PIMPN77: 1977 Cadillac Seville – $3,500
Cadillac’s problem of attracting younger buyers is not a recent phenomenon. In fact, it dates back to the mid-seventies when they recognized the growing popularity of smaller, luxury imports produced in West Germany. Realizing their traditional “bigger is better” design philosophy was lost with these buyers, Cadillac launched its “international-sized” Seville. This dark gray 1977 example we discovered here on Craigslist in Norfolk, Virginia for $3,500 illustrates how well the design has stood the test of time for forty years and counting. Checking the Collector Car Market Review Online Valuation Tool confirms the asking price falls between their #4 “Fair” estimate of $2,100 and their #3 “Good” appraisal of $4,700. As a second data point, the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has his Seville priced just below the #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $3,700. If you are serious about buying this Volvo, you can start the conversation by calling Floyd at (757) 685-4506. When you do, please remember to mention you saw his Seville featured here on GuysWithRides.com
As stylish as Cadillac’s new “internationally-sized” Seville was, few people realized how well the division’s engineers were able to hide the car’s Chevrolet Nova roots. The Seville’s unibody construction included a bolt-on subframe with a rear suspension based on the rear-wheel-drive 1968–74 X-body (Nova/Ventura) platform. It also featured a rear differential with thicker front subframe bushings similar to the second-generation F platform used in the Camaro and Firebird. Substantial re-engineering and upgrades from these humble origins earned it the unique designation “K-body” within GM.
Also shared with the X-body platform was part of the roof stamping and trunk floor pan (for 1973 and newer vehicles). Cadillac stylists added a crisp, angular body that set the tone for GM styling for the next decade, along with a wide-track stance giving car a substantial, premium appearance. A wide chrome grille flanked by quadruple rectangular headlamps with narrow parking and signal lamps just below the header panel, while small wrap-around rectangular tail lamps placed at the outermost corners of the rear gave the appearance of a lower, leaner, and wider car. The taillight design was similar to that used on a rejected Coupe DeVille concept.
Seville engineers chose the X-body platform instead of the German Opel Diplomat in response to GM’s budget restrictions—executives felt re-engineering an Opel would be more costly. Another proposal during development was a front-wheel-drive layout similar to the Cadillac Eldorado. This proposal was also rejected because of budget and production capacity constraints.
Introduced in mid-1975 and billed as the new “internationally-sized” Cadillac, the Seville was almost 1,000 pounds (450 kg) lighter than the full-sized Deville. The Seville was thus more nimble and easier to park, as well as remaining attractive to customers with the full complement of Cadillac features. More expensive than any other Cadillac (except the Series 75 Fleetwood factory limousines) at US$12,479, the Seville was modestly successful. It spawned several imitators including the Lincoln Versailles and the Chrysler LeBaron. To ensure the quality of the initial production run, the first 2,000 units produced were identical in color (Georgian silver) and options. This enabled workers to “ramp up” to building different configurations. Total 1976 Seville production was 43,772 vehicles.
Starting with the 1977 model year, production Sevilles used the larger 5-lug bolt circle common to full-size Chevrolet passenger cars (1971–76), Cadillacs, Buicks, Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, and half-ton Chevrolet/GMC light trucks and vans. It also received rear disc brakes, a design that would surface a year later as an option on the F-body Pontiac Trans Am. 1975–76 models required a vinyl top due to the roof being originally produced in two parts; the rear section around the C-pillar was pressed especially for Cadillac and a regular X-body pressing was used for the forward parts. Due to customer demand, a painted steel roof was offered in 1977, which required a new full roof stamping. 1977 Seville production increased slightly to 45,060 vehicles. The following year, production increased to 56,985 cars and ended up being the peak production year for the first generation.
The engine was an Oldsmobile-sourced 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8, fitted with a Bendix/Bosch electronically-controlled fuel injection. This system gave the Seville smooth drivability and performance that was usually lacking in domestic cars of this early emissions control era. Power output was 180 horsepower with gas mileage ranging from 17 MPG in the city to 23 MPG on the highway. This was still a time when Cadillac’s larger, 500 cubic-inch-powered offerings could barely achieve 10 mpg.
The King Rose Archives YouTube Channel Currently features this 1975 Cadillac Seville video touting the GM Division’s engineering prowess:
While the grille cap, wheels, faux landau bars, and trunk-mounted antenna would not be our first choice, those are easily remedied to that will still be pimpin as you cruise around. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“1977 Seville , 90% restored. runs good. over $5000.00 spent on restoration. 18” chrome wheels, too many repairs to list. Retiring soon, have too many cars. New alternator just installed. Will accept reasonable offer.“
Do you have a First Generation Seville story you’d like to share? Comment below and let us know!