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Shorty Seville: 1981 Cadillac Seville Opera Convertible

Across the history of the automobile, there exist styling trends that defy logic. Of course, big picture thinkers not hamstrung by convention have created some of the most beautiful cars on the planet, but creativity can sometimes be too much of a good thing. I will never understand the “shorty” conversions of 1970s and 80s-era Cadillac vehicles, or why Hollywood and the Hamptons crowd often piloted these luxurious clown cars. But if you want one of the best, consider checking out this 1981 Cadillac Seville Opera convertible with just 6,138 miles and listed here on craigslist for $17,995. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat L. for the find. 

One of the last times we saw a bustleback design in mass production was the Seville sedan, a car that our very own Scotty G. owned. The riveting design was not long-lived, as the final fling with the look on 1980s models like the Seville and Lincoln Continental was already past its expiration date when it arrived in showrooms. Regardless, if you desired to be seen in a car that represented maximum opulence and a Rolls Royce was outside of the budget, a Seville was a solid option – and could be made even more exclusive by chopping the roof and shortening the body.

The thing I can’t wrap my head around is how this re-design was somehow better, or an improvement, over the standard model. Sedans have always been associated with luxury if the badge and nameplate have enough street cred, so it’s not as if the Seville sedan somehow diminished the outside world’s view that its driver was a scion of sorts. To give an elegant model somewhat goofy proportions and negate its ability to invite passengers into its luxurious cockpit seems to defeat the purpose. Regardless, the low miles on this car mean the interior still looks like new.

The only way it makes sense to me is if you so desired your Seville to have a drop-top but has confirmed through repeated inquiries that Cadillac would not build one, no matter how stacked your bank account was. The aftermarket was more than willing to take some of that money, however, to give you the open-air cruising experience that was missing in the standard-issue Seville. The colors are pure 80s on this example, and with the newfound interest in obscure 80s and 90s vehicles, an oddball like this would be a hit at your local Radwood gathering.


  1. alphasud Member

    OMG! It still has the unmodified Cadillac 8-6-4 engine. Look at that beauty and techno tour-de-force.

    Like 9
  2. sir mike

    Just because you can……….

    Like 8
  3. Dovi65

    No. Quite simply NO. Such a beautiful car should not have suffered at the end of a cutting torch. As sir mike said .. just because you can ….

    Like 8
  4. Mark

    Pimp mobile. Think I’m gonna lose my lunch….

    Like 4
  5. PaulG

    Quote: “Hold my beer, hand me the grinder, and pick up a couple of gallons of poo colored paint…right quick.”

    Like 8
  6. GMoparman

    I don’t not hate it.

    Like 5
  7. Superdessucke

    What’s up, Shorty!

    Like 1
  8. Chris H

    The single goofiest thing I’ve seen all day, and I work for the school system.
    I do like the drop top side of the equation

    Like 2
  9. Tracy

    Those 8 6 4 engine were crap back then and crap now! What an ugly car.

    Like 6
  10. Ken


    Like 3
  11. Classic Steel

    Ship it to the Cadillac ranch and bury it face first to the rear of top please.
    The question is why? Too much weed? Opis?
    Loose a bet? Someone take his torch and plasma cutter away now 😂

    Then rattle can ugly paint 🎨🤪

    Like 3
    • Little_Cars

      I think these were done by a “professional” outfit, but seeing how poorly the sail panels are integrated with the rest of the soft top, and the darker color applied onto the bumper fillers, this has to be the shame of said customizer. Not the only one I’ve seen, but the only one that looked exponentially better leaving the factory than after the pros got ahold of it.

      • Andrew S Mace Member

        “Professional” in the sense that they received payment for the job, or “professional” in the sense that they actually knew what they were doing and might even have done some engineering?

  12. Don H

    That is real class ,not good class 🍷🍸

    Like 1
  13. Bob McK Member

    I don’t usually like modified cars. This one doesn’t look very nice with the top up. But if it were a nice color inside and out, I would actually like this one. However, I would never put the top up.

  14. Andrew Franks

    Jeff, I never understood these either but if one is a collector of bizarre designs this would fit the bill. There are others that are, if you will pardon the expression, more tasteful than this, such as Milanos, which is a fantasy based on an earlier Seville. I’ve owned a standard Seville and with minor modifications the car is a wonderful driver. I have several projects underway so I can’t pay attention to this but someone should buy it at a lower price and drive it. A lot of attention will be paid………..

  15. GeorgeL

    Didn’t Janet Jackson own one of these?

  16. Ike Onick

    A Pavarotti cassette is stuck in the stereo system.

    Like 2
  17. John Oliveri

    Something that you do when you own a body shop and you got one hit hard in the front, and one hit hard in the back, and your bored

    Like 1
  18. MarveH

    The automotive equivalent of the novelty song. It may give you a chuckle and be stuck in your head for a while but it will pass.


    do you still have the car

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