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. 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. Led by Seville’s popularity, Cadillac set records for both sales and production.
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. 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.
The Seville included a Controlled (limited-slip) Differential for extra traction. It had lamp monitors on each front fender to show the status of the front and rear lights. It also had optional illuminated entry and theft-deterrent systems and a new Freedom battery which never needed water. It 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. 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 — especially since no convertible was offered.
The Seville had as standard:
automatic climate control
bumper impact strips
automatic glove box light
High Energy Ignition
inside hood release
remote-control left-hand outside mirror
automatic trunk light
power six-way front-seat adjuster
power front disc brakes
power door locks
AM/FM radio including power antenna
Soft Ray tinted glass
spare tire cover
Turbo Hydra-matic transmission
washer fluid level indicator
steel-belted whitewall tires.
Described as “among the most fully equipped cars in the world.” the Seville had debuted in May 1975 and changed little for its first complete model year. Marketed against Mercedes, the international-size, contemporary styled four-door sedan offered near-European ride/handling qualities, along with respectable fuel mileage. Seville could hit 60 MPH in 11 seconds or less, top 110 MPH, and cruise gently on the highway. The computer-designed chassis was actually derived from Chevrolet’s Nova, but Cadillac did an extensive reworking of the X-body, with exclusive body panels, and mounted a vinyl top. Seville’s front end was unmistakably Cadillac. A horizontal crosshatch grille was arranged in three rows, divided into two sections by a vertical center bar. Quad rectangular headlamps sat above twin rectangular parking/signal lamps and alongside large wraparound cornering lamps. A Seville nameplate was fairly low on the front fender, behind the wheel opening. Up front: a stand-up wreath/crest hood ornament. Large wraparound taillamps (far different from full-size models) and full wheel openings complemented the formal profile.
Body preparation included two primers, four finish coats, and an additional lacquer coat. New zincrometal was used in key areas to fight rust. All told, Seville was described as having an “uncluttered” look, less glitzy than other luxury cars had become. Measuring about two feet shorter than full-size domestic luxury cars, the new breed of Caddy sold well from the start.
The standard 350 cu. in. V-8 (from Oldsmobile) with electronic fuel injection was mounted on a steel sub-frame connected to the body sheet metal through damping cushions, to isolate vibration. An impressive standard equipment list included
variable-ratio power steering
power brakes, door locks and seat
electric trunk lock release
automatic level control
a fuel monitor
signal-seeking AM/FM stereo radio with power antenna
tilt/telescoping steering wheel
GR78 x 15-B steel-belted whitewall tires.
Seville’s dash held an upper “information band” with functional control panels to the driver’s left and right. 50/50 front seats were trimmed in seven Mansion Knit cloth colors, or optional genuine Sierra Grain leather in eight colors. A cross-grain padded vinyl roof was standard.
The Seville was a Series 6K and the body style was S69 representing a 4-door sedan seating five people (2 in the front, 3 in the back). The factory price was $12,479. The shipping weight was 4232 lb. And 43,772 Sevilles were produced.
The Seville engine was a 90-degree, overhead valve V-8 with a cast iron block and head. It displaced 350 cu. in. (5.7 liters).
bore & stroke
4.057 x 3.385 in.
180 at 4400 R.P.M.
275 lb.-ft. at 2000 R.P.M.
Fuel injection (speed density, port-injected)
GR78 x 15-B SBR wide WSW
Three-speed Turbo Hydra-matic with column shift
(1st) 2.48:1; (2nd) 1.48:1; (3rd) 1.00:1: (Rev) 2.07:1 or 2.09:1.
Standard axle (final drive) ratio
Optional final drive
Rear axle type
variable ratio power assisted
unequal length upper/lower control arms, coil springs, stabilizer bar
multiple leaf spring
separate body and perimeter frame.
15 x 6 JJ
front ventilated disc. rear drum with power booster