Roadside Sighting Redux: 1978 Cadillac DeVille Wagon

By Nathan Avots-Smith

If this Cadillac station wagon looks familiar—that’s because it’s the same one that reader Mark S. sent us a few days ago after a friend spotted it parked along the side of the road in rural Wellsboro, Pennsylvania! Never let it be said that Barn Finds readers (and their friends) aren’t on the ball; no sooner had we posted this find did it turn up here on eBay. Contrary to how “internet pricing” usually works at a dealer, the transition to eBay has seen the price tick up from $6,500 to $7,000; otherwise it doesn’t look like it’s seen any major changes in the last week (!)—but the advantage of the online listing is that we get to take a closer look, so let’s get to it!

For one thing, we get a better look at the rear end of this wagon conversion, from which we can see that, not only are the wagon bits transplanted from one of GM’s 1971-76 “clamshell” wagons, as several of us noted in the comments the first time we saw it, the one-year-only vents on the tailgate identify the donor car as a ’71. So, the cross-generational cross-pollination is strange enough, but the age of the donor parts at the time of the conversion (even assuming it was done when the Caddy was new) is stranger still. The rear bumper appears to be an interesting amalgamation of standard 1978 Cadillac “tailfins” and a center section from a Buick or Oldsmobile clamshell wagon.

The power tailgate and rear window are said to be fully functional, but this is our only glimpse of them in action, so we’re taking the seller’s word for it that the glass works. That carpet looks pretty gnarly, too. It’s unknown who did the wagon conversion; both the American Sunroof Corporation (ASC) and Moloney Standard Coach Builders (images courtesy of cadillacstationwagon.com) are known to have built clamshell Cadillac wagons in the earlier ’70s; ASC’s close relationship with the OEMs in particular, though, leads me to believe that if they were building a Cadillac wagon in 1978, they would be using the tailgate, glass, and roof from GM’s latest 1978 B-body wagons.

The interior looks relatively serviceable, although the carpet in the passenger compartment isn’t much better than out back. That armrest looks about done, too. Still, the leather looks to be intact and maybe even pretty supple still, and it looks like the rear seatback folds down for full wagon functionality. There’s a sunroof, too.

The 425-cubic inch V8 is said to fire right up and run great, benefitting from a new alternator and battery, and the transmission is described as “tight,” which I’m not sure would have been a totally apt description even when this car was new, but it sounds nice. The car is said to have been in storage for a dozen years at some point in its history, some surface rust on the underside is noted, and overall it’s described as needing “a little TLC.” All this adds up to the original $6,500 price tag sounding a little better to me than the inflated eBay ask—and still a smidge high—but Cadillac wagons are special cars, and I’m glad we got a second look at it!

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Comments

  1. Dan

    Boy, it sure looks clumsy from that rear quarter angle, and look at that paint crack!

    1+
    • Jeremy

      Good eye! Lots of rust bubbles, too. My Bondo buggy senses are tingling. Add the mismatched paint and rough interior, makes me say “$7k?? No way.”

      1+
  2. Alan

    2 years ago I bought All original 1978 Coupe Deville with 16K original miles. Its bronze exterior color with brown leather interior. Loaded 425 4B power driver seat tilt steering AC factory AM/FM radio and Wire Wheels with Vogue tires. Its in almost new condition with all books and owners manual. I always loved the downsized B body Cadillacs from 1977 to 1979. Asking price was 17K I got it for 15K. Was purchased from https://www.connorsmotorcar.com in Pennsylvania

    0
  3. Adam T45

    Hmmm….DeVille, or De Vile?

    5+
    • Alan

      The correct terminology is DeVille as far as I know

      1+
      • Jim in Alabama

        According to the VIN it started out life as a Fleetwood Brougham. One oddity is that it does not have the correct rear doors for a Station Wagon. The Fleetwood Brougham had a 121.5″ wheelbase and the clamshell wagons were 126″.
        The extra inches were in the rear doors.
        The roofline is also incorrect for a wagon. The clamshells all had a raised roof like a Vista Cruiser only without the glass.
        Most conversions started out as a Buick or Oldsmobile wagon and converted to a Cadillac so that all of the “wagon stuff” worked correctly. This one seems to have gone the other way.

        0
      • Jeremy

        “DeVile” as in DeRepulsive…

        7+
  4. nic9075

    why did 1970s station wagons have a thinner parallelogram rear window that was not the same width of the front passenger/rear passenger windows?? if you look at the parallelogram window vs. the first two windows you will see all three do not line up on 1970s wagons, but do on 1980s station wagons

    0
  5. Mark Member

    Nice motor, interior looks like it stinks! Tailgate looks like a Pontiac safari wagon

    3+
  6. Kevin Lee

    Elvis had one of these.

    1+
  7. Mountainwoodie

    Its a Safariac! If I were to channel my inner…way innner .Wayne Newton…… I’d opt for the earlier iterations from the early Seventies……..better yet a ’56!

    1+
  8. Jim in Alabama

    I’m just not seeing it.
    From the paint mismatch and the body year discrepancy I’m betting that is is somebody’s “home brew” project. The photos don’t show the second row seats folded and description says “Six Seater”. As far as I know, ALL of them had third row seating in them. In my ’76 Caprice, the third row passengers had their legs over the differential hump and it seated eight.
    Furthermore, there are no emblems on the rear quarter panels
    I think someone grafted an early 70’s wagon tail on a Sedan de Ville.

    1+
  9. angliagt

    And it’s two – tone Beige.

    0
    • Dick Johnson

      Two-tone Barge.

      1+
  10. Daniel LARSON

    That tailgate was discontinued after 1976. 1977 I think the tailgate swung open.

    0
  11. Andrew

    Alan I am a bit envious of your copious amount of low mileage purchases. A museum in the works?

    1+
  12. Dick Johnson

    Two-tone Barge.

    1+
  13. newfieldscarnut

    Boat anchor .

    3+
  14. dct

    DeVile is correct. That is one of the buttugliest homebrew projects I have ever seen. $7000? Any who pays more than $70 would have to be in the wrecking yard business.

    0
  15. Maestro1

    Now that I’ve seen it again I’m not sure about it.

    0
  16. Rich

    This was the twice yearly auto auction weekend here in Palm Springs and there was one of these going on the block. Same color too…but it looked Way better both inside and out. Wonder why they’re all this beige?

    There was also a custom 61 Thunderbird station wagon. It was a regular T-bird with a Vista Cruiser roof/rear grafted onto the back half. Dang. Wish I’d taken a pic…never seen anything like it.

    0
    • Car nut from Wpg

      Someone posted a pic of that somewhere recently. Maybe Jalopnik?

      0
  17. Derrick philon

    Cut the roof off, do a little modifying and turn it into a convertible 4 door pickup, it would look way better.

    0
  18. Classix Steel

    This is just not my style. I see this as a past casket hauler and not to thrilling.

    Each person though has their own preferences but to me I would get a classic muscle car, truck or Elcamino etc…

    0
  19. Brian m

    This car must be from a funeral home a flower wagon or perhaps a hearse I would love to enter this car in a cannon ball run or demo derby…I would only pay a grand or under as it would need 2 drums of paint add wood grain to the sides and drive it to Wally world

    0
  20. Bubba5

    You could contract Herpes from looking at that interior…..

    0

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