Automotive Mileposts  

1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado
Production Numbers/Specifications

September 23, 1971-July 7, 1972*
40,074 (Eldorado only)
1972 Cadillac Production for rear drive models
693/L L-47-H Fleetwood Eldorado Coupe $7,360
Weight: 4880 Built: 32,099
693/L L-67-E Fleetwood Eldorado Convertible $7,681
Weight: 4966 Built: 7,975
*Dates represent introduction and last day of production
S Displacement: 8.2 Litres, V-8 (500 CID)
Bore and Stroke: 4.30 x 4.304
Compression Ratio: 8.5 to 1
Gross Horsepower: 365 @ 4400 rpm
SAE Net Horsepower: 235 @ 3800 rpm
Torque: 535 ft.-lbs. @ 2800 rpm
SAE Net Torque: 410 @ 2400 rpm
Carburetor: Rochester Quadrajet 4MV
Oil Pressure: 35-40 Lbs. @ 30 mph
-- Turbo Hydra-Matic
N/A 3.07 to 1
L78-15 Bias-belted, fiberglass, blackwall Power with self-adjusting feature
Front: Disc
Rear: Composite finned drum
126.3 inches
Front Tread: 63.66"
Rear Tread: 63.59"
Length: 223.2"
Width: 79.8"
Height: 54.2"
Trunk: 13.6 cubic feet (Coupe)
11.0 cubic feet (Convertible)
Variable-ratio power steering
Overall ratio: 16.3 to 1
Turning angle: 38.5 degrees
Fuel Tank: 27 gallons
Cooling System: 21¾ Qts. (23¾ Qts. with Air Conditioning)
Washer Fluid Reservoir: 2½ Qts.
Engine Oil: 6 Qts. with Filter Change
Transmission: 5½ Qts. with Filter Change
1972 was Cadillac's 70th Anniversary. The Division broke sales and production records for the year, surpassing a quarter million cars built in a single model year for the first time ever. 1972 was first year for:

- Steel-Belted Radial Ply White Sidewall Tire option
- Two piece Convertible Hard Boot
- Custom Cabriolet Roof option
- Dual Comfort Front Seat option on Eldorado
- Lamp Monitors made standard


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: 6L47S2Q100001

These digits decode as:
Digit #1 = GM Division (6 designates Cadillac)
Digit #2 = Series (L - Eldorado)
Digits #3-4 = Body Style (47 - 2-Door Hardtop Coupe; 67 - 2-Door Convertible)
Digit #5 = Engine (S - 500 V-8)
Digit #6 = Year (2 -1972)
Digit #7 = Assembly Plant (Q - Detroit, MI; E - Linden, NJ)
Digits #8-13 = Unit Production Code


Complete vehicle identification is determined by the Body Number Plate, which is located under the hood on the cowl, near the top.

Image: GM Body Number Plate

ST = Style (72 - Model Year; 6 - Cadillac Division; 93 - Eldorado Series; 47 - 2-Door Coupe Body Style or 67 - 2-Door Convertible)
BDY = Body (Q - Detroit, Michigan Assembly Plant; 100001 - Production Sequence)
TR = Trim (411 - Black Morocco Cloth)
PNT = Paint (11 - Cotillion White; K - Black Vinyl Roof)
L## = Modular Seat Code (Letter followed by two numbers, depending on seating configuration)

1972 Cadillac Eldorado:
Out of a Tradition of Excellence

Image: 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Coupe

Above: 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Coupe shown in Balmoral Green Firemist paint with White padded vinyl roof and accent striping.

With 1972 marking Cadillac's 70th year, one might think that was enough. But it was only the beginning. Cadillac was now the oldest automobile manufacturer in the City of Detroit. A record 267,787 cars were built for the model year, which topped the 1970 record by almost 20,000 cars. Cadillac also surpassed the quarter million mark in 1972, which it had done before back in calendar year 1969, but that included both 1969 and 1970 models. This time, it was 1972 models only.

The base price on the Fleetwood Eldorado Coupe and Convertible dropped slightly for 1972, as did the cost of many options. The lower prices may have helped spur sales, but it's likely an uninterrupted production cycle may have contributed as much as anything. With production shut down for three months in 1971, dealer stock was tight for much of the model year. It's likely some customers may have waited for things to return to normal before purchasing their next car.

