quality control room.They did this for CADILLAC`S only,"not" buicks,oldmobiles,pontiacs,chevrolet`s etc.
I started working there in "production--press room".My job was to help load Cadillac trunk lids in racks---Caddy trunk lids were huge and heavy in the '70`s so it took 2 people to load each lid into shipping racks.After 1 year doing that i applied for an apprenticeship in "die making" and was accepted.Took 4 years to complete that and i got my journeymans card.
It was overall good working there in the '70`s.Things began going downhill for us when company execs started shipping our american jobs overseas.Then came many "corporate downsizing`s"--closing many GM plants,including the one i worked at.

GM did nobody favors towards the end of the 70's and 80's by out sourcing jobs and closing down plants. Downsizing did ruin it's image and caused a lot of problems for the company. American Auto makers were at their best when they built big cars, which were so reliable. But because of foreign competition, GM and the rest of America's car makers started to struggle because they didn't know how to make high quality, reliable small cars.

Pompste, in what year did you start to notice the decline and cost cutting at GM? When did steel quality go down, and overall quality? From my experience, it looked like 76 and down had good metal, with a heavy build. But the very next year, it all changed. The 77's were smaller and lighter, but with improved interiors. I wonder how the workers on the line felt back then after seeing drastic reductions in quality as time marched on.

pompste
07-08-11, 09:51 AM
GM did nobody favors towards the end of the 70's and 80's by out sourcing jobs and closing down plants. Downsizing did ruin it's image and caused a lot of problems for the company. American Auto makers were at their best when they built big cars, which were so reliable. But because of foreign competition, GM and the rest of America's car makers started to struggle because they didn't know how to make high quality, reliable small cars.

Pompste, in what year did you start to notice the decline and cost cutting at GM? When did steel quality go down, and overall quality? From my experience, it looked like 76 and down had good metal, with a heavy build. But the very next year, it all changed. The 77's were smaller and lighter, but with improved interiors. I wonder how the workers on the line felt back then after seeing drastic reductions in quality as time marched on.

No one liked the outsourcing at all--especially the older workers and even the older management employees balked at it.I was just 18 years old when i hired in at GM so it did`nt mean much to me at the time.I just liked the generous paychecks i was getting!
The steel used in Cadillacs was always some "mils"--millimeters thicker than used on chevy`s,buicks,pontiacs,olds etc.Every now and then we`d get a bad batch of steel from GM`s vendors and it would "split" when run thru the presses,causing the lines to shut down and they would have to find batches of good steel that did`nt split,but overall the quality remained high,especially for Caddy`s.Caddy`s always were of the highest priority.
Not much was made of Caddy`s first downsizing,in plant, in '77--, we knew it was coming in late '75 early '76.However Caddy print ads did make a big deal of it.The dies for cars had to be made a year sometimes 2 years in advance.The Eldorado still retained it`s big size a while longer.No one liked the massive downsizing, in '85,shrinking the length of the Sedan Deville by an absurd 26 inches and several inches in width also.Major customer complaints were the result.During this time Cadillac lost many customers.Even people that worked there that wanted a full size luxury ride actually bought Lincolns and had the gall to drive them to work.The production people on the line were mainly there to get a generous check.We in skilled trades and our bosses/higher management knew things began to go downhill in the mid '80`s.
I own a '78 and a '95 Sedan Deville and i`m real pleased with the quality of both.
Poor quality became an issue again in 2000-2004 or so DTS/DHS`s---bad window rollers,paint chipping off radio knobs,chrome chipping off factory wheels, etc.Many did`nt like the "alphabet soup" names either.Many also did`nt like the dropping of the Fleetwood in '96.
The cost cutting/decline became real obvious to us in '85.Younger workers hiring in then knew they would "never" be in the "30 years here and retire" bunch as previous generations could count on.And as we all know today---no job is safe/secure these days at all.

PRdeVille
07-08-11, 02:16 PM
Pomptse,
I think it's great that you're sharing all these history.
I don't know anybody else that worked in Cadillac/GM.

Maybe a new thread should be started, where you can type up two or three of these extremely interesting slices of Caddy history!

Neil Clarke
07-11-11, 01:05 PM
I'm quite partial to my 76 sedan deville
Floats like a boat ... just don't drive it like a racecar... I have racecars for that
Always gets looks wherever I go
Just alittle hard to park thats all
Gas mileage... who cares

pompste
07-12-11, 04:03 AM
Pomptse,
I think it's great that you're sharing all these history.
I don't know anybody else that worked in Cadillac/GM.

Maybe a new thread should be started, where you can type up two or three of these extremely interesting slices of Caddy history!

Good to know you think some of my real life experiences working at GM were interesting! It was good working there,especially during the glory days in the 1970`s. I`ve hogged this thread too long.