Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bill Mitchell's Razor-Edge Cadillac Seville

The 1980 Cadillac Seville was among Bill Mitchell's last hurrahs as General Motors design vice-president.  Like some other designs created under his direction, it was controversial.

Biographical information on Mitchell can be found here and here.  The Wikipedia entry on the 1980 Seville is here and a Hemmings article about a 1985 Seville is here.

Styling of the '80 Seville was controversial because Mitchell, enamored of circa-1940s "Razor Edge" coachwork on Rolls-Royces, slapped an interpretation of that style on the rear of a 1980 automobile.  With mixed results, as we see below.


1983 Cadillac Seville Elegante
Seen from near the front, the Seville is a crisp design with some areas of ornamentation to provide interest.  Not all Sevilles had two-color paint schemes, which were more of a 1940s and 50s fashion, but this is one of those rare cases where that practice enhanced the styling.

1980 Cadillac Seville
Here we get a better idea of its version of Razor Edge styling.

1982 (circa) Cadillac Seville
This shows the rear of the car from nearly end-on.  I consider this the viewing angle where the design looks the most awkward.  Seen in person, the styling makes the car appear a little too narrow and high by 1980 standards, even though the vehicle is generally fairly sleek.

1948 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith by Freestone & Webb
There are many examples of English Razor Edge custom bodies.  I offer this because of its similarity to the later Seville styling.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mechanical issues aside, the retro modern 1980-85 Sevilles were some of the classiest cars ever mass produced. The two-tone Sable Black and Sheffield Gray Firemist was my favorite. The exterior styling was love it or hate it polarizing, by design, but most at the time loved this car, AND WANTED ONE, myself included. The interior was modern Americana, and great looking. The feeling inside was great. A cocoon of luxury, not too big, not too small. Just right. I was in my teens at the time. Anyone seen driving this car was considered a winner, and a winner who had very good taste in cars. $25k fully optioned... How much class can you get for $25k today?.. Today, many would consider this to be a ghetto fabulous pimp-mobile, and I would say to that: Then pimps have good taste in cars... If you want a less polarizing modern era classic, then find a mint 1975-79 Seville. Or a '79 thru '85 Eldorado... During my childhood and teen years, I liked all the cars I was supposed to like. European cars and hot rod American cars, but my real love were the unabashed distinctly American luxury cars of the 70s and early 80s. Some in the 90s like the 1996 Lincoln Town Car, the spiritual modern successor to the 1970s Continentals. I also like the more recent but now discontinued Town Cars... The new Lincoln Continental is too European looking. I like the new MKZ more, especially the side glass. More American looking with the rear quarter window going in the same direction as the c-pillars, much like a 70s and 80s American sedan... Bring back the front bench seat and the column mounted shifter!