Showdown: Cad-on-Cad Edition

1979 Gucci Cadillac Seville1979 Cadillac Seville Elegante for sale

In our last Showdown the Puma pounced all over the pop-stop Sterling.

Today, we’re going to put that good taste to a test and ask you to chose between two pinnacles of Malaise-o-Lux. Both are ’70 Cadillac Sevilles, but only one’s a Gucci Special Editon. you’d think the brown-with-gold trim Guccimobile would have it, but the competitor’s no slouch either. It’s Elegante…seriously, a “Seville Elegante”. Oh, and there’s the minor detail of the swapped-in Isuzu NPR turbo-diesel motor.

Up first, the Gucci. Arguably the most fitting and appropriate of Gucci’s various automotive exploits, the ’79 Seville Gucci features a double-G hood ornament and assorted Gucci-logo upholstery, including the vinyl top. Under the hood thrums an EFI-equipped Olds 350 (the factory non-diesel option that year), making a malaise-o-tastic 180hp. It wasn’t until recently that anyone bought a Cadillac expecting to go fast, it’s style and luxury you’re after, and this one offers it up by the ton. Per the seller:

Only 200 made and less then a hand full survive today.
Apx 40,000 original miles. Engine runs like a charm.
Brown with Gucci Trim.
Detailed in 24k Gold Gucci logos and the iconic Gucci Monogram vinyl fabric. All 24K Gold Gucci emblems intact!
Limited edition Cadillac customized for Gucci and featured on the cover of the 1979 Gucci Catalogue.
All leather re-upholstered 4 years ago while maintaining the original vintage Gucci Mammogram vinyl fabric details.
New set of Vouge White Wall Tires.
New CD player / iPod stereo system installed with Amp in trunk.
Super rare 1979 Gucci Cadillac Seville. Only 200 made and less then a hand full survive today.Apx 40,000 original miles. Engine runs like a charm.Brown with Gucci Trim.Detailed in 24k Gold Gucci logos and the iconic Gucci Monogram vinyl fabric. All 24K Gold Gucci emblems intact!Limited edition Cadillac customized for Gucci and featured on the cover of the 1979 Gucci Catalogue.All leather re-upholstered 4 years ago while maintaining the original vintage Gucci Mammogram vinyl fabric details.New set of Vouge White Wall Tires.New CD player / iPod stereo system installed with Amp in trunk.

It’s got just a few hours left, and hasn’t cleared reserve at just under $5,000.
1979 Gucci Cadillac Seville – eBay Motors

1979 Cadillac Seville Elegante

Now it’s time to get weird. The other engine option available for late-70s Caddys was the Olds 350 diesel, an engine arguably responsible for the downfall of diesel passenger cars in America. Luckily, our seller recognized that the problems with the Olds oil burner weren’t universal to all diesels and swapped in a 3.9L turbodiesel from an Isuzu box truck, complete with heavy-duty semiautomatic transmission. We’ll let the seller take it from here:

This is truly a one of a kind luxury vehicle. It is a 1979 Cadillac Seville 4-Door Elegante. This car came stock with the 5.7 diesel V-8. In 1990 it was retrofitted with a 3.9 Liter 4 cylinder turbo diesel engine (4BD1-T) from a 1990 Isuzu NPR Box truck with only 5,000 miles on it! The transmission is also the heavy duty Isuzu industrial, semi-automatic. I am a certified diesel mechanic and I can say with 100% certainty that this is a long lasting set up that is both efficient, low maintenance, and way over engineered for this car. By design the engine has gear to gear timing versus the standard timing chains or belts, the injection pump is a durable Bosch style inline pump. This pump style also means that it will easily run on Bio-diesel or vegetable oil.
The car has new tires and is driven daily. The Isu-Cad is complete with extra parts and only needs minor cosmetic attention. This would be the left rear plastic bumper filler. The conversion alone cost over $5,000 in 1990. It has a new vinyl top and new carpeting throughout. The windows and seat function well. The air conditioning, heater, and speedometer have yet to be connected. I will provide a working isuzu speedometer. The car runs great. The registration current to 12/2012 with Veteran tags. I am moving and that is the only reason that I’m selling the car.

Bidding starts at $4,000 with a buy it now of $7,000, 4 days left.
1979 Cadillac Seville Elegante – eBay Motors
Hat tip to our foxiest commenter, ltdscott!
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53 responses to “Showdown: Cad-on-Cad Edition”

  1. Alff Avatar

    I'll take the one with "Gucci Mammogram Vinyl Fabric". It's the tits!

