Fresh Metal: 1980 Cadillac Seville

The 1980-1985 Seville had unique styling

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The all-new 1980 Cadillac Seville was quite possibly the most distinctive car in the world and the most advanced. It was a masterwork of classic and contemporary styling cues united in an unusually beautiful automobile. Its dynamic wedge-shape was a love/hate affair…either you liked it or you didn’t. Its front-wheel drive…Electronic Level Control…four-wheel disc brakes…and its sophisticated independent suspension made it world-class luxury.

It was a Cadillac styling tour-de-force. Had GM STOPPED cloning this car to EVERY division, it would have retained its exclusivity. The styling is what made the 1980 Cadillac Seville unique, it was unlike anything else on the road BEFORE the disastrous cloning. I am going to give this car its proper respect, this is why I am not going to mention the Seville after the 1980 model year. This is another signature performance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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This is the 1981 Seville, cars from this genre are rare today

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The 1980 Cadillac Seville’s bustle-back styling was reminiscent of the early Daimler limousines, not to mention the Rolls Royce Silver Wraith from the 1950s. The Cadillac Seville set the styling standards for an entire decade, unfortunately, most of which was extremely distasteful.

This total re-design for 1980 offered considerably more interior room than its predecessor as well as more trunk space. The Seville was the most distinctive car in the world at the time. If it had been advertised with a little more finesse, panache, and savior-faire…and like I said retained its exclusivity…this could have been a legend, but bad-taste & avarice at GM ruined the charisma.

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 What was so horridly-ugly was the way it was advertised as “Seville for the 80’s, the first American Car with diesel as standard.” First of all, why in the hell would they put such an inelegant powerplant in such an elegant automobile? Evidently, if one could afford a Seville I sincerely hope they could afford real gasoline to power it.… I had to re-read the introduction to make sure I hadn’t misread what I saw!

Second, the person who thought up the idea to put a diesel engine in a Cadillac should have been conveniently and thoroughly slapped beyond recognition moments before their involuntary separation from Cadillac! I am NOT going to address that wretched little truck motor nor that Buick 4.1 litre V6 engine both of which in my opinion were extremely tacky which is precisely why I am going to ignore those facts. That was such a debacle and disgrace that it cost Cadillac a great identity loss…

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The Seville’s new shape was aerodynamic with a new flush mounted windshield to reduce wind noise. It used a new one-piece high-strength rear bumper. This all-new design with its new front-wheel drive not only offered impressive roadability but added interior roominess due to the flat floor less the traditional transmission tunnel hump.

The 1980 Seville had extensive handwork on body finishing. The Electronic Level Control, four-wheel disc brakes, four-wheel independent suspension, teamed with its sophisticated front-wheel drive made it the most distinctive luxury sedan in the world. Seville for the 80’s was an automobile that blended classic elegance with contemporary stamina…all with manners. It was a new American standard for the entire world.

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The 1980 Cadillac Seville was built on the “E-body” front-wheel drive Eldorado platform. This was the last Bill Mitchell design. This car was best equipped with the 6.0 litre 368 CID V8 with Digital Electronic Fuel Injection. Due to stringent emissions standards the 5.7 litre 350 CID with Electronic Fuel Injection was available for the California market.

New on-board computer diagnostics were part of the sophisticated digital electronic network to simplify service. The electronic network for the 1980 Seville was its new Electronic Climate Control with precision temperature control, Electronic Cruise Control, Electronic Level Control, its fuel injection system, and the most important component, the Computer Body Module. The Seville was one of the best engineered cars.

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With the new Electronic Climate Control one touch of a button allowed temperature change as precise as one degree with digital accuracy. This system ventilated, heated, cooled, and dehumidified with one of the highest cooling capacities found on any car.

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The heart of the 6.0 litre Digital Fuel Injection was a sophisticated system that used two electronically controlled injectors that metered a precise mixture of fuel and air to the engine. A digital microprocessor monitored barometric pressure, engine temperature, manifold pressure, and other variables.

The system compensated for aging of parts. It had an idle speed control which maintained a constant idle speed regardless of weather, load, or altitude. The new on-board computer diagnostics enabled the service technician to find and correct possible problems faster by pushing buttons that yielded a system code. Then another push of a button tells the technician if the issue was resolved.

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The Ad campaign for the original 1975 Seville put Cadillac center stage. “Seville is a new expression of Cadillac excellence…international in size…timeless in styling…Cadillac in craftsmanship. Very simply, Seville is designed to be one of the finest production cars built anywhere in the world.”

