Cadillac Models & History 1976

From the beginning, Cadillac had been nearly synonymous with luxury. People spoke of countless products as “The Cadillac of (whatever).” Through the tailfinned postwar years, Cadillacs had been poshly (sometimes gaudily) appointed, gargantuan in size, powered by some of the biggest V-8s around. Owning one was viewed as a milepost, a demonstration that one had “arrived.”

1976 Cadillac hearse

As the 1976 model year began, signs were already appearing that change was imminent; that Cadillac’s position might even be in jeopardy one day. For the moment, though, little had changed. Only Lincoln competed in the domestic luxury market, as Chrysler had abandoned its Imperial. Beneath all full-size Cadillac hoods was the biggest V-8 of modern times: a 500 cu. in. behemoth, fully appropriate for the car’s enormous length. On the other hand, during the ’75 model year a much different kind of Caddy had emerged: the compact Seville, powered by a comparatively tiny, fuel-injected 350 V-8. Unlike the soft American ride and slushy handling typified by big Cadillacs, Seville delivered control more appropriate in a European sedan.

1976 Cadillac

Amid massive publicity, the final front-drive Eldorado convertible came off the line in ’76, selling for astounding sums to speculators before leveling off. The bottom-ranked Calais was in its final year, soon to leave only Fleetwood and DeVille to attract full-size coupe/sedan devotees. Luxury-minded customers had plenty to choose from, however, included three special editions:

  • d’Elegance
  • Talisman
  • Cabriolet models

Yet this was the final season for the mammoth Seventy-Five limousine and nine-passenger sedan. Led by Seville’s popularity, Cadillac set records for both sales and production.

1976 Cadillac Seville

Even though 1976 was a year of refinement rather than major body or engineering change at Cadillac, it signaled the end of several eras. GM’s last convertible was in its final season. This would be the final year for the low-rung Calais (after a dozen years in the lineup), and for the traditional mammoth Cadillac. Full-size Cadillacs retained the same ample dimensions as in 1975, but the new international-size Seville (introduced in mid-year) was 27 in. shorter, 8 in. narrower and a thousand pounds lighter than a Sedan DeVille. New grilles on all models carried on the traditional Cadillac crosshatch theme, though with a tinier pattern than in 1975 (actually crosshatching within crosshatching). Cornering lamps on Calais, DeVille, Brougham, nine-passenger and limo got new horizontal chrome trim, while taillamps gained a new bold look. Standard wheel discs kept the three-dimensional Cadillac crest on the hub (except Eldorado).

This year beat the all-time record (set in 1973) for sales and production, with 309,139 Cadillacs built. Seville was the shining star of the sales rise. After a brief 1975 model run, production zoomed upward for full-year 1976. At $13.000, Seville was the most costly standard domestic production car built by the Big Four automakers. It also offered a foretaste of what was coming soon as GM downsized all its models. Most Cadillacs, including all Sevilles and Eldorados, were built in Detroit; but 42,570 vehicles emerged from the Linden, New Jersey plant.

1976 Cadillac

Full-size “standard” Cadillacs continued to sell well, defying the market conditions of the mid-1970s. Exactly 14,000 Eldorado convertibles were built in their final season (compared to just 8,950 in 1975). Cadillac promoted them as the “Last of a magnificent breed,” The actual “last” American convertible was driven off the line at Cadillac’s Clark Avenue plant in Detroit on April 21, 1976, by general manager Edward C. Kennard and manufacturing manager Bud Brawner. Passengers for this major media event included several production workers and Detroit mayor Coleman Young. Just 60 years before, the first Caddy to use the name “convertible” had appeared. For the past five years, Eldorado had been the only luxury American convertible; and for 1976, the sole survivor of the breed.

Reasons cited for the loss of ragtop popularity included

  • widespread use of air conditioners
  • high-speed cruising
  • sunroofs and vinyl roofs
  • improved audio qualities of stereo radio/tape systems, which couldn’t be appreciated fully in an open vehicle.

Actually, Cadillac produced 200 identical “final” convertibles, dubbed “Bicentennial Cadillacs” by Mr. Kennard. The one and only last example was kept for the company’s collection. All 200 were white with white top, white wheel covers, and white leather upholstery with red piping, dash and carpeting. A dash plaque confirmed the fact that it was one of the last–at least until the ragtop mysteriously re-emerged once again in the early ’80s. Speculation sent prices way UP. Their original $11,049 sticker price meant little as some “collectors” quickly began to snap up open Eldos at prices approaching $20.000. But before too long, prices fell almost as swiftly.

