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2023-06-14 19:06:02

The 'Standard of the World' in 1984 - The 1984 Cadillac Seville Bustleback _ Slantback

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Hello , this is Adam and welcome back to Rare classic cars .

It's a beautiful fall day on the weekend here and fall for me is kind of the time where I like to get my eighties era cars out in particular .

I don't know what it is about the fall , but something about the more intimate cabin and the excellent heater in these that you can just kind of blast and warms .

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You combined with that new car smell from the eighties just has a special feeling and I tend to get these cars out , like I said , early or late in the season , fall is my favorite time to drive these , but in any case , this is my 1984 Cadillac Seville , the standard of the world at the time .

And you know , it's a really interesting car .

You either love it or you hate it .

This car came out in 1980 on the backs of what was an extremely successful vehicle .

The 1976 to 1979 Cala Seville , that set the tone for GM styling in particular .

And you could argue the industry styling for many years to come until really the 1986 Ford Tara and Mercury Sable .

And what do I mean by that ?

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Well , take a look at GM Cars from the era , whether it's the A cars like the cut Sierras , the centuries , the celebrities , the 6000 S , the X cars , the notch back X cars like the citation , Phoenix Omega and Skylark .

Even the end cars that came out in 1985 the Grand AM the Calais as well as the Buick Somerset and even the CNH bodies that came out in 85 86 .

The Deville the electro the laber the 88 98 the Bonneville in 87 they all had a very stiff roof profile , very vertical .

And that was something that really came about as John Mian detailed in a video because of the 76 to 79 Seville .

And its absolute success was a car that when it came out GM had originally thought to price it lower than the Deville Series .

But they found that in car clinics that it actually was getting a reception from the public that said that they could price it much higher and they were trying to go after Mercedes .

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So imagine that was really the first time in recent automotive history that a car company had priced a smaller car higher than bigger .

It was always , you know , you get more car , the more you pay , which is why the wheel base would lengthen from Chevrolets to let's say the Pontiac Old Buick to the Cadillac and Ford did the same , you know , whether it was Ford Mercury , Lincoln all got a little bit more , usually two or three inches more wheel base .

So that 76 to 79 Seville was really an extreme trend setting car from a styling standpoint and G M really overused that theme as I just rattled off a bunch of cars that all have a very vertical D line , vertical sale panel .

And it was because of that car .

And at some point , you know , the designers I think got a bit tired of it , maybe they got a bit tired of it too late .

But this car , if you watched the interview with Wayne Katie , who was the chief designer of Cadillac during this time period and whose car this was really his baby .

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He talks about how he wanted because the Seville the 76 to 9 was so successful .

He wanted to do a car that if anybody copied it , it would have been completely recognizable as to where the design came from .

And he really wanted the design to focus on the rear of the car , hence the bustle back .

And it's a great interview with Wayne .

He talks about how , you know , some people say this was inspired by the Hooper Bodied Rolls Royce and it certainly has cues from that .

But that was really after Wayne had been sketching this car since the late sixties .

And that was Bill Mitchell GM styling vp's influence that he wanted this to kind of tighten up all these different creases and have it be more creased than what Wayne originally envisioned ?

And I think it came out to be an especially handsome vehicle .

Now , there are some great things about these cars and there are some not so great things .

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Let's start out with talking about the sales figures and the pricing in 1980 this car came out with a base price of about $20,400 in 1980 .

So you're talking about $65,000 in today's dollars , very , very high base price .

And in the previous 79 Seville , the base price was about $16,000 .

So $4000.25 percent jump in base price in one model year .

And yes , this was a time when inflation was high in the US , but it wasn't 25% .

And the Eldorado which was a sister car to this had a base price of 16,000 and the Deville Series had a base price of about 12 to 13,000 .

So this car was priced in the stratosphere for Cadillac and even more so than that 76 Seville was when it came out that car , about a 12,500 base price compared to the Deville Series which were in the mid eight .

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So about a 50% base price increase over the Deville from the Seville to the Deville back then and more than 50% when this car came out .

And part of that was , unfortunately , they made the diesel engine standard in 1980 the Olds 5.7 liter diesel making like 100 and five horsepower .