  2. tonyola Avatar

    Though I like the first-generation Sevilles, I wouldn't want either of these examples. Beginning in 1977, the Seville was available without the cheezoid vinyl/landau roof and in my opinion looked far better for it. A 1978-1979 Elegante in the two-tone black and silver would be my Seville pick.
    <img src="; width="500/">

    1. NothingHappens Avatar

      Hot. I've always had a weird fascination with these Sevilles, they for some reason really please me – it goes double with the wire wheels.

    2. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

      I see your Seville and raise you a Versailles!
      <img src="; width="400">

      1. tonyola Avatar

        You'd lose that hand. At least GM spent a good amount of money to hide the X-car compact origins of the Seville. The Lincoln looks like it was built from stuff ordered from JC Whitney. The Versailles was a quickie desperation move by Ford, and it shows.

        1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

          Yeah, I'd lose that hand, but I think the cars look more similar than dissimilar.
          And for some reasons, I root for the underdog.

      2. Scoutdude Avatar

        I'd take the Versailles as well with the disc brake 9" you can slip in a high hp Windsor based power plant for some real fun. Since the suspension is Mustang you can make the thing corner as well.

        1. tonyola Avatar

          The suspension is more Maverick than Mustang – the Versailles is literally nothing but a glitzed-up Ford Granada. The Seville had much more development up front, had much better handling in stock form, got four-wheel disk brakes after 1976, and can readily accept any GM small block. With the amount of money you'd spend turning the Versailles into something interesting, you could turn the already-more-capable Seville into a real terror.

          1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

            I've said it before, but have to say it again…… I wish my car knowledge was even just a fraction of yours.

    3. dukeisduke Avatar

      I'd go for the Elegante, too. Or even the standard Seville. I occasionally still see a nicely-preserved example. And it reminds me of a high school classmate that ripped off (or improved?) that Kenny Rogers ditty:
      "You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille;
      Four hungry children and a brand new Seville"

  3. muthalovin Avatar

    2-1 on the Isu-Cad. I like the idea of a oil-burner luxobarge.

  4. LTDScott Avatar

    I want the Gucci just for the plates alone.

  5. OA5599 Avatar

    The first time I saw a Gucci car, it was an AMC in a self-serve wrecking yard. I think I still have an emblem I pulled off of it. I was going to get a piece of headliner, too, but it was already moldy, so I passed.
    About a month later, I saw a Gucci Seville on the road. Remembering how cheesy the AMC was, I wondered why anybody would mess up a Caddy that way. Oh well, money can buy a lot of things, but apparently not taste.

  6. Black Steelies Avatar

    Probably the last Cadillac I would want. That Gucci trim is sick but that's about it.
    And yes, I would even take a Cimarron before a late 70's Seville. It was a crappy Cavalier made sorta classy.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      A Cimarron? Really? Have you ever driven a first-generation Seville? I have. It's more capable than you might think, performs better than even the 500 cid big Caddies of the period, and it's better built, too.

      1. littleYodaPickup Avatar

        Sorry, I'm with tonyola here. I've driven both, and the Seville handled better.
        Hollywood thought so too for a while. They were cheap Caddies and easy to come by. Watch any movie from the time that has mobsters, and they're driving these. I haven't seen any in ages so I actually thought Hollywood made a significant dent in the number of survivors…well, those that didn't rust away on their own, that is.

        1. Tomsk Avatar

          And if you still aren't satisfied with the Seville's handling, any aftermarket suspension bits that fit a Nova or F-body of the same period should bolt right on.

      2. Black Steelies Avatar

        Haha, yeah I know and you're right. But I think that I like the Cim just because of how universally bad everyone thinks it is. I don't want one because it runs really well or handles, it's just a rare bird. I mean look at it!! And no self respecting mobster would get anything less than an Eldo or Coupe Deville.
        <img src=""&gt;

        1. tonyola Avatar

          The Cimarron was a very nice Cavalier. However, other than leather and a couple of options, there was nothing that couldn't be had on the Chevy for about half the price.

    2. Alff Avatar

      Funny how perceptions differ. This style of Seville is on my short list of desirable modern Cadillacs – the handling isn't bad and the styling is clean. I'm with Tony – I'd prefer one without the vinyl roof. The two-tone Elegante in silver and black is probably my favorite, although I have seen a few monochrome resto-mod that look pretty sweet, too.

  7. fisheater Avatar

    Isuzu made some monster size diesel 4-cylinders for their medium duty stuff. I know there is the 3.9L, a 4.75L and a 5.2L engine. Maybe others.

  8. Alff Avatar

    We had a Versace Lincoln back in the day. What a POS. It characteristically died at the curb.

  9. skitter Avatar

    Or the road car that raced alongside it.

