Two-tone paint job like a modern Rolls-Royce, Fastback shape a la Audi A7, wire wheels like on a 1934 Bentley, burgundy tufted leather seats like in a fancy cigar lounge and a Jaguar-inspired Mahogany-plated dashboard, the 1984 Seville was a ode to the Eighties. Coincidentally, it was built in New Jersey.
Welcome to Forgotten Classics
As demonstrated in the previous articles, the goal of this series of essays is be to bring cars that are getting no love back in the limelight. FC is also a thorough analysis of why such cars remained obscure and never got the praise they deserved.
Launched in 1975 and named after the cultural capital of Spain, the Seville’s mission was to steal sales to the increasingly popular European luxury sedans from Europe.
The first generation, although somewhat popular, failed at that mission and the culprit was identified as the long trunk.
For the second generation, the NYC-based GM brand decided to fix that problem by almost completely amputating the car’s rear protuberance. The end result was stunningly Euro and the optional Diesel V8 helped reinforced that sophisticated image.
Unfortunately, while the car had everything to please wealthy Germans, Swedes and other foreigners from Europe, the car wasn’t even sold over there. In its homeland, the second gen Seville was maybe a bit too much for wealthy Texans who clearly preferred cars with a trunk. While it was not a complete failure, the second gen Seville consistently sold less than its predecessor, hence a return to a more conventional form for the third generation.
But let’s come back to the second gen, because it’s a very interesting car and also the subject of this week’s article. The second gen Seville was designed by Bill Mitchell, the guy that designed the 1966 Riviera and the 1961 Corvette Stingray. The car was not only a masterpiece from the outside, but the cabin styling was infinitely posh while making a huge statement. For lovers of technologies, this car was like a rolling Las Vegas high-tech convention. Among a gazillion things, It featured the first ever electric seats with memory.
Pictured here, the interior of a 1984 Seville with red leather and Mahogany inserts.
The reason it failed probably reside in its avant-garde, but also its price. The Seville, especially in higher trims, was not for faint-hearted wallets, and since it was just a few year prior to the democratization of car leasing, most people just couldn’t afford it. This is a shame because the Seville was distinct and competent automobile that successfully blended influences from the past, the present and the future, and it stood-out compared to other luxury cars from the tail-end of the malaise-era.
Thank you for reading.