This Week’s Klockau Lust Object: 1976 Cadillac Seville

This Week’s Klockau Lust Object: 1976 Cadillac Seville
This Week’s Klockau Lust Object: 1976 Cadillac Seville

On Tuesday, I spied this early Seville online. I zeroed right in, as my Cadillac radar began going awooga, awooga! This one looked amazing, in Claret Metallic with an Antique Light Buckskin interior. I always liked these, they give off an American Judge Smails-era Silver Shadow vibe, to me at least. The K-body Seville was the first Cadillac in years that wasn’t parade-float sized, and it looked good.

Anyway, this one is on offer on Marketplace for five dollars shy of eleven grand. As the seller related, “I am RELUCTANTLY offering my 1976 Cadillac Seville for sale. I am a long-time member of the Cadillac-LaSalle Club and an avid Cadillac collector. I have owned this car since 2011. Prior to my ownership, my former employer owned the car since 1985.”

“It is an OUTSTANDING example of a well maintained, pride of ownership survivor. You will look long and hard to find one in this condition. By all means, it is NOT perfect. Cosmetically, it wears its 45 year old lacquer paint, which shows some signs of expected aging. On a scale of 1 -10, I would rate the exterior a 7.5.”

“The interior is near perfect, as well as the mechanics. Yes, EVERYTHING works PROPERLY, including the Fuel Injection and AC. The only item not operational is the power antenna. My price is FIRM and, what I consider, VERY reasonable based on the market. I am not an anxious seller, so if you are SERIOUSLY interested, please contact me.”

My friend Jayson Coombes, who loves these cars even more than I and who has been semi-seriously looking for a 1976-79 Seville (his first car was a blue ’79) said it could be worth the money. From his several month long perusal of various and sundry online ads, even the Sevilles that look nice usually are not 100% ready to rock and roll.

Typical ad red flags: “A/C needs a recharge, too busy to fix, easy fix.” Yeah, right. Or the door locks don’t work, or the power windows, cruise, etc. don’t work. “Easy fix, window tracks just need an adjustment, probably.” Uh huh. But hey, these are 45 year old luxury cars.

Jayson’s take: “That absolutely is stunning!! The color combo is fantastic as well. Don’t see too many in Claret, I love it! Antenna isn’t that big a deal.  I prefer the AC and heat to work!! 7.5 on paint makes me question the 11K but who knows, it looks good in photos.”

At any rate, a sharp survivor. Good thing for me it’s far away, ha ha!


  1. This car is just gorgeous. I especially like how close the dash and steering wheel are to the biggies. The designers had confidence that they knew what a Cadillac dash should look like.

    Knowing that everything big and American was going to have to get smaller by American government decree, this must have given hope that they could make do. The style was a great gift by Bill Mitchel so near retirement.

    The one issue is that being based off of the F body, the chassis handling was not as biased toward a smooth and quiet ride as a domestic buyer might expect. In 1979, the mother of a childhood friend was ready to move on from her 73 Mark IV and took a Seville overnight to try it. She returned it saying it was too darty and bought a Fleetwood. Interestingly she avoided the Mark V because she disliked the fender vents she called fish gills. If she was still with us, she would have a hard time avoiding them now.

    1. The Seville was no CAFE special. There was a known demand for a smaller Cadillac because the vast size of their existing models had been meeting buyer resistance for over a decade. Dealers had been asking for the manageable sized car that their customers were requesting, especially ones shopping for cars that would be driven by older or female people. If the Seville had been meant to be efficient, ballasting it up to the mass of a full sized car would have been a silly way to go about it. That’s what Cadillac did though, since apparently they didn’t have any idea how to achieve their big car ride without producing a compact that weighed 4,341 pounds. It worked just fine for their traditional buyers who wanted something smaller, but it really didn’t do much to lower fleet fuel consumption. Perhaps gaining acceptance for a smaller luxury car from Cadillac might be seen as a strategic move in preparation for the overreach of the federal government. That makes it even more of a shame that the company that delivered the lovely first generation Seville followed it up with the neo-classic second Seville and the down-sized FWD DeVilles in less than a decade.

