My first friend who had his own car drove a hand-me-down '76 Cadillac Sedan DeVille. It was huge, and awesome, and it floated on a cloud. I have always had a special place for this final year of the truly full-sized, pillarless hardtop Caddy. I held out for a prize example and this Innsbruck Blue example is just that.
Cadillac was not only considered by many the best American car, it was often the biggest. 1976 was the last year for that. While Cadillacs had changed substantially in all other recent years, this one carried on almost unchanged from 1975 -- with good reason. These cars were stunning! While the downsized Seville that debuted as a 1975 model did a fine job responding to European competition, and the Eldorado was offering the "last" American convertible, the bread and butter of the line was the massive set of sedans, Calais, Coupe and Sedan DeVille, and Fleetwood Brougham.
The car my high school friend Jeff Werner piloted was a blue Sedan DeVille. I was smitten by the aging car's ability to fit six people and my dog in comfort. It was so smooth. My favorite feature was the massive four-door pillarless hardtop that made the car feel like a rolling porch. (Yes, porch, not Porsche!)
In college, my friend Ward Halverson collected his grandmother's car -- a Dunbarton Green '76 sedan. I loved cruising in that one too. In those days, these were just 10-15 year-old, obsolete dinosaurs. But now they are 45 years old, and surviving examples are getting the appreciation they deserve. There will never be cars like them again, that is for sure. And while new Cadillacs are wondrous world cars, the rightful descendants of the '70s Seville, what can you do if you want to cruise with six people on couches on a rolling porch?
This particular example I was glad to hunt down offered by an enthusiast in western Virginia in the fall of 2020. He had bought it from a high-end dealer in Florida. The car has only 26,000 miles and is in ultra mint condition. Original paint and interior. Everything works (except the A/C at the moment). The car floats as it was meant to.
One thing that makes this car special: Its owner documents show it was purchased from Madison Cadillac of Memphis. That is the now-defunct dealership where Elvis Presley famously bought most of the many Cadillacs that he bought for himself and as gifts for friends and relatives. While there is no evidence that Elvis owned this car, he quite likely walked by and gave it an approving smile at his favorite dealership. And that is why this car's name is "Madison Cadillac."
This is Elvis's wildly customized Fleetwood Brougham. Note the massive round headlights at the front, running boards, removed rear wheel covers, and "continental" spare tire. Subtle as an atom bomb.
Elvis bought this gold beauty for his Uncle Vester.
Uncle Vester with his customized Caddy at Graceland.