Scotty G’s Garage: 1984 Cadillac Seville

In another installment of Scotty G’s Garage, we bring you yet another unusual, somewhat awkward, somewhat ungainly, love-it-or-hate-it, business-in-the-front-party-in-the-back… wait, am I describing myself or this 1984 Cadillac Seville?! Unlike this car, I don’t really have a good side so let’s just concentrate on this black beauty. And, at “only” 17-feet in length, this one actually fits in the garage.

The second-generation Seville is almost like a Dr. Seuss meets Dr. Frankenstein experiment where a perfectly fine and handsome Cadillac front end is grafted onto a circus animal and the result is this ’84 Seville. The profile is, for lack of a better term, unusual. They were reportedly modeled after the beautiful Hooper & Co. Empress Line cars of the 1950s such as this 1954 Daimler Dauphin. Gorgeous. This Seville is more unusual than gorgeous, but I love it and it’s easy to find in the Target parking lot. Unlike the first-generation Seville, this is a front-wheel-drive car – not that it’ll ever see winter duty under my watch.

This is a recent addition to the garage and oddly enough, it’s my first Cadillac. Some would argue that this isn’t a real Cadillac and they may be right, but it’s a perfect starter Cadillac for a guy who’s heavily into oddball vehicles. The trunk actually has a decent amount of room in it and it’s plush and perfect and it should be big enough for me to sleep in if I bring another car home in the near future. They’re like puppies, I can’t help it! The original GM trunk mat is in there as are all of the necessary tire-changing goodies, a huge benefit of buying a one-owner car that’s been maintained and loved.

This is a one-family-owned car and it’s 99% rust-free which is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. for a Minnesota car. There is basically no rust on this car other than surface rust underneath. It was owned by a very nice family who bought this car new and used it at their summer lake home a couple of hours north of the Twin Cities. It reportedly has only been driven in the summer and by the looks of it, I believe it. It’s not a low-mile car, having piled up 130,000 miles, but that’s only an average of 3,700 miles a year over the last 35 years. The interior is as close to being perfect as in any “old” car that I have ever owned.

Even though the Seville was supposed to be Cadillac’s “small car”, the back seat has enough legroom even for 6′-5″ tall me when the front seats are electrically-slid back as far as they’ll go. It’s nice to have the original Cadillac-logo floormats and surprisingly the AC works! It blows cool but not cold which is fine with me, after 35 years I didn’t expect it to work at all. There’s even a cigar lighter at each armrest for those big, important board meetings that I’m always driving my clients to (not). I didn’t set out to buy a bustle-back Seville, preferring the first-generation cars, but this one was too nice to pass up. And being local, I didn’t have to pay for shipping for a change.

This unusual engine may be the least unusual one available for the second-gen Seville. This isn’t the legendarily-bad “V8-6-4” or the equally infamous 350 Olds diesel, this is GM’s HT-4100, a 249 cubic-inch V8 which some folks swear by and some folks swear at. It has replaceable cylinder sleeves which I hope and pray that I don’t have to deal with and it only has 135 hp. For a two-ton car, that’s not a lot of power and a 0-60 time of 13 seconds isn’t anything to brag about. But, it’s been getting surprisingly decent MPG – in the low-20s so far – and it rides like what I expected a Cadillac to ride like, smooth and quiet. The throttle-body fuel injection is to die for – no more flooding, no more wondering if it’ll start and no more gas smell. It literally runs like new and the seller had the transmission rebuilt a couple of summers ago and it works perfectly. They also gave me a big pile of maintenance receipts which is nice. It remains to be seen if it’ll be a great car but so far so good. Have any of you owned a bustle-back Seville?

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Comments

  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

    Awesome car Scotty! Glad to see you’re back in the buying mode again!

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    • Joe Spinelli

      gorgeous car i prefer this to the first generation shoebox shaped seville but i stop there with a screeching halt because of that poor excuse of an engine

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      • Rob Bruining

        I love my shoebox ’77 Seville. I have owned it since 1983. The 350 fuel injected engine has good power. Triple silver. It still get lots of looks when I take it out.

        1
  2. AZguy Member

    My mom got one for her 50th — it was both awesome and weird. Aside from the commentary about the engines and styling etc — to me — there are two two aspects that make or break the look of this car — the tires and the stance. Original white walls were about 1 in … and as these tend to sit up in the back as they age (( not at all sure why )) when set level or even a little lower in back – the lines work great!!! You have a great color combo — and its in great condition!!!

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  3. AZguy Member

    PS — this is listed in the FOR SALE section — how much are you asking???

  4. Rube Goldberg

    Nice!

    3
  5. Chad McGhee

    I love these and this ones beautiful. Scotty, a word from someone who owned an Eldorado of this vintage. It is a good engine but it’s known for internal water leaks. GM knew about this and the remedy was to always run stop leak in the coolant…even from the factory. Under the hood there should be a sticker stating to always use a certain GM part number with the coolant. It’s stop leak. Make sure to do this and you won’t have problems. Shops sometimes didn’t do this and it results in cam lobe wear from the internal dripping water.

