Good X-body: 1979 Cadillac Seville – SOLD!
June 6, 2021 Update – based upon the seller deleting their Craigslist ad combined with the comment from an anonymous reader below, we’re calling this one sold! While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
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 1979 example originally listed on Craigslist in May 2021 in Brecksville, Ohio for $8,500 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 #2 “Very Good” estimate of $7,600 and their #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $12,500. Similarly, the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has his Seville priced between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $7,600 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $12,600.
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 the 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 Classic Cars Today YouTube Channel Currently features this 1978 Cadillac Seville commercial featuring famous golfer Arnold Palmer behind the wheel:
This Sevill appears to be a nicely maintained original car that has aged very well.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“Selling a 1979 Cadillac Seville all original, 81,000 original miles looks and runs beautiful, very nice original condition body rust-free, a classic Cadillac hard to find in this condition $8500 obo, will only respond to replies with a phone number.“
Show or go: what would you do with this first-gen Cadillac Seville? Comment below and let us know!