Just Call Me Stubby! 1981 Cadillac Seville

It’s so odd, I can’t take my eyes off of it! I’m going to have to add this 1981 Cadillac Seville to the old, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” file. This modified convertible looks like a cross between a toon car and a circus clown mobile but it’s definitely worth checking out. This most unusual Cadillac convertible can be found in St. Petersburg, Florida and it is available, here on Facebook Marketplace for $5,500. James M deserves an award for this find!

The 1981 Seville possessed a bustle-back design that harkened back to designs from years gone by – it was considered polarizing as it was either appreciated or hated. Regardless, the four-door B-back body style sold well with almost 200K being produced during the Seville’s second-gen (1980-1985) run with 1981 delivering about 28K copies. The problem with the year 1981 was the lack of available production convertible models – assembly of most ended in the mid-’70s so if you wanted one, it had to be a custom job and that’s where American Custom Coachworks fit into the picture.

ACC, a defunct Florida corporation with a Beverly Hills, CA address was just the operation to convert a four-door Seville into a two-door convertible. The problem is, that their design, which seems to be well-executed from a metal fabrication perspective, leaves the Seville looking like the center third was removed and the front and rear thirds just stuck together – there’s no artistic flow or balance to its lines. The seller claims that this abbreviated Caddy was a $40K car in ’81 and the conversion was $14K on top of the Seville’s window sticker – that window now having been removed…Claimed to be a barn find, and sitting since 2019, it is said that there is some rust present in both the hood and decklid. Beyond that and if you can keep from staring at the odd proportions, the exterior shows pretty well.

One thing that is not emphasized is what’s under the hood, and in this case, it is the dreaded 140 net HP, 6.0-liter V8-6-4 engine. It’s a non-runner and there is probably more than one reason for that turn of events though the seller suggests, “Has not been started or tried. Likely has bad gas” and then adds that it will need some mechanical work. When the engine is working, a three-speed automatic transmission channels power to the front wheels. My understanding is that this 6.0 liter V8 can be altered to stay a V8, permanently, and do away with the troublesome four or six-cylinder cycling attempts but more information on that front, from our informed Cadillac enthusiasts, would be appreciated.

No inside images are included in the listing but it is said that the interior will need work. OK, there you have it and you might want to keep this tidbit in mind, the seller states, “$5,500 I will be working to get it running over the next week and when it runs, price will be $6,500“. I’d offer good luck with that one, how about you?

Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    Ugh! It looks like a dog hunched over doing a poo.

    Like 17
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    For when you can’t afford a Zimmer,or Excaliber.

    Like 11
    • Mountainwoodie

      It looks like an Excalibur’s grandmother

      Like 3
  3. Terrry

    This soft-top conversion managed to make a car that looked rather incomplete, even more so!

    Like 8
  4. Bick Banter

    It looks like a stunted runt.

    Like 5
  5. Slantasaurus

    Call this one the scissor special. The back end always looked like it was cut off, this one has the middle cut out, and the engine was (supposed) to be able to cut cylinders but mostly just quit working. Edward, your car is ready.

    Like 6
  6. CCFisher

    I’ve come to appreciate the stock bustle-back Sevilles, but the only way I can appreciate this one is for it’s outrageousness. The center, high-mount taillight is a little comical. These weren’t required until 1986 (?), but someone thought it was necessary on this.

    Like 3
  7. Racer-X

    “$14K on top of the Seville’s window sticker – that window now having been removed”
    That was funny

    Like 11
  8. TheOldRanger

    I never liked this car… as others have stated, looks like it was just cut off. I was surprised Cadillac let this one leave the factory, in fact, I was surprised it got off the drawing board. I’m sure it was a decent performer, but the style was way off for Caddies.

    Like 4
  9. Will Fox

    A clown car.

    Like 7
  10. Tom Swift

    Brings back great memories sold several of these and made 12000.00 grand on each one never was crazy about the looks but a lot of people loved it you see my Dad and I owned Tomaso of America didnt matter if we liked the car only thing that mattered was it sold and we made money at least that is what my Dad said!!

    Like 4
  11. Kevin J Burke

    One of our contractors used to keep the stock model in our shop warehouse. He must have really liked this car because he got upset when we put a ” SCUD missile practice ” only 50 cents on the windshield

    Like 5
  12. Graeme T

    Maybe not the best execution, but this should live in a museum somewhere as an example of 1980s after-market engineering. BTW I did like the styling of the original sedan back in the day. Hard to believe it’s now 40 years ago.

    Like 1
  13. MKG

    Perfect car for Quasimodo!

