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2003 Cadillac Seville STS With 10K Miles!

A 2003 Cadillac on Barn Finds, right? Right! It’s not a barn find and it’s not even that old, though at eighteen years of age it could be getting a little gray. So what gives? It’s a 10K mile car, purchased from the estate of the original owner, and is in like-new condition. Want to take a look? This Cadillac Seville STS is located in Costa Mesa, California and is available here on eBay for a BIN price of $12,900. There is a make an offer option too.

When I first spied this listing I was confused. The seller refers to it as an “STS” but I noticed, viewing the engine image, that it’s a front-wheel driver and the Cadillac STS has RWD architecture. What gives? This Cadillac is a Seville (1976-2004) with the STS performance package. Seville STS models were offered between 1997 and 2003 with total Seville production coming in around 18K units for model year 2003. The Cadillac STS was the Seville’s redesigned successor and offered between 2004 and 2011.

In most respects, this should be a brief review. This Cadillac Seville is not rare and it’s not that old  – you can still buy a used one anywhere. I found many $5K examples but none with only 10K miles so that item alone sets this car apart. It’s not exactly a one-owner car as there is a seller in between the original 95-year-old owner and its next custodian. The paint on this Palm Springs domiciled Cadillac is still very strong; clearly, garage storage has been involved. There are no signs of scrapes, dents, or other contusions. I try not to take strong positions of a subjective nature regarding appearance but the Vogue tires, IMHO, are ugly. They detract from the otherwise graceful and balanced lines of what was, in 2003, a “modern” Cadillac. By this point, the Seville had done a measurable job of divorcing itself from the chrome-boat look of previous Cadillacs, cars that were at one time considered, “The Standard of the World”. Again, just my view as I know these expensive Vogue rollers do have their fans.

Under the hood is a nice surprise in the form of a 300 HP, 4.6 litre V8 “Northstar” DOHC engine. This STS version of the Northstar is 25 HP more than the standard SLS engine. The seller has little to say regarding this Seville’s operating attributes other than to state that he drove it from Palm Springs to Costa Mesa with no issues. With only 10K miles on its clock, the Northstar powerplant should still be a very strong performer. Performance tests of the time place a Seville STS’ quarter-mile times in the mid-14-second range which had to be a surprise coming from a 4,000 lb., FWD luxury sedan. A four-speed automatic transaxle transmits the “go” to the front wheels.

The interior is a typical leather-clad, early 2000’s environment. GM cars of the era were frequently chastised for chintzy interiors made with cheesy materials – most of the criticism is warranted. Their interiors were hardly terrible but GM could have done a lot better. That said, this Seville’s interior looks fine, it’s clean and in lightly-used condition as one would expect. The seats are nicely bolstered and look comfortable if not exactly form-fitting, but then that wasn’t a 2003 Cadillac’s mission. The workmanship looks sound nothing seems to be misfitting. The analog display, digital-based instrument panel appears to be performing properly. The standard digital displays, as used in some GM cars in this era, proved to be a headache but I couldn’t uncover any known issues with this display.

This Cadillac is a nice find! It might be a bit pricy for what it is but with general maintenance, this Seville will still have many miles of road to cover in comfort, and that 300 HP Northstar engine will just add to the enjoyment. I have said before that full-size two-door hardtops/coupes are a disappearing breed, one that won’t be making a return. I’m starting to worry that the same fate could befall a four-door sedan like this Seville as the rabid quest for CUVs/SUVs continues unabated. And as for the tires? They’ll eventually wear out.

Comments

  1. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    I’m happy to see this STS here on Barn Finds. I’ve always thought these to be a classy ride. They looked a little sharper in their day, kind of plain now, but that is part of the charm. Most of the ones I see nowadays appear to be on their fifth or sixth owner and well past it. Nice find

    Like 14
  2. alphasud Member

    Good looking car but loose the wheels and tires for sure! Even with only 10K on the clock that Northstar is the Achilles heel of this car. If they aren’t leaking oil they are blowing head gaskets and pulling head bolts. Been there and done that with a couple customer cars and it’s a huge job!

    Like 19
    • Raymond Smith

      You are correct. Usually not a matter of if, it’s when. If head gaskets and bolts are done correctly they are good to go. It is an expensive job though unless you have experience and can do yourself.

      Like 3
    • Kevin Burris

      I have a 2003 daily driver with 182k no issues, changed oem plugs at 165k

      Like 1
  3. Ralph

    This one belongs in Fla. at Del Becca Vista. Sell it to Jack Klompus…then park it in the canal.

    Like 11
    • DrillnFill

      That was a RWD Fleetwood ! :)

      Like 5
  4. DrillnFill

    These were such great looking cars when they first came out in ‘92. They had the power to match too.

    I know the Northstar has its issues but I’d lose the wheels and tires and daily drive it lol. Nice find.

    Like 4
  5. 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

    STS stood for Seville Touring Sedan and in those years they were all front wheel drive. I rescued a ’99 STS from going to the cash for clunkers program in 2008. I drove it as a daily driver for several years, the head gaskets gave up the ghost at 240,000 miles. Wonderful touring car, made many 2500 mile round trips to visit a son in Colorado. I replaced it with a 2012 Caprice PPV 9C1, another great touring car

    Like 11
    • TCOPPS TCOPPS Member

      may I add, that your PPV is an EXCELLENT touring car

      Like 0
    • Willie Bryan

      I had in 2016. I paid $3000 for it. It had 150,000 mile when I sold it, with no leaks of any kind and no bolt problem. My problem was I was low on cash and it was just sitting in my yard. I regret selling it. The Northstar is an issue for some, but if you get a good one, it’s one of the most satisfying engines. The STS was one of my favorite cars. It wasn’t the best at anything, but it was good or adequate at everything. I guess I was lucky.

