Automotive Mileposts  

1972 Cadillac
Production Numbers/Specifications

September 23, 1971
267,827* (Includes Eldorado)
682/C C47-G Calais Coupe $5,771
Weight: 4642 Built: 3,900
682/C C49-N Calais Sedan $5,938
Weight: 4698 Built: 3,875
683/D D47-J Coupe deVille $6,168
Weight: 4682 Built: 95,280
683/D D49-B Sedan deVille $6,390
Weight: 4762 Built: 99,531
681/B B69-P Fleetwood Brougham $7,637
Weight: 4858 Built: 20,750
697/F F23-R Fleetwood Seventy-Five Sedan $11,948
Weight: 5620 Built: 995
697/F F33-S Fleetwood Limousine $12,080
Weight: 5742 Built: 960
698/Z Z90-Z Commercial Chassis (Price N/A)
Weight: -- Built: 2,462
*Some sources show 40 fewer total units built (267,787)
(Fleetwood Eldorado statistics at link above)
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: 227.4"
Fleetwood Brougham: 230.4"
Fleetwood Seventy-Five: 248.9"
Width: --
Height: --
Trunk: --
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


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


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: 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special Brougham
Image: GM Body Number Plate

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 configuration)

Cadillac's 70th Anniversary

70 Years of Excellence

Image: 1972 Cadillac Sedan deVille

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 to choose.

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 the years.

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'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.

Image: 1972 Cadillac Coupe deVille

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).