10 things every enthusiast should know about the Cadillac DeVille

Spanning eight full production generations, the Cadillac DeVille is one of Cadillac’s longest-running names. The DeVille brought a sense of poise, dignity and luxury as it rolled off the assembly line and into the hands of many a waiting customer. The DeVille model was produced by General Motors from the 1959 model year until the end of the DeVille badge in 2005. Diehard DeVille fans probably already know these things, but for the casual enthusiast, here are ten things to know about the iconic model: and a few good reasons to buy one now.

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10/10 The DeVille actually has a generation zero

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Shot of a sky blue 1958 Coupe De Ville parked with nature background

Although 1959 was the first year of the Coup DeVille model, it was really introduced a decade earlier. In 1949, the world was able to buy the Cadillac Series 62 with a Coup DeVille trim option. Called the first of its kind “convertible hardtop”, the option was produced without the traditional B-pillar of other coupes. The Series 62’s unique package also received a sibling in 1956 when the four-door Series 62 Sedan DeVille was released. While the 1949 through 1958 models were still technically Model 62, they were the forerunners of the DeVille line. A short walk around any of these well-trimmed models would find miles of gleaming chrome trim and the availability of a beautiful leather interior, a trait that would continue into the first separate model year in 1959. As of ’59, the DeVille had moved from the 6200- series to its own 6300 series with three models available.

9/10 It was offered as a FWD and a RWD at the same time!

Cadillac Coupe Deville from 1970
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Two-tone white over blue 1970 Cadillac Coupe De Ville parked in the desert

The DeVille switched from a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout to a front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout for the 1985 model year. In 1984 there were numerous production delays and Cadillac was unable to release the new layout as planned. GM made an early release and began selling the 1985 model in mid-1984, while still producing and selling the ’84 rear-wheel drive models. Imagine walking into your local Cadillac dealership and having to make that choice! The overlap was only for the last half of 1984, but was certainly a strange note in the car’s history.

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8/10 The Flowing Script badge is iconic in its own right

1959 Cadillac Coupe Deville decal
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Badges with Coupe De Ville script on the back of the beltline

Although the DeVille is considered a mid-range car, it received Tiffany-style written badging unique to the model. The 1952 model year 62 Coupe DeVille was the first to wear the unique badging. Beginning in 62, the written badge of either Coupe DeVille or Sedan DeVille was placed prominently on the body. The 1972 model year brought the first time the script was displayed on the rear door pillars as well as the body. If the car you’re looking for is a few pieces short, eBay and the aftermarket can help you complete your ride. That flying script has stood proudly and recognisably for years and will probably continue to do so forever.

7/10 There was also a Ute!

Cadillac Mirage from 1976
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3/4 rear view of a silver 1976 Cadillac Mirage in a brick garage

As a precursor to our gearhead friends down under, Cadillac thought it appropriate to make a “coupe utility” line available from 1973 to 1976. Like a luxury luxury Chevy El Camino, the car consisted of a two-door car with a truck-style side bed. Picture the look when you go to your local hardware store for some full-size 4′ x 8′ sheets of plywood and ask the employee to load them into your classic caddy in the parking lot. The cars were built by a custom coachbuilder to Cadillac’s exacting standards and could be ordered through your local dealer. Only 204 copies were made under the name Cadillac Mirage, baptized by manufacturer Traditional Coach Works. Examples of recent auction sales with prices starting at $7,150 for a 1973 on the low end and a 1976 model for $49,500 at a Barret Jackson auction in January 2022. The Cadillac Mirage is rare, but there appear to be a few instances for sale a year if you look hard enough.

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6/10 The DeVille is a blank canvas

Cadillac Coupé DeVille Custom from 1965
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Slammed 1965 Cadillac Coupe De Ville parked

A quick look through Google can show you hundreds of custom DeVille building ideas. From complete restoration of the hall to packed and slammed customs, the sky really is the limit. With the huge popularity of donks, you could even put that classic ’71 DeVille in the air. While radical isn’t in everyone’s skill set, it’s not hard to find the DeVille that’s right for you and your dream. Searching the Facebook marketplace may just turn up a caddy in the right price range. If you already want one and just need a loving owner, auction sites like Bring a Trailer or Mecum’s can land you that long-sought gem. Master builders like Ektensive Metal Works have really taken these cars over the top and can provide plenty of inspiration for your custom build.