      Like 1
  6. That Guy

    My sister drove an STS as her daily driver for seven or eight years. It was a really nice car, seemed well made, fast, handled well. Blown head gasket killed it, though. The repair cost was far more than the car’s value by that point, so off it went presumably to the scrapyard.

    Like 1
  7. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    There is a scene in the movie Face Off with Nick Cage and John Travolta. Cage is playing the bad guy and rolls up in a black STS like he owns the place. The car stole the scene for me and that’s how I always think of these cars. Badass

    Like 4
  8. P

    Had an 01. Bought it used with 196k on the odometer. Rode great. Head gasket blew. Had to scrap it for 125

    Like 0
  9. Bart

    Priced WAY too high. Over twice what it’s worth. Maybe $4500 tops. Low mileage really doesn’t help this car. It’s a cheap GM design with a dead motor in it. It may run today, tomorrow is never guaranteed.

    Like 3
  10. Mr. TKD

    For those of you whining about the tires — they’re blackwall when you turn them around.

    My sister wrestled with one of these for years. What’s left of it is in her backyard. No thanks.

    Like 4
  11. too late

    My ex had a 2001 Seville SLS , pearl white, fun car . Smooth , fast , great gas mileage, Great car until it hit 110,000 miles. Every month a new item would pop up that needed repaired. Starter , hub bearings, blend door for heat/ac. And then the check engine light came on. Torque converter lockup solenoid. The transmission had to come out to replace it. Rebuilt transmission while out, $3600. Then the engine started drinking water at a quart a day at 160,000 miles. SOLD it quickly

    Like 2
  12. Steve Clinton

    Those are some ugly whitewalls (white/goldwalls?)

    Like 3
    • Chuck Dickinson

      That’s what Vogue tires had–whitewall w/gold stripe. They were a popular add-on at Caddy dealers in order to add some ‘additional dealer profit’ to the deal.

      Like 0
  13. Comet

    I believe the Northstar’s had a habit of pulling head bolts out of the block. Not a cheap or easy fix.

    Like 1
  14. Maestro1 Member

    I have no luck with Northstars, and sold mine before it became a problem.

    Like 1
  15. chrlsful

    yup. looked great nxt to its contemporaries, Northstar too hard to deal w/and not durable. Itsa ‘has been’ now. Boss hada new 2 dor looked great, he got ripped off as it was fast but not durable/easy wrenchin. Y do the engineers never think of the mechanics (maintenance)?
    Caddy hada bit ofa come back (mid/late teens?) but really, still ‘don’t get it’.

    Like 0
  16. A.J.

    I had 3 of these. Did 2 head gasket jobs at home! Huge pita , never again.

    Like 1
  17. PairsNPaint

    I inherited an ’03 SLS in the exact same colors when my Dad passed away in 2009 at age 94. He was driving it up until 2 months before he died. It had 11,000 miles on it and was nearly perfect. I daily drove it it for about 6 months before selling it. Seventeen mpg didn’t cut it, and even though I loved the looks and ride, I always felt I was driving an “old man’s” car.

    Like 0
  18. Bob McK

    Seems like a lot of money even with 10K miles.

    Like 0
  19. Mark Brunsen

    Had a 98 sts bought in 2010 for 5k, owned it for 7yrs. and drove the tires off many times. The problem w/Northstar engines of that production were the headbolts needed an extra line or two of thread. Once that is solved, these engines are pretty reliable. I really enjoyed mine.
    Yet, If I purchased this one, ugly wheel package is off. Then a new head gasket, set of bolts I talked of, and aftermarket exhaust upgrade.

    Like 0
  20. Mike

    My Dad bought a new ’97 SLS under the GM plan. It was not the Cadillac he was used to and sold it to me cheap after two years. To say it turned out to be the biggest lemon I ever owned would be an understatement. It was in the shop for big and small issues almost every month. No parts were ever stocked so it was order the parts and either let it sit there or bring it back when the parts came in. Last draw was when they told me it was burning > quart of oil every 6 months and it qualified for a new northstar engine under the extended warranty. I asked the service manager that if they couldn’t fix small issues in one or two visits, how were they going to swap out the whole engine without other issues surfacing? Needless to say that with less than 15K miles, I immediately traded it in for a top of the line Toyota Camry. My wife proceeded to drive that for over 100K miles with not one issue. No more Cadillacs for us ever…..

    Like 0
  21. Ken

    Sorry but ALL Seville’s of this vintage were front wheel drive, the structure would not have accommodated rear wheel drive for the STS on its own.

    Like 0
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Right you are, the Seville’s successor, labeled simply as the “STS” (2004-2011) was a rear-wheel driver, I know I briefly had a 2008 powered by a 3.6 liter V6.

      JO

      Like 0
  22. Daniel Gavin

    Ralph……….that was one of the funniest comments I have ever read on Barn
    Finds……..I’m still laughing !!!!

    Like 0
  23. David R Member

    I had an identical looking 2000, bought in 2012 with 60k. I liked it but the repair costs made it impractical to keep. It actually had a factory navigation and you can imagine how well that worked 😜

    Like 0

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