Variable-ratio power steering (fixed-ratio on Seventy-Fives)
Overall ratio: 16.6 to 1
(19.5 to 1 on Seventy-Fives)
Turning angle: 38.5 degrees
Fuel Tank: 27 gallons
Cooling System: 21¾ Qts. (23¾ Qts. with Air Conditioning;
except Seventy-Five 26¾ Qts.)
Washer Fluid Reservoir: 2½ Qts.
Engine Oil: 5 Qts. with Filter Change
Transmission: 4 Qts. with Filter Change
1972 marked the 70th Anniversary of the Cadillac Motor Car Division. Cadillac
set a new model sales record this year, as well as building more than a
quarter million vehicles for the first time ever in a single model year.
1972 was first year for:
- Standard Lamp Monitors
- Front and rear bumper impact strips
- High yield front bumper
- American-made radial-ply steel belted radial tire option with unique
whitewall stripe design
1972 CADILLAC VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER
GM changed its serial numbering system somewhat for 1972 to incorporate
an alphabetical series code and engine type code. This new numbering system
was only used on the serial number tag in 1972, and the old system continued
to be used on the body number plate under the hood. Beginning with 1973
production, the new numbering system would be used in both places.
A 13-digit number appears on top of the dash on the driver's side of the
car, and can be viewed through the windshield. A second number appears
on a tag on the rear upper portion of the cylinder block behind the intake
manifold. The digits resemble: 6B69R2Q100001
These digits decode as:
Digit #1 = GM Division (6 designates Cadillac)
Digit #2 = Series (B - Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham)
Digits #3-4 = Body Style (69 - 4-Door Pillared Sedan)
Digit #5 = Engine (R - 472 CID V-8)
Digit #6 = Year (2 -1972)
Digit #7 = Assembly Plant (Q - Detroit, MI; E - Linden, NJ)
Digits #8-13 = Unit Production Number
BODY NUMBER PLATE
Complete vehicle identification is determined by the Body Number Plate,
which is located under the hood on the cowl, near the top. The body plate
illustrated would identify the car below:
ST = Style (72 - Model Year; 6 - Cadillac Division; 81 - Fleetwood Series;
69 - 4-Door Pillared Sedan Body Style)
BDY = Body (Q - Detroit, Michigan Assembly Plant; 100001 - Production Sequence)
TR = Trim (026 - Dark Blue Matador Cloth and Leather)
PNT = Paint (24 - Zodiac Blue Metallic; L - Dark Blue Vinyl Roof)
L## = Modular Seat Code (Letter followed by two numbers, depending on seating
Cadillac's 70th Anniversary
70 Years of Excellence
Above: 1972 Cadillac Sedan deVille in Promenade Gold with optional White
vinyl roof. Note the new standard bumper impact strips and Lamp Monitors
on the tips of the front fenders.
After suffering through a nationwide strike against General Motors by the
United Auto Workers in 1970, which severely curtailed availability of its
1971 model vehicles, Cadillac recovered quickly for its 70th Anniversary
by setting a new model year sales record of 267,827 cars. The previous
record of 238,745 Cadillacs had been set just two years earlier for the
1970 model year. The 1972 production totals also marked the first time
Cadillac would build more than a quarter of a million vehicles in a single
model year. Cadillac was also now the oldest automobile manufacturer still
building automobiles in the City of Detroit, Michigan.
Two models in particular should be credited with Cadillac's incredible
sales for 1972—the Sedan deVille and Coupe deVille. These two models
alone represented 194,810 cars—72.7 percent of total production.
The most popular 1972 Cadillac model, the Sedan deVille (shown above),
missed the 100,000 mark by just 469 cars! The Sedan deVille would pass
the 100,000 mark for 1973, but would also relinquish its title of top seller
to the Coupe deVille.
Cadillac's competition for 1972 also showed an improvement in sales. The
Lincoln Continental received a styling update that changed the shape of
the rear door on the sedan model, which gave it a more contemporary look.
The Imperial received new styling with complete front and rear updates,
moving the parking lights to the vertical bumper ends and introducing the
"teardrop" taillights for the first time. Body panels were also
smoothed considerably, and the two door hardtop roof was altered to give
it a more formal look. These changes resulted in almost a 37 percent increase
in Imperial sales for the year. Of course, both the Lincoln Continental
and Imperial trailed Cadillac's overall sales volume by a large measure,
due in part perhaps to Cadillac's extensive assortment of body styles,
but the fact was the Sedan deVille and Coupe deVille models alone still
far outsold the competition.
Cadillac was challenged by a sister division in 1972, as well. Oldsmobile
Division celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 1972, and to commemorate the
achievement built an exclusive Ninety Eight Regency model. Oldsmobile announced production would be limited to 5,000 cars,
but some report barely half that total were actually built. The Regency
featured an exclusive exterior paint color called Tiffany Gold, which matched
the face of the Tiffany & Co. designed clock in the instrument panel.
