Definitions

coupe de mariage

Cadillac Coupe de Ville

See also Cadillac DeVille.

The Coupe deVille (sometimes spelled Coupe Deville or Coupe DeVille) was a model of Cadillac from 1949 through 1993. The name has become famous through pop culture, with references in pop songs, movies, and other media.

Model history

The Coupe deVille was introduced by Cadillac late in the 1949 model year. Part of the Cadillac Series 62 line, it was a closed, two-door coupé, Cadillac's first pillarless hardtop. Intended as a prestige model, at $3,497 it was one of the most expensive models of the Series 62 line. It was luxuriously trimmed, with leather upholstery and chrome 'bows' in the headliner to simulate the ribs of a convertible top. The first-year Coupe deVille sold 2,150 units, but 1950 sales were more than double, and 1951 more than doubled those of the previous year. By 1961 it was one of the company's most popular models, with annual sales above 20,000.

Cadillac De Ville nomenclature always followed a tradition: Two doors with steel roofs were always Coupe De Ville, four doors were always Sedan De Ville until the elimination of two door models, and convertibles were always simply De Ville, as they were neither a coupe, nor a sedan by design.

Further, from the beginning and for many years, De Ville denoted an option package on the basic car (called Series 62, later Calais), NOT the body style. In other words, you could have a four-door Cadillac that was NOT a Sedan De Ville, nor would it have such lettering on the flanks of the car.

Gallery of 1954 Cadillac Coupe deVille


In 1956 the Coupe deVille was joined by the Sedan deVille, a four-door hardtop sedan. The Sedan deVille would ultimately outlive its two-door predecessor. For 1957 the car was fitted with quad headlights.

1959

In 1959 the DeVille line was redesigned and separated in a distinct Series 63. The new model featured full fender skirts and a sleeker front end.

The Coupe de Ville, like other Cadillacs, grew substantially larger and more powerful from 1949 through the early 1970s. By 1973 it was 4 in. (101.6 mm) longer in wheelbase, 17 inches (431.8 mm) longer overall, and more than 900 lb (408 kg) heavier, and its standard V8 engine had grown from 331 in³ (5.4 L) to 500 in³ (8.2 L).

1965 - 1970

The Coupe de Ville was completely redesigned for 1965 yet rode on the same wheelbase. The tailfins disappeared with fins planed absolutely flat, though a hint of them remained, and sharp, distinct body lines replaced the rounded look. Also new were a straight back bumper and vertical lamp clusters. Up front, headlight pairs switched from horizontal to vertical, thus permitting an even wider grille.

Curved side windows appeared, and pillared sedans returned in the Calais and DeVille series. Sixty Specials likewise gained roof pillars, while six-window hardtop sedans were dropped. The Special also reverted to its exclusive 133-inch wheelbase after riding the standard 129.5-inch chassis for 1959-64.

Although sales on the handsomely restyled 1965 Coupe de Ville set yet another record for this popular body style, it took second place to the companion four-door hardtop Sedan de Ville. An impressive 43,345 Coupe de Ville hardtops, and 19,200 Coupe de Ville convertibles, were sold during the booming 1965 model year. Models 68357-J to 68367-F, the Coupe de Ville carried a manufacturer retail prices ranging from $5,419 to $5,639 dollars for hardtops, and convertibles.

A padded vinyl roof was $121 dollar extra-cost option on the hardtop model. The engine size had grown to 429 in (7.0 L) with 340 horsepower. All four de Ville models had small script nameplates on the ends of their rear fenders just about the chrome side molding. Note the license plate location in the center of the clean, symmetrical rear end.

In 1966 the body-style remained unchanged, and show only cosmetic styling changes from the previous year, the DeVille series was again distinguished with Tiffany-like scripts above the rear tip of the horizontal body rub moldings. Standard equipment additions followed the pattern of previous years. Cadillac crests and V-shaped moldings, front and rear, were identifiers.

Sales of the extremely popular Coupe de Ville passed the 50,000 mark during the 1966 model year for the first time, but continued to trail those of the four-door Hardtop Sedan de Ville. DeVille closed models had chrome trim in the concave reveal around the side window openings, including the window sills. Automatic level control standard where indicated in text. A new engine mounting system and patented quiet exhaust were used. Weight was 4,460 pounds for hardtop, and 4,445 pounds for convertible.

