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Monday, May 4, 2015

1972 Cadilac

Cadillac, General Motors’ prestige brand of  passenger cars marked its 70th anniversary in 1972.

 Cadillac, long the Standard of the World, marked its 70th birthday in 1972. All cars in General Motors’ most posh division had been given major restyles for the 1971 model year, so for the platinum anniversary there was little to do but tweak the distinctive, dignified designs and reap the rewards of higher-than-ever sales by an ever adoring public.

The 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy-Five nine-passenger sedan sold for $14,966 and weighed in at 2 449 kilos (5,510 pounds).

The grandest aristocrats in the Cadillac family were found in the Series 75 limousines and stately Fleetwood sedans. For 1972 the grille was subtly reworked with pronounced, horizontal stripes that carried a sharp centre crease. Narrow parking lamps migrated from the bumper to separate the square-bezels that framed the dual headlamps, set in massive, rectangular recesses.

Advertising for the 1972 Cadillac Eldorado bragged, “From its jewel-like standup crest to its beautifully beveled rear deck, this is motoring pleasure of the first magnitude."

A sculpted wreath of laurels underscored the elegant Cadillac emblems on the raised hood and squared-up trunk.

Flanks were razor-straight from stem to stern with beauty creases--one running along the front fender, while a second flared from the front door to the chrome-ensconced taillight housing. The limousine’s doors were cut high into the formal roof, which could be padded.

Interiors in the 75 Series were  as sumptuous as they were cavernous, swathed in rich Minuet cloth or a combination of Matador Cloth and Sierra leather. In the limousine, the glass partition between the driver and passengers raised and lowered with the mere flick of a switch. Three comfy jump seats could accommodate extra passengers, while those nestled in the back seat had a generous centre armrest at their elbows.

Luxurious standard appointments in the 75 Series included dual-comfort front seats and rear-seat reading lamps. Cadillac’s famed automatic level control was part of the free ride. Automatic climate control, a rear window defogger, carpeted footrests; power steering and a passenger-side remote control outside rearview mirror all made the list.

The Fleetwood Series 60 Special Brougham was virtually unchanged from last year but for 1972 it kissed with a new of a chrome moulding around the rear window. The four-door sedan topped the scales at 2 184 kilos (4,815 pounds). The price tag was $9,347.

Cadillac’s instrument panel was posh, befitting a world-class luxury car.

Series 60 Interiors were swaddled in any of nine colours. Choices of fabrics were the Sierra grain leather and a Matador cloth that could stand on its own or be mated to the classic cowhide.  Further there was Minuet fabric and—the latest rage—a plush Medici crushed velour.

Front-wheel drive Eldorado was touted as the world’s most elegant personal car, powered by the world’s largest passenger production engine--an 8.2-litre (500-cubic inch) V-8. A bold checkerboard grille set it apart from last year’s offering. Longer than ever, it now rode on a 3 210--millimetre  (126.3-inch) wheelbase. The envelope was gently rounded in shape with the most subtle of Coke-bottle swell aft of the doors. The rich, roguish coupe listed for $8,878 and the convertible, with its sleek, inward-folding Hideway Top, cost $9,325.

The 2 145-kilo (4,730-pound) Sedan de Ville carried a price tag of $7,814 and was a very popular seller for Cadillac.

The Cadillac de Ville series was billed as “a favourite among fine-car owners”. It too was only slightly revised for the 1972 season. The tartan-weave grille was given more prominent horizontal bars and the dual headlights were separated by substantially-sized rectangular parking lights. The Cadillac crest on the hood and rear deck were underscored and accentuated with a large but tasteful chrome “V”.  Power front brakes and a light that indicated the windshield washer fluid was low were included as standard equipment. The 2 145-kilo (4,730-pound) Sedan de Ville carried a price tag of $7,814 and the 2 125-kilo (4,685-pound) Coupe de Ville sold for $7,567.

The least expensive Cadillac for the 1972 anniversary season was the Calais, starting at $7,099 for the coupe.

Calais, at $7,099 for the coupe and $7,315 for the sedan, was the marque’s level offering. Like its cushy kin, it was further refined this season. It carried the same headlight theme as the de Ville series as well as the same tartan-weave grille.  Upgrades in the standard equipment package included a new bumper impact system, and an automatic parking brake release. Interiors were graced with passenger assist straps and flow-through ventilation.

For all models--but Eldorado--there was a pair of engine offerings, the 7.7-litre (472-cubic inch) or the 5-litre (305-cubic inch) V-8. Regardless of which mighty mill was chosen, both were coupled to General Motors’ Turbo-Hydra-Matic transmission.

The thickly padded instrument panel was “artfully curved”. Large, easy-to-read, white-on-black, rectangular gauges flanked a long strip speedometer. The electric clock was set in a tasteful panel along with two generous air conditioning vents.

The list of optional goodies one could add to a Caddy was nearly as long as the Trans-Canada Highway.  There was a trio of radio/stereo setups, including the Signal-Seeking ‘stereo only’ automatic station finder. To add icing to the audio cake, the signal-seeking model could be outfitted with a radio foot control pedal that allowed the driver to change stations with a simple tap of the toe.

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Air conditioning—dual systems for the limousine was another popular extra. Other comfort options were cruise control, an electric sunroof, power door locks, a remote control trunk lock, a towing package and an automatic level control system.

The Twilight Sentinel was a sensor that turned on the headlamps and parking lamps as light conditions changed. It also automatically shut off the lamps 90 seconds after occupants departed the car.

Cadillac did very well in calendar year 1972. Folks from St. John’s to Victoria took home 5,171 of GM’s finest, making Cadillac the best selling luxury car in Canada. Lincoln came in a distance second place with 2,498 units, West Germany’s Mercedes-Benz was third with 1,981 units and Imperial brought up the rear with 643 sets of taillight leaving showroom floors. 

The 1972 Imperial was Chrysler Canada's luxury brand.

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Copyright James C. Mays 2015 All rights reserved.

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