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Patina Plus: 1973 Cadillac Sedan Deville

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OK, I know: the term patina is way overused. But sometimes, there’s no better way to describe a car, like this 1973 Cadillac Sedan Deville here on eBay. I’m not sure how a car ages quite so perfectly, but if this Caddy’s paint job could talk, I can only imagine the stories if would tell. Potentially, it has a lot to do with the barn it’s parked in front of. 

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With under 35,000 miles, there should be lots of life left in this well-aged specimen. The seller claims he purchased it from a “barn finds expert”, so maybe one of our readers knows something about it. Unlike most flippers, some actual mechanical work has already been performed: a new radiator, rebuilt alternator, all fluids, and a new muffler and tail pipe, to name a few.

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With such low use, you’d expect the interior to be in great condition and it doesn’t disappoint. It looks supremely comfortable, and I hate to say it, but this car is a great candidate for use as a low-rider. You don’t have to paint it weird colors and build a mural to your baby’s mama on the trunk, but just drop it down a little bit – maybe even some air suspension? – and ride, ride, ride.

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Though from this angle, it looks pretty low already. I can’t get over the carefully burnt paint and worn-off fenders. It almost looks deliberate, doesn’t it? The seller is asking $8,900 or best offer, and claims it to be an original North Carolina car with no corrosion. This looks like a great, easy project car to me, and one that will be the center of attention at any show it rolls into. How would you restore it?



    Clear coat it and go

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  2. Mike H. Mike H.

    This vintage of Cadillac were really nice cars. This generation was the last of the huge Caddy boats (1971-1976), they were the best refined of their type and, being just before the emission curve, they were surprisingly powerful for something tipping the scales at just over 5,000 lbs. The 1971-1972 were a little prettier with the smaller, non-impact bumpers, but this one is beautiful in its own way.

    Too bad it wouldn’t fit in my garage.

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  3. Howard A Member

    Patina, shmatina. All this shows is how shoddy the factory painted cars in the early ’70’s. ( primer, top coat) I worked for a body shop and paint supplier in the ’70’s, and it was not unusual to rub through the paint when waxing ( or heaven forbid, rubbing compound). My old man had a car just like this, huge car only slightly larger than his ego when driving it ( look everybody, I’m driving a Cadillac) Good luck finding a parking space, as 2 of today’s cars would have to leave to park this baby.

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  4. KO

    Love this! You’ll have no trouble merging onto the freeway with this combination of looks and horsepower.

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    • jaygryph

      73’s are surprisingly low horsepower. Horrifically low for a 472 cube engine. My Hyundai Accent makes more horsepower than that car. Now, if you back up a bit to 1969’s 472, that’s a hell of an engine.

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    • jaygryph

      I love these 73’s. The only way you can get a bigger car is to make one a hearse.

      Astoundingly smooth riding and a joy to drive if you don’t have to park it in a tight spot. I love (hate) that they put such tiny mirrors on such a massive car, though I guess it could be worse. My 69 galaxie 500 station wagon only has a single mirror on the drivers side, and none on the passenger side because some cheapskate didn’t want to spend another $5 for that one. And yet it has a limited slip rear. Figure that one out.

      Anyway, glad to see these machines still around. You can almost justify driving them nowdays with the lower cost of fuel. Enjoy it while it lasts and put some miles on the machines I say!

      Cool car, but they’re out of their mind for 9k (Though that gives me hope when I sell mine!)

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  5. Nessy

    This is past patina. Low miles or not. It needs to be painted if they expect anything close to the crazy 9000 asking price. I do like this era Cadillac.

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  6. Stang1968

    I agree. And there seems to more than just surface rust on those rear quarters. There is significant rust bubbling under the paint along the brightwork.
    That said, I like the car and original paint color, but not for $9k.

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  7. Richard

    73 is a total disaster…..de tuned,low horsepower weak engines they even used a special cam to try to compensate for low power. The fuel mileage was 8 mpg. 71 72 were the last good engines for horsepower.

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  8. john

    Can you imagine trying to parallel park this sucker anywhere? It boggles the mind that any car could be made this big except for a Bugatti Royale.

