Automotive Mileposts  

1976 Cadillac Seville
Production Numbers/Specifications

Image: 1976 Cadillac Seville body construction
September 12, 1975+
43,772 (Seville only)
See 1976 Cadillac Production | 1976 Eldorado Production
Note: +In showrooms on September 18, 1975
Series 6K/Style S69 4-Door Sedan $12,479
Weight: 4232* Built: 43,772
*Weight, as delivered with options: 4675
R 350 CID V-8 (5.7 Litres)
Bore and Stroke: 4.057 x 3.395
Compression Ratio: 8.0 to 1
Brake Horsepower: 180 @ 4400 rpm
Torque: 275 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
Carburetor: N/A (Bendix electronic fuel injection)
-- "400 Series" Turbo Hydra-Matic 3-Speed Automatic
-- 2.56 to 1
3.08 to 1 (optional)
GR 78-15B Firestone Wide whitewall
Spare: G78-15B Stowaway
Wheels: 15 x 6 JJ
Power Front Disc/Rear Duo-Servo Drum, dual hydraulic system, vacuum assisted, self-adjusting
Rear Drum: 11" finned cast iron
Total Swept Area: 350.8 sq. in.
114.3 inches
Front Tread: 61.3
Rear Tread: 59.0
Length: 204.0 inches
Width: 71.8 inches
Height: 54.7 inches
Ground Clearance: 5.4 inches
Weight Distribution (F/R, %): 57/43
Head Room: 38.5 front, 36.0 rear
Trunk: 14.9 cubic feet
Type: Power assisted recirculating ball
Ratio: Variable, 16.4-13.8:1
Turns: 3.2, lock-to-lock
Turning Circle: 40.0 feet
Seating Capacity: 5
Fuel Tank: 21.0 gallons
Cooling System:
The 1976 Seville was introduced in May 1975 as a 1976 model. It was Cadillac's first smaller luxury car, designed to compete with luxury imports that had begun to encroach on Cadillac's market share. The 1976 Seville was Cadillac's most expensive model at the time, and was the best equipped Cadillac in standard form since the 1957-1960 Eldorado Brougham.

1976 Seville VIN Identification

Typical 13-digit 1976 Seville VIN: 6S69R6Q######

Decodes as:

Digit #1: 6 - GM Cadillac Division
Digit #2: S - Seville ('K' Body)
Digits #3 and #4: 69 - 4 Door Sedan
Digit #5: R - 350 CID V-8 EFI
Digit #6: 6 - 1976
Digit #7: Q - Detroit, Michigan Assembly Plant
Digits #8-13: Serial numbers begin at 450001

Cadillac's New Baby

In all honesty, the 1976 Seville was the car Cadillac probably would have rather not built. During the sixties, Cadillac was building and selling pretty much according to assembly plant capacity. If Cadillac built it, it would sell. At times, capacity couldn't keep up with demand for certain models. Quite often, dealer inventory was less than Cadillac and the dealer would have liked. In short, Cadillac was breaking sales and production records, making money, and their motorcars were accepted as the standard for luxury transportation around the world. Life was good.

As the sixties rolled over to the seventies, luxury imports such as Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and BMW were being imported into the United States in higher numbers, but were at the time nothing to be concerned about. Americans loved their full size luxury cars, with a soft ride, generous interior and exterior dimensions, the latest gadgets and accessories, and luxury trimmings. The luxury imports couldn't be more different from what Americans wanted. The imports had somewhat dull styling, the interiors were of good quality, but were uninspired compared to American luxury cars. The ride was somewhat harsh, and the seats firm. The differences between the two couldn't be more evident. Nevertheless, Cadillac kept an eye on the situation.

Shortly after the 1974 models had been introduced in the fall of 1973, a war in the Middle East had a profound impact on the American auto industry. Countries responsible for much of the world's oil production placed an embargo on shipments to the United States. Gas prices shot up, and before long gas stations were displaying "NO GAS" signs out front. Panicked Americans immediately abandoned their full size cars for smaller, more efficient ones. Since all Cadillac had to offer at the time was full sized luxury cars, the impact of this change of attitude was severe. It was at this point that the decision was made to move forward immediately with a new, smaller luxury Cadillac.

Cadillac executives went against top GM brass when they set the target introduction date for spring 1975, less than a year and a half away. The powers that be at GM felt this was not enough time, but Cadillac knew it didn't have the luxury of time, and moved forward despite objections from above. Once again, Cadillac was correct in their thinking, there was no time to waste.

So the new car program, identified as the "K"-body, moved into full speed. Cadillac identified the "X"-car platform as the one to begin with, most notable for its use as the Chevrolet Nova. All sheet metal would be unique to the car, quality control would be excellent, interior fittings and trim would be comparable to the finest Cadillac had to offer. Oldsmobile's 350 cubic inch V-8 was identified as the power source, and would be modified per Cadillac specifications with a Bendix fuel injection system.

Cadillac priced the new Seville at the very top of the line, with only the big Fleetwood Seventy-Fives having a higher sticker price. Many items available as options on other Cadillacs were provided as standard on the Seville, and the marketing department made sure advertising emphasized the Seville's new international size luxury.

Cadillac was concerned that its traditional customers might not accept a smaller Cadillac, as by the time the car was announced in April 1975, the gas shortage was over. Sales of large cars had begun to improve again, but even GM felt that it was time for a new, more efficient automobile, and plans were underway to down size the entire GM line, across all divisions, by the end of the decade. In fact, the full sized Cadillac's were slated for a new more compact size for 1977, so the Seville in 1976 was just a little ahead of the rest of the line.

The Seville was popular, and by the close of the 1976 model year, 43,772 had been built. The Seville took competitor Lincoln by surprise, as it had nothing ready in which it could compete with Cadillac and the imports. A crash program was implemented at Lincoln to introduce a smaller Lincoln that it would name Versailles by 1977. Lincoln chose the platform that the Ford Granada and Mercury Monarch was based on, but did not have the time nor the budget for all-new sheet metal. The result was a beautiful car that wasn't able to hide its heritage, despite the more luxurious interiors and added exterior trim. Quality control was superior, and advancements in technology provided state of the art testing before any cars left the factory, but many felt the car was a fancy Granada, and not worth the extra money.

Cadillac was more successful with the first generation Seville, built from 1976-1979, but this would be the high point for the model, topping out in 1978 with sales of 56,985. A new body style was introduced for 1980 which featured a "bustleback" rear design that people either loved or hated. Not so many loved it, and sales of the second generation 1980-1985 Seville would never reach the levels of the previous style.

If you're considering purchasing a Seville from the late seventies, you should be aware of an engine fire hazard involving seals in the fuel injection system. They deteriorate due to age, and should be replaced. If you aren't certain if the seals have been replaced on a car, have them done to be on the safe side. There is little to no warning, and if you value your fuel injected Cadillac of this era, replace those seals without delay!

Other issues on these cars are rare, as they were very well built and designed. Rust is normally not a huge concern on well maintained cars from dry parts of the country. Most mechanical parts are easy to come by, as they were used on other GM/Cadillac products, but some Seville-specific items can be difficult to find, particularly electronic items that have failed.

The 1976 Seville drives and handles very well, and is comfortable for 4 passengers, 5 if it's a child. Performance is lively, but not fast. The brakes are very good, as is the ride and isolation from noise. Economy isn't good by today's standards, but if you drive your Seville carefully and responsibly, you can plan on mid-twenty miles per gallon on the highway, and upper teens around town.

Image: 1976 Cadillac Seville instrument panel

Above: 1976 Cadillac Seville instrument panel was beautiful, functional, and efficient.