Redesigning the 1968 Cadillac Sedan DeVille into a Modern Car

1968 Cadillac Sedan DeVille Hardtop
Redesigning the 1968 Cadillac Sedan DeVille into a Modern Car

The Cadillac DeVille was originally a trim level of the Cadillac Series 62 and later a separate model when Cadillac dropped the ‘Series’ designation. The first car to bear the name was the 1949 Coupe DeVille, a pillarless two-door hardtop body style with a prestige trim level above the Series 62 luxury coupe. The last model to be formally known as a DeVille was the 2005 Cadillac DeVille, a full-size sedan, the largest car in the Cadillac model range at the time. The next year, the DeVille was officially renamed the Cadillac DTS.

Design changes that led to the 1968 Cadillac DeVille

As it had been since DeVille became a separate series, DeVille denoted Cadillac’s mainstream model, falling between the Calais (which had replaced the Series 62) and the Sixty Special and Eldorado.

1968 Cadillac Sedan DeVille Rear View
1968 Cadillac Sedan DeVille Rear View — Photo: December 2018 issue of Hemmings Classic Car

Third Generation Cadillac DeVille (1965–1970)

The DeVille was redesigned for the 1965 model year. Tailfins were canted slightly downward, and sharp, distinct body lines replaced the rounded look of the Second Generation cars. The designers added a straight rear bumper and vertical lamp clusters, and the headlight pairs switched from horizontal to vertical, thus permitting a wider grille. Each DeVille model received small “Tiffany-like” script nameplates on the ends of their rear fenders just above the chrome side molding.

For the 1966 model year, changes included a somewhat coarser mesh for the radiator grille insert, which was now divided by a thick, bright metal horizontal center bar housing rectangular parking lamps at the outer ends. Separate rectangular cornering lamps replaced the integral grille extension designs. There was generally less chrome on all Cadillac models this year.

In 1967, the DeVilles were extensively restyled from the previous two model years. Prominent styling features were given a powerful frontal appearance with a forward-leaning front end, long, sculptured body lines, and redefined rear fenders that had more than just a hint of tail fins in them. Dual-stacked headlights flanked the full-width, forward-thrusted “egg-crate” grille for the third consecutive year.

The grille got squarer corners, and the insert had blades that seemed to emphasize its vertical members. It appeared both above the bumper and through a horizontal slot cut into it. Rectangular parking lamps were built into the outer edges of the grille. Rear-end styling revisions were highlighted by metal-divided tail lamps and a painted lower bumper section.

1968 Cadillac Sedan DeVille Front View
1968 Cadillac Sedan DeVille Front View — Photo: December 2018 issue of Hemmings Classic Car

The 1968 DeVille grilles had an insert with finer mesh and a step-down outer section which held the rectangular parking lights just a little higher than before. Rear-end styling was modestly altered, with the deck lid having more of a rake.

The most obvious change was an 8.5-inch-longer hood designed to accommodate recessed windshield wiper-washers. 1968 was the last year for the vertical “stacked” dual headlights, which Cadillac replaced with side-by-side dual headlights in 1969. 1968 was the last year the DeVille had vent windows. Side marker lights in the rear bumper, as well as front fender, were also added. Finally, Cadillac changed the side mirror from a round to a rectangular shape.

1968 Cadillac Sedan DeVille Hardtop — What if it was made today?