Convertibles never really disappeared. Within months various conversion manufacturers were slicing metal roofs off Caddy coupes to create custom convertibles. But the next regular production ragtop would be Chrysler’s LeBaron in 1982. In most recent years, over 2,000 Fleetwood commercial chassis had been produced annually, for conversion to hearses and ambulances. Most of those conversions were done by three companies: Superior, Miller-Meteor, or Hess & Eisenhardt. In addition, stretch limousines were built on Cadillac chassis by Moloney (in Illinois) and Wisco (in Michigan), among other specialty firms.

Cadillac’s ten models came in four size categories:

Full-size Caddies stretched as long in wheelbase as 133 inches and 233.7 in. overall (limos, 151.5 and 252.2 in. respectively). They still carried a monstrous 500 cu. in. V-8. The smaller Seville, however, actually cost more than bigger Cadillacs. It was powered by a more reasonably sized 350 cu. in. V-8 with electronic fuel injection. (Fuel injection was optional in all models except the Fleetwood Seventy-Five.)

Eight different color accent stripes were available, and seven convertible top colors for the Eldorado. Vinyl roofs now were integral padded Elk Grain material except on Seville and Seventy-Five, which had cross-grain padded vinyl. Interiors were essentially the same as in 1975 with rosewood grain trim, plus bright wreath/crest and script plaques. New trims for full-size models include sporty plaids, plush velours, knits, and distinctive genuine leathers. Calais and DeVille coupes had a new vinyl roof, whose top molding served as continuation of the door “belt” molding.

All full-size Caddies except Eldorado included a Controlled (limited-slip) Differential for extra traction. All had lamp monitors atop each front fender to show status of front and rear lights. All could have optional illuminated entry and theft-deterrent systems. The new Freedom battery never needed water. All but Eldorado offered new-look turbine-vaned and wire wheel covers. A new option locked doors when the lever was shifted to “Drive.” Cadillac also offered Track Master, a computerized skid-control system that automatically pumped the back brakes in an emergency situation to shorten stopping distance.

Of special note on the option list was the Air Cushion Restraint System, announced for all models except Eldorado convertible and Fleetwood 75. This was a forerunner of the air bags that received so much publicity a few years later. Another option was the Astroroof, introduced in 1975, with sliding sunshade that permitted use as an electrically-operated sunroof or a transparent closed skylight. Both it and the “ordinary” sunroof panels could give safety along with an open-air feeling, now that the convertible was about to disappear.

Three full-size special editions with new refinements were offered this year: d’Elegance, Talisman and Cabriolet. New options included a pushbutton Weather Band (exclusive to Cadillac) built into the AM/FM stereo signal-seeking radio; loose-pillow style seats for d’Elegance packages; plus power passenger and manual driver seatback recliners for 50/50 front seats.

Of the 15 standard and six optional Firemist body colors, 13 were new this year. The list included:

  • Cotillion White
  • Georgian Silver
  • Academy Gray
  • Sable Black
  • Innsbruck Blue
  • Commodore Blue
  • Dunbarton Green
  • Firethorn
  • Claret
  • Pueblo Beige
  • Kingswood Green
  • Calumet Cream
  • Phoenician Ivory
  • Brentwood Brown
  • Chesterfield Brown

For extra cost, buyers could order any of six Firemist colors:

  • Crystal Blue
  • Amberlite
  • Greenbrier
  • Galloway Green
  • Florentine Gold
  • Emberglow

Vinyl roofs came in

  • dark blue
  • silver blue
  • firethorn
  • mahogany
  • silver metallic
  • dark brown metallic
  • basic white
  • black
  • dark blue-green
  • buckskin
  • ivory

All Cadillacs had as standard:

  • automatic climate control
  • bumper impact strips
  • digital clock
  • automatic glove box light
  • High Energy Ignition
  • inside hood release
  • lamp monitors
  • remote-control left-hand outside mirror
  • litter receptacle
  • automatic trunk light
  • map light
  • power six-way front-seat adjuster (not on Calais or 75 series)
  • power front disc brakes (four-wheel on Eldorado)
  • power door locks
  • power windows
  • power steering
  • AM/FM radio including power antenna
  • Soft Ray tinted glass
  • spare tire cover
  • tamper-resistant odometer
  • Turbo Hydra-matic transmission
  • washer fluid level indicator
  • steel-belted whitewall tires

For 1976, there were six models:


Cadillac’s 13-symbol Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) was located on the forward edge of the windshield trim molding, visible through the windshield.

