For more than 100 years, Cadillac has been manufacturing cars that performed well--pairing out-of-the-box design with innovative technology. Named using French coach-building parlance, the “Coupe de Ville”, the very first Cadillac DeVille was unveiled during the 1949 Autorama Show. It featured a string of safety innovations and a tail fin design that changed the profile of the American automobile industry for years to come.
1959 to 1960: First Generation
The 1959 Cadillac Sedan de Ville was designed with dual bullet tail lights and huge sharp tailfins. The De Ville series was equipped with two-way power seats, an oil filter, power steering and brakes, back-up lamps, an automatic transmission system, windshield wipers and two-speed wipers, a vanity and outside rearview mirror, and power windows. Powered by a 325-horsepower, 242kW, 6.4 liter engine, the Cadillac de Ville was known as the Series 6200. The 1960 Cadillac Sedan de Ville was redesigned with restrained but smoother styling. A sloping rear window and roofline was also introduced to the De Ville. An X-frame construction and finned rear drums were some of the De Ville’s technical highlights.
1961 to 1964: Second Generation
A lot of re-engineering and re-styling were applied to the car during this generation. A new grille that slanted back towards both the car’s bumper and hood lip was adapted. A non-wrap around windshield coupled with forward-slanting pillars was also seen on the new De Ville. Rubberized front and rear coil springs replaced the old air suspension system. Since a dual-exhaust system was no longer available, a four-barrel induction system was added instead. Tubeless black wall tires, defroster and heater, and a more insulated floor were added to refine the De Ville’s driving experience. The 1964 De Ville model introduced an industry first: Comfort Control, a completely automatic A/C and heating system controlled by a dial thermostat. A new, 7 liter, 340-horsepower engine was introduced, with the new Turbo-Hydramatic transmission.
1965 to 1970: Third Generation
Elevated tailfins and its rounded look were replaced with sharp, distinct body lines. Vertical headlamps were introduced to accommodate a wider grille. A re-designed perimeter frame improved the De Ville’s ride and handling. The engine valve train was revised and Cadillac changed the sedan’s carburetor. A new V8 engine with 375-horsepower was also added to the De Ville, giving it more power. Non-glare rear-view mirrors, an electric clock, Hazard Warning system, an ignition key warning buzzer, variable ratio timing, and an automatic level control were some of the new firsts seen on the Cadillac De Ville.
1971 to 1976: Fourth Generation
A bumper impact system, an automatic parking brake release, passenger assist straps, steel-belted radial tires, high-energy ignition, and a flow through ventilation were some of the new standard features introduced during this generation. Also, air bags or the Air Cushion Restraint System, was offered as an option for the 1974 Cadillac De Ville. Unfortunately, it was discontinued in 1976 due to its unpopularity among the car buyers. The Track Master, a computerized skid prevention system to shorten the car’s stopping distance during an emergency, was introduced in 1976.
1977 to 1984: Fifth Generation
It was during Cadillac’s 75th year that they built a De Ville without fender skirts over its rear wheels. Also, the downsized coupe and sedan models were introduced. A 180-horsepower, V8 engine variant replaced the De Ville’s old 190-horsepower V8 engine. The Cadillac De Ville Phaeton package became available in 1979. The package included pin striping, wire wheel discs, seats and the steering wheel wrapped in leather. The biggest news during this generation was the introduction of the V6 engine variant for the Cadillac De Ville.
1985 to 1990: Sixth Generation
Cadillac introduced the C-body frame to accommodate a front-wheel drive system. The HT4100 4.1-liter V8 engine powered the De Ville during this generation. A tilt-steering column, telescopic steering wheel, power trunk release, cruise control, and a split-bench front seating were made standard equipment on all the Cadillac De Ville models to mitigate the $2,000 price jump. The Lincoln Town Car was Cadillac’s biggest rival in the luxury sedan market, which pushed them to give the De Ville a cosmetic makeover. Elongated fender caps and wrap-around tail lamps gave the Cadillac De Ville a more classic look, and the Cadillac customer base loved it.
1990 to 1993: Seventh Generation
Three more cubic feet of trunk space was added to the 1989 Cadillac De Ville. The PASS Key theft deterrent system, which included a coded chip in the ignition key, was also introduced during this generation. 2-position Memory Seat functions, the speed-sensitive suspension “Computer Command Ride,” and a new speed-sensitive steering system were all made as standard features on the Cadillac De Ville. During this generation, the Coup de Villes were discontinued to their declining popularity.
1994 to 1999: Eight Generation
Cadillac incorporated the Northstar V8 engine for the Cadillac De Ville, which became its standard engine in 1996. The De Ville base models got a lower-output Northstar V8 engine. Minimal style changes were made, and the De Ville was entirely built from the K-frame body platform.
2000 to 2005: Final Generation
The De Ville’s exterior was completely revamped to give it a more aerodynamic and sportier look. The 2000 Cadillac De Ville was the first production car to use LED tail lamps in the world. Luxury and cabin comforts were added to the De Ville DHS (De Ville High Luxury). Massaging rear seats and power rear window sunshades were some of the comfort options offered on the DHS. The De Ville DTS (DeVille Touring Sedan) offered stability control, active suspension, magnetic variable assist steering, and on-board navigation system. All LED tail lights and night vision were first used by the De Ville DTS.