Not good .

So , and then the next year in this car , they came out with the V 8 64 engine .

So for those who don't know that was Cadillac's early cylinder deactivation put on their 368 cubic inch V eight that switched from 8 to 6 to four cylinders .

Yes , that was out in 1981 and it was one year only in passenger cars , I think in limousines , it continued on for a little while longer .

Then in 1982 this car gets the infamous hook and toe ht who was supposed to stand for high tech 4.1 liter V eight engine , which was just an absolute disaster for Cadillac .

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And sure there are going to be people who say I've never had any problem with it , etcetera .

Well , even the worst engines were good experiences for some people , but it had an abnormally high failure rate and that continued on to the end of this car's life in 1985 .

So , you know , I think the power trains in particular on this car were something that were a big Achilles heel , especially when you traded in a car from the seventies or sixties on this that had bulletproof power trains from Cadillac .

So I would love to get a 1980 or 81 civil the cylinder deactivation version in 81 it's very easy to make it reliable .

You just unhook a connector and you don't have the cylinder deactivation .

It runs great on eight cylinders and those are also more powerful .

The Cadillac 368 cubic inch V eight was about 145 horsepower .

This is 135 horsepower and it's lighter .

This is an aluminum block engine .

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So the car is about £200 lighter than it was in 1981 especially over the nose of it , but you also lost about 35% in torque going to this engine .

Those Cadillac 368 had £270 feet of torque .

This has 200 .

So , you know , this is not a car where you're going to be winning any stoplight races at all .

In fact , you floor it and people will still pass you just accelerating normally today .

But if you accelerate normally you just take your time , it's going to be just fine .

And I would say the great thing about these cars is , well , one of the great things is that they do get great gas mileage .

I'm averaging 23 24 MPG with this car and it's a £4000 car with almost 40 year old technology .

So that's pretty good for it .

But let's take the camera off and do a walk around and we can talk about some more of the features of the car in greater detail .

All right .

So let's walk around the vehicle .

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And as I mentioned , this was a car where chief designer Wayne Katie really wanted the focal point to be the rear end of the car and it has this so called bustle back .

And as I mentioned , some people say , it exemplifies cues of the Hooper bodied Rolls Royce , but whatever you can say about it , it certainly is a rear focus car .

The front is pretty conventional .

The rear is highly unconventional , especially for a Cadillac .

And to Wayne's point , you really had to know when Ford came out with the Continental and Chrysler came out with the imperial in 1981 Ford came out with the Continental in 82 I believe you knew where this kind of bustle back trunk profile came from because G M came out with it first .

I like it .

I think it's kind of cool .

I also like the 81 Imperial by the way .

Now , interesting little tidbit of information when this car came out in 1980 .

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This body side molding here was not part of the standard equipment , it was only on the elegante but the car kind of looked funky without it .

And so it got added to all of them after that first year to really help draw your eye across what is a nice line on this car .

And without it , like I said , the designers even felt it looked a bit strange .

So designers adding body side molding something that is a bit different , but that was their preference .

Another interesting thing in the early versions of this car in 1980 they had different wire wheel covers that stuck out much more proud of the vehicle .

Those had to be redesigned because people go through car washes , they would get damaged .

And then this was the revised version with the red center here .

I do think that this is one car of the era that really has good wheel , the body stands .

I mean , look at how far outboard the wheels are in this car .

It's just not typical of the period .

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So that is very modern and from a styling perspective , I think another interesting thing about this is if this car had been done by Ford or by Chrysler , you know , G M always had these very subtle design cues like this lead in here with the fender gradually rising up as it goes toward the windshield .

If that were a Ford , that line would be perfectly flat and the Chrysler is relatively flat too , even these beautifully kinked , you know , I call them a pillars here with the crease in them .

There's a bit of crown to these surfaces and there's a crown to this surface here too .

It's not totally flat and it really adds a sense of beauty to the car that again , Ford and Chrysler just didn't do this .

That wasn't their aesthetic .

Even this line in the back here .

If you look at the 81 imperial for Chrysler , this is kind of a straight line .

