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Always a purveyor of excellence, many car collectors think Cadillac outdid itself with the design of the 1980 Cadillac Seville. Although caddies, as they also get called, cost a little more to maintain, car connoisseurs don't typically mind because of the luxurious experience the manufacturer provides.
According to Notorious Luxury, the 1980 Cadillac Seville's blend of classic and contemporary styling plus its modern electronics made it a dream car for auto aficionados. The car also contained a few detractors, like a diesel engine that put off some luxury experience purists.
What made the 1980 Cadillac Seville unique?
Considering how far cars have come, you might laugh over the excitement auto buffs experienced with the vehicle's digital microprocessor. The ability to set and monitor temperature and climate within one degree was unheard of at the time. Its computer helped mechanics instantly diagnose problems in minutes and sometimes fix them with the touch of a button.
Among its amazing engineering feats, this car offered electronic everything, or so it seemed. You got electronic climate control, cruise control, and level control. Its fuel injection system and the computer body module were electronic.
The design of the 1980 Cadillac Seville offered an aerodynamic sleekness never before seen. Its bustle-back rear end hearkened back to the 1950s Rolls Royce Silver Wraith and early Daimler limousines. The famed Caddy designer Bill Mitchell integrated this historical feature into an otherwise cutting-edge design.
Things drivers disliked on the 1980 Cadillac Seville
The Seville’s manufacturer boasted of its diesel engine and how it consternated Cadillac fans. However, some said Its 5.7-liter engine belonged in a truck. As Notorious Luxury pointed out, those buying Cadillacs did not concern themselves with gas prices.
Its struggle with finding the right engine continued since its 1981 spec lasted a mere two years. Replaced by the High-Technology 4100 (HT-4100), that engine also fell flat. It provided better fuel economy yet plummeted the power of the vehicle.
The bustle-back became a love it or hate it feature. Many loved it, but those who abhorred it did so with verve. Its later 1980s models ditched the slanted rear end as the manufacturer valiantly tried to shake its reputation as a maker of "old man cars," as Curbside Classic described it.
Elements Cadillac keeps today
Perusing today's Cadillac website, you might not see many similarities between the 1980 Cadillac Seville and its current CT4 and CT5 sedans. The 1980 model car scaled down the design, creating a smaller, more aerodynamic body style.
Today's sedans keep that smaller body style as you can see on the Cadillac website. You wouldn't say someone driving a CT4 "drives a boat," but that's what many said about driving a Cadillac Fleetwood, which at its longest reached 252 inches, according to Curbside Classic. For clarity's sake, that's a car of 21 feet in length.
Today's CT4 continued the shrinkage. It measures a comparatively tiny 187.2 inches in length.
Although its foray into a diesel engine received scoffs, Caddy's engineers kept trying to make a more fuel-efficient sedan. The Seville earned 17 mpg, but it helped drive development, and today's Cadillac sedans get about 34 mpg.
That first-ever onboard computer wowed a lot of people. You might not see the similarity if you slip into a current model Cadillac, but the 1980 Cadillac Seville led the way for you to drive the electronically controlled vehicles you do today with their many automatic features.
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