Discerning Tastes: 1978 Cadillac Seville

Cadillac Sevilles are not necessarily high on collectors’ radar as solid investment vehicles, but this example is priced like it will be someday. The $15,995 Buy-It-Now seems lofty, but mileage is surprisingly low at just over 18K original miles. The black on red leather combination still looks sharp today, and this Seville is optioned with the rarely seen power moonroof. A/C has just been recharged, too. Find it here on eBay and located (surprise!) in Newport Beach.

These days, Cadillac is a bit of a boat without an anchor as it tries to shed its stodgy image and build more sporting vehicles. However, the makeover hasn’t shaken the top-seeded sports sedans from their perch, and the Seville here reminds that Cadillac at one time couldn’t be moved from its position as the premier luxury-car builder. Even today, the proportions of this Seville can be called handsome, and few cars can pull of wire wheels like a Cadillac can.

Put on your aviator shades – that’s a lot of eye-popping red leather. And a red dashboard, red door panels, red carpeting, red steering wheel…get the picture? Still, if you’re going to drive a Cadillac from the 70s, there’s no better combo than black on red. The exterior has been repainted, which is a surprise considering the low mileage, but the insides remain original and looking quite fresh. Cruise control works and there are no dash cracks, but the power antenna no longer extends.

Yes, even the trunk is coated in red carpeting. These were truly the days of Cadillac doing what Cadillac did best, which was showering its cars with excess even as the world was turning its attention to what German powerhouses were offering for high-powered saloons that could handle curves as well as they could storm the highways. This example shows nicely with its low-mileage and well-preserved details, but the lack of original paint could hurt the seller’s chances at getting his price.

Fast Finds


  1. grant

    I always thought these looked like a gussied up Caprice.

    • Jerry Brentnell

      because thats about what they are! cadillac was cranking out some real odd cars like that allenti or that ugly cimmiron ,

      Like 1
  2. Rock On Member

    In fact they are a gussied up Nova Grant. My father owned a green On green leather one back in 1977. Very under rated car. People still wanted the floating ride back then.

    • grant

      Fair enough, and I cannot argue with the ride in any Cadillac, or the Nova from whence it came. They never did much for me stylistically though.

      Like 1
  3. Blueprint

    They’re actually based on the Nova.

    • mike D

      I was about to make a statement, that it ” finally” dawned on me that these were gussied up Novas .. if I were to find a Nova in similar shape, I’d take the Nova , but this is a fine example for those who like that sort of thing

    • Shelli Anne

      The Seville used a 350 c.i. Oldsmobile fuel injected v-8, not a motor ever used in a Chevy Nova .

  4. jdjonesdr

    I like it. I’d drop 5K on that in a heartbeat.

  5. Alan

    I am a Cadillac fan and afficionado. Last year I bought All original 1978 Coupe Deville bronze ext with brwon leather interior. Has 17K original miles. Of course 425 4B power everything! With all books and owners manual. Asking price was 18K i got it for 16K but worth every dollar. Its in showroom condition and I always liked full size cadillacs. The Seville is based on Chevy Nova. I do have 76 Pontiac Ventura coupe which shares same chassis

    • Tom

      Bronze… Is it a Phaeton? My parents had a 78 Coupé Deville with the rare moonroof..

  6. MikeG

    I remember my Dad bought one of these for his hot secretary back in the day and he asked me to go get it washed. I thought I’d add a little pressure to the air suspension and BOOM, the back of the car dropped down to low rider height. I guess I added a little too much air….

    • Dallas

      That Seville sure sounds like it had an interesting back story.

    • nessy

      MikeG, Your dad bought a new Seville for his “hot secretary” you said? Are you sure about that? Hmmm.. Wonder what “mom” would have said about this if it was really true…. You could also not blow out the air suspension like that on these cars. As for the Seville, it’s great. The 78 Seville was the first American car to offer a full trip computer including a digital dash. That option is very rare to find today and cost over $1000 in 1978.

      • MikeG

        Well, my parents were divorced, yes the secretary was hot and yes you can overfill the air suspension because that’s what happened. Now it was bought as a used car, I had no idea of its history, so there it is.

  7. WQ59B

    The K-Body Seville is NOT a ‘gussied up Nova’. Development started with the X-Body, but so many engineering changes were made they had to give it its own designation and the projected price rose by 50%. About the only things the Seville & Nova share are door hinges, some brake hardware, and I believe some of the firewall. All dimensions and 100% of the interior & exterior are unique, along with thousands of other parts.

  8. Steve R

    Good looking color combo.