      1. You are correct that this was no CAFE special, which only effect hold after this Seville went into Iranian exile. What it did do was indicate a possible styling direction. Compare looks wise how much these had in common with the CAFE specials at Caddy compared to say the late 80s Taurus based Continental and the 70s Versailles, I can spot no continuity at all at Lincoln. Import fans might think that is good but if their intentions are good I don’t see how they could see it as a sign of strength.

        A far out what if was the Iranian assembly from USA made kits that lasted until 1987. When the market did not take the 86 Seville to heart, could Cadillac have just reintroduced the gen 1? Reagan remember froze CAFE in 1985.

        1. I can’t find any design commonality between the 1976 Seville and the 1985 DeVille. The Seville is more of a four-door 1971 FIAT 130 Coupe than it is a progenitor of the styling disasters Cadillac unleashed in the ’80s.

          1. I had to laugh when you had me imagine our Austrian hippy friend rolling a Fiat 130 out of the junkyard to photograph it curbside to demonstrate what a turd it was. I mean who wants a loud V6 off the 128 four and power steering, I mean an Italian car needing power steering? Ha Ha, no wonder it didn’t sell and sabotaged RR style.

        2. You’ve got your Iranian Seville fact muddled. GM and GM Iran were working on the Shah’s wish to have the new Seville built at the existing GM Iran factory from July 1975. They went into production in Iran as export CKD (Crated Knocked Down) kits as 1977 and ’78 models. No ’76s or ’79s.

          The Iranian Sevilles had many differences, a marine spec cam, different ECU set-up, no emission stuff, tougher suspension and a limited range of paint colours and options.

          There’s no evidence Sevilles were built in Iran in 1987, I do have evidence of some in ’81 and a few in 1982. This was only because when the revolution happened everything stopped. GM Iran was nationalised, there was an international dispute after which GM were paid for the final CKD kits and eventually production started again. Little is known about this time for obvious reasons.

          I’ve been working on the Iranian Sevilles for years and now have a number of contacts there. These Sevilles are loved in Iran, the standard of their restoration work is very good and contrary to what some internet experts tell us, most still run on their electronic fuel injection.

  2. Wow, nice car. The problem I always have with such nice survivors is what do you do with them? Even well kept they are probably too fragile for everyday use, not to mention a bit thirsty, lethargic, and lacking in 27 airbags and the 27 inch infotainment screen that modern buyers demand. It is also way too nice to serve as a winter beater or otherwise destroy the efforts of previous owners to keep it pristine. On the other hand, as a cleanly styled sedan it doesn’t have the aesthetics or athleticism of a sportier model, extravagance of a 59 Caddy, or vintage experience of an antique to admire in the garage or take on a Sunday spin down a scenic road, and if you don’t use them regularly the seals start to leak, terminals start to corrode, and tires flat spot so they end up being even less reliable and pleasant to drive and end up collecting dust in the garage, but I hope someone gives it a nice home.

    1. Totally agree. Not old enough to be a classic, nor is it nice enough to demand the high price. My wife had an identical car. No one offered her more than a thousand for it. As my buddy Ted the auto recycler said, “We call these cars ‘crushers’ cos that’s all their good for: crushing into scrap metal. No one wants them for parts, and they aren’t unique enough or rare enough to be classics.”

      1. I have to disagree, the 76-79 Sevilles have quite a following, after being $1000 cars for many years, they have started to appreciate.

        What do you do with a car like this?

        Simple, enjoy it.

    2. Exactly! I would feel apprehensive and a little bit guilty taking it out for a drive but feel like it’s wasting away in the garage. And I wouldn’t want to park it at Walmart on a busy day.

  3. I had a ’78 in this same color with the same vinyl top. Mine had an all-red interior. I prefer the grill in the ’78 model. I always thought the styling was just stunning, classy and understated. There were so many small styling details and curves that would reveal themselves the closer you looked. The car drove beautifully. Everything was designed to be as smooth, quiet, and unobtrusive as possible. Even with the 350 diesel, which mine had, sound insulation ensured that engine noise was never intrusive, and it returned 25 mpg. The interior styling was similar to other Cadillacs but slightly downsized. They maintained the comfort, and it was loaded with features that were optional on other Cadillacs. Even with the reduced size, the Seville was at the top of the Cadillac line-up.

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