(Image of a Cadillac Deville)
1977 was the first year a DeVille was built without fender skirts over the rear wheels, a main Cadillac marketing icon. The 1977 DeVille also had 3 sided wrap around tail lamps, but they were discontinued the next year. They did make a return for the 1987 model year. The 500 in V8 was replaced by a 425" V8, and by 1980 the engine was lowered to a 368" V8-6-4. Cadillac had serious flaws with the V8-6-4, and this forced Cadillac to rush production on their new aluminum block HT, released in 1982. The 1979 DeVille had minor changes, mostly with the grille. The Phaeton package was new for 1979, which included a simulated convertible top, pin striping, wire wheel discs, special badging, and leather seats and a leather steering wheel.
1980 had some major modifications, including the Fleetwood Brougham Coupe, which had a vinyl top. The big news for 1980 was late in the model year, Cadillac offered a v6 option, which made this the first Cadillac Model since 1914 to offer a V6.
Big changes were in store for the 1985 DeVille – the biggest was the change to front wheel drive utilizing the C body frame. This left the Fleetwood Brougham as the only Cadillac with rear wheel drive. The 1985 DeVille was powered by the HT4100 4.1 L V8 engine, and over the next few years GM used the C body frame with the Pontiac Bonneville, Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight, Oldsmobile Ninety Eight, and Buick’s LeSabre, and Electra/Park Avenue models. However, only the Cadillac models had a V8 engine.
Cadillac was losing sales to the Lincoln Town Car, and market research showed that the 1985 model seemed too short. The 1986 and 19987 models were only changed slightly, but it was mostly cosmetic to make the car look bigger. 1.5” was added with elongated fender caps, and wrap around tail lamps. This gave the DeVille a more classic “Cadillac” look which is what the Cadillac customer base wanted. The only big change for 1988 was a new 4.5L V8 engine.
Everything was changed for the 1989 DeVille, and about the only thing that carried over were the engine options. The body was lengthened, giving 3 more cubic feet of room in the trunk. 1990 saw the first use of GM’s PASS Key theft deterrent system – this included a coded chip in the ignition key. The DeVille was outselling the Lincoln Continental, but Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus started selling high end models, entering the stratosphere of Cadillac.
The 1994 DeVille was built on the K frame, which was also used for the SeVille. Through this generation, styling did not change much. The Northstar V8 was available, and became a standard in 1996, with the lower models getting a smaller version of the Northstar. No real styling changes would happen until the next generation.
By name only, this can be considered the last generation of DeVille. The model continued on in 2006 as the DTS (DeVille Touring Sedan).