Each Regency owner was given a special set of keys and a sterling silver
key ring, also designed by Tiffany's, with a registration number engraved
on the key ring. If an owner were to ever lose their keys, whoever found
them could just toss them in any mail box, upon which they would be mailed
to Tiffany's, and Tiffany's would return the keys to the owner at no charge.
The interior of the Regency was deeply tufted, richly textured velour with
contrasting gold embroidery on the front and rear center arm rests. Other
interior appointments were highly refined, and even mighty Cadillac honestly
didn't have anything that could truly compete with it. The Regency became
a full production model in 1973, and remained one of Oldsmobile's most
popular models for many years.
At this time, Cadillac as well as other car makers, were spending a great
deal of time addressing emission controls, safety requirements, and accident
protection. Cadillac's new 1972 bumper system included a number of refinements
to provide added levels of protection. Impact strips made of polyvinyl
chloride were mounted on both front and rear bumpers to cushion minor parking
bumps. The front bumper was also moved forward (away from the car) ¾"
to increase yield strength, which is the distance the bumper yields to
force and returns. The result was a deflection of 1½", which
allowed the bumper to move that far without damaging sheet metal.
For 1973, front bumper requirements would be more strict, and rear bumpers
would follow in 1974. Stylists were challenged with incorporating these
new bumper designs effectively into the overall styling of the vehicle,
and some were more successful with that task than others. For this reason,
many prefer the styling of the 1972 models, since the front and rear bumpers
are better integrated into the design of the car. 1972 would also be the
last year that Cadillac wouldn't use urethane filler panels between the
sheet metal and bumpers. These urethane fillers are a problem for Cadillac
collectors today, as they deteriorate, crack, and literally fall off the
car. Reproductions are available, but some don't fit well and they must
be painted to match the car.
Emission controls would continue to tighten, robbing performance and economy.
Soon, high energy ignition systems and catalytic converters would be installed
to overcome poor performance and meet emission requirements, but some of
the post-1972 models are among the worst running motorcars ever built.
For these reasons, as well as styling updates in the later years, many
Cadillac enthusiasts of this era think the 1972 models are the best ones
When searching for a 1972 Cadillac, keep in mind that there are several
areas that should be checked carefully. Rust under and around vinyl roof
moldings can be an issue, especially if the vinyl roof was replaced improperly
at some point in the past. Look for lumps or areas that make a crackling
or crunching noise when pressed. The edges of the hood and deck lid are
other problem areas, as well as the lower portion of the front fenders
and rear quarter panels.
Parts are easy to find for 1972 Cadillacs, except for specific interior
trim items which can be a challenge since the interiors were specific to
the model. The engine, transmission, steering, braking, and suspension
systems are of top quality, and normally provide many miles of trouble
free service, as long as they've been cared for and serviced properly over
We tend to prefer cars in unusual color combinations that are representative
of the era in which they were built. Black, white, and red cars have been
built for decades, but some of the early seventies colors were only used
for a year or two, and aren't often seen today. Adriatic Turquoise and
Sumatra Green, for instance, are two 1972 colors that we think look great
on these cars.
Finally, we will point out something that most of you reading this already
know. These cars are great cars to drive. Yes, they are quite large but
one becomes very familiar with its personality and handling characteristics
quite quickly. They handle well, the brakes are good, and they have enough
performance to get you out of the way quickly, should the need arise. We
can't think of anything that would be better for a long trip. There's plenty
of room to stretch inside, and the luggage compartment is adequate for
almost anything a group of people would need to take with them on a trip.
The Automatic Climate Control system does a good job of keeping interior
temperatures uniform, and the seats are soft enough to pamper but firm
enough to provide good support for long periods of time.
People really enjoy these cars, and after 70 years in the business, Cadillac
had learned a few things about building the luxury cars Americans wanted.
Today, tastes may have changed, but it never hurts to remember how things
were years ago, when these cars were among the most respected in the world.
They are still highly regarded in Cadillac circles, and before we'll go,
we'll issue just one warning to you...it's easy to go from mere attraction
to "must have" status with one of these Cadillacs, as a few minutes
behind the wheel will demonstrate. It's an easy change to make, but at
least you were warned in advance.
Above: 1972 Cadillac Coupe deVille in Ice Blue Firemist with optional Black
vinyl roof and Antique Oxblood Leather interior. Note the repositioned
front parking/turn indicator light assemblies between the headlamps. The
famous Cadillac "V" and crest appear on the hood. The "V"
returned on the DeVille and Calais models in 1972 after being discontinued
for two years (the 1970 and 1971 models did not have the "V"
emblem, for some reason).