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.