The Cadillac Seville had become an enigmatic mystique. Its charisma reached epidemic levels by the 1980 model year. The “bustle-back” design was rather avant-garde for the day which made it the selling feature. The Cadillac Seville had become synonymous with glamour and elegance. It was the quintessential status symbol.

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Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end…the Cadillac Seville spawned a decade of imitators such as the garishly embellished Lincoln Versailles…even the name was horrid, the grotesquely home-made Chrysler 5th Avenue which looked like someone’s mom made it, but the brass-blockhead award goes to the designer of that homely, distinctively nondescript Chrysler Imperial…you know, the one they revamped with that kitschy plastic gem for a hood ornament…

Which proved that all of Chrysler’s taste was truly in their mouths! I was ashamed for them when I visited a showroom with a friend. The “Seville-clones” became known as “the bad taste” era for the luxury car…where kitsch was king!

The Seville’s rakish styling began a copy-cat trend past the point of no return…the Seville by the 1985 model year had become an object of ridicule and the butt-end of jokes. It was so sad because the car had a brilliant beginning, its exclusivity was sullied by repetition…the once spectacular international size luxury sedan slipped into an irreversible obscurity. 

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The Seville Elegante was the most elegant version of this distinctive luxury sedan. Two-toned lacquer and a sweeping French curve augmented this signature series. The Elegante was the ultimate expression of Seville. Chrome plated wire wheel covers were a no-cost option. The Elegante trim option package was available in Sable Black with Sheffield Gray Firemist, Sheffield Gray Firemist with Norfolk Gray, and Canyon Rock with Desert Sand Firemist.

The Elegante had a posh European-inspired interior. Its 40/40 individual front seating had a locking leather trimmed center console. Plush Tampico carpets and a leather trimmed steering wheel added elegance to its luxurious ambiance. Leather upholstery was standard in two colors. The Seville for 1980 escalated the already luxurious sedan to new heights of comfort and convenience as only a Cadillac special edition could.

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Even the standard interior for the 1980 Seville was everything desired in a world-class luxury car. Heather cloth was standard with a velvety-smooth touch or 10 colors of genuine leather was available. Standard features included: Electric Climate Control, power windows and door locks, 50/45 Dual Comfort front seating, Twilight Sentinel, power steering, Electronic Cruise Control, side window defoggers, power trunk release with power pull-down, Tilt & Telescopic steering wheel, Illuminated Entry system, Electronically tuned digital display AM/FM Stereo Signal Seeking radio with scanner and power antenna, lamp monitors, and seat belt chimes to name just a few of the many amenities that made the Seville the world-class luxury sedan that it was. And that was just the interior features. The 1980 Cadillac Seville was a car complete.

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 The Cadillac Seville was snobwagon supreme during its heyday. It was an international size masterwork of classic and contemporary styling. It had sophisticated electronics, a powerful 6.0 litre V8 engine, four-wheel disc brakes, four-wheel independent suspension, and exclusive on-board computer diagnostics making it a world-class luxury sedan.

The Cadillac Seville’s unique exterior styling hinted at the elegant Daimler limousines from the 1950s. This all-new avant-garde design won the world’s esteem. Unfortunately, there was a hit-parade of kitsch spawned from this elegant sedan that ushered in the decade of clones in extremely bad taste that were the “Laverne LaShinskys” of the automotive world. The haphazardly styled Seville clones from General Motors sullied the Seville’s exclusivity with austere, gaudy, no, grotesque replication.

The 1980 Cadillac Seville was indeed one of the world’s great sedans…that is if it was equipped with the 6.0 litre V8 with Digital Electronic Fuel Injection. The awful 5.7 litre make-believe diesel engine belonged in a truck, and that Buick 4.1 litre…should have remained at Buick neither of which should have ever come in contact with a Cadillac engine bay. What began as an elegant new approach to luxury ended as a nondescript puddle-jumper. This is a reality episode… titled “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

…Now a gallery of Sevilles…Eldorado Sevilles

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The Eldorado Seville was introduced for the 1956 model year, the convertible was renamed Biarritz. The Seville was a classy hardtop coupe with its roof covered in Vicodec. The Eldorado Seville and Biarritz were the Cadillac Flagships.

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The iconic Cadillac tail fin of the 1959 Eldorado Seville

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The Cadillac Eldorado Seville hardtop coupe with Vicodec roof

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Definitely-Definitive…the 1960 Eldorado Biarritz

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The Vicodec roof covering was avant-garde for the day

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Just more superlative-superlatives………in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Will Cadillac ever have another LUXURY car?

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