For 1980, Cadillac redesigned its top-line Seville with a curious mixture of present-day and 1930s styling themes. The rear end has a neoclassic “bustle-back” trunk which generated a lot of controversy. The ’80 Seville was built on the Eldorado chassis and used (for the first time) the front-wheel drive, all-independent suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes. As a result, the Seville had better handling with greater ride control and a little more room.
Billed in the full-line catalog as “quite possibly the most distinctive car in the world today … and the most advanced,” the all-new Seville was nothing if not dramatic. A total redesign gave buyers more interior space and trunk volume, along with the radical body shape. The side view was the most striking, even on the standard Seville with its straight bodyside molding. The humped deck lid began almost horizontal, but hit a distinctive horizontal crease before tapering down to wide taillamps.
Small lenses were inset into the new one-piece, high-strength back bumper: two at the rear and two at the sides. Surprisingly, the taillight lenses were not vertical (a traditional Cadillac approach) but horizontal — much the same as a Buick. The license plate sat in a deeply recessed housing.
On the deck lid were Cadillac’s wreath and crest, plus the Seville script. Both emblems were repeated on the back roof pillar. The Seville script was also on front fenders, just below the thin bodyside molding. Chrome rocker moldings were tall and strong.
Designed by Wayne Cady, the bustleback body and long hood suggested more than a nodding acquaintance with the impressive old razor-edge styling used on Hooper and Vanden Plus Rolls-Royces in the 1950s. Not everyone loved Seville’s bustleback shape, with sloping rear end and “boot” trunk, but it drew considerable attention.
Wheelbase was 114 inches; length almost 205 inches; overall dimensions not much different from the 1979 edition. Running gear and front-drive chassis were shared with the other luxury E-body coupes: Eldorado, Buick Riviera, and Olds Toronado. But Seville hardly resembled its mechanical mates. Up front, the squared-off look was similar to earlier Sevilles. The front end was lower, and the car weighed 300 pounds less than before. The new yet traditional grille consisted of narrow vertical bars and a wide horizontal header bar with “Cadillac” script at the side, plus a stand-up wreath and crest at the hood front. The windshield sat at a sharp angle. Rounded, flared wheel openings housed new all-weather radial tires on new cast aluminum wheels with brushed-chrome centers.
Bodies came in a choice of 16 acrylic lacquer finishes with accent striping (plus two-tone treatments). Dual Comfort 50/45 front seats were offered in six shades of Heather cloth.
Going beyond appearance, Seville was also described as an “electronic wonder.” The new version was viewed as a “test” for other GM vehicles. Among other details, Seville was the first to offer a diesel as “standard” powerplant (except in California). The optional engine was a 6.0-liter gasoline V-8 with single-point fuel injection (heavy on digital electronics), which gave better cold-start performance and lower emissions. Front-wheel drive kept the floor flat, to add roominess.
Sevilles had a new four-wheel independent suspension and disc brakes all around. All models featured the following:
electronic level control
new electronic climate control
electrically-controlled outside mirrors (heated, with lighted thermometer)
a rear defogger
tungsten-halogen high-beam headlamps
side window defoggers
tilt/telescope steering wheel
Soft Ray tinted glass
a new high-pressure compact spare tire
cast aluminum wheels
illuminated entry system
new dual-spot map lamps/courtesy lights
Seek/scan radios were improved. Inside was an accessible center-console instrument display with digital MPG readouts.
Stepping up a notch, an Elegante option made Seville’s profile even sharper and more distinctive, as a sweeping French curve separated the two-tone upper and lower body colors. The full-length beltline molding swept downward aft of the back door, into the bustle-shaped back end, and the upper color tapered to a point at the base of the humped deck lid. Chrome-plated “Elegante” script was on the sail panels. Also included was accent striping and a stand-up wreath/crest on the hood. Elegante came in three color combinations: Sable Black with Sheffield Gray Firemist, Sheffield Gray Firemist with Norfolk Gray, or Canyon Rock with Desert Sand Firemist. Other features were
a leather-trimmed steering wheel
40/40 Dual Comfort front seats
leather-topped console with space for umbrella.
Interiors were tailored in light beige or slate gray leather. The new simulated teak woodgrain instrument panel, with driver-only controls on the left, was said to have the look of Butterfly Walnut. Ads referred to “The Beauty of Being First” and dubbed Seville the car “that looks like no other car.” William L. Mitchell, who retired as GM’s design vice-president in 1977 but was responsible for Seville, insisted it was “destined to be tomorrow’s style leader.”
PRICE NOTE: Cadillac announced a series of price rises during the model year. By summer. Seville cost $20,796
Base Diesel Engine
Optional Gas Engine
90-degree, overhead valve V-8. Cast iron block and head