“Introducing Seville for the 80’s”
For 1980, the Cadillac Seville sedan could justifiably be called all-new. It switched from rear-wheel-drive to front-wheel-drive, used a completely different platform, and made a diesel engine standard.
Of course, the Seville’s exterior look was also completely changed. That styling—by Wayne Cady under Bill Mitchell’s direction—was instantly polarizing; words used in period reviews included striking, astonishing, controversial, and odd. Despite my pre-teen bent toward classically-influenced cars, I did not like the new Seville’s design. Perhaps this was because I really liked the styling of the first-generation Seville.
The 1980 Seville’s standard engine was an LF9 105 bhp 5.7 liter/350 ci diesel V8. An L61 145 bhp 6.0 liter/368 ci V8 with fuel injection was a no-cost option. In California, the gasoline engine choice was a 5.7 liter/350 ci V8 with fuel injection.
As might be expected, fuel mileage ratings for the standard diesel were impressive, especially for a car with a 3,911 shipping weight. A Seville owner could expect 21 city/31 highway. With a 23-gallon gas tank, range was an astounding 540 miles with a 10% fuel reserve—at least in theory. What wasn’t impressive was the Seville’s performance; Road & Track clocked a 0-60 mph time of 21 seconds.
The story was different but not necessarily better with the gas engine. With it, mileage was 14 city/22 highway, so range dropped to about 375 miles. Performance was notably better, but still not good with the 0-60 time at about 13 seconds.
Standard exterior and mechanical equipment on the $19,662 Seville (about $67,000 in 2020 dollars) included Soft-Ray glass, tungsten-halogen headlamps, a four-wheel independent suspension, electronic level control, four-wheel disc brakes, and P205/75R15 tires (a size still readily available) on 15-inch wheels. Inside 50/45 Dual Comfort front seats, electronic climate control, and a tilt and telescope steering wheel were included.
The $2,934 Elegante package included two-tone paint and 40/40 leather seats. Chrome-plated wire wheel covers were available at no extra cost.
Options included an Astroroof ($1,058), power door locks ($129), the Cadillac trip computer ($920), and an AM/FM stereo cassette ($225).
Famously, the Cadillac with the Deadhead sticker that passes Don Henley when he sings about “The Boys of Summer” was a second-generation Seville—likely a 1980 or a 1981.
According to Hagerty’s valuation tools, all the money for a 1980 Cadillac Seville with the gas engine (they don’t list values for the diesel) in #1/Concours condition is $15,500, with a more normal #3/Good condition car going for $3,500.
Second-generation Cadillac Sevilles are often available in the Hemmings Motor News classifieds, on eBay Motors, and at auction. As I write this post, a silver/gray two-tone 1983 Seville with gray bucket seats and 31,000 miles is for sale on Hemmings for $8,000.
Make mine an Elegante in its Sable Black/Sheffield Gray Firemist two-tone, please. Over time, the second-generation styling has grown on me—especially with two-tone paint. Mecum sold a striking Seaspray Green/Neptune Aqua two-tone at their Harrisburg auction in 2019.
Other eighties Cadillacs I have covered include the 1982 Eldorado Touring Coupe, the 1986 Eldorado coupe, the 1986 Fleetwood Brougham sedan, the 1988 Eldorado coupe, the 1989 Allanté convertible, and the 1989 Cadillac Sedan deVille.