- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2006

In 1975, only a couple of years after the first gasoline shortage, Cadillac put a 500-cubic-inch V-8 engine in most of the cars it produced. In today’s nomenclature, that 500-cubic-inch engine is equivilant to 8.2 liters.

Unfortunately, federal government emissions regulations had strangled the mighty engine to an output of 190 horsepower. Regardless, 63,352 Cadillac Sedan deVille four-door hardtops were manufactured and one of them was purchased by an Oxon Hill couple at Lindsay Cadillac.

Cadillac was still a year away from serious downsizing so the new owners must have been happy driving home in their new car cushioned from imperfections in the road by the 130-inch wheelbase. Several new features were present on the 1975 Cadillac, including four rectangular headlights, a high energy electronic ignition system and a Quadrajet carburetor, which received some help from an electirc choke.

Also new for 1975 was a nice convenience feature, the illuminated entry. By simply touching the outside door handle button with your thumb, the lock cylinder would light up showing where to insert the key to unlock the door. Additionally, the interior lights would come on and stay illuminated for 20 seconds. Of course today all of these functions are automatic with modern day electronic door lock fobs, but 31 years ago this was cutting edge stuff.

A very visible feature on the Sedan deVille. especially after dark, are the corning lights which are activated when the driver turns on the turn signal indicators.

Cadillac promotion literature at the time said it was like seeing around corners.

Unseen by most everyone with the exception of service technitions in the Cadillac garage was the new for 1975 Catalytic converter on the exhaust system designed to reduce harmful emissions.

The Oxon Hill couple evidently enjoyed their blue Cadillac with the white vinyl top for a few years before the husband died. From that thime one the widow rarely drove the car. With the condition of the paint and vinyl today the car must have spent most of the time in a protective garage.

Upon the widow’s death the Cadillac passed to a nephew who had no need for the car. He did have a need for a new Chevrolet Silverado pickup so he traded the Cadillac in on the Chevrolet in February at Country Chevrolet in Warrenton.

Once Andy Budd, the owner of Count;ry Chevrolet, had a serious look at the car he decided that it would become his personal vehicle. He especially likes the three-spoke steering wheel that has both a tilt and a telescopic function. A dial on the left side of the dashboard, much like the thermostat in your home, regulates the air conditioner and heater.

An AM/FM radio is built into the blue dashboard. The pristine headliner is white as are the sumptuous leather seats while the carpet is a contrasting blue. Typical of the era in which it was built, the Cadillac is equipped with four ashtrays.

Opening any of the four doors on the 19-foot, 4-inch-long Cadillac reveals a sill plate that proudly proclaims “Interior by Fleetwood - Body by Fisher”.

Riding on 15-inch wheels, Mr. Budd has replaced the original bias-ply tires with radial tires that not only provide a better ride but offer improved handling as well.Statistics from 1975 indicate the big car could race from zero to 60 mph in 17 seconds, a feat virtually every car on the road today can match.

Mr. Budd quotes from the owner’s manual when he says the massive engine should be fed unleaded gasoline with an octane of no less than 86. He only guesses at a mileage figure in the single digits.

Since owning the 31-year-old car, Mr. Budd has driven it less than 100 miles which has pushed the odometer up to almost 25,250 miles.

On the rare occasion that he does take his car for a drive he reports, “People are generally careful around it.” He says others seem to enjoy seeing it as much as he does.

Consequently, he plans to maintain the car as it has been the last 31 years, enjoy cruising in it and sharing it with people who wish to recollect the 1975 era when BIG was in style.

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