  • The first digit is “6,” indicating Cadillac division.
  • The second symbol indicates series:
    • “B” Fleetwood Brougham
    • “C” Calais
    • “D” DeVille
    • “F” Fleetwood 75
    • “L” Eldorado
    • “S” Seville
    • “Z” commercial chassis.
  • Symbols 3-4 show body type:
    • “47” 2-door coupe
    • “49” 4-door hardtop sedan
    • “69” 4-door sedan
    • “23” 4-door sedan with auxiliary seat
    • “33” 4-door limousine with auxiliary seat and center partition window
    • “67” 2-door convertible
    • “90” commercial chassis.
  • Symbol five is the engine code:
    • “R” V8-350 FI
    • “S” V8-500 4Bbl. or FI.
  • The sixth symbol indicates model year (“6” = 1976).
  • Symbol seven is for assembly plant:
    • “Q” Detroit, MI
    • “E” Linden, NJ
  • The last six digits show the sequence in which the car was built:
    • 100001 through 400000 for “C” series made in Detroit and all Eldorados
    • 600001 through 690000 for “C” models built in Linden.

An engine unit number is on the block behind the left cylinder head

A nine-digit VIN derivative that shows model year, plant and sequence number is on the block behind the intake manifold.

Engine number of 350 V-8 is stamped on the front left side of the block, below the head.

A body identification plate on the top right surface of the shroud under the hood, near the cowl), reveals style number, trim number, body number, paint number, and date of assembly (month 01 through 12, week A through E) followed by codes for factory-installed options.


Description Standard Engine Eldorado Engine Seville
Engine type V-8 Overhead valves. Cast iron block
Main bearings Five
Valve lifters Hydraulic
Displacement 500 cubic inches
(7.7 litres)
500 cubic inches
(8.2 litres)
350 cubic inches
(5.7 liters)
Bore and stroke 4.300 x 4.304 in.
(109 x 103 mm)
4.300 x 4.304 in.
(109 x 109.3 mm)
4.057 x 3.385 in.
(103 x 86 mm)
Compression ratio 8.25:1 8.25:1 8.0:1
Brake horsepower (net SAE) 210 @ 3600 rpm 210 @ 3600 rpm 180 @ 4400 rpm
Torque 380 ft. lbs. @ 2000 rpm 380 ft. lbs. @ 2000 rpm 275 ft. lbs. @ 2000 rpm
Oil pressure 35 psi 35 psi 35 psi
Carburetor Rochester four-barrel Quadrajet Model 4MV


Model Wheelbase Overall length Height Width
Brougham 133 in 233.7 in 55.3 in. 76.4 in.
Calais Coupe 130 in 230.7 in 53.8 in. 76.4 in.
Calais Sedan 130 in 230.7 in 54.3 in. 76.4 in.
Deville Coupe 130 in 230.7 in 53.8 in. 76.4 in.
Deville Sedan 130 in 230.7 in 54.3 in. 76.4 in.
Eldorado 126.3 224.1 in 54.2 in. 79.8 in.
Seventy-Five Sedan 151.5 in 252.2 in 56.8 in. 76.4 in.
Seventy-Five Limo 151.5 in 252.2 in 56.6 in. 76.4 in.
Seville 114.3 in 204 in 54.7 in. 71.8 in.
Commercial chassis 157.5 in 76.4 in.


Trackmaster $250
Controlled differential (except Eldorado) $60
Fuel Injection $600


Talisman Brougham $1788
Astro roof $843
Sun roof $668
Rear window defroster, standard on 75s $73
Automatic Level Control $84
Cruise Control $100
Eldorado reclining seat $188
Air cushion restraints $300
Coupe DeVille Cabriolet, without sun roof $236
Eldorado Cabriolet Coupe, without sun roof $413
Brougham d’Elegance Group $784
DeVille d’Elegance group $350
Dual Comfort Six-Way passenger seat $125
AM/FM stereo with tape $229
Padded roof on 75s $745



Engine V8 350cc (5.7L) V8 500cc (8.2L)
Crankcase 4 qt 4 or 5 qt
Crankcase with new filter 5 qt 5 or 6 qt
AutomaticTransmission after draining 8 pt 8 or 10 pt
Drive Axle 5 pt 5 or 4 pt
Fuel tank 21 gal(US) 27.5 gal(US)
Cooling with heater 18.9 qt 21.3 or 23 qt
Cooling with A/C 18.8 qt 21.3 or 23 qt
Heavy duty Cooling NA 25.8 qt


