Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Cannonball Gold Caddy that took the Bronze

I'm going to take a minute to feature yet another '70s Cadillac because they seem to live forever. Way out in rural PA I passed this dusty beast sitting in the Summer sun:
This is a 1971 Cadillac Coupe DeVille in Chalice Gold Firemist Poly. You can call it Chalice Gold but let's face it this thing is BROWN.
As massive as this car is it looks sleek with those awesome taillights that trail the quarter panel edge top to bottom.
Build quality was top-notch for Cadillac as we can see here by the tight and unblemished vinyl roof. This roof treatment is known as the Halo Roof as it doesn't go all the way to the tops of the window openings. This is a hardtop coupe as there are no pillars between the front and rear windows.
The interior is a super comfortable expanse of various browns (called either Carmine or Saddle in the brochure). The dash wraps around the drivers seat a bit even though there isn't much to see. GM figured that anyone buying a Caddy didn't need to mess around with gauges other than the speedometer and the fuel level. The prodigious ashtray is open only adding the overall brown feel.
This long hood holds a monster of an engine; a 7.7 Liter 472 V8 producing 375 horsepower and 365 ft lbs of torque. The only available transmission was a 3 speed automatic. Even though these beasts weighed in around 5,000 lbs their sheer power make them fun to drive hard. Amazingly the engine to succeed this one was even bigger! 1975 ushered in the 8.2 Liter 500 V8.
A bone stock '71 Coupe DeVille just like this one placed 3rd in the original Cannonball Run (this was a real yet unofficial race that was run 5 times in the 1970s). It managed to hold the highest average speed of the race at a whopping 84.6 miles per hour! To average that speed over almost 3,000 miles means hours at over 100mph. They reported an average 8.9 miles per gallon for the race but with a 27 gallon gas tank they still had a while between fill-ups.
This car is as wide as it looks. The '71-'76 Cadillacs had the most door-to-door interior space at 64 inches. Three people can easily sit abreast in the front seat.
Why anybody would bother swapping the Coupe and deVille words so that it reads deVille Coupe is beyond me but whatever. This beast is sporting new tires which can be pretty expensive for such a large car. I don't mind the letter tires and mudflaps on this ride actually.
It's too dark to see but this little housing on top of the fender has 3 small lenses. These are connected via fiber optic to the lights and turn signals to let you know when they need to be replaced. Being a Cadillac it has its own compliment of chrome trim to keep it classy.
Overall this ride is in solid shape with only surface rust emerging here and there. It's sitting nice and tall which makes me assume the suspension has been redone. The ride in these cruisers is like floating on a cushion of air. It can take some getting used to, but things like speed bumps appear in the windshield only to be reduced to a slight movement when passing over them. In addition to the ride these cars are almost silent in stock form. There is sound deadening equipment throughout and the exhaust has a resonator in addition to the muffler to keep it quiet.
This is the sort of car I grew up in. My grandparents had a succession of Cadillacs through the '70s that they would pass along to members of the family when it came time to get a new one. When you're a small child in the backseat of one of these monsters it's like sitting in a room. Power windows and ashtrays (usually full) in every door were the norm.
In high school I had a '74 Coupe DeVille with a less powerful engine than this and I still laid strips constantly (I was 17 years old what do you expect?). It was such a hilarious car because it was super fast while enormous. Gas at the time was around 90 cents a gallon so it was doable. I remember once getting my Shop Rite paycheck and filling the tank from almost empty with the best gas available. even at that low price 27 gallons left me with only a few dollars extra, but what else did I want to do at that age?
Who knows if it's still available but since it was for sale and I snapped all these pics I figure I might as well give the seller a plug. You could do worse for this money if it's in as good repair as I suspect, and if it is still available I'm sure the price is much lower. Good luck!

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