Automotive Mileposts  

1973 Cadillac
Production Numbers/Specifications

September 21, 1972
304,839 (Includes Eldorado)
6C C47/G Calais Coupe $5,886
Weight: 4900 Built: 4,202
6C C49/N Calais Sedan $6,038
Weight: 4953 Built: 3,798
6D D47/J Coupe deVille $6,268
Weight: 4925 Built: 112,849
6D D49/B Sedan deVille $6,500
Weight: 4985 Built: 103,394
6B B69/P Fleetwood Brougham $7,765
Weight: 5102 Built: 24,800
6F F23/R Fleetwood Seventy-Five Sedan $11,948
Weight: 5620 Built: 1,017
6F F33/S Fleetwood Limousine $12,080
Weight: 5742 Built: 1,043
6F F90/Z Commercial Chassis (Price N/A)
Weight: -- Built: 2,212
R Displacement: 472 CID V-8
Bore and Stroke: 4.30 x 4.06
Compression Ratio: 8.5 to 1
Gross Horsepower: 345 @ 4400 rpm
SAE Net Horsepower: 220 @ 4000 rpm
Carburetor: Rochester Quadrajet 4MV
-- Turbo Hydra-Matic
N/A 2.93 to 1
3.15 to 1 (Standard on Seventy-Five models)
L78-15 Bias-belted, fiberglass, blackwall Power with self-adjusting feature
Front: Disc
Rear: Composite finned drum
Calais/DeVille: 130"
Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham: 133"
Fleetwood Seventy-Five: 151.5"
Front Tread: 63.6"
Rear Tread: 63.3"
Calais/DeVille: 228.5"
Fleetwood Brougham: 231.5"
Fleetwood Seventy-Five: 250.0"
Width: 80"
Height: --
Trunk: --
Variable-ratio power steering (fixed-ratio on Seventy-Fives)
Overall ratio: 17.8 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
For the first time ever, Cadillac assemblies exceeded the 300,000 mark.

Both the Coupe deVille and Sedan deVille surpassed the 100,000 point for the first time ever.

The Coupe deVille became the top Cadillac model, taking the title away from the Sedan deVille after many years.
1973 was first year for:

- Brougham d'Elegance trim option for Fleetwood Brougham
- Single center door seam on Fleetwood Brougham
- Front passenger reading light on Fleetwood Brougham
- Standard Litter Container
- Outside Thermometer option
- Theft-Deterrent System option
- Medici Velour Lap Robe and Pillow option
- Automatic Power Antenna option
- Electric grid rear defogger option for standard Cadillacs (became an option on the Eldorado Convertible in 1971, all others used blower type)


GM changed its serial numbering system somewhat for 1972 to incorporate an alphabetical series code and engine type code. This new numbering system was used on the serial number tag and the body number plate under the hood in 1973.

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: 6D49R3Q100001

These digits decode as:
Digit #1 = GM Division (6 designates Cadillac)
Digit #2 = Series (D - DeVille)
Digits #3-4 = Body Style (49 - 4-Door Hardtop)
Digit #5 = Engine (R - 472 CID V-8)
Digit #6 = Year (3 -1973)
Digit #7 = Assembly Plant (Q - Detroit, MI; E - Linden, NJ)
Digits #8-13 = Unit Production Number


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:

Image: 1973 Cadillac Sedan deVille
Image: GM Body Number Plate

ST = Style (73 - Model Year; 6 - Cadillac Division; CD - DeVille Series; 49 - 4-Door Hardtop Sedan Body Style)
BDY = Body (Q - Detroit, Michigan Assembly Plant; 100001 - Production Sequence)
TR = Trim (351 - White Leather)
PNT = Paint (11 - Cotillion White; J - White Vinyl Roof)
L## = Modular Seat Code (Letter followed by two numbers, depending on seating configuration)

The Special World of
Cadillac 1973

Image: 1973 Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy-Five Limousine

Above: 1973 Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy-Five Limousine in Sable Black. Without question, the most impressive motorcar on the road at the time. Nothing commanded more respect than arriving in a Cadillac Limousine.

1973 was a good year to be in the automobile business, as the U.S. automobile industry broke all previous production and sales records, with Cadillac shattering production records it had set just the year before. In 1972, Cadillac built more than a quarter of a million cars for the first time ever in a single model year, that record fell as Cadillac passed the 300,000 mark in 1973.

Another production record was set for 1973, as Cadillac built its five millionth car was built on June 27, 1973. The Antigua Blue Sedan deVille was equipped with an optional White vinyl roof and a Dark Blue Medallion Cloth interior was fitted.

