Category Archives: Cadillac Seville

Caddys chronicled

Eisenhower era cruiser

Eisenhower era cruiser

We witnessed a 1956 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible glide by, unheralded, early in the morning; the experience was nothing short of breathtaking.  It was thrilling when we encountered this symbol of post war optimism and assurance idling, ever so silently, at an intersection, an automotive apparition from a bygone era.

Iceberg tipped

Iceberg tipped

It’s not as flashy as its hugely befinned successors as conservative times called for a modicum of understatement.  The U.S. Secretary of Defense at the time of this car’s manufacturer was Charles E. Wilson, former Chairman of GM, under whose watch this model was developed. After his appointment by President Eisenhower, he remarked, “what was good for our country was good for General Motors and vice versa.”  Corporate logic held sway then as now, it seems.

No thrills Seville

No thrills Seville

Flash forward thirty years to reign of Reagan when this ’86 Seville hit the showroom floor.  It was an anemically powered front wheel car that would have been categorized as compact in the ’50s; it weighed under 3,500 pounds.  Obviously, things were in decline and Cadillac seemed to have lost its luster, not to mention its signature fins.

Styled with by T-square

Styled with by T-square

We found a ’68 Convertible DeVille parked at the curb and think the stacked headlights provide good counterpoint to all those horizontal lines.  This one weighs almost as much as its 1956 antecedent and cost $5700 which translates to a tad under 40,000 2014 dollars.  As these things go, quite a bargain!

Stacked!

Stacked!

We dig this rough ’64 Coupe deVille that seems to be either a work-in-progress or an “as is” daily driver.  We don’t even miss the lost fender skirt.  Well, maybe a little.

Funky but chic

Funky but chic

It's fin-damental!

It’s fin-damental!

This ’63 Sedan deVille has its skirts but seems to be in search of wheel covers.  We just love the fact that it’s still a freeway flyer after 51 years.

Highway star

Highway star

Lastly, we have Feral Cars Field Scout Alex “Bosco” Merlis to thank for this unrestored ’77 Fleetwood Brougham which carried vestigial fins at the dawn of the Carter years. The car was shot in Brookline, MA and wears Connecticut tags indicating it’s capable of being driven more than one hundred miles.  With a 7 liter V8 and fuel consumption rated a tad over 11 mpg, you’d only have to fill it once or twice to make the run.

Spirit of '76

Spirit of ’76

It's a given that a Caddy will impress the ladies

It’s long been a given that a Caddy will impress the ladies but, aparently, not all of them..

The Brougham soldiered on into the early ’90s, continuing as the most traditional (read: big) Caddy in the model range.  We love the emphasis in this commercial from 1986 on enormity, bulk and girth.  That’s Cadillac!  There’s a truly fabulous low mileage (67,000) ’56 Coupe for sale in nearby Biddefore, ME for a paltry $27,500.  This could be your chance to put some Cadillac Style into your life.

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And best of all it’s a Cadillac.. no, really, it is…

A Nova by any other name?

A Nova by any other name?

ELR, Cadillac’s forthcoming ERV (extended range vehicle) or PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle), will retail for a whopping $76,000. Not really all that much for a Cadillac encroaching on Tesla’s territory but one must question if it will be worthy of carrying the mantle of the marque known as “The Standard of the World.”  Truth be known, the ELR is a slick version of Chevy’s Volt at twice the price.  It’s built in the same factory from the same basic parts as the Volt but, somehow, it’s a Cadillac. That’s mainly because GM says it is and, on a certain level, the price proves the assertion.

A Chevrolet masquerading as a Cadillac is not a new phenomenon.  Back in 1975, Cadillac designers and engineers transformed the lowly Chevy Nova into the lordly Cadillac Seville. Yes, the original Seville, angular challenger to Mercedes Benz’s ongoing luxury car blitzkreig is, at its heart, a Nova with a 350 V8, borrowed from Oldsmobile.  The compact — at least by mid-1970s standards — Seville was built on a modified X-body platform on which the Chevy Nova was based.  Yet, Seville was accepted on its own merits.  It was introduced in the wake of the ’73 – ’74 oil embargo and its smaller size conveyed the impression that it was more economical than its bigger Caddy brethren. This was despite the fact that it was priced higher ($12,500 in 1975 dollars = $54,260 in 2013 dollars) than any of them, save the Fleetwood limousine.

Charge more and get less was a winning formula for the “internationally-sized” Seville, a smashing sales success.  First generation Sevilles, before they were subjected to “bustle back” styling, are still appealing in a very upright, formal way,  offering a crisp, dignified presentation from any angle, all of which, except the wheel arches, are right angles.  In essence,  it’s a rectangle on top of a rectangle but is elegant in its own rectitude.

Damn the aerodynamics!

Damn the aerodynamics!

We encountered two well preserved Sevilles, one rendered in “Amberlite Firemist” (gold) and the other “Firethorn Metallic” (maroon), at rest and in motion.  Underneath the gloss and tufting lurk two Novas but these Chevys have been convincingly transformed, Cinderella-style, into belles of the ball.

Padded roof?  Check.  Opera lights?  Check. 1970s "eleganza" accessories present and accounted for!

Padded roof? Check. Opera lights? Check. 1970s “eleganza” accessories present and accounted for!

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It remains to be seen if the ELR will ever be able to shake its humble Volt origins but history says it’s a distinct possibility.

This promo film from the King Rose archive tells the whole story in 7 minutes with nary a mention of Nova underpinnings but “epoxy encapsulated bolts” are certainly highlighted.

Seville’s dignified design is timeless so adding one to your fleet, such as this 1976 with only 40,000 miles, is certainly worthy of serious consideration.

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