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But look , it's got this beautiful radius to it that just curves up into the roof again , a very G M E thing to do to take this car that really you're trying to make creased , but you're giving it all these different radii and it gives it , I think a very handsome look does also have a really nice , I love this cross here , this bevel in the trunk line , I think it's particularly handsome , gives it a little bit of depth and detail as opposed to it being just flat .

And again , the surfaces here are somewhat crown .

This isn't just a flat surface .

You can see it's got a little crown leading into this feature line and a little bit more crown overall .

Very beautiful .

I do have to get new bumper fillers .

This side is fine in terms of its integrity , but the plasticizers start coming through and it doesn't look as good .

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So if anybody's got a recommendation on which bumper fillers I should use , let me know it's kind of hard to get good ones these days .

They don't really fit , they're not flexible , you got to have them fitted .

So I have been trying to hang on to these for as long as I can because they're still in good shape , but they're not looking as good as they once were .

I've owned this car probably for about 10 years in 1980 .

Also , this hood has a big cap on it .

And that theme for the cap was taken from Wayne Kay was the Buick studio chief previously from a theme that he had for what was going to be the 77 78 Riviera .

He did not design the production 77 78 Riviera , but his theme for what he wanted to be , that car had this cap over the hood and he stole that because this hood is the same on the El Dorado and the Seville and he and the team put that there to try to disguise the fact that it is the same hood .

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Now the car after a few years , nobody really noticed because the cars are so different .

The El Dorado has fenders that extend proud of the hood .

This car has fenders that are just flush and so they took it away .

But a little interesting feature that stuck around for a few model years early on in this car's lifetime .

I am also surprised that G M Fisher body did this here .

You know , these four interfaces coming together at once .

This is extremely challenging to fit correctly , but they did and this car the body fits are actually quite good .

Overall , shockingly good for the period , the paint isn't bad G M 80 paint is notoriously terrible .

But I would say actually this car is put together with relative care .

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And this again helped them use the same hood , but it gave you this interesting interface of four surfaces in one place which is far from ideal .

You did not have a so called trap hood on this where you had a panel ahead of the hood .

This is the terminating panel .

So at least the hood could vary in this dimension without it being realized all that much .

And again , another beautiful just radius here and surface .

It's a very , I think sensuous if you will area of the car turning to the inside , you have , I think one of the best features of the car .

No , not the real bell that's dinging , but the interior , this is just a super , super rich interior feels much richer than the 76 to 9 .

And yes , it does have full wood grain all over , but it's very tasteful .

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I mean , look at the door panel , super soft .

This is real stitching here .

This is vacuum form , but this is real stitching here and all the controls just have a great touch and feel to them .

Stay tuned .

I'll go over some of the unique quirks .

Yes , I'm going to use the word quirks and features of this car in another video because there are so many that it's a topic of a whole another video .

But I think in general the controls and everything in this car are very , very handsome .

The one strange thing is that you push the lock button and you notice that this plunger goes forward and you notice they put lock forward because on every other G M car of the era , this is the reverse of what it normally is .

I don't know why they did that , but they did again .

Super rich interior .

You can see here all the controls and switch gear feel very good and rich .

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I love the car's exterior is Briar brown and it has a chocolate brown interior including the headliner which I've had to have replaced .

Thankfully , I could still get brown at the time .

It's getting harder and harder to get various headliner colors now as people aren't needing to replace them , the new cars just don't droop .

So the companies that make the headliners are not producing them in as many colors as they once were really neat .

IP theme kind of similar to the 82 Trans Am and Camaro with this big pronounced hood over top of it .

And in 1980 four , the interior Cadillac got rid of all of the chrome kind of framing elements of all these different displays and blacked it out .

I don't know if that was for cost or for looks .

It did have overly as Mark would say picture framing element , all these things had chrome outlines to them .

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You notice by the way that this is really symmetrical over here from the driver's side , obviously , you have the spin meter and some different controls and here you just have a plug here .

But that's because they could easily make this car right hand drive .

It was thought that they were going to export this car to some countries like the UK that needed right , right hand drive .

So kind of one of the early cars where that's true .

You also have a flat floor .