  10. littleYodaPickup Avatar

    Oh, nooooooooooooooo. We had a '76 Seville, and boy is this posting bringing back memories. Oddly enough, I remember us toasting just about everything on the highway in ours, but my father was a leadfoot no matter what he drove. That probably has more to do with it.
    Someone with better knowledge can correct me, but the '76 had air shocks that died pretty much right away, and cost a fortune to replace. I don't know if the '79 had the same kind, but if so…unobtainium today?
    The roof rusted like crazy all around the vinyl roof right off too. It was pure malaise goodness, at least for me, because it was such a wreck so quickly, my parents let me drive it to school when I first got my license.
    I remember the luxury we had with the built in 8-track, and the auto-dimming hi-beams that had a complete mind of their own.
    It's a good thing I don't have $7K or that diesel would be mine…and the hubby would *kill* me! And that's way too much to pay for this, but sentimental feelings can do that to a soul…

    1. Scoutdude Avatar

      Yes the factory air shocks would be hard to find but the standard replacement variety work just fine with adapters available at your local hardware store to connect to the factory lines. So no problem getting new ones.
      You do not want something with that POS Isuzu engine in there as it is the nosiest roughest running engine you can find. couple it with the power robbing semi-auto geared for making that engine move a large truck and you have a recipie for a hideous to drive machine.

  11. Tomsk Avatar

    Sweet though the brown Gucci may be, I gotta go with the Elegante. And since it was born a diesel, it can be registered as-is here in California!

  12. topdeadcentre Avatar

    Biodiesel ready? I'm so there, as long as I can find a weekend fast-food job so I can get first dibs on the used Frialator oil… And who doesn't need more El-ay-gon-tayyyy in their life?
    However, $7000 is about $4000 too high; the seller is probably forgetting that any eco-hippie with that kind of money looking for an alternative-fuel car wouldn't be caught dead in anything made by Cadillac, even if it it were powered by phlogiston and folk music.

  13. tonyola Avatar

    Other than the long-wheelbase Seventy-Five models. Those cost more than the Seville.

  14. Jim-Bob Avatar

    I have driven an Isuzu NPR 4 cylinder diesel box truck and it was easily the slowest thing I have ever driven ( and I drive a Geo Metro every day!). That being said, there is just something about a batshit crazy diesel swap that really does it for me. So, I went with the Isuzullac. Because, during a zombie apocalypse, dead reliable diesels and AK-47's will be all that is left to kill the zombie hordes.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      And driving a Caddy into Bartertown has got to put some valuable cred on your side.

    2. CJinSD Avatar

      I drove a UD1100 with a 5-speed manual and a 130 hp 4 cylinder turbo diesel and a 17 foot box with a lift on a job I had in college. It was redline limitted to something like 67 mph, but one of the owners would spin it to 70 mph. After a while, it would only go 62 or so. I used it to move back and forth to Virginia Tech a couple times, and it was not the ideal highway truck on mountainous I81. The truck only weighed 5,500 lbs empty, so I can't imagine that putting one of these diesels in a Cadillac would make for a fast car.

      1. Jim-Bob Avatar

        No, it would be dead slow unless it was geared better. The one I drove was an automatic. It had great pickup off the line but was limited to something like 55 or 60 flat out. I had to drive it for my boss for about 2 hours on I-75. I wanted to kill when I was done!

  15. dustin_driver Avatar

    Smokey epic burnouts producing a toxic miasma of vaporized rubber and Isuzu diesel smoke for the win.

  16. facelvega Avatar

    There was something sad about mid-seventies Detroit attempts to measure up to European cars, instead of being something completely different and kind of dumb, they became the clear also-rans in somebody else's game, which was repeated in the early 90s in the wake of the Japanese luxury wave, when even the Germans were caught unprepared.
    In my narrative, the first-gen Seville is an early nail in the coffin of Detroit distinctiveness. If I have a seventies Caddy, it will be an early seventies Fleetwood or at least a De Ville. So they are inefficient and don't handle well, if I wanted 70s luxury with anything resembling handling I'd get an E12 or W126, or at least a W123. I once had a Volvo 164 that was pretty good. But none of those have the grand yacht-like presence of the pre-Seville caddies. It's like comparing apples and watermelons.
    But to play the game here, I'll take the Gucci vulgarity over the iffy truck diesel.

  17. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

    What is behind the door on the instrument panal, to the right of the radio? Is that just a big door over an ashtray, or is something else lurking behind?

