Garage Kept Elegance: 1979 Cadillac Seville

Like a lot of you, sometimes we get in trouble here at Barn Finds. Not in trouble with the bosses but with our spouses and/or significant others because we run across vehicles that we have always wanted and wouldn’t normally have seen other than here, and then we end up buying them. I hope that this isn’t the case for me, again. I just got into trouble a couple of weeks ago and a dozen times in the last couple of years. But, this 1979 Cadillac Seville is calling my name, big time. This Biscayne Aqua Firemist beauty can be found here on Craigslist in Apopka, Florida, just northwest of Orlando. The seller is almost forcing me to buy it with their $3,500 or trade asking price, I hope that one of you can grab it first. Thanks, or curses, to Ikey H. for submitting this sweet Seville! I hope that you have a spare couch for me, Ikey, if this turns ugly.

What better color for a Florida Cadillac Seville? The machine has yet to be invented that can measure my lust for this car. I still had a year left in high school when this 1979 Seville rolled off of the factory line in Detroit and there was no way I ever thought I would own a car as nice as a Seville, having grown up with rusty used cars, for the most part. The new Seville had just come out in late-1975 for model year 1976 and these first-generation cars were made until this year, 1979. In my opinion, they’re the ones to have, most of the bugs had been worked out, especially with the fuel-injection system. An Elegante package with two-tone black and silver paint would make this car a no-brainer but I really love this aqua color.

The seller says that they “found this 1979 Cadillac Seville in Prestige condition garage kept 65000 miles in immaculate condition all original AC all power locks and windows you have to see it to believe it”. The elegant, sharply-styled Seville was a conglomeration of a couple of GM platforms, using an X-body (i.e. Nova) rear suspension, differential, and subframe. It was about 2-feet shorter than the other Cadillacs and they were quite a sight when they first came out. They did battle with Lincoln’s Versailles which didn’t go over well due to looking too much like its Granada shell.

More gorgeous Florida colors abound in the interior. This is Cadillac’s Dark Aqua interior, although, unfortunately not in leather, then there would be no question that this car would be moving north. Not that there’s anything wrong with a standard aqua velour interior. And, for the record, I have never owned a leisure suit. We don’t see the driver’s seat so hopefully that’s ok, but the passenger seat and at least half of the back seat bottom both look ok. The back seat-back is covered so that’s a little worrisome, hopefully it isn’t ripped or overly-faded from the sun. They did say that it was garage-kept, didn’t they? And, the trunk looks good, too. Although, speaking of garage-kept, the abundance of leaves and other organic material in such a humid climate as Florida worries me. Trunks and hoods are rust spots to watch out for on these first-gen Sevilles.

Oh no, a carburetor! Well, not totally, this is an Olds Rocket 350 cubic-inch V8 with a Bendix EFI and 170 hp. And, more leaves in the crevices, unfortunately. I sure hope that there isn’t a rust problem with this one, the seller doesn’t mention that at all nor do they specifically mention how it runs. I’m assuming that “Prestige condition” and “immaculate condition” means no rust, runs perfectly, etc. I’ve been burned many times when a car shows up on a trailer, sometimes having to literally be pushed up into our driveway. Have any of you owned a first-generation Seville? If so, would you have any advice for someone, who shall remain nameless, who has never owned one but has always wanted one?


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  1. TJDasen2

    And to continue with questions, why is the car hosed down for the photos? Is the paint really dull?

    Still, a really good price if it runs and drives.

    Like 7
  2. IkeyHeyman

    Scotty, I’ve always liked these as well – I’ve simply ignore the “it’s just a Nova” crowd!

    Like 5
  3. slw71962

    I just want!

    Like 4
  4. dave brennan

    Awful lot of corrosion on cast parts under hood, and looks like a lot of humidity on inside of glass

    Like 4
  5. Gary Fogg

    I got a 76 that had an engine fire at 36000 miles, got it given to me partially restored. 10 boxes of parts, never have finished it. Sad. Just stored away in pieces.

  6. davew833

    It just needs a “Del Boca Vista” bumper sticker…

    Like 11
  7. Doug

    These are my favorite Cadillacs ! Mechanical parts are very readily available,
    SBC stuff is the easiest performance items to find, and they just ooze “cool.”

    It would be so easy to put Camaro suspension and brake upgrades on one of these, and with a few engine mods you’d have a real ” Grand Touring” car, capable of embarrasing Jaguar and other high dollar sedans on twisty roads or the boulevard.

    Like 3
    • Duaney

      These already have a Camaro suspension, but it’s far upgraded from Camaro specs. SBC stuff won’t work on this fuel injected Oldsmobile engine, and there’s not much more you could do to “upgrade” here unless you turbo charge the engine.

      Like 1
  8. Keith

    One would think that if you’re going to sell a vehicle at least vacuum out the interior before taking the pics? Just saying……

    Like 3
  9. Rich

    Life is short, Scotty. Buy it.

    Like 3
  10. dweezilaz

    My parent’s best friends had one for years in the same color. It had been converted from the diesel at some point but apparently was still troublesome.

    After years in CO and on the coast of OR there wasn’t much rust except on the bumpers where the chrome was peeling off.

    Not an SBC, but an Olds engine. Not sure what speed parts are available.

    ‘Life’s short Scotty.’


