1979 Coupe DeVille Purchasing Advice

Started by jaiello21, November 09, 2015, 05:03:22 PM

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jaiello21

Hello everyone,

I have been deliberating for quite some time between purchasing an Eldorado or a Coupe DeVille from the mid to late seventies as my first Classic Cadillac and have finally decided on a Coupe DeVille. I am located in Pittsburgh, PA and believe that I have found a rather nice, well cared for, original '79 DeVille. This particular example is finished in Blackwatch Green Metallic (Code 49) over a matching green velour interior (Code 49H) and is the d'Elegance trim. It has 78,000 miles and 2 previous owners before the current (3 in total). Recently the owner replaced the radiator, various belts, plugs, changed the oil and gave the car a "tune up". The only un-original item on the vehicle is the bumper fillers, which have been replaced and painted to match the originals. Seller has all original books and papers as well as every service record from new. I have spoken to a few CLC members regarding what exactly to look for on these Caddy's, however I wanted to see what everyone here thought about price. The seller wants $6,500 which I feel is a bit high considering the mileage and the fact that this was after the "downsizing" from '77, but I figured you all would have a better idea. Sorry for the long post, just wanted to give everyone an idea of the vehicle and its condition. I have also attached a few pictures of the car as well, sorry for the poor quality, that is all the seller provided. Thanks in advance!

Jaiello21
"Cadillac- A New Measure of Automotive Supremacy"

Dave Shepherd

For what it's worth, when I worked for  Cadillac back then, the 79 Devilles were a strong mechanically trouble free car.

76eldo

At the risk of sounding a bit harsh, do yourself a favor and get back to this guy and offer $6000 cash.  If's he's firm at $6500 buy it anyway.

You found a rare D'Elegance Coupe.  If you like the color and the car is as straight as it appears in the photos, it's worth every bit of $6500.00.

If it was a 79 Camaro it would be $25,000.  Cadillac's of this vintage are an absolute bargain. 

The mileage is low too.  The car is 36 years old!

Even if the AC is not working that's easily fixed.

In my opinion, it's an inexpensive buy-in to get your feet wet in the Old Car hobby.

Good luck!

Brian
Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443
I prefer email's not PM's rachlin@comcast.net

1960 62 Series Conv with Factory Tri Power
1970 DeVille Conv
1970 Eldo
1970 Caribu (?) "The Cadmino"
1973 Eldorado Conv Pace Car
1976 Eldorado Conv
1980 Eldorado H & E Conv
1993 Allante with Hardtop (X2)
2008 DTS
2012 CTS Coupe
2017 XT
1956 Thunderbird
1966 Olds Toronado

jaiello21

Quote from: 76eldo on November 09, 2015, 06:08:44 PM
At the risk of sounding a bit harsh, do yourself a favor and get back to this guy and offer $6000 cash.  If's he's firm at $6500 buy it anyway.

You found a rare D'Elegance Coupe.  If you like the color and the car is as straight as it appears in the photos, it's worth every bit of $6500.00.

If it was a 79 Camaro it would be $25,000.  Cadillac's of this vintage are an absolute bargain. 

The mileage is low too.  The car is 36 years old!

Even if the AC is not working that's easily fixed.

In my opinion, it's an inexpensive buy-in to get your feet wet in the Old Car hobby.

Good luck!

Brian

Hi Brian,

I am going to view the car this Saturday so I will be able to confirm the exact condition then. The seller stated that the Climate Control system works perfectly as well. The reason I thought that his price was high was because of Hagerty's price guide for this car, however there was no option for the D'Elegance trim. Do you know how rare this trim was for the '79 Coupes?
"Cadillac- A New Measure of Automotive Supremacy"

Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621

At the risk of sounding even harsher, I would take a 77-79 any day of the week over 71-76 (all things equal) - but that's me.

Asking price is reasonable if the car is as nice and original as professed, as Brian says.

I'm unsure if the d'Elegance is worth a premium over the same car with leather but it's certainly more desirable over standard cloth.

Good luck and welcome to the CLC forum.

A Cadillac Motorcar is a Possession for which there is no Acceptable Substitute

76eldo

I would add 15 to 20 percent for the D'Elegance option.

Please keep in mind that these are opinions but based on many years of collecting, buying, and selling similar cars.

Eric is modest. He's an expert on these cars as is another member, Joe Caristo.

