Front-wheel drive now became the rule at Cadillac, as in nearly all other makes. Two grand old names, DeVille and Fleetwood, made the switch this year. All Cadillacs except the subcompact Cimarron (and carryover rear-drive Brougham) now carried a transverse-mounted, fuel-injected 4.1 liter V-8 engine with die-cast aluminum-block. Two safety improvements arrived this year: anti-lacerative windshield glass (with inner layer of two-part plastic) on Seville’s Elegante, plus a high-mount stop lamp on all DeVilles and Fleetwoods. That stop lamp would become required on all cars for 1986.
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
“67” = Eldorado convertible
Next is the engine code:
“P” = L4-121 TBI
“W” = V6-173 FI
“8” = V8-249 DFI
“T” = V6-262 diesel
“N” = V8-350 diesel
The next symbol is a check digit.
Symbol ten indicates model year (“F” = 1985)
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.
Fleetwood and DeVille were introduced April 5, 1984; Eldorado and Seville, October 2, 1984; Cimarron, November 8. 1984.
Model year production: 394,840 (including 45,330 early ’85 front-drive DeVille/Fleetwoods).
That total included 11,968 V-6 engines and 1,088 diesels.
Calendar year production: 322,765.
Calendar year sales by U.S. dealers: 298,762 for a 3.6 percent market share.
Model year sales by U.S. dealers: 310,942 (not including 46,356 front-drive DeVille/Fleetwoods sold as early 1985s). lThe delayed arrival of the new front-drive DeVille/Fleetwood was due to shortages of the Type 440 four-speed automatic transaxle, produced at GM’s Hydra-matic Division.
Production had been delayed for six months.
For that reason, both rear-drive and front-drive DeVilles were offered to the public at the same time for a while during 1984.
A strike at GM of Canada affected supplies to over 30 General Motors plants in the U.S., including Cadillac’s.