    With an asking price of $16,000 why doesn’t he have the paint buffed, if that’s all it really needed he’d have done it. I can’t see it bringing that much money, nice try.

    Steve R

  9. Jerryl

    I didn’t care for these back in the 70s but looking at Cadillacs in the last 20 years,they look very stylish. I think that the current Cadillacs look cheap with no classic style. As for the the antenna problem, I suffer from the similar malady but the doctor is tells me that he has a fix.

  10. Coventrycat

    I love those cars. 16k is way, way too much.

  11. Ex Benzo Tech.

    Had one 30 years ego. Great car it was.
    These do have a fuel injection that very few understand or know how to diagnose. I needed a coolant temp sensor back than, had to go to the dealer for it and even they could not figure out what I needed.
    Had to get a used one from another car, ran super afterwords.
    Most got converted to 4 barrel Rochester , but the fuel injection was so much better.
    These were very well build and a olds 350 with turbo 400 was a great combo.
    Mine also had a posi diff, made fun driving in snowing Brooklyn,NY.

  12. John C Cargill

    Best of all it’s a slick top.

  13. Rustytech Member

    Amen on the slick top, most of these had padded vinyl ( yuck ). It looks some much sportier without. I always thought these were gorgeous cars and would have loved to have one, but they were expensive even when new. I think they were the most expensive Cadillac after the Fleetwood Brougham. As far as this one goes, it’s still too expensive.

  14. Pete in PA

    I bought a used 79 in 1986. For 79 just about all the previously optional equipment was made standard and my light blue metallic example was loaded. It did have the port fuel injected Olds 350 and that car really hauled azz. Boy were they expensive new at $16k when a Fleetwood Brougham was a couple of thousand less.

    Biggest headache was the 4 wheel disc brakes. Specifically the rear calipers that had the built-in parking brake actuator. Very, very bad idea that never worked despite repeated rebuildings. The injection system was ahead of its time but 49 state versions lacked an oxygen sensor so it ran off programmed values all the time. Fine as long as everything was working but… The HEI distributor was special with 2 reed switches attached to part of the casting. Very interesting. The “tuxedo grain” vinyl top on mine had already been replaced by the time I bought the car and that top was already shot. The suspension was pretty harsh for a Caddy, especially the rear. I still have a set of the optional PH8 laced spoke wire wheels stashed away. Loved those things and couldn’t give them up when I sold the car.

    • ron bajorek

      can I have those wheels?

  15. Anthony

    These are great driving cars. The whole “gussied up Nova ” thing is only partly true. The floor pan is the same and that is it. Front subframe is longer. Steering gear is the same.

  16. Mike

    I had a 77 Seville in 87. I loved that car. You could set the temp control to 60 degrees, and need to wear a coat, while it was 100 degrees, outside the window. And the fuel injected Olds was a badass. 130 mph was not a problem in that car.

    • Mepo

      Top speed 116 without govenor…

  17. ron bajorek

    nice car

  18. Utes

    @ Mike…..
    130 top end? REALLY?! How does that compute w/that 85-max speedometer?

    Like 1
    • Ed P

      I’ve had cars with 85, 120, & 160 mph speedo’s. Most of the cars would not max out the speedo, but they all would go faster than 85

  19. Ed P

    The 1st gen Seville is my favorite. To me, the idea of a smaller car with the full luxury treatment made more sense than the huge boats Caddy was building. The big boats were great highway cruisers, but navigating a parking lot could be a chore.

  20. Art M.

    Anyone else remember Sheriff Lobo driving one of these and BJ and the bear?

  21. JFG

    I had a 1978 seville and when going to California, I was doing a little over 105 mph
    and had a CB radio. Was conversing with who I thought was a CBer up ahead and I asked if any smokies (HW patrols) and he said no, put the petal thru the metal,well guess what, He was a HW patrol. and clocked me with radar. Got a ticked in Barstow,CA. Bummer.

    • Miguel

      But you had fun doing it.

  22. lawyer George

    I have a 1960 CoupeDeVille and have no trouble parking it. First of all the entire cabin is a green house with only 4 narrow pieces holding the roof on. The fins are fantastic in judging where the car is during the parking maneuvers and the hood is flat and square which makes putting the nose where it belongs is a piece of cake. No blind spots!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Brad

    I was a teen in 1975, and pumping gas at a local Marathon station. In pulls one of these, Silver, brand new. FIVE “well rounded” gentleman exited, and asked me to fill ‘er up. After checking the mileage, the driver was astonished to find that the car got nearly 26 mpg. I would like this one, but with black interior. Very rice car !

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