Car Craft Conversion: 1986 Cadillac DeVille Convertible

Twenty six years after the last factory DeVille convertible rolled off of a Cadillac assembly line, this custom 1986 Cadillac DeVille convertible comes to you from Annandale, Minnesota. It’s posted on craigslist with a $3,995 asking price. The instant that I saw this car online I knew that I’d have to make the short (one-hour) trek northwest of Minneapolis to see it.

This Cadillac convertible is located at a fantastic salvage yard, French Lake Auto Parts, run by a great group of folks. The number of classic cars that they have in their surgically-neat yard is amazing, but I was there to see this mid-80s custom Caddy convertible. This car was purchased, along with three others, after having been in someone’s collection and stored indoors since 2008. After getting the car, they went through the gas tank, put in a new fuel pump and new battery, and it seems to run perfectly.

A car like this is somewhat out of character for me, but it’s highly unusual and as you can see it appears to be in great condition. A convertible is just about the ultimate option, although questionable in Minnesota where there are approximately 17.4 days a year without snow or rain (ok, that was an exaggeration). These Cadillac ragtops were made by a couple of companies, this one by a company called Car Craft between 1986 and 1991. They were based, of course, on the Coupe DeVille. It’s a quality piece of craftsmanship. I was surprised at how nice the details were, especially compared to my old mid-80s Chrysler LeBaron convertible. This is a fully-lined top and it’s snug, quiet, and nice.

There are no engine photos, but it looked clean and the fluids looked clean. It should be Cadillac’s HT-4100, a 4.1L 249 cubic-inch V8 with around 140 hp. It needs new hood struts, but $35 for those and you’ll be back in business. It sounded great when I started it, but one thing it does need is a part on the AC that’s rattling.

You’ll want to add some of those little, round stick-on convex mirrors to the mirrors to compensate for the huge blind spots created by the convertible top. And, while you’re at it, you may need a new top, or at least a patch on this one as there’s a little hole on the passenger side. They actually still make replacement tops for this car, and if you can do the work yourself it’ll save a lot of cash. It’ll still cost $600 or so, but having a patch on a Cadillac convertible seems a little odd. At least put the patch on the inside if you have to get by for the summer. You’ll want to have the top down 90% of the time anyway.

The interior is in great condition, just needing to be cleaned and detailed to make it shine. I did notice that the padding under the trunk floor was damp, but the trunk looked almost like new as did the seal, so I’m not sure what that was from. There was zero rust under the pad so it’s a new development whatever it is. Both sides of the front interior floor were also damp and in trouble-shooting what that could be from, I noticed that the window seal on both sides was a bit old. Most likely, in a couple of hours and some new window seal, a person should be able to get things sealed up and watertight again. This is a really unique car and they’re pretty popular in the southern states where they’re usable for more than just a few months a year. If a person were handy in fixing a few things this car could really turn some heads!

Fast Finds


  1. Coventrycat

    The proportions look a bit whacked with the top up, maybe it would look better with it down and the mud cleaned off the tires.

  2. Sam

    Cudo’s to guys at French Lake! Seems like a fair price for a lot of top-down fun. Dig the Plymouth Fury coupe…

  3. Mark

    Worst engine made other than the 4-6-8 junk one.

    • Miguel

      Actually the 4-6-8 was a great engine as long as you by-passed the switching system. The 4.1 was the worst they ever produced and the reason I would never consider a car like this.

  4. Rock On

    Save yourself 35 bucks and use your snow brush to prop up the hood!

    • Jeffro

      Old broom handle works too. I’ve never done that. Thats what I read on the Internet! I think it was

  5. Nova Scotian

    No one is turning heads in this. But it likly looks 50% better with the top down. Where it should be 95% of the time. Yes, absolutely bet it looks 100% better without that huge rag draped over it…Cool ride.

  6. Chebby

    On one hand, it’s an ugly car in an ugly color with one of GM’s worst engines. On the other, it’s a clean, cushy Cadillac with a top that goes down. $4k is cheap for a fun weekend car even if it’s no dream machine.

  7. Mark

    A Cadillac should never by front wheel drive unless it’s an eldorado with a 500 cubic incher!

  8. rmward194 Member

    Nice find at a great price! Looks better with the top down.

    • Keith

      I really hope the featured car looks better with the top down… ’cause it’s pretty fugly with it up.

  9. Rabbit

    DeVille ragtops came out of the factory until 1970, so, only 16 years. Just sayin’. Lovin’ the site, keep up the great work, guys!

  10. mpower

    This is one of the cars I’ve been searching for! Too bad I’m not in position to buy it, because at that price it’s a steal.

  11. boxdin

    In concept these were great cars but in execution they were junk. I drove a 4 door stretched 48 inches same year as this one and while the engine never gave me problems everything else did. Brakes were horrible as most limos are, the only nice thing about it was it fit in my garage so I didn’t have to wash it very often.
    I am surprised the convertable part looks very good. I hope frame strengtheners were used at least.

  12. NMCarNut

    Forget the Cadillac, how much for the 60 Savoy in the background?

  13. Scott

    Anybody know which windows were used to do the conversion? I’m in the process of trying to replace a driver side door glass!

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