What could have been: Cadillac Seville



By the early 70’s, GM was seriously thinking about competing with import with a smaller Cadillac model. Which became the 1st generation Seville in 1975.
One idea was to base the car on the German Opel Record/Diplomat, that came out in 1972 in Europe, and was never sold in the US.
It would have just been a rebadged Opel, with a new front, rear and modified interior.
And it was already an import!

It’s pretty much what Buick is now doing with the Regal/Opel Insignia.


This is what the Opel Rekord looked like from 1972 to 1977.
Hardly a Cadillac.

Thank God GM made the right move and the Seville was never a rebadged Opel.
As it turned out, the reworked X platform used in the final car (from the Nova) was cheaper than reworking the Opel for the US…

Conversation 10 comments

  1. GM/Cadillac definitely did the right thing by waiting until they could come up with their own design.

    My uncle has a 1976 Seville, and it was extremely nice/handsome/well-sized (for its time) and effectively drew the attention of a much younger/hipper customer than Cadillac had seen in many, many years.

    This 'badge engineered' Opel would have been better suited for Buick or Olds.

  2. The forgotten Cadillac Catera was an Opel (Senator?) rebadged as a Caddy. It was a better attempt at a smaller car than the awful Cimarron.

  3. It's been 20+ years since I've seen those Caddy pics (Motor Trend? I vaguely remember a feature on concept Eldos/Toros/Rivs as well). Thanks Vince. Would be great to see more Burlapp "what could have beens."

  4. That Opel sure was an ugly duckling. I loved the first generation Seville, but Cadillac later ruined the car with that hunchback model. It was all downhill from there.

  5. The two are so different in function and culture there's not really any comparison. The Cadillac design to me looks great but would never have worked in 1975 America. I think Cadillac developed the right car for the market they knew best, and the Opel was beautiful in Germany where it lived and worked.

  6. Actually the more I look the more I see it as being closer to the even smaller Ascona then the Rekord, which would have made it a pre-Cimaron small Caddy. And a dumb idea for that matter.

  7. The original Seville was one of the few truly attractive vehicles of the era. The proportions and styling just worked for the time. A rebadged Opel would have gone down in history as a complete failure. Had to wait for the Cimmaron for that to happen.

    Story: My sister worked with a woman who had a Cimmaron, and she mentioned to her that it's basically the same car as a Cavalier. The lady almost had a heart attack and was totally pissed at my sister for suggesting such a thing. So badge engineering actually fools some people.

  8. So many people do get sucked in by rebadging.
    GM is the worst for it.
    However not as many people are being fooled by it now.
    Remember, Chev Cruze is a rebadged Daewoo.

  9. The Chevy Cruze is a rebadged Daewoo….by GM-Daewoo.

    As far as the "Toronodo Nose" that front design was used in 1992-2004, no?

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