This car is front wheel drive , no hump at all .

One piece floor mat , huge gas pedal , huge brake pedal but not much under hood .

It's all hat and no cattle , as they would say in Texas , you do get your wonderful Cadillac keys .

These aren't gold , the gold key delivery system wouldn't come in for another year , but they are Cadillac keys .

Let's take a look under the hood at that .

Wonderful and being very sarcastic , 4.1 liter V 81 last thing here .

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This does have a tilt and telescoping wheel so you can tilt it with this lever here , you can telescope by unlocking this and then the wheel moves in and out so you can get pretty comfortable in here quite easily .

This car also does have the optional trumpet horn , which is four horns and it sounds great like a train .

I mean , you lay on the horn if somebody's falling asleep at the intersection , they are going to wake up .

The other thing I'll say , versus the 76 to 9 Seville is the passenger compartment , the interior space feels noticeably bigger .

That car feels cramped in part because of this relatively big hump for the rear wheel drive drive line .

But also because the seats are overstuffed and the door panels are overstuffed and you've got that hump and me being 61 , I had a 79 civil diesel and it just was never overly comfortable on the inside .

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You always felt a bit claustrophobic and here it is the wonderful Cadillac 4.1 liter V eight engine .

You can see this car does have auto leveling rear suspension .

And , you know , like I said , for me , I've owned tons of cars with these .

I've owned probably four or five cars with this engine and I haven't had any problems , but I've always bought low mileage cars .

I always change the coolant every about three years .

Remember , I'm not putting many miles on every 3 to 4 years with the fresh GM coolant ceiling tabs and I haven't given any problems and I also drive the cars pretty gingerly .

I always wait until the heat comes on as an example before I really start accelerating with any speed just to let all these parts get up to temperature appropriately .

This is an iron head aluminum block engine and I said that right .

It's an aluminum intake iron head , aluminum block .

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So the thermal coefficient of expansion is different between all these , the gasket surfaces are really challenged because of it .

So let the car warm up slowly and don't drive it hard and I just drive it like a normal car .

There's no sense in flooring this and trying to pass somebody because you get no extra power .

So just don't do it .

It is reliable though .

I haven't , this car always starts , it always runs good .

All the ones that I've had have been just completely reliable .

I say they're reliable until they aren't , they have a catastrophic failure , but until they have that catastrophic failure , they're pretty good in terms of their overall reliability .

This is just throttle body injection .

And these also , in spite of them saying that it was high tech .

It's not multi port .

Let's take a look at the trunk .

So you're wondering probably , well , what does the trunk look like on this car ?

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Let me grab the keys and it's shockingly big .

It's actually bigger than the trunk in the 76 to 9 Seville .

That replaced it even though it doesn't look good .

So there you have it .

I mean , you could fit four golf bags in here easily .

The rear seat is kind of canted forward .

So it gives you all this room it's got a space saver spare .

I love the mouse fur on the trunk hinges .

Even you got to have carpeted trunk hinges and the underside of the trunk does have the auto power pulled down .

One thing about these is that the trunk struts .

They last about a year when you first put them in the first year of this trunk , when you auto release it will nicely and very expensively open itself .

Then after about a year , it kind of raises more and more slowly .

And then after two years , you got to raise it on its own .

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I think this trunk is just too heavy for these gas struts .

So I got to replace mine again .

I've already replaced them once over the lifetime , but they're getting kind of weak .

Again , it's just a heavy trunk but again , good size .

It does have the auto power pole down there it goes , car also does have frameless door glass .

You can see here kind of like the pillared hardtops as Ford would call it front and rear .

And despite the divider bar , these windows don't go down all the way in the back .

They go down to about halfway because they can't fit in the door G M was always big on putting this divider bar where it looked good , not where it would functionally allow you to drop the whole glass O G M but good rear seat room .

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These front seats are all the way back , comfortable back seat .

You have the reading lights in the sale panel there too .

Assist straps .

Thanks for watching this video .

Stay tuned for our drive is one on strange features and quirks of the 84 Seville .

Till next time .

Be sure to check out the video thumbnails at bottom , left and right for some suggestions for you .

Thanks again for watching .


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