The prices had gone up from the previous year, now ranging $5,339 to $5,555 dollars for hardtops, and convertible. When the 1966 production ended in the summer of that year, setting a new record of 50,580 Coupe de Villes had rolled off the Clark Avenue plant assembly lines.

The 1967 Coupe de Villes were extensively restyled. Prominent styling features were given a powerful frontal appearance with forward-leaning front end, long sculptured body lines, and redefined rear fenders that had more than just a hint of tail fins in them. The full-width forward-thrusted "eggcrate" grille was flanked by dual stacked headlights for the third consecutive year. Rectangular parking lamps were built into the outer edges of the grille.

Minor trim variations and slightly richer interiors separated DeVilles from Calais.Tiffany style chrome signature scripts were again found above the body side molding on the rear fenders. Coupe de Ville's and Calais got a smart new formal roofline that were inspired by the Florentine show car created for the 1964 New York World's Fair.

Just like on the show car, the quarter window glass retracted rearwindow into a sail panel.

The 1967 Coupe de Ville equipment lists were comprised of all the same features found on Calais models plus power operated window regulators; rear cigarette lighters in all styles and two-way power front seats. An innovative slide-out fuse box and safety front seat back lock for two-door models were additional Cadillac advances for the 1967 model year.

1971 to 1976

The Coupe deVille remained a pillarless hardtop through the 1973 model year, but for 1974 was restyled as a pillared two-door with then-fashionable opera windows behind the side windows. The Sedan deVille remained a pillarless four-door through 1976. New rectangular headlights with wraparound turn signals appeared in 1975, and the grille was no longer recessed. The 472 in³ engine was discontinued for 1975, leaving the 500 as the sole engine.

1977 - 1984

When General Motors initiated the redesign of the B-body and C-body for the 1977 model year the DeVille (and all other full-size GMs) shrank by 9.8 in (249 mm) and about 750 lb (340 kg). The new standard engine was a 425 in³ (6.9 L) V8, with the 350 in³ LF9 diesel becoming an option for 1978.

In 1977, the first generation of down-sized Cadillacs included mechanically similar DeVilles and Fleetwoods, with the latter still occupying the top of the lineup. The models primarily differed in minor trim, interior upholstery & equipment levels. These were the first DeVille models to be marketed without fender skirts over the rear wheels.

The big 500 in³ V8 was gone, replaced by a 425 in³ engine. This engine was replaced by the 368 in³ V8-6-4 for 1980, and the 350 in³ LF9 diesel V8 was now an option. Reliability problems with the V8-6-4 engine's computer controls prompted Cadillac to rush their new aluminum-block HT series engine into production for 1982.

The d'Elegance package continued for Coupe de Ville in 1977. Three-sided, wrap-around tail lamps were a 1977 feature only (although they would re-appear in 1987). Coupe de Ville's popular "Cabriolet" option included a rear-half padded vinyl roof covering and opera lamps. Sales figures include 138,750 Coupe de Villes.

In addition to a redesigned grille, 1978 saw slim, vertical tail lamps inset into chrome bumper end caps with built-in side marker lamps (Cadillac would retain this "vertical tail lamp inset" design feature for many years, including Deville through 1999, and Fleetwood through 1996). New for 1978, a "Phaeton" package was optional for Deville. The Phaeton package featured a simulated convertible-top, special pin striping, wire wheel discs, and "Phaeton" name plates in place of the usual "de Ville" ornament on the rear fenders. Inside were leather upholstered seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. The package was available in Cotillion White (with Dark Blue roof), Platinum Silver (with a Black roof), or Arizona Beige (with a Dark Brown roof). Sales figures included 117,750 Coupe de Villes.

With bigger changes coming in '80, the 1979 models saw few alterations, one of which was a new grille design. The line-up for the 121.5" wheelbase cars remained the same three models as before. As it had been since the discontinuation of the Calais for 1976, the Coupe de Ville was Cadillac's entry-level priced car, at $11,728. For 1979, the "Phaeton" package was still available in three colors, but with a new color, "Western Saddle Firemist" (with leather interior in "Antique Saddle") replacing the "Arizona Beige" scheme.

In the Martin Scorsese film, Goodfellas, the Western Saddle "Phaeton" package was featured on the 1979 Coupe de Ville driven by Henry Hill (portrayed by actor Ray Liotta).