The Sedan deVille and Coupe deVille both reached an historic milepost in their histories, as they surpassed the 100,000 production mark in 1973, and the Coupe deVille overtook the Sedan deVille as Cadillac's most popular model, a title the Sedan had held for many years. This made the Coupe deVille the world's most popular luxury car.

The special world of Cadillac for 1973 ushered in the third year of this body style, and normally sales would be expected to start off strong when the new style is introduced, and then fall off somewhat each year until the next new body style is introduced. But sales of this particular body style did exactly the reverse—they got off to a slow start in 1971, as just about the time the new models were beginning to be seen on the streets, a nationwide UAW strike against General Motors hit, and shut down production. New cars were in short supply for several months, and supply never truly caught up to demand.

Sales recovered for 1972, and just kept going for 1973. Unknown to anyone, Cadillac and the other auto makers would need these couple of good years, as events in another part of the world were about to have a big impact on the industry for 1974—especially the big, full-sized cars. Sales would pick up again, but the end of the big American car was approaching. By 1980, all Cadillac models would be down sized, as would those from every other manufacturer.

Image: 1973 Cadillac Coupe deVille

Above: 1973 Cadillac Coupe deVille, the most popular Cadillac model of all for 1973. Shown in Renaissance Gold with an optional Black padded vinyl roof.

For many years, Cadillac's owner loyalty and repeat ownership were the envy of the industry. It would seem that once someone made that final step up to a Cadillac, they were reluctant to settle for anything less—or anything else. Advertisements of the past had mentioned this fact in the copy of the ad. For 1973, some of Cadillac's advertising focused on owner loyalty and repeat ownership, with emphasis on statistics that showed Cadillac to have the highest repeat ownership and satisfaction of any luxury car in the land. And there was a reason for these "in your face" ads.

Cadillac's main competitor, Lincoln, had hired an independent testing firm, the Nationwide Consumer Testing Institute, to evaluate the riding comfort and driving ease of the two cars. These two items were of supreme importance in the luxury field, of course, and special attention was paid to the quietness of the ride and the lack of harshness while underway.

For these tests, Lincoln assembled a group of 100 Cadillac owners at the Hotel Bel-Air, a fitting place to serve as an initial meeting place. The first test asked the Cadillac owners to determine which car had the most comfortable ride. Over the same test route, the Cadillac owners drove new versions of a Cadillac and a Lincoln. 64 of the 100 chose Lincoln as the make with the most comfortable ride.

The second test was to evaluate driving ease. For this test, new Fleetwood Eldorado and Continental Mark IV models were used. And again, each car was driven over the identical route. The result was that 66 of the Cadillac owners stated the Continental Mark IV was the easier of the two to drive. About the time Lincoln started advertising the results of these tests, Cadillac responded with similar ads on loyalty , satisfaction, and repeat ownership. And the comparisons just kept growing.

Early in the 1973 model year, Lincoln advised that a national survey indicated that 20,000 drivers of "the other luxury car" had switched to Lincoln during the last two years. An impressive number, for certain, but the fact remained that Cadillac was far outselling Lincoln as a whole. The only area where Lincoln was successful in challenging Cadillac one on one was in the personal luxury car market, where the Continental Mark IV was by far the more popular of the two. This despite the Eldorado's expanded assortment of models, which offered a convertible model, something Lincoln hadn't offered since 1967. There was no doubt that Cadillac had a far wider assortment of models to choose from, and the division had maintained its leadership role in the luxury market for many years at this point. But the challenge was on, and Cadillac was being challenged from other directions, as well.

The luxury import market was beginning to grow at this time. Imports of luxury models from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Jaguar were increasing, and while these vehicles were generally more expensive and offered fewer comforts and somewhat uninspired styling in some cases, they were indeed becoming a concern. Certainly, Cadillac would need to keep a careful watch to protect its market share.

There are several areas of concern when searching for a 1973 Cadillac. As with most cars equipped with a factory vinyl roof, rust can lurk below the surface. Check moldings and around the rear window carefully. Also check the lower areas of the front fenders and the rear quarter panels. Hood and deck lid edges are another area that warrant close inspection. Parts are generally readily available, and most of the components on these cars have proven themselves to be very durable over the years.

Image: 1973 Cadillac Sedan deVille

Above: 1973 Cadillac Sedan deVille in optional St. Tropez Blue Firemist with optional Dark Blue vinyl roof. Evident in this view is the new impact-absorbing front bumper system with front bumper guards and impact strips. The grille is attached to the bumper itself, which allows the grille to retract somewhat during low-speed impacts to prevent damage.

Image: 1973 Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy-Five Limousine