Bustleback Body: 1984 Cadillac Seville 73K Survivor – SOLD!
January 30, 2022 Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
Following up on the success of its first-generation, “International-Sized”, rear-wheel-drive Seville, Cadillac rocked the luxury car market in 1980 by launching a front-wheel-drive redesign featuring a distinctive “Bustleback” trunk reminiscent of Rolls Royces from the 1950s. By the mid-eighties, faux cabriolet roofs were all the rage, and this 1984 Cadillac Seville originally listed in January 2022 on Craigslist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania appears to be a clean and extremely well-maintained example with just 73K original miles.
Currently offered for $4,800 or best offer currently. Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Seville priced one hundred higher than this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $4,700. Similarly, the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals exactly the same result.
While the first-generation Seville had proved quite successful, it failed in its primary mission of winning over younger import buyers. Marketing research indicated that the car was most popular with older women who wanted a Cadillac in a smaller, more maneuverable size. For the 1980 model year, the Seville’s Chevy Nova derive K-body platform became front-wheel drive, based on the E-body Eldorado, Buick Riviera, and Oldsmobile Toronado. Length and wheelbase were similar, with the car losing a quart-of-an-inch in wheelbase while gaining nearly one inch overall. The new model featured independent rear suspension and was the first American car to have a standard diesel engine, carried over from the previous generation. Cadillac’s new 368 cu in (6.0 L) L62 V8 with Digital Fuel Injection was a no-cost option except in California, where the fuel-injected Oldsmobile 350 remained available as a no-cost option.
The razor-edged bustle-back rear styling drew inspiration from English coachbuilder Hooper & Co.’s “Empress Line” designs from the early 1950s, which were considered a dramatic, modern take on the mid-’30s style of trunk/body integration. In addition, long hood/short deck proportions were inspired by luxury cars of the 1960s. The Seville’s “statement” styling was one of the last vehicles designed by Bill Mitchell, appointed by Harley Earl in 1936 as the Cadillac’s first chief designer. It was swiftly imitated by the 1982–87 Lincoln Continental sedan and the 1981–83 Imperial coupe. Sales were strong at first, but disastrous flirtation with diesel engines and the ill-fated V-8-6-4 variable displacement gasoline engine, coupled with poor quality control eroded Seville’s standing in the marketplace.
The Seville introduced features that would become traditional in later years. In 1981, memory seats appeared—a feature not seen on a Cadillac since the Eldorado Broughams of the late 1950s. This option allowed two stored positions to be recalled at the touch of a button. Also new for 1981 was a digital instrument cluster. The “Cadillac Trip Computer” was a precursor to this option in 1978. Available until 1985, it was considerably less expensive than the trip computer and featured just a digital speedometer and fuel gauge. Engine options changed for 1981: the V8 was now equipped with the V8-6-4 variable displacement technology. However, the engine management systems of the time proved too slow to run the system reliably. A 4.1 L (252 cu in) Buick V6 was added as a credit option. Puncture-sealing tires were also new.
In 1982, Seville offered heated outside rear-view mirrors with an optional rear defogger. Inside, a “Symphony Sound” stereo cassette tape system was available. The previously standard diesel engine became an option with the introduction of a new 4.1 L (250 cu in) HT-4100. This engine had a number of reliability issues, such as weak, porous aluminum block castings and failure-prone intake manifold gaskets.
For 1983, the Buick V6 was dropped and a new “Delco/Bose” stereo cassette system was offered at $895. Initially looking like a standard Delco radio, from 1984 onward it featured a brushed gold-look front panel and bulbous lower interior door speaker assemblies. This was also the last year for an available 8-track stereo system. From 1983 through 1985, it was available with a fake cabriolet roof option which gave the appearance of a four-door convertible.
The MotorWeek RetroReview Channel provides this vintage 1982 Cadillac Seville test drive report:
This vintage of Seville was essentially a four-door Eldorado and speaking from personal experience with our 1984 Eldorado project car, Cadillac seemed to resolve the HT4100’s gremlins two years after launch. Unfortunately, public perception of these engines continues to keep the prices of these cars low. While horribly underpowered, they care wonderfully comfortable cruisers. The simulated cabriolet roof is perfect for those who want the look and maintenance of a canvas convertible top without any of the fun.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“Hi we are selling our Cadillac in very good condition second owner garage kept silver with pearl grey leather interior fully equipped runs and drives great 73k original miles well maintained all service records truly must-see $4,800 or best offer.
Show or go: what would you do with this 1984 Cadillac Seville? Comment below and let us know!