Unbelievably, Cadillac for 1977 Was Downsized
Byline: Vern Parker, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The first gasoline crunch came 1973 and, while it appeared that General Motors was doing nothing to address the problem, the 1977 product line proved differently.
In an effort to meet the federally mandated economy and emissions levels for the late 1970s, General Motors shrank all of its cars for 1977.
Cadillacs in 1977, depending on the model, were 8 to 12 inches shorter than the corresponding 1976 model.
They were also 3.5 inches narrower. General Motors lopped off about 950 pounds per Cadillac Sedan deVille.
The turning radius of the Cadillac dropped from 45.1 feet in 1976 to 40.5 feet in 1977.
In spite all the downsizing, the 1977 Sedan deVille was still 18.5 feet long, rode on a 121.5-inch wheelbase and tipped the scales at 4,222 pounds.
Under the hood of the new smaller 1997 Cadillac, beneath a four-barrel Quadrajet carburetor, was a 425-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) V-8 that, thanks to government regulations, produced only a meager 180 horsepower.
None of this downsizing concerned young Dan Ryan. He repeated what he did every autumn in Bay Shore on Long Island when the new cars arrived. With parental permission, he would bicycle to the Cadillac dealership to drool over the latest model and collect whatever automotive literature he could. Even as a boy, he was a Cadillac man.A base price of $10,020 was attached to a crimson 1977 Cadillac Sedan deVille that was nicely fitted out with optional accessories. The history of the car is somewhat vague, but it is believed to be an original upstate New York car.
The second owner acquired the Cadillac in 1986 and kept it 18 years. That's when Mr. Ryan, now manager of government and safety affairs for Mazda North American Operations in Washington, saw the car advertised for sale on the Internet. The description stated that the Cadillac was located near Syracuse, N.Y., and had been driven 79,000 miles. Pictures showed a car that had received excellent care. He couldn't believe that he was bidding on a "sight unseen" automobile. However, that's exactly what he did in October 2004. "The car jumped out at me," Mr. Ryan says. "What could I do? It spoke to me."
He was the high bidder and became the third owner.
A trucking company delivered his prize to his College Park home on a Sunday. It had been transported on a rack above the cab of the truck. When Mr. Ryan first saw his Cadillac, he gave the elevated car a cursory look and declared, "The bottom looks good."
He gave his Cadillac a quick bath and marveled at how nice the car was from the 64 spokes in the wheel covers to the 11 red defogger wires in the rear window. A large backup light is on either side of the license plate. …