Auction Pick of the Week: 1978 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
Between the Energy Crisis, air pollution concerns and new safety requirements, the 1970s was a pretty rough time to design a new vehicle. But America has never run away from a challenge, be it the Interstate Highway System or a new chassis for full-size American sedans. The B-body that emerged from GM’s Project 77 skunkworks proved that doing the right thing was also a fantastic move for the company’s bottom line.
And what’s good for the B-body was good for the larger, more premium C-body that underpinned many Cadillacs of the era. Make no mistake, lightweight plastic materials have certainly advanced from earlier implementations birthed during the Nixon administration. And computer assisted design is now measured in terabytes, not bits.
Those early days of high technology created a rear-wheel drive Cadillac sedan that advanced the genre, and it still feels luxurious by modern car standards. Perhaps even more so than a modern Cadillac. Yet the fact remains: examples like this 1978 Cadillac Sedan DeVille, currently up for auction on Hagerty Marketplace, provide an experience that synthesized the best of old and new.
While downsized relative to the outgoing 1976 model, the DeVille series was still larger and more luxurious than a comparable B-body GM product, and even perhaps the “International Sized”, leaf-sprung Cadillac Seville.
The downsized 1977 DeVille certainly had a smaller footprint, but was actually larger where it counts. There was more head and leg room for rear seat occupants (taller roofline), and a larger trunk. But unlike future implementations of GM platforms applied to the Cadillac brand, the C-body DeVilles were instantly recognizable with their bold egg crate grilles and iconic tail fins. This example is finished in a timeless silver paint job, with bolt-on wire wheel covers (in lieu of disc covers) and aftermarket window tinting to help the insulated, padded vinyl roof further beat the summer heat.
Power is provided by the standard 425-cubic-inch V-8, presumably with the standard carburetor and not the more complex computerized fuel injection system. An electronic rear air suspension remains intact on this example, likely because it sports a modest 37,511 miles on the odometer. A three-speed automatic transmission transmits the power to the rear wheels in traditional American fashion, while recent servicing includes an oil change, brake fluid, new valve cover gaskets, motor mounts, radiator, and spark plugs. The HVAC was refreshed with a new blower motor, and compressor.
The wood, leather and gray plastic interior trims certainly look the part of a low-mile original classic Caddy. The interior appears original, aside from aftermarket floormats and a handy cupholder assembly resting on the transmission tunnel. The original AM/FM 8-track stereo and passenger side waste bin are present, as are notable options like leather seating surfaces, a power passenger seat, cruise control and twilight sentinel headlights.
There’s just something about a Cadillac DeVille (or Fleetwood Brougham) from this era, as its pictures promise a visual and dynamic experience that will not disappoint. The luxurious cabin makes no sporting pretense, rather a guarantee of decadence with delightful touches throughout. We will definitely be keeping a close eye on this auction, to see just how desirable this understated C-body is in today’s crowded market for vintage luxury.
Essentially my first car, color and all, but mine wasn’t that nice. If I had room in the stable…
They did well with the first down size but then they went FWD cooperate platforms and lost their identity.
I think the luxury car lost its identity and Cadillac got caught in the crossfire. How many people these days really buy premium cars with soft, floaty suspensions and 0 to 60s north of 10 seconds?
Get behind the wheel of one of these and you’ll slow down and enjoy the roomy and cushy cabin!
Eh… Depends on the person I guess. Used to Love how my Caddy used to Squat to Hug the Road, then would take off, while sucking me into its Pleated Lazy-Boy Sofa sized seats😚😚😎
What are your thoughts on how the Fleetwood Brougham distinguished itself from the Sedan deVille? They were very much the same car except for a different B-pillar and some trim/option differences.
They were absolutely the same car. You’d have to get the Seville or the Fleetwood 75 Limo if you wanted a significantly different Cadillac four door vehicle. I personally like the Fleetwood Brougham interior more, but the Sedan DeVille is just as comfortable without looking nearly as ostentatious.
How much for the Deville
The auction is ending soon! Have a look for yourself: https://www.hagerty.com/drivers-club/my-garage/marketplace/auction/1O9Cq1pomzrgtEoZJFNaLG