Cadillac Models & History 1996

  • The Northstar, in either its 275 or 300 horsepower variation, now powered all front-wheel drive Cadillacs.
  • The Arlington, Texas-produced Fleetwood (and optional Fleetwood Brougham package), the lone front-engine, rear-drive Cadillac, was in its final year of production.
  • Introduced in early 1996 as a 1997 model was the all-new rear-drive Catera. This midsize luxury sedan was a joint venture between Cadillac and Opel, assembled in Germany, and powered by a 3.0-liter dual overhead cam V-6.
  • All US 1996 Cadillacs received daytime running lamps (standard on Canadian Cadillacs since 1990) and a new remote keyless entry fob in dark gray with light gray buttons and white icons.
  • The fob functions were: lock, unlock, trunk open and fuel door open. The fobs were identified on the back with a “one” or “two” indication, allowing two separate drivers to personalize seat position that adjusted to the driver when the key was placed in the ignition.
  • Additionally, all front-drive Cadillacs featured an ignition key anti-lockout feature that protected the driver from accidental lockout by disabling the driver’s power door lock if the key was left in the ignition.
  • Also, all front-drive Cadillacs received the new communication-based electronics architecture called Class 2, a new designation for an electrical communication protocol on 1996 vehicles that also provided common emissions diagnostic capability in connection with federally mandated On-Board Diagnostic II requirements.

The 1996 Cadillac 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. The code was as follows:

1 1 or 4 manufacturing country (United States)
2 G General Motors
3 6 Cadillac
4 & 5 car line series
D/W Fleetwood
E/L Eldorado
E/T Eldorado Touring
K/D DeVille
K/F Concours
K/S Seville (SLS)
K/Y Seville (STS)
6 the body style:
1 two-door coupe
2 two-door
3 two-door convertible
4 two-door station wagon
5 four-door sedan
6 four-door
8 four-door station wagon
7 the restraint code
1 active (manual) belts
2 active (manual) belts w/dual airbags
3 active (manual) belts w/driver’s side airbag
4 passive (automatic) belts
5 passive (automatic) belts w/driver�s side airbag
6 passive (automatic) belts w/dual airbags
7 active (manual) belt driver and passive (automatic) belt passenger w/dual airbags
8 the engine
P LTl 5.7L V-8
Y LD8 4.6L V-8
9 L37 4.6L V-8
R L81 3.0L V-6
9 check digit
10 model year T = 1996
11 the assembly plant
12-17 the production sequence number




  • Cadillac’s model year production totaled 174,406 compared with 200,577 the year previous.
  • Based on sales at 170,379 automobiles in 1996 (vs. 180,504 the year before),Cadillac’s share of the U.S. market was 2.0 percent compared with 2.1 the year previous.
  • The 1996 sales figure listed included 1,676 early launch 1997 Catera sedans sold in the 1996 model year.
  • John F. Smith replaced John O. Grettenberger as general manager of Cadillac.
  • In September 1996, faulty computer chips forced the recall of 587,000 Cadillacs.