Cadillac Moels & History 1986

All-new Eldorado and Seville models entered the lineup for 1986, loaded with a diagnostic system and electronic instruments. Anti-lock braking was a new option on Fleetwood and DeVille. All Cadillacs were now front-wheel drive except the big Brougham, which hung on for another year with a 5.0 liter V-8 under the hood.

Luxury touches promoted in the full-line catalog ranged from golden ignition keys all the way to elegant option packages, to deliver “the feeling of uncompromising excellence.” In keeping with that promise, diesel engines departed from the Cadillac option list, victims of lack of interest and an unimpressive reliability record.

The HT 4100 V-8 added stainless steel exhaust manifolds. Door locks had new rocker switches. Floor consoles contained an ashtray that opened at a finger’s touch. And to keep up with the times, a cellular telephone (“discreetly” positioned in a fold-down armrest) joined the option list. To attract buyers who preferred good handling to a cushy ride, DeVilles could also get a Touring Coupe or Touring Sedan option with stiffer suspension and related extras.

Over 40 body colors were available, including nine Firemist shades and two Pearlmist (black cherry or black emerald) that changed character according to the angle and intensity of sunlight striking the car’s surface.


Cadillacs again had a 17-symbol Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), stamped on a metal tag attached to the upper left surface of the cowl, visible through the windshield. Coding changed to reflect the new front-drive models.

  • The first number is a “1” to indicate the manufacturing country (U.S.A.)
  • The second character is a “G” for General Motors
  • The third is a “6” for Cadillac Division
  • Symbol four is the car line (GM body):
    • “J” = Cimarron
    • “K” = Seville
    • “C” = Deville/Fleetwood
    • “D” = Brougham
    • “E” = Eldorado
  • Symbol five indicates series:
    • “G” = Cimarron
    • “S” = Seville
    • “D” = DeVille
    • “B” = Fleetwood
    • “H” = Fleetwood limousine
    • “W” = Fleetwood Brougham (rear drive)
    • “L” = Eldorado
  • Digits six and seven indicate body type:
    • “47” = 2-dr. coupe
    • “69” = 4-dr. sedan
    • “23” = eight passenger limousine
    • “33” = formal limousine
    • “57” = Eldorado coupe
  • Next is the engine code:
    • “P” = L4-121 TBI
    • “W” = V6-173 FI
    • “8” = V8-249 DFI
    • “Y” = V8-307 4Bbl.
  • The next symbol is a check digit.
  • Symbol ten indicates model year (“G” = 1986)
  • Next is a code for assembly plant:
    • “9” = Detroit
    • “E” = Linden, NJ
    • “J” = Janesville, WI.
  • Finally comes a six-digit production sequence number
    • starting with 000001 for Detroit built cars
    • 400001 for Janesville
    • 600001 for Linden (E-body)
    • 800001 for Linden (K-body)

An identifying number is also on the engine, and a set of codes on a body number plate.



  • Introduced: September 26, 1985 except Eldorado/Seville, November 14, 1985; Fleetwood Brougham, February 13. 1986
  • Model year production: 281,296, including 3,628 with four-cylinder engine and 20,906 with V-6, for a 3.6 percent share of the industry total
  • Calendar year production: 319,031
  • Calendar year sales by U.S. dealers: 304,657
  • Model year sales by U.S. dealers: 300,053 for a 3.8 percent market share.
  • Cadillac sales dropped a bit for the second year in a row, barely edging over 300,000, but that was enough to retain dominance among makers of luxury cars
  • E-body Eldorado production began at the new Hamtramck, Michigan plant in late 1985, but delays kept output below peak levels
  • As a result, Eldorado and Seville sales dropped by half
  • The rear-drive Fleetwood Brougham enjoyed a comeback of sorts, due to low gasoline prices and its upgraded V-8 engine
  • Front-drive DeVilles and Fleetwoods also gained in sales for the second year
  • Cimarron rose as well, but not by much
  • Cadillac clung to hopes that Cimarron would gain strength against new imports, such as Acura Legend, despite complaints that it was little more than a fancy Cavalier
  • At the upper end of the scale, the future held a new ultra-luxurious two-seater Allante, due out for 1987