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Image: 1972 Cadillac Sedan deVille

CALAIS · DEVILLE · FLEETWOOD BROUGHAM · SEVENTY-FIVE

1972
Cadillac


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1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado

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Image: Cadillac 1972After 70 years, the Standard of the World still stood alone. As would be expected of a leader, Cadillac was out front in styling, lasting value, and selection among American luxury cars. The perennial top selling luxury make in America, Cadillac also led the pack in owner loyalty. It continued to break its own records, year after year, and maintain top status.

For 1972, Cadillac Motor Car Division celebrated its 70th Anniversary. In doing so, it became the oldest car manufacturer in the City of Detroit. Cadillac built more cars for the 1972 model year than in any other in its history, and it built more than a quarter of a million cars during on model year as well. Not a bad record for just one year.

Cadillac for 1972 once again offered nine models in three series on four different wheelbases. The Calais was the least expensive of the line, with two models, a Coupe and a hardtop Sedan. They were the only cars in the line with a base price still under $6,000. The next step up was the popular DeVille series, which included Cadillac's two top selling models, the Coupe deVille and the Sedan deVille. Together they accounted for over 72 percent of Cadillac's sales in 1972, each coming quite close to the 100,000 production mark. The Fleetwood Sixty Special was Cadillac's premium luxury model, and as such rode on its own exclusive 133-inch wheelbase. The Fleetwood Eldorado Coupe and Convertible represented the brand in the personal luxury market, which was growing quite rapidly at this time. And finally, the flagships of the Cadillac line, the respected and dignified Fleetwood Seventy-Five Sedan and Limousine, among the most impressive motorcars ever made.

The standard Cadillacs all received somewhat modest styling updates, with the most obvious changes occurring to the front end appearance. The vertical grille bar theme seen previously was now horizontal, topped by a chrome header bar that framed the grille on both side as well, from the bumper up. Above the grille, the familiar Cadillac crest now featured the "V" emblem under it on Calais and deVille models. It had been missing for two years, as Cadillac removed it when it reintroduced the crest design with the raising wings in 1970. Many of Cadillac's traditional customers were very pleased to see it return.

The parking and front turn signal lights were relocated to a spot between the widely spaced headlamps, taking the space occupied by the winged crest design a year earlier. The emblem was etched into the lenses of the light fixtures, however, so in a way they still occupied the same spot they had. The Coupe deVille and Sedan deVille chromed script nameplates moved from the front fender to the rear roof quarters.

That about sums up the changes, except for new paint and vinyl roof colors and new interior fabric patterns and colors. Standard equipment was almost identical to the previous year, with just a few exceptions. The front and rear Lamp Monitor option was moved to the list of standard equipment for 1972, but bounced back to the options list again for 1973. The Flow-Thru Ventilation System was reconfigured for 1972, which deleted the louvers in the rear deck lid. They were replaced by one-way valves in the door area that opened to exhaust inside air. The front bumper was redesigned to absorb minor impacts, yielding away when an object was struck, then moving back when the pressure was removed. Horizontal impact strips were also added to the front and rear bumpers for 1972 to improve protection.

Cadillac, along with other auto manufacturers, began to list its engine horsepower output in both gross and SAE net ratings. The difference between the two ratings was a bit shocking at first. In 1971 and 1972, gross engine horsepower for the 472 cubic inch V-8 engine was 345 at 4400 rpm. The SAE net horsepower rating for 1972 showed the same engine at 220 horsepower. The difference was engine horsepower had always been reported on a bare engine, without accessories. SAE net horsepower is reported on engines with typical accessories, such as an alternator, power steering pump, etc., installed. That shows as well as anything how many horses all those add-ons really use!

1972 was a very good year for Cadillac, and it could look forward to another great year in 1973. It would need these good years, as changes were looming ahead that would have a major impact on Cadillac's business, as well as the entire American automobile industry. Change, like it or not, was about to become a reality.

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