5/10 The DeVille is quite easy to find

Cadillac DeVille from 1966
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Off-white 1966 Coupe De Ville convertible parked in a natural setting

With eight official generations to choose from, there are still plenty of good cars to be found in all price ranges. A quick search on Facebook Marketplace easily found units ranging from $700 for a mid-1990s model to $60,000 restorations, all within a 70-mile radius of Atlanta, Georgia. With over 5.5 million cars produced under the DeVille name, it won’t be difficult to find the right car for your wants or needs. A closer look at sales trends shows a steady rise in values ​​well above inflation and a first-generation sales benchmark of over $66,000. It doesn’t matter if you want to buy a complete car, someone else’s half-finished project or the basis for your wildest dream car, there are De Ville available to suit you.

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4/10 Build your own by watching videos

YouTube creators like Karl Fisher of Make it Kustom show not only what can be done, but also how to do it. Karl takes viewers with him as his body falls and pounds his wife’s 1960 Cadillac Coupe DeVille. Along the way, Fischer teaches viewers the ins and outs of custom sheet metal fabrication, patch panel fabrication and installation, and even how to properly brace the car before sawing it apart. His relaxed and exuberant style makes this Canadian fun to watch and easy to learn from. The ’60 Caddy build not only shows off the bodywork, but also showcases the complete X-frame these cars were built with. On the other side of the building world, the guys at Turnin Rust will show you what it takes to turn an old clunker into a running and driving classic. The easygoing demeanor and pleasant southerly pull make it easy to see what’s needed for you and your basketcase. These are just a few of the many De Ville building videos out there.

3/10 ‘DeVille’ has always been synonymous with fins

Cadillac DeVille from 1964
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3/4 rear view of a black 1964 Coupe De Ville convertible parked with trees as a backdrop

Although they got smaller and smaller over the years until they were barely more than a ridge and extended taillights, the DeVille name means fins. The earlier generations have the largest and longest fins. In 1959 and 1960, huge airplane-like fins meant you were looking at a Cadillac. Viewed today, these elongated protrusions evoke a feeling of the Jetsons or a view from the Fallout game series. As the models progress, so do the wings. The second generation saw an almost straight line from the door jamb back to the top of the taillights, but offered a sharp undercut at the rear to really catch the eye. All generations of the DeVille have their own flair and a fin to match, but they all scream cool.

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2/10 The wheel skirts were present in the early generations

Cadillac DeVille from 1974
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Champagne and bordeaux 1974 Cadillac Sedan De Ville parked in front of palm trees

While only the first four generations and 6200 years wore them, the fenders are always a standout class. While the wheel skirts made tire changes easier due to their removable nature, they were also an integral part of the De Ville lines. Many custom builders now go that extra step and weld in the skirts permanently. The look is undeniably elegant and with modern tire technology, punctures are becoming quite rare. Always remember to take the special tools and jack with you wherever you go, just in case your luck runs out.

1/10 The body went away, but not the soul

Cadillac DTS from 2006
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Front 3/4 shot of a red 2006 Cadillac DTS at a dealership

In 2006, Cadillac changed its naming conventions on most of its platforms. The DeVille may have retired in 2005, but that was not the end of the story. For 2006, Cadillac used the last-generation De Ville G platform with only a mild cosmetic update to launch the Cadillac DTS. The naming convention had taken the DeVille and created the DTS, short for DeVille Touring Sedan. The car was offered in six different models, all of which featured the Cadillac Northstar V-8, ranging in power from 275 horsepower to 292 horsepower in the Platinum trim. The DTS carried the DeVille torch for an extra few years before production ended in 2011. Like many of DeVille’s earlier generations, the DTS was also available in a variety of limousine platforms and was even used as an armored car for several heads of state.

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