For some,” the 1979 catalog proclaimed, a Cadillac was “an integral part of the good life. For some the fulfillment of a promise they made to themselves long ago.” Could be, but apart from a daringly downsized E-body Eldorado, the year-brought few stunning announcements. A new electronic-tuning AM/FM stereo radio with signal seeker and scanner included digital display of time and station frequencies. A new convex remote-control right mirror to increase the field of view was standard on Broughams and limos, optional on DeVilles. Lap seatbelts were the new “free-wheeling” style, and chimes now gently warned passengers to buckle up. A new dome light had dual spot map lamps. Seville and Eldorado could have an optional Trip Computer with digital display that showed
miles yet to travel
elapsed trip time.
DeVilles, Fleetwood Broughams, and limousines were powered by a 425 cu. in. (7.0-liter) V-8 with four-barrel carburetor; a fuel-injected version again was available. Oldsmobiie’s diesel V-8, first offered only on Seville and Eldorado, could go under DeVille/Brougham hoods by year’s end. Options for the year Included dual electric remote mirrors; an automatically-retracting radio antenna; plus 8-track and cassette tape players (with built-in 40-channel CB available).
I. D. DATA
Cadillac’s 13-symbol Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) was again on the upper left surface of the cowl, visible through the windshield.
Coding was similar to 1977-78.
The model year code changed to “9” for 1979.
The body type code for Eldorado coupe changed to “57”.
Assembly plant codes were:
“E” Linden, NJ (Eldorado only)
“C” South Gate, CA (DeVille only).
Sequence numbers began with 100001 at Detroit (except 450001 for Seville); 600001 at Linden; and 350001 at South Gate.
Eldorado’s body identification plate was on the top right side of the cowl.
Diesel Seville body plates were on the top left side of the cowl.
Introduced: September 28, 1978.
Model year production (U.S.): 381,113 for a 4.1 percent share and a new record.
Calendar year production (U.S.): 345,794.
Calendar year sales by U.S. dealers: 314,034, which amounted to a 3.8 percent market share.
Model year sales by U.S. dealers: 328,815.
DeVilles this year were built at South Gate, California.
The DeVille Phaeton’s simulated convertible top was hardly likely to satisfy real ragtop fans who could afford the price of one of the re-manufactured versions.
One such conversion by Hess & Eisenhardt, called ‘Le Cabriolet’ was marketed through Cadillac dealers.
Like other GM divisions, Cadillac had high expectations for diesel power, but that phenomenon was destined to evaporate in the next half-dozen years.