Junkyard Find: 1970 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Convertible

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

I must admit I’ve lost track of the variations on the DeVille name used by Cadillac over the decades; according to the 1970 sales brochure, this car— which I found at the same Denver yard that gave us the ’82 AM General Postal Jeep yesterday— was a “de Ville” (two words, first starting with lower-case letter). It’s pretty well used up, but you can still see the genuine pre-malaise luxury.

In my opinion, Cadillac (and, for that matter, GM) peaked in the early 1960s, and by 1970 the brand’s status had been watered down by diminished build quality and higher sales figures— this was still a well-built car, especially compared to its Malaise Era successors, but the Cadillac name was already beginning its long slide. The GTO taught The General that marketing was more important than product, and Cadillac was dragged along for the ride.

But let’s not dwell on the negative. Cadillac is building good stuff again, and the ’70 Coupe de Ville convertible was a helluva car. Check out this mighty 472-cubic-inch V8, with its staggering 525 foot-pounds of torque; not quite as impressive as the Eldorado’s 500-cubic-inch engine with its 550 foot-pounds, but… damn!

There’s rust. There’s Bondo.

Cruise control! Thermostat-controlled HVAC!

Why is there a rubber dolphin hanging from a shoelace tied to the rear-view mirror? Who can say?

The Denver Zephyrs were a triple-A baseball team that played at the future Mile High Stadium from 1985 through 1992. Always interesting to see such time-capsule stuff on junked cars.

I came close to buying the hardtop version of this car when I was 17; the sound of the Quadrajet-fed 472 was the biggest selling point. Instead, I went with a psychotic ’58 Beetle.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • GalaxieSun GalaxieSun on Jan 12, 2012

    In fall of 1969 I rode in my friend's dad's brand new 1970 Cadillac DeVille convertible, the exact same color as this car. What impressed me the most about the vehicle was what a total P.O.S. it was. The cowl shake was unbelievable and even at low speeds the dashboard squeaked like a mouse sandwiched between two sheets of Styrofoam. My parents had a '67 Olds 98 coupe and it was put together much better than that 1970 Caddy. Chrysler DQR was already well on the wane at that time and it was only a year or so that Ford quality really started to sink. I lived through that era and I can tell you that it was easy to see how the Japanese made such strong strides in the early 70's compared to the American junk that was being turned out.

  • Smallenginesmakemesad Smallenginesmakemesad on Jan 14, 2012

    I would like to have one of these. It was Cadillac's last rear wheel drive convertible. I have a 70 Eldorado already. I love the monster-torque.

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