I have had two 1968 Cadillacs – a Sedan de Ville, and a Coupe de Ville. The sedan was a totaled car in a roll-over accident in 1969, completely rebuilt, and purchased from a dealer in Savannah, Georgia. It was yellow with black leather seats and a padded top and automatic climate control. It had a 129.5” wheelbase – a parking challenge in town. What a cruiser on the road. Tight, responsive, and quite as a tomb. There were no issues with this car except my commanding office wanted to know how a lowly captain could be driving a Cadillac while this Colonel was cruising in a Volkswagen. I kept it a year and sold it for more than I paid for it.
The coupe was another store. I bought this in 1986 for $1,000 and used it as a daily driver. I cannot remember a single major repair except a starter, which I replaced myself in an hour. It was the base model in baroque gold with nice cloth bench seats, a padded top, and AM radio. This car had over 150,000 miles on, and sadly to say was an Ohio car, which means salt and rust. However, the body was in very good condition except the area around the bottom of the rear wind and the top of the front windshield. Salt was taking its toll slowly. But it was tight, did not leak in the rain, no wind noise, and smooth as if it were sailing on air.
This car had automatic climate control air conditioning that worked beautifully – a rare option even in 1968, especially up north. It had power seats and windows, a tilt steering wheel, and power drum brakes. The center of the bench seat had a fold-down arm rest my young son wore out seating on it (no child seats back then). The roomy rear had the same arm rest treatment. The trunk would have been a winner when I was a teen-ager, as we could hide a gang of four or five in there to sneak into the drive-in movie.
The engine was a hunkin’ 472 cubic inch boat anchor that was listed as pumping out 375 horsepower on a four-barrel Rochester Quadrajet carb. True HP or not, this engine put out 525 ft lbs of torque and this 4,600 pound car could do 0 – 60 in about 15 seconds floored. That is what I got from it, with stock 15” tires on the main street in town. The gas mileage was a bit pathetic. I could about 10 mpg in town and 17 on the road, but fuel was still reasonable, so it was not an issue.
Then there was the night I was visiting my old drag strip I used as a teen – Route 40 that ran through Springfield, Ohio on Main and Columbia streets. I was sitting at a red light when a young fellow pulled alongside in the next lane and gave me the “lets drag” sign. I sat quietly and my wife just sat there not seeing anything. Light went green and my competitor floored his big Chevy and his tires squealed for mercy. I floored my Caddy and the engine barfed on the overload of fuel – once – and then stood up on its hind legs and screamed down the street, the big 472 roaring like a lion. My wife was yelling at me to stop right now. We hit the next light at about 80 miles an hour and --- I won. He wanted to go again, but the wife was having a fit. She was yelling that no one races Cadillacs. “Oh yea, I won.”
I drove this car everywhere. It was a reliable representation of the Cadillac Standard of Quality. I loved that car and kept it for about 5 years of heavy use. I miss that big boat.
Indeed, '68's were winners. I had 3 or 4 of them. My favorite was my '68 Eldo. It was a rust-free Arizona car and it drove across the country all the way home beautifully. Also had a 34K mi '68 Coupe Deville I bought at the Carlisle show in PA about 10 years ago. Such good cars!