1980 saw a major re-design (while still maintaining the same wheelbase and interior), but the cars wore all-new sheet metal outside. The Phaeton option for Coupe de Ville was discontinued. Coupe de Ville now wore full, bright side window surround moldings. The chromed-plastic grille held a very diplomatic, Rolls-Royce inspired design, with thick vertical bars. The grille cast for 1980 was used again for the 1989 to 1992 Brougham. Late in the 1980 model year, V6 power (in the form of a 4-bbl 252cu engine manufactured by Buick) was offered as a credit option. The became the first non-V8 powerplant offered in a Cadillac since 1914. The standard engine for 1980 was a new 368cu 6.0 liter V8. Pricing for Coupe de Ville was $12,899.

1981's biggest news turned out to be a fiasco - the V-8-6-4 engine. Despite numerous customer complaints, Cadillac defended the micro-compressor controlled powerplant, and even offered special extended warranties to customers. Also available again this year was Oldsmobile's 5.7 liter V-8 diesel engine. The Buick V-6, teamed with an automatic transmission, returned for '81 after a short initial offering in the spring of 1980. With the new front-drive Cadillac Cimarron taking over as Cadillac's entry-level model, the Coupe de Ville now became the step-up, priced at $13,450. A new grille design was made up of small squares, similar to the pattern from 1979. The egg-crate 1981 grille cast was used again for the 1987 and 1988 models.

Changes for '82 were kept to a minimum, but still included a new grille design (which was used for 1982 through 1986), revamped parking lamp / tail lamp ornamentation, and a new standard wheel cover design. The biggest news for Cadillac this year was the 4.1 liter V-8 engine to replace last year's V-8-6-4 (which returned in 1982, but only for the Fleetwood 75 limousine). The new power plant featured a closed-loop digital fuel injection system, free-standing cast-iron cylinders within a cast-aluminum block, and was coupled with a 4-speed automatic-overdrive transmission. Other engine options included the Buick V6 or Oldsmobile's diesel V-8. The Coupe de Ville was now priced at $15,249.

1985

In 1985 the DeVille was downsized again, this time dropping some 26.2 in (665.5 mm) in length and another 800 lb (363 kg). It also adopted front-wheel drive, moving to the new C-body platform.

The declining popularity of full-size coupes eventually led to the discontinuation of the model in 1993. For 1994, The DeVille (now identified on the car with a capital " D") series was composed of the four-door Sedan DeVille and (Sedan) DeVille Concours. Starting in 1997, it was known simply as the Cadillac DeVille for several years, although the Concours version was available through 1999. Subsequently, Cadillac added a 'DTS' model to the Deville series, an abbreviation for Deville Touring Sedan.

Popular culture

50's models with their extravagant fins are probably the best known versions of the car. Models from this era have commonly appeared in movies and music videos and also on postage stamps

A movie of this name directed by Joe Roth and starring Patrick Dempsey was released in 1990.

In the 2002 movie The Sweetest Thing, Christina Applegate, Cameron Diaz and Selma Blair sing, "what a lovely ride, your penis is a thrill, your penis is a Cadillac, a giant Coupe de Ville" during "The Penis Song.

In the 2006 animated film Cars, The minor character "Tex" (voiced by Humpy Wheeler) resembles a 1975 Coupe de Ville

The Coupe de Ville is pre-eminent among cars referenced in American popular music, whether rap, country, pop or blues, and this process is still going on some ten years after the model was discontinued.

The National Civil Rights Museum has a 1967 Coupe de Ville as part of a permanent display.

Boss Hogg drove a white 1970 de Ville convertible with steer horns on it on The Dukes of Hazzard.

Media Appearances

Films

Year Film Notes
1974 Gone in 60 Seconds Billy's character drives a white 1966 Cadillac Coupe DeVille hardtop. Another scene features George Cole's character Atlee Jackson trying to steal a brand new red/white 1974 Cadillac Coupe DeVille.
1996 Kingpin Bill Murray's character Big Ernie McCracken drives a blue 1976 Cadillac Coupe DeVille.
2006 Cars A computer-animated anthropomorphic 1975 model, Tex Dinoco, is the owner of the fictional Dinoco oil company, whose race car endorsement is coveted by other characters. A longhorn adorns his hood.

External links

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