Classy Pickup: 1976 Cadillac Caribou

Many would argue that the American auto industry was in steep decline in the ’70’s.  Obviously, those individuals have never seen a car like this Cadillac Caribou, for sale here on eBay in Perryton, Texas.  With four days left in the auction, bidding is already at $9,600, so this one won’t go cheap, but it will still likely be more affordable than any modern-day luxury pickup.

Beginning in 1959, the Coupe deVille was Cadillac’s full-size two-door car.  Cadillac always represented the highest level of luxury in the GM universe, and the deVille was no exception.  In 1976, deVilles featured ornate styling and included features like deep-pile carpeting, velour seating surfaces, exterior light monitors and washer fluid level monitoring.  If that wasn’t enough, options included fuel injection for the 500ci engine, automatic door locks, a weather-band radio and a computerized skid-prevention system that could automatically pump the rear brakes in a panic stop.  In short, the ’76 deVille could be outfitted with every option the modern 1970’s man or woman could dream of asking for.

So what to do if you loved your El Camino but struck it rich in 1976?  Luxury pickups weren’t available from GM back then, so the Caribou Motor Company filled the void by converting Cadillacs into pickup trucks.  From what I could gather, the Caribou Motor Company’s records were destroyed in a fire at some point, so reliable figures aren’t available as to how many were produced, but the seller’s claim that this car is 1 of 275 is consistent with other information I found online.  The seller claims the car is a consistent show winner, and based on the photos this seems reasonable.

As with most of the rest of the car, the bed looks to be in near-perfect condition.  However, it does look to be a bit shallow.  I couldn’t find reliable specs on whether 4’x8′ sheets of plywood will lie flat in the back, but even if they will, you won’t be able to stack them too high.  Utility, or lack thereof aside, though, this is an interesting car that probably would be a consistent head-turner at car shows.

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Comments

  1. Richard Richer

    Weren’t these also made as a funeral flower car?

    • Fred W

      Flower cars usually (but not always) had something around the bed area that made them look distinctly flower car- like rails or the thing on the ’76 pictured here. The BF Caddy looks about as “El Camino-ish” as they get. I don’t think this one will ever see 4 x 8 sheets of plywood. Wonder if they would take a nice ’83 Elco in trade? Wonder if this would fit in my 1920’s garage?

      • Fred W

        Forgot to post the photo…

    • Will Fox

      NO. Done by another defunct customizer of the `70s. Not a factory flower car at all.

      • Miguel

        What do you mean “factory flower car”?

    • George

      No, none of these were ever made to be flower cars. One of the most common things about flower cars are the stainless steel beds inserted in them. No rust that way, easier to clean out. A number of flower cars that I’ve seen pictures of over the years were also converted from four door sedans.

  2. jw454

    This is one of the best looking ones I’ve seen. It does look more or less like a factory job rather than something cobbled together in a backyard after too many beers. I wouldn’t mind owning it.

  3. Jack in NW PA Member

    Nicest one I’ve seen, usually the rear body work is hidden with a ton of moisture trapping vinyl. It’s wide enough for plywood but you would need to leave the gate down. Who would really haul more than boxes?, yet you should have tiedowns for that too.

  4. big mike

    A local Funeral Home in Flat River, before Park Hills, they had one that looked just like this, which or course was the same model as the hearse. It was used as a flower car, they use a Dodge Mini Van now. I remember years later they sold it and a local guy ran around in it, he would haul trash to the landfill for the fun of it. I always thought it was a waste of a good show car.

    • Frank M

      I remember when it was Flat River and cruising from Leadington to uptown, turn around at the railroad tracks and do it again. I’m from Fredericktown.

      • Big mike

        Well Frank M, I grew up in Esther, right down the street from the Esther Baptist Church! I remember cruising for years until the Flat River Police and City Officials stopped it all together. Man those were the days!!

  5. Ike Onick

    Great idea! “Hey Vern, let’s take your fancy pick em up truck across that big old muddy field. it’ll save us some time”. How many caribou in Texas? Where is the Quality Control Group when you need them at the concept meeting?

  6. Dave

    I would definitely put this in the garage with my El Camino!

  7. Mountainwoodie

    Thats a Texas pick-me-up if I ever saw one! Looks much better than so many conversions. Limited utility of course, but would anyone rather have one of those Escalade badged Chevy Avalanche’s instead? (Jeez I hope not)
    Could probably stack a few Lakers in the back if they ran out of space on the bus :)

  8. dave Hurley

    Evil Knievel had one of these

    • Ike Onick

      Yeah, he was a pretty sensible guy.

      • PaulG

        Thanks for that Ike, made my day!

  9. Nick

    Nice car, but not the original seats. Sure looks comfy, though. Hope it finds a good home.

  10. Mainlymuscle

    I have an 84 Caddamino,you wouldn’t believe how many folks worship the car.They see it as a “pre Escalade “which is a popular family vehicle here in Alberta .

  11. Jack M.

    You are right about the seats Nick. I had a 74 with leather seating. Way better looking than these. One of the best factory wire wheels ever offered.

    • Nick

      It looks like someone’s copying of the later d’Elegance option, which included the pillow-top seats, which I love. I think the 92 Cadillac Broughams were the last year you could get that option. Back when luxury cars were comfortable instead of sports cars.

  12. Jamie Shannon

    This would be a great stable mate for my SSr

  13. Jim Z Member

    Wonder if that Caddy and my ’74 Eldo are long-lost twins?

  14. Miguel

    Wow, 20 comments and nobody commented on the fact that the write up said the Coupe De Ville started in 1959 when it was actually 1949.

    You guys are slipping.

  15. john c

    Alrighty then Miguel, I can get to sleep in peace now after a long day !!! BarnFinds has lots of love and automobile humor and good vibes tonight.

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