Engine V.I.N Code R S S
Engine type V8-350cc(5.7L) V8-500cc(8.2L) V8-500cc(8.2L)
Fuel delivery 4 bbl 4 bbl EFI
Manufacturer Oldsmobile Cadillac Cadillac
Original Spark plug R46SX R45NSX R45NSX
Gap 0.080 in. 0.060 in 0.060 in
Distributor Electronic Electronic Electronic
Ignition timing (BTDC) 10° (6°) 12°
Intake valve opens (BTDC) 22 21 21
Fuel pump pressure 5¼ to 6½ psi 5¼ to 6½ psi 39 min.
Idle speed 600 rpm 600 rpm 600 rpm


Part # 1102380 1101023 1101033 1117152
Field current @ 12 V 4 – 4.5 4 – 4.5 4 – 4.5 4 – 4.5
Output 63 amps 80 amps 80 amps 145 amps
Regulator Solid state Solid state Solid state Solid state
Volts @ 75° 13.8 – 14.8 13.8 – 14.8 13.8 – 14.8 13.8 – 14.8


Engine V8-350cc (5.7L) V8-500cc (8.2L)
Battery Ampere Hour Capacity 60 60
Battery Volts 12 12
Battery Terminal Grounded Neg. Neg.
Starter, Lock Test, Amps Not Recommended Not Recommended
Starter, Lock Test, Volts
Starter, Lock Test, Torque
Starter, No-Lead Test, Amps 65 – 95 65 – 95
Starter, No-Lead Test, Volts 9 9
Starter, No-Lead Test, RPM 7000 – 10500 7000 – 10500
Starter, Brush Spring Tension 35 oz. min. 35 oz. min.


Engine V.I.N Code R S S
Engine type V8-350cc(5.7L) V8-500cc(8.2L) V8-500cc(8.2L)
Manufacturer Oldsmobile Cadillac Cadillac
Fuel delivery 4 bbl 4 bbl EFI
Horsepower 180@4400 190@3600 215@3600
Torque 275@2000 360@2000 400@2000
Bore x Stoke 4.057 x 3.385 4.300 x 4.304 4.300 x 4.304
Compression Ratio 8.00:1 8.50:1 8.50:1
Oil pressure 35 psi 35 psi 35 psi


Engine type V8-350cc(5.7L) V8-500cc(8.2L)
Main Brg Journal Dia. 2.4985 – 2.4995 (No. 1 2.4988 – 2.4998 in) 3.250
Main Brg Oil Clearance 0.0005 – 0.0021 (No. 5 0.0015 – 0.0031in) 0.0001 – 0.0026
Shaft End-play 0.004 – 0.014 0.002 – 0.012
Thrust on No. 3 3


Engine type V8-350cc(5.7L) V8-500cc(8.2L)
Journal Dia. 2.1238 – 2.1248 2.5000
Oil Clearance 0.0004 – 0.0033 0.0005 – 0.0028
Side Clearance 0.006 – 0.020 0.008 – 0.020


Engine type V8-350cc(5.7L) V8-350cc(5.7L) Diesel V8-500cc(8.2L)
Piston-Bore Clearance 0.0010 – 0.0020 0.0005 – 0.0006 0.0006 – 0.0010
Ring Side Clearance: Top Compression 0.0020 – 0.0040 0.005 – 0.007 0.0017 – 0.0040
Ring Side Clearance: Bottom Compression 0.0020 – 0.0040 0.0018 – 0.0038 0.0017 – 0.0040
Ring Side Clearance: Oil Control 0.0006 – 0.0098 0.0078 max. None (side sealing)
Ring Gap: Top Compression 0.010 – 0.023 0.015 – 0.025 0.013 – 0.025
Ring Gap: Bottom Compression 0.010 – 0.023 0.015 – 0.025 0.013 – 0.025
Ring Gap: Oil Control 0.015 – 0.055 0.015 – 0.055 0.015 – 0.055


Engine type V8-350cc(5.7L) V8-350cc(5.7L) Diesel V8-500cc(8.2L)
Seat Angle 31°(exh) 45°(intake); 31° (exhaust) 45°
Face Angle 30° (exh) 44°(intake); 30° (exhaust) 44°
Spring Test Pressure 187 lb @ 1.27 in. 151 lb @ 1.30 in. 160 lb @ 1.50 in.
Spring Installed Height 1-43/64″ (1.671875″) 1-43/64″ 11516 in. (1.9375″)
Stem-to-Guide Clearance: Intake 0.0010 – 0.0027 0.0010 – 0.0027 0.0010 – 0.0027
Stem-to-Guide Clearance: Exhaust 0.0015 – 0.0032 0.0015 – 0.0032 0.0010 – 0.0027
Stem Diameter: Intake 0.3429 0.3429 0.3416
Stem Diameter: Exhaust 0.3424 0.3424 0.3416