An unusual order was placed for a Cadillac in May, 1972. It came from The White House. President Richard Nixon wanted a Sable Black Fleetwood Eldorado Coupe to give as a gift from the American people to Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev. And he needed it in three days! It seems Brezhnev was a bit of a car enthusiast, and what better gift to receive than a new Cadillac?

Cadillac Division manufacturing executives rushed to locate a Sable Black Eldorado Coupe with dual red accent stripe on the assembly line or waiting on a lot to be shipped, but couldn't locate anything that would be suitable. Finally, one was located on the receiving dock, just minutes after it had arrived from Fisher Body. The car was literally walked down the assembly line, with every available supervisor on duty to ensure top quality. After being quickly tested on Detroit freeways, the car was detailed at the factory, the trunk was loaded up with extra parts, a set of service manuals, and a few special tools that might be required for future servicing. An assortment of popular 8-track tapes was sent along as well. The car was shipped by truck to Selfridge Air Force Base near Detroit, where it was loaded onto a military transport for its long journey overseas. Nixon arrived in Moscow on May 22nd, and for the first time in history, the American flag flew over the Grand Palace of the Kremlin to mark the visit. It was reported that the gift thrilled Brezhnev.

A beautiful new Continental Mark IV was introduced in 1972, and it sold a total of 48,591 cars. In its July, 1972 edition, Motor Trend Magazine published "The King of the Hill" by John Lamm. This article pitted a new Eldorado against a new Mark IV. The article started off by stating that both cars had uncomfortable seats, that "ground a tiring ache in the lower part of our backs." That, combined with typical desert crosswinds that the cars reacted to made both uncomfortable to drive for extended periods of time!

Not off to a great start, are we? The article did mention that both cars were very quiet inside at speed, and that normal conversation was no problem in either. Then they mentioned GM's embedded-in-the-windshield antenna, which they said was worthless in the western United States.

During the test, staffers who professionally put down the big luxury cars as being too fat and sloppy for their own good, would also come in to borrow the keys for one of the other to take it to lunch. Right. The Eldorado came out on top on this first part of the test, but it was noted that neither car was an unqualified success on the long haul or short run.

The next part of the test investigated resale value, interior spaciousness, and repair frequency. The Mark led on resale, but the overall outcome was a tie in the opinion of the road test staff. After that came performance and braking ability. The anti-smog equipment was mentioned, along with the reduction in compression, and the Eldorado seemed to have a slight advantage over the Mark in overall performance. Braking, however, was deemed a disappointment in both cars, with the Eldorado even failing to meet expectations on a normal downhill commute through Beverly Hills. The Mark's anti-lock rear brakes malfunctioned, and created the need to correct for a skid.

When asked which car staffers preferred to drive, the Eldorado was the winner. When asked which car was the best looking, all except one said the Mark IV was the better of the two. One staffer said the Eldorado looked "swollen" and the author, Lamm said he agreed.

The new Custom Cabriolet roof option was mentioned, and the test Eldorado was equipped with that option combined with a sunroof. It was noted that for the price of the option ($1,005), one would expect a superior sunroof, but all felt they'd driven less expensive cars with sunroofs that were quieter and less breezy. A problem with the cruise control was also noted, which was apparently typical of this design on GM cars of the time, where the speed failed to lock in at the desired setting without a lot of slowing down and speeding up. The Mark IV's speed control engaged smoothly.

The overall winner, and the car declared "King of the Hill," was the Eldorado. Of the four criteria upon which the cars were judged, the Eldorado won two, tied on a third, and lost only one. However, it was noted that the one section the Eldo lost on was styling and general luxury appeal, two big considerations for a luxury car. On that consideration alone, the magazine noted that perhaps that made the Mark IV the grass roots winner, for these cars are frequently purchased based on their looks and little else, and in that respect the Mark was the clear winner.

The article closed with a notation that neither car was found to be particularly luxurious, and bemoaned the fact that Detroit has denied Americans the likes of an American-made car to compare with Mercedes, Jaguar, and BMW. It was mentioned that if you were to approach many American businessmen while driving a Mercedes, they'd likely not be thrilled to do business with you, so their advice was to go out to the airport and rent a Ford before the meeting!

Image: 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Convertible

Above: 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Convertible shown in Russet Firemist with White Sierra grain leather interior and White dual hood accent stripes. Note the optional Steel-Belted Radial Ply White Sidewall Tires with unique dual band stripe design.