    Rev up your checkbook……

    Like 3
  11. Maestro1

    Scotty, take everybody’s advice. Life is short. I have a ’79, and it’s absolutely fine. Buy this and do what’s necessary to get it’s act together and you’re a Prince.

    Like 3
  12. 68custom

    Neat cars rode like a dream. My friend had a beautiful powder blue one that was so nice. You could make a sweet cruiser from this . I won’t even suggest swapping in an Ls. Oops!

    Like 3
  13. Allen

    If my life in Naples, Florida was not going through so much transition right now, I would go grab it!
    So Please…go get it!!! They are such a gorgeous car. That color is beautiful and with some TLC, you’ve got a real Classic Caddy!!
    Too bad Detroit…or GM…who ever they are today…will not manufacture another thing of Beauty and Perfection like the 1979 Seville.
    I agree with others, parts are readily available and though it may not be a great ROI (return on investment) piece.
    It will have at least been rescued by someone who will value and appreciate it. Most of all…care for it. It certainly deserves that!
    Blessings in your Beautiful Seville!!

  14. Mike Hay

    I had one in the late 80s just like this, former diesel with a 350 in it. Drove it hard on a 100 mile round trip commute and loved it. A nice comfortable car.

  15. bull

    What do ya mean “Unfortunately Not In Leather” in your description above of this car.

    Cloth is a PLUS in this Seville!

    That’s why the interior looks so nice and STILL in excellent condition.


    Like 4
  16. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Here’s a sad update on this sweet Seville. I heard back from the seller and apparently, it doesn’t run. It needs a fuel pump, which I’m guessing means a full fuel system flush maybe with dropping the tank and new lines and who knows what else. They also say that it needs a “couple of belts” and a tune-up, which means everything else needs to be changed that can be changed, including tires and probably shocks, exhaust, etc. Who knows what it’s like underneath.

    Ugh. So, buying a car that’s several states away that doesn’t run means having it towed to a shop in Florida, after paying for it of course, and trusting that shop to fix it and then somehow get it shipped way up north. It’s not looking good.I assumed it was at least driveable to get onto a car trailer, no such luck.

    Like 2
    • Superdessucke

      Yeah those rubber and wear things will add up in a major hurry, especially if you have to have someone else do the work. I think you would have 10 grand into this thing before you knew it, and you wouldn’t even know where that money went until you sat down with a calculator and said “holy s***.”

      Nothing worse than having to correct deferred maintenance. It doesn’t tend to reduce the price by very much, or increase the value once you’ve done it. I ran into this with a Volvo 850R, and actually sold it for less than I bought it for after fixing everything! Never again. Pay a few bucks more and get one that’s sorted.

      Like 1
    • Tom

      My father had a 79 Seville he purchased new. Great looking & riding car, but the fuel injection was a big problem. Would constantly refuse to start. Dealer said only solution was to change to a carburetor setup which was serious money at the time. My father tolerated no start problem for three years and traded it for an 82 Lincoln Mark VI. Dealer wanted the Seville & displayed it prominently in used lot. Gave my father a good price on trade. Wish he had swapped the fuel injection for a carburetor. Lincoln was a dog. Couldn’t get out of it’s own way.

      Like 1
      • Duaney

        Evidently the dealer your dad purchased the car from was grossly incompetent, Cadillac had all the test equipment to quickly troubleshoot and repair this system, on average, this fuel injection was very reliable. No competent dealer would dream of “converting” to a carburetor. Also this would be illegal per EPA regulations.

  17. Del

    Ugliest Caddy ever.

    See what Scotty said.

    Its a parts car. Non running junk

    Like 2
  18. Ed P

    This is my favorite version of the Seville. Nice looking pictures but the mechanicals look like a problem. Buyer beware.

  19. T C

    Del, ugliest Caddy ever? The 2nd gen Sevilles with the “french trunks” and the Cimarron I thought were ugly. My pops had 2 Sevilles and I liked them very much. Loved the 350 Olds Rocket air cleaner covers, the teal color, not so much.

    Like 1
  20. Hollywood Collier

    my garage kept cars…..dont have leaves everywhere…..or that white dots that look like mold on top of the alternator or a rusty top on brake booster filler cap. just asking if the garage had a roof. nice cars….but i would pass on this one for $2,000. this is just my opinion only of course. happy for anybody that wants to buy it and fix it up…..but it wont be me. by the way….i love my barnfinds….keep up the great work yall do and it is very much looked at over and over and reread by me. thanks.

    Like 2
  21. Rick Ayres

    I had a 78 Seville which I referred to as my “4 Door Corvette”! 350 Fuel Injection and four wheel disc brakes! Mine had almost 100K on it when I got it so I had a few issues. The biggest issue I had was with the rear air shocks that gave out. Difficult and expensive to replace. It didn’t handle too bad either!

    Like 1
  22. Ray Krause

    Having owned a new ’76,and a pristine ’78 and ’79, I can say that the ’79 with 4 wheel discs is always the better choice. Wonderful cars to drive and look at. The (really) big ticket repair item (besides rust) isn’t rubber, shocks or upholstery. It’s the climate control system which can cost as much as the asking price of this car.. Sold our “as new” ‘ white on white on saddle’79 for $7,500 needing the climate control repair so new the buyer will have $10,500 in what would be equivalent to a $45,000+ car today.

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