Engine type V8-350cc(5.7L) V8-350cc(5.7L) Diesel V8-500cc(8.2L)
Cyl. Head Bolts 85 130 ft. lb 115 ft. lb
Rod Brg Bolts 42 42 ft. lb 40 ft. lb
Main Brg Bolts 80 (120 on # 5) 120 ft. lb 90 ft. lb
Crankshaft Damper or Pulley Bolt 310 200 – 310 Press fit
Flywheel to Crankshaft Bolts 60 60 ft. lb 75 ft. lb
Intake Manifold 40 40 ft. lb 30 ft. lb
Exhaust Manifold 25 25 ft. lb 35 ft. lb


Carb ID 7056232 (M4ME) 7056230 (M4ME) 7056530 (M4ME)
Float Level 13/32 in 13/32 in 7/16 in
Air Valve Spring 3/8 turn 3/8 turn 3/8 turn
Pump Rod 3/8 in 3/8 in 9/32 in
Primary Vacuum Break 0.160 in 0.160 in 0.160 in
Secondary Vacuum Break 0.160in 0.160in 0.160 in
Choke Rod 0.080 in 0.080 in 0.080 in
Choke Unloader 0.230 in 0.230 in 0.230 in
Fast Idle Speed 1400 rpm 1400 rpm 1400 rpm


Feature Eldorado Fleetwood 75 Full size (except Fleetwood 75) Seville
Caster Range 1°N – 1°P 2°N – 0° 1°N – 1°P 1°P – 3°P
Caster Pref. 1°N 2°P
Camber LH wheel Range ¾°N – ¾°P ¾°N – ¾°P ¾°N – ¾°P ¼°N – 1½°P
Camber LH wheel Pref. ½°
Camber RH wheel Range 1°N – ½°P 1°N – ½°P 1°N – ½°P ½°N – 1°P
Camber RH wheel Pref. ½°P ¼°N ¼°N ¼°P
Toe-In 0″ 18 in. 18 in. 1/16″
Steering Axis Inclination 11° 10 – 5/8°


1976 Cadillac Notes

  • Introduced: September 12, 1975 (in showrooms Sept. 18).
  • Edward C. Kennard was general manager
  • Robert J. Templin was chief engineer
  • Wayne Kady was chief designer (Cadillac Studio)
  • F. T. Hopkins was general sales manager
  • Model year production (U.S.): 309,139, which set a record
  • Calendar year production (U.S.): 312,845
  • Calendar year sales by U.S. dealers: 304,485 for a 3.5 percent share of the industry total, down from 267,049 (3.8 percent) in 1975
  • Model year sales by U.S. dealers: 299,579
  • Cadillac production figures
Calais6,200 (decreased 2,100)
Sedan de Ville67,677 (increased 4,325)
Coupe de Ville114,482 (increased 4,264)
Eldorado49,184 (increased 4,432)
Seville43,772 (increased 27,417)
Series 6024,500 (increased 5,745)
Series 753,324 (decreased 325)

1976 Automotive Notes

  • Sales across the board have increased except for AMC
  • New nameplates appear: Aspen, Chevette, Sunbird, and Volare
  • Front disc brakes are not standard on US cars due to federal regulation
  • Only two-thirds of domestic cars have a V-8 engine; 10% are four cylinders
  • Last year for 455-cid V-8 (7.5 litre) and 454-cid V-8 (7.5 litre)
  • Last year for Eldorado convertible
  • Chevy’s 305-cid V-8 (5 litre) now standard in full-size models
  • Chevette subcompact introduced based on Opel Kadett
  • Pontiac Sunbird is a clone of Monza
  • GM news:
    • Elliott M. Estes was president of GM
    • Thomas A. Murphy was chairman of the board at GM
    • Chevrolet takes first place ahead of Ford by almost ¼ million; followed by Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Buick
    • Olds Cutlass is top-selling model beating out full-size Chevrolet
  • Ford news:
    • Pinto, Maverick, and Mustang II get new trim but otherwise remain the same
    • Special designer series packages for Lincoln
    • Workers strike for 28 days
  • Chrysler news:
    • Plymouth sales in 6th place and Dodge in 8th
    • Chrysler agrees to buy engines and transaxles from VW
    • New sub-compacts, Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare, sell well but plagued with many recalls
  • AMC news:
    • Matador is largest car with Ambassador gone
    • Gremlin, Pacer, and Hornet remain much the same
  • Top American Automobile Corporations for 1976


  • Top model year production for 1976
Estate Wagon20,374
Electra 225124,559
Fleetwood Brougham24,500
Series Seventy-Five3,324
Avanti II156