The 1968 Cadillac changes were mostly under the hood, where all models adopted an all-new 472-cubic-inch V-8 with 375 horsepower.
Designed to meet the new government emissions standards taking effect that year, this engine was extensively tested in the laboratory, running the equivalent of 500,000 miles. Though not as fuel-efficient as the outgoing 429-cubic-inch V-8, the 472 could launch a Coupe de Ville from 0 to 100 mph in under 30 seconds.
As for styling, the 1968 Cadillac Eldorado was tweaked with side-marker lights (also newly required by the Feds) plus larger taillights, combined turn signal/parking lamps in the front-fender caps, and a hood extended at the rear to conceal the windshield wipers.
The balance of the 1968 Cadillac lineup also got the hidden wipers and side markers, plus a revised grille and a trunklid reshaped for increased cargo space. Calais lost its pillared four-door sedan, leaving the pair of hardtops.
The 1969 Cadillac lineup -- with the noted exception of the 1969 Cadillac Eldorado -- was fully restyled. Squarer new bodies provided an even more massive stance. Headlamps reverted to horizontal, while parking lights wrapped around to flank a higher grille, still prominently vee'd.
Front vent windows were eliminated, which seemed dubious, but signaled adoption of a modern flow-through ventilation system. Per U.S. government safety rules, standard equipment again expanded to include front-seat headrests, energy-absorbing steering column, ignition-key warning buzzer, and antitheft steering-column/transmission lock.
The 1969 Cadillac Eldorado received far fewer changes than the main 1969 Cadillac lineup. The deepest alteration was that its headlamps were no longer hidden but newly exposed to freshen the "face." Some detail trim changes also were evident.
Prices for the 1969 Cadillac lineup ranged from just above $5,400 for a 1969 Cadillac Calais to well over $10,000 for the 1969 Cadillac 75 limousine.
Cadillac built a record 266,798 cars for calendar 1969, breezing past Chrysler and American Motors to grab ninth in the U.S. industry rankings. For the model year, though, it remained 11th at a little over 223,000, down almost 7000 units from '68.
Clearly, Cadillac's 1960s success came from making the right moves year after year. But the good times wouldn't last much longer. With the 1970s came unprecedented events that would forever alter the shape of American cars and the American auto industry itself. See our report on the 1970-1979 Cadillac to learn how Cadillac responded to those extraordinary times.
For more information on Cadillac, see:
- Cadillac: Learn the history of America's premier luxury car, from 1930s classics to today's newest Cadillac models.
- Consumer Guide New Car Reviews and Prices: Road test results, photos, specifications, and prices for 2007 Cadillacs and hundreds of other new cars, trucks, minivans, and SUVs.
- 1950-1959 Cadillac: Cadillac symbolizes the optimism of a swaggering America with soaring tailfins and Elvis-era glamour.
- 1970-1979 Cadillac: See how Cadillac maintained its hold on the premium market by adroitly changing consumer demands.