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    • Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

      Thanks, Chad. Details like your personal experience are what make these threads take on a life of their own! I wanted to add my two cents on GM coolant, based on a boatload of web research and my experience with modified L67 (Supercharged 3.8L V6). That Dex-Cool orange coolant, if not changed or mixed too strongly, becomes very caustic, and lead to failed gaskets in a number of GM engines. Internal coolant leaks can lead to water contamination, spun bearings, etc. How many Northstar-powered Cadillacs met an early grave thanks to failed head-gaskets? Generally speaking it can be good preventive medicine to drain that orange stuff and go with a 50/50 (but no stronger) mix of the chemically mild G-05 and distilled water. I went this route after changing the LIM gasket on my L67 twice and what I thought was a “bad design” became 100% coolant-tight, and my head gaskets held against 12.x lb of boost.

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  6. mpower

    One of my dream cars in my favorite color combo! Nice buy!

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  7. Rick

    In high school, my buddy was dating a girl from a rich family. This car is the Doppelgänger to what her mother shuttled around in.

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  8. Vin_in_NJ

    The Bustle back may be love it or hate it now, but in the early 80’s the big 3 all offered a version of one.

    https://blog.consumerguide.com/high-end-haunches-luxury-bustlebacks-1982/

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  9. Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

    Congratulations, Scotty! Whether you keep it or sell, I predict no regrets. This Caddy wears its 130k well, which probably reflects the care it received mechanically. My favorite modern bustle trunk is the early ’80s Imperial, but you’ve shown how elegant the Seville can be. Enjoy it!

    3
  10. geomechs geomechs Member

    Well, Scotty, I think you did real good. The Bustle back had a fair following which was Okay with me. I preferred the Eldorado and would love to find one with a Diesel engine. Anyway I wish you lots of luck with this car. Personally I have somewhat of a bad memory with a Bustle back. I’ve already told you, Scotty, but I’ll relate here for the others:

    When I worked for the GM dealership we got a new hydraulic hoist. A customer brought his next to new SeVille in to track down and repair a noisy clatter in the front end. I had the mechanic drive it up on the hoist and leave the engine running. He did that and I got underneath to have a look. It didn’t take long to find a small piece of gravel lodged in the motor mount. I pried it out and told the tech to rev it up. He did that and then I heard a pop and saw the hoist start to come down on one side. Long story short, the hydraulic line blew. The safety didn’t catch and the hoist went down on one side, taking the Caddy with it. The car slid into a trash barrel which caved in the driver’s door. We repaired the damage and the hoist supplier came right up and installed some updates to the hoist, including a set of mechanical stops. And Scotty, it could’ve easily been your car’s twin, except the victim in my case was a 1980…

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    • geomechs geomechs Member

      And it was a diesel…

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  11. Sam61

    Dibs when you want to sell! I like the Seville and the Imperial but not Lincoln’s take on this style.

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  12. Rusty

    Dad got one of these around ’83 to replace an ’81 Riviera whose lease was up. The Riviera had seemed slow-ish with its 307, but the HT-4100 needed to kick down a gear or two to make it over a highway bridge at 55 mph in otherwise-flat northwestern Ohio. Aside from that, I liked the car. It seemed comfier than the Riv, and seemed to handle at least as well. I neither loved not hated the bustle-back styling, but really liked the forward 2/3 of the car.

    Looks like Scotty has picked up a nice toy. I would have found it hard to pass up if the price was right.

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  13. ICEMAN from Winnipeg

    Car & Driver spoofed the Bustleback design, stating it came “pre-vandalized”.

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  14. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Very nice ride Scotty! I like the circus animal look. Classy looking Caddy, enjoy.

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  15. charlie

    I like it. In my dream garage I would have a ’41 60 Special, a ’49 Sedanette, this, and a ’93 Allante (which I already have, the only one of these I could afford).

    2
  16. Chebby Member

    Allegedly the 4-6-8’s problem was its cylinder de-activating device. If removed, you have a perfectly good six-liter Cadillac V8. The 4100 sounds like a bad engine by design…but if yours is running, you probably got one of the good ones!

    1
  17. Matt R

    Scotty my Dad had one around the same year as this except it was white with a vinyl roof that was trying to come across as a convertible. Yours is 10x better looking.

    As an already awkward teenager, I was not upset when it was stolen from a public garage in downtown Chicago.

    2
  18. g Wentzell

    Of the GM, Chrysler, and Ford bustlebacks, I always preferred the Lincoln first, the Imperial a close second. Sometime when these were new, I heard them referred to as “CockRoaches”! When these Sevilles first came out, my dad was always traveling in his Le Sabre company car and we got him a CB radio. On one trip, one of these Sevilles passed him, a trucker chimed in on the channel “Hey, Bud what kinda car is that?” The driver came back: “It’s one of the new Sevilles.” Trucker: “Mind my asking how much you paid for that?” Driver: “About Twenty Grand.” Trucker: “Gee, you would think for that amount of money, they would’ve finished it!” Laugher ensued over the channel. All that being said, my dislike for this era of Seville has waned. This is a nice looking survivor. Keep caring for it.

    2
  19. Todd Zuercher

    Beautiful car in great condition!

    1

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