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  9. Bill

    This is a six thousand dollar car on it’s good day. That said, it needs to be repainted so as to stop the progression of corrosion that is coming.

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  10. Mike

    Try to parallel park it, I took my drivers test in a 72 Caddy, and past on the first try. The test examiner and I got in I buckled my Seatbelt started the car, backed out of the parking spot my mom had parked in, went to pull off the instructor said stop, back up pull back into the spot I just pulled out of and he said, please turn off the engine( I was thinking I had failed the test) The Officer said that if I had the guts to take a driving test is a Ocean Liner he would pass me, and that was it I passed with a 95 out of 100, he docket 5 points because I did not check my rear view mirror before backing up.
    The paint issues actually it had to do with the removal of lead from the paint in the 70’s. The technology was not available to test for and design for all conditions it had to handle. On top of that people also wanted that always shine look. So instead of waxes helping protect it, it instead removed top coats. So for the 80’s there was alot of trial and error testing. But cars still had to come out to market. So thru time we went from peeling to fading to dull looking to actually holding a shine. But as time on and technology changed the process got better. The problem started to dissappear in the 80’s. But in the 90’s it started up again due to the base metal (or fiberglass) changed (you rarely see a newer car with rust). And some cars peeled or faded or the paint switched over to the color of the base coat. Some of this was due to manufacturing errors others were to do aftermarket waxes. But as time went on the technology to create the paint, pigments, clearcoats, bonding have gotten much much better. But as the environment changes the problems may come back again in certain parts of the country (acid rain, higher UV, etc).

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi Mike, same here. I took my road test on a ’68 Lincoln. When the examiner came out with me, he said “this is what you are taking your test in”? I passed 1st time too. It actually was a very easy car to drive.

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  11. Chebby

    That’s not patina, that’s vitiligo.

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  12. Mike H. Mike H.

    Vitiligo. . . That’s pretty damned funny.

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  13. Michael

    My parents bought a 72 with 20,000 miles on it in 1978. Beautiful car. It was the very first car I drove after my drivers license came in the mail. I took my road test in my sister’s 67 Cutlass. I begged my Dad to let me take it (Mom wasn’t home). Within 15 minutes I had 7 people in it cruising around.

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  14. Marty Member

    Neat car, but $8900 is about twice the price. I just sold my low miles, rust-free ’73 Coupe deVille for less than half this amount. I love patina as much as or more than the next guy, but it doesn’t work as well on this one. The inside looks like new, so should the outside. But this is what I’d rather start with, as opposed to having to un-do someone else’s awful, indifferent $300 Maaco paintjob.

    There is little to complain about with regards to the original paint, it has spent some time outside, and no paint, no matter who made it, or who sprayed it, is going to last 43 years outside.

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  15. john C

    It would get that asking price in Europe (IMO) as many of the larger older american cars do…..no place to park them in towns, however a sweet ride hogging the roads.

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  16. Jim

    I wonder if some knucklehead used muriotic(?) acid to “age” the paint. I was around in the 70’s but this looks wrong. Even if it was under a birds roost in a barn why didn’t the vinyl top dry out and crack, the bright metal trim looks fine. The trunk and quarters have deep rust but the good is mostly primer and in pretty good shape. The car in general looks great and the lack of power is an easy fix, heads, cam and carb, that’s the only difference between the ’73 and its older cousins. I’ve seen a few cars that had man made patina and that’s what comes to mind now, I may be wrong. I’d of loved to seen the place it was stored. It’s a nice blue, same as my mom’s ’71 impala, I can’t remember the name. Someone will get a nice car but it will take some work to undo the rust, it’s deep.

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  17. Vernon

    Everyone is talking about parking it. My 2015 impala is a pain because you can’t see anything with all the huge pillars for rollover protection. I have a 76 GP it’s so easy to drive and park 18.5 feet long and all. They still built cars for driving in the 70s not safety like today.

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  18. John O'Flaherty

    Just bought a white ’73 today. It gets delivered on Friday. I’m so glad.

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