Should Cadillac Receive Credit For Today's Variable Firing Cylinder Engines?

11/14/2019
Greg Zyla
Q: Greg, I am a big fan of the Cadillac and want to know about their engines and overall sizes.
 
I know Cadillac used to put out some really big cars, even a V-16, too. Also, don't you think Cadillac should receive credit for today's variable firing cylinder engines, as they were the first to introduce them with the V8-6-4?
 
Thanks, I enjoy your column very much.
 
Chad L., retired and happy in Pennsylvania.
 
A: Chad, Cadillac's history is loaded with lots of different engines, engine ideas, and just plain "big" tidbits.
Let's start with the V8-6-4, which Cadillac produced from 1982 through 1984 with little success.
 
 
These engines were 368-inch V8 designs, and as highway and freeway speeds were reached, the cylinders deactivated from 8 to 6 and then to 4, which is pretty much what today's modern marvel engines do with ease. And, "doing it with ease" is where Cadillac struggled, as these engines were prone to problems and removed from production.
 
However, Cadillac sure did have the right idea, they just couldn't perfect it 27 years ago.
 
As for Cadillac engines, the largest Cadillac engine ever, a 500-cubic inch V8, debuted in 1970 in the Eldorado, with 472-inchers available in the Deville models and Fleetwoods from 1968 through 1974.
 
Then in 1975 and 1976, the Cadillac Deville and Fleetwoods came with these 500-inch V8s as standard equipment. I was a proud owner of two Cadillacs in my lifetime, a 1972 Sedan Deville and a 1975 Coupe Deville.
 
As you now, Cadillac has always been a truly innovative company, as I've only addressed V8 engines to this point. However, in 1930, Cadillac offered a 353-inch V8, a 368-inch V12, and a 452-inch V16.
 
In 1936, two new V8s joined the V12 and V16, in 322 and 346-inch designs.
 
Then in 1937, only one V8, the 346, was available, as were the larger V12 and V16. In 1938, Cadillac dropped the V12 and reduced the V16 to 431-inches. The V16 lasted through 1939, and was then replaced by V8 engines from there on.
 
As for wheelbase, those 1975 and 1976 500-inch V8 models carried the same 130-inch wheelbase that first appeared back in 1959. However, the longest wheelbase standard Cadillac, (not limo or stretched Fleetwoods or Sixty Specials)) was the 1930 Cadillac, which was built on a 140-inch wheelbase that to this day, remains the longest standard size Cadillac ever built.
 
Hope this all helps, and thanks for the nice comments.
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