    Like 2
  14. Tim

    Beaten mercillessly with a very large ugly stick. Just hideous. Although I’m pretty sure the problem is just bad gas. Guaranteed to attract attention, if that’s what you’re after.

    Like 3
  15. Hrg

    Otherwise known as the Cockroach mobile.

    Like 5
  16. Kirk Stankiewicz

    This car began the 20 year trip to the bottom floor for Cadillac. This engine- then the Northstar- ruined their reputation. The full size Fleetwoods and such kept Grandpa coming back for awhile but Lexus took him too. I was a Tech during this era. It was awful to watch as prior to this they were untouchable- The 1976 Seville was a styling and technological Zenith. Then this turd. Too bad. They are still clawing their way back.

    Like 2
  17. Dr Fine

    My rich relative in Tennessee had a Seville, and I was surprised to find the seating room was the same as my Granada. As I sat scrunched in the middle of the front seat, I was not impressed with the large screen that displayed the current gas mileage.The way it jumped around, it was obvious that it was just a vacuum gauge.

    Like 2
    • Chris

      I rode in one of these 80’s Caddies when it was a fairly new car as a teen and I remember that fuel economy display and how the mpg jumped all over the place. Not knowing much about cars even I knew there was no way it was getting 40-50 miles per gallon like it said lol.

      • George

        If you have a modern car with an instantaneous fuel economy display, you will see much the same thing. Both my Boxster and Allanté have this feature, and when you’re on the interstate, and take your foot off the gas (we don’t have hills in South Florida), truly astonishing numbers appear, only to drop to single digits when you hit the gas.

        Like 1
  18. Al

    “on top of the Seville’s window sticker – that window now having been removed…” LMAO, Good one Jim!

    Like 1
  19. Pipsisewah

    No pictures with the top down? It’s like they’re trying hard not to sell it. I’m not going to make any judgement on the original vehicles’ styling, but taking this much out of the wheelbase on an already polarizing body style is more than merely risky, it’s just kinda silly. I imagine it was much stiffer this way but hustling those body lines to a premature conclusion was maybe not the best choice

  20. George

    I kind of like it.

    It’s much better than the horrors that were done to the previous generation Seville for convertible conversions most of which look like no clown would get into that particular car.

    The production four-door looks too long to my eye, and this corrects for some of that it’s not far from me.

  21. Russ Ashley

    Looks like George and I are the only ones here who like this car. Someone near where I used to live had one of these, a white one, and I would see it occasionally. I never saw it with the top up although the line and shape of the top doesn’t look bad to me. If I were younger and healthier I would look into buying it.

    Like 1
  22. JK

    I love all the comments. This is my car. I bought it to save it from being destroyed by neglect. It is actually not that bad and it should be running and driving this weekend. The 8-6-4 engines were terrible, but mostly due to the new aluminum blocks from 1982 on. This one, in 1981 was still based on the cast iron 472/500 engine which is a great engine. All you have to do is unplug the 8-6-4 solenoids.

    Yes, it is stubby and funky, but I have to admit, the more I look at it, the more it grows on me. It is probably one of the last “coach built” Cadillacs and deserves a place at the car show for its uniqueness. :)

    Like 4
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Thanks for your comment JK, I wish you much success with the sale.

      JO

      Like 2
    • George

      I’m in Fort Lauderdale. I would like to see this car.

  23. John Traylor

    I would not want this thing even if it was free, it just looks weird.

  24. jwaltb

    Astonishingly ugly! Barf-

  25. Mitch

    ““Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” file.
    This modified convertible looks like a cross between a
    toon car and a circus clown mobile”.

    When a few clowns walk into a castle they will not
    emerge to kings but the castle will change to a circus.
    Seems something like this happened to its builders.

    Good luck!

  26. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    I’ve never met anyone that liked to be called “Stubby”.

    • Richard B.

      lol knew a guy we called Stumpy for other reasons

  27. Todd Nobles

    to each his own. Polarizing is the phrase used in describing this car.

  28. Paulcug

    Call me crazy but I kinda like it. I’d put a tire on back.

    Like 1
  29. V8roller

    It is possible to shorten a car without making a mess of it, it’s just very hard.
    I saw a tri-five shortened the right way, he had sectioned it to reduce the height, and moved the rear axle and wheel opening back to maintain the proportions. A fantastic amount of work, but the end result looked factory.

    Not this….

    Like 1
  30. terry keith

    Any one know how to find out how many of these was made- I Now own it . also where to get Paris Emblems > Tk’s

  31. Jacob Watie

    Is car still available

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