Brian
Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443
I prefer email's not PM's rachlin@comcast.net

1960 62 Series Conv with Factory Tri Power
1970 DeVille Conv
1970 Eldo
1970 Caribu (?) "The Cadmino"
1973 Eldorado Conv Pace Car
1976 Eldorado Conv
1980 Eldorado H & E Conv
1993 Allante with Hardtop (X2)
2008 DTS
2012 CTS Coupe
2017 XT
1956 Thunderbird
1966 Olds Toronado

Barry M Wheeler #2189

I am a little concerned about the "lightness" of the material of the seats. I had a very nice 1978 d'Elegance sedan back when they were still used cars with the same color of upholstery and paint. The material should show up as dark as the leather, not light as it shows in the photo. Otherwise, what the guys say about the '79s is quite true. My wife has a 160K 1979 Fleetwood that she drives from time to time. I started it up a couple of days ago after sitting for several weeks. Started quickly and still runs quietly. (It is also a Cadillac & LaSalle Club national first prize winner, and has been to the Savannah, GA Grand National, Kansas City GN in 95 degree heat, and the Des Moines GN.)

With the 1978 mentioned above, I took it to the first Boston GN, and coming back on I-70, and going up the last mountain before Ohio, I beat all the traffic around me up the hill and by the time I got to the top, I was using all three lanes going around the curves, as there was no competing traffic on my side of the road. They are dependable and solid cars to this day.
Barry M. Wheeler #2189


1981 Cadillac Seville
1991 Cadillac Seville

bcroe

In my opinion, the cars of those years are low maintenance, long lived, and the easiest to repair. 
Of course any decades old car needs the OEM timing chain replaced, new brake hoses, etc. 

Bruce Roe

jwjohnson86

There was a lengthy thread on here a short while back discussing the 1977-79 models, you may want to look that up as several CLC members with direct experience as owners offered a lot of insights.  Appears to be a beautiful car, hope it works out for you!
1970 DeVille Convertible 472 cid

http://bit.ly/1NhHpdt

R Schroeder

Like Eric said. You cant beat the tri-7s.
I bought my 78 , 6 years ago, with 11,500 miles on it. Paid well over double what that guy is asking for his.
I feel from what I can see it is a great buy.
These cars run strong and trouble free, once set up right.
The only thing I can see in the pictures is the wood grain in the steering wheel might be coming out, and the guy left off the small chrome pieces at the bottom of the fender extensions.
Picture of my 78
Roy

Rich S

The car looks nice to me and it seems reasonably priced. The '77-'78 & '79 Coupe DeVilles are very nice automobiles and highly collectible. The triple Blackwatch Green combination looks elegant, in my opinion. If you are interested in a lower mileage original, here is a beautiful '78 offered for sale:

http://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/dealer/cadillac/unspecified/1787796.html

Whatever you get, you will end up loving your collector Cadillac--the compliments will be abundant!

Rich Sullivan CLC #11473

1971 Eldo Conv., 2013 CTS Cpe

Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621

#11
I think the camera angle is causing the backrest appear lighter than the cushion. The velour fabric on this model tends to appear different at different views.

Here's a 1977 worth considering for a bit more. The color is the rare Desert Rose Firemist which was an extra cost option and it is also a d'Elegance with only 13,000 miles. I think it's well worth the extra $4,000 for a 13,000 mile car. I spoke with the seller - PM me if you'd like more info.

http://cleveland.craigslist.org/cto/5253348328.html
A Cadillac Motorcar is a Possession for which there is no Acceptable Substitute

jaiello21

Thanks for the responses everyone. Should I have any concerns in regard to the mileage on the car? I know that it is considered low for being a car that is over 36 years old, however am I better off shooting for a lower mileage car? Or should I be able to enjoy many trouble free miles out of this Blackwatch Green DeVille considering the stack of service records and newly replaced parts?
"Cadillac- A New Measure of Automotive Supremacy"

Big Apple Caddy

Quote from: Jaiello21 on November 11, 2015, 09:58:29 AM
Should I have any concerns in regard to the mileage on the car?

When buying a car like this, I think condition and how well it's been maintained can be more important than mileage.  I'd take a well maintained car with 100K miles over a neglected car with 50K miles.

76eldo

The tem "Bullet Proof" is associated with the 79's 425 engine and Turbo 400 trans.

There will always be little things you will be fussing with when you own an older car.

Do you have a deposit on this car or is the guy holding off on showing it to anyone else until you decide?  While you are pondering, someone may be purchasing.

When I see a car I like and the price is comfortable I go for it before someone else gets it.

Brian
Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443
I prefer email's not PM's rachlin@comcast.net

1960 62 Series Conv with Factory Tri Power
1970 DeVille Conv
1970 Eldo
1970 Caribu (?) "The Cadmino"
1973 Eldorado Conv Pace Car
1976 Eldorado Conv
1980 Eldorado H & E Conv
1993 Allante with Hardtop (X2)
2008 DTS
2012 CTS Coupe
2017 XT
1956 Thunderbird
1966 Olds