    1. tonyola Avatar


  18. CptSevere Avatar

    My '56 Sedan DeVille was not gutless at all with the 365, and I'll tell you, my '71 Fleetwood 75 surprised the hell out of quite a few people. I think the 472 was rated at 375 HP and god knows how many foot pounds of torque, maybe around four hundred. The car weighed about 5500 pounds, but it freaking hauled ass. Old Cadillacs were never known for being gutless.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      345 hp and 500 ft-lbs. for the 1971 472 engine. Tons of torque.

  19. CptSevere Avatar

    Yeah, these Sevilles are vulgar and tacky. They're an insult to a real Caddy, like the two that I used to own. It's amusing that the one has the cute little diesel, but I'd take the Gucci, drop in a built SBC (with dual exhausts through chrome tips under the bumper, of course), and build the suspension with Caprice/Impala cop car parts, which I'l bet anyone a six pack of PBR will fit nicely. Now, you have something that's both vulgar and fast and will handle. This would be a car that would insult all the right people. What's wrong with that?

    1. Jim-Bob Avatar

      Well, these cars share little in common with the B body for one. These were essentially a stretch wheelbase Nova/X car clone underneath so you would want to get your parts from a 70.5-81 F body or a 75-79 X body. What DOES share parts with the Caprice is the De Ville. It rides on the D car chassis which was just a stretched B body.

      1. tonyola Avatar

        The DeVille used the C-body, along with the Buick Electra and Olds 98. The Fleetwood Brougham was built on the D-body .

        1. CptSevere Avatar

          I'd say all this good info was more than worth a sixer of PBR.

        2. RichardKopf Avatar

          C/D were the same, the chassis went to D once the stretched FWD C bodies went on sale. Same deal with the A/G bodies.

          1. tonyola Avatar

            Not really. The D chassis had a longer wheelbase than the C bodies from 1965 though 1976. The DeVille had a 129.5" (1965-1970) or 130" (1971-1976) wheelbase. The Fleetwood's wheelbase was 133", and all the extra length was in the passenger compartment. Fleetwoods of this era were substantially roomier inside than DeVilles. When the Cadillacs were downsized for 1977, both the Deville and Fleetwood shared the same wheelbase of 121.5".

          2. RichardKopf Avatar

            You're right of course, I was implying without referencing the fact that I was talking about post `76 B/C/D bodies. Sorry about that.

  20. AlexiusG55 Avatar

    <img src="; width="500">
    This had a 21.5-litre four…

  21. raphaelinberlin Avatar

    My love for Gucci Mane makes me want the Gucci Caddy, if only to have a 24/7 Gucci Mane rotation on full blast, a secret syrup dispenser in the back, and a crack kitchen in the trunk. But then, I also have deep feelings for industrial engines in cars (big healeys, for instance), large 4cl engines (dreams of Ferrari Monzas ever since I first saw Victory by Design), and crude diesel passenger vehicles (from driving around in my friend's massive '80s Suburban). So yeah, hard decision to make.

  22. Pug_Notsougly Avatar

    Believe it or not, the September 1977 issue of 'Car' (UK) had a comparison test pitting the Seville against 450 SEL 6.9, Daimler Double Six VdP, and, wait for it, Silver Shadow. (The Jag won. Surprised?) As I look at the pics now, the Seville's exterior styling holds up well in that company. It falls down everywhere else, of course.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      I remember reading that road test. CAR actually ranked the Cadillac over the Rolls. The biggest problems with the Cadillac were that it was short on rear seat legroom and the conversion to right-hand-drive raised the UK price of the car to the point that it was as expensive as the Mercedes 6.9 or V12 Daimler. Of course it couldn't compete against those ultra-expensive cars – it wasn't really meant to. Remember that in the US, the Seville was about 2/3 the price of a 450SEL. Also, I bet the Cadillac would be a lot more reliable than the Double Six.

      1. Pug_Notsougly Avatar

        I seem to remember a C&D article from maybe the early '80's featuring a seriously modified first generation Seville. Do you have any recollection of that? As I recall it was stock-looking, but ran very strongly.

        1. tonyola Avatar

          I do remember that. It was set up to run at 200+ mph. Yeow!

  23. Scoutdude Avatar

    What a waste of a Seville putting that POS Isuzu engine in there, sure it will last to 200K unlike the original oil burner but the 4db family of engines are the nosiest roughest running engine known to man and that semi-auto while durable sucks a ton of power and isn't suitable for any car let alone a Caddy.

  24. Josh Avatar

    The diesel Seville shown and advertised as an "Elegante" is just a base Seville! Elegantes were two toned, had genuine wire wheels (not the wire wheelcovers), and had a steel roof only, not the padded leather top this base Seville has. Inside a real Elegante would have a console between the front seats. Don't you hate it when people are dumb enough or dishonest enough to advertise their own car as something else!