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Flashback Fridays – 1968 Cadillac Series 75

1968 Cadillac Series 75What was the biggest, most powerful car engine available in 1968? It wasn’t the L88 race engine offered in a few Corvettes, Chrysler’s legendary 426 Hemi or even the barely NASCAR-legal “Cammer” 427 Ford, which was sneaked into a few street cars. At the height of the muscle car era, the most powerful engine came from Cadillac. Although the manufacturer-claimed 375 hp falls behind the other engines, Cadillac’s 472 cubic inch (7.7 liter) engine produced a whopping 525 lb-ft. of torque, exceeding anything else on the market.

 

A Commercial Engine for a Commercial Vehicle

This engine wasn’t made powerful for the sake of performance; it was powerful for practicality. Cadillac may have been the standard in luxury, but this engine was built specifically for the 75 Series, which was first and foremost a commercial vehicle. Of the 4,200 75s sold that year, 1,800 were sedans and limousines, while over 2,400 were commercial chassis converted into hearses and ambulances. Buyers who wanted a luxury car to drive themselves were steered toward the new Eldorado or 60 Series; any service or person who could afford the 75’s $10,000 price tag could afford a driver.

 

The Ultimate in Luxury

Cadillac’s top model provided a lot of space: the sedan may have been the shortest 75, but it was still two feet longer than than a Ford Excursion. The doors extended into the roof, providing a large opening for entry and exit. Inside, fold-out seats provided the capacity for nine passengers. Buyers could opt for a divider between the front and rear of the cab and a padded ceiling for the ultimate in quiet, private motoring. With a curb weight nearing 6,000 lbs, the big engine was a necessity.

 

1968 Cadillac Series 75 -The Ultimate in Quality

There was more to the new engine design than just power: as with other commercial engines, a lot of work done to make these cars easy to service. The oil filter was mounted directly on the block, the alternator was on the front of the engine, and there was a single tuning specification for all 472s regardless of what vehicle they were put in or where they were sold. The engine was also lighter than the 429 it replaced and used fewer parts. The fact that many 75-based hearses remain in service proves the durability of the motor.

Today, the 472 and its successor, the 500, have become popular options for builders looking for the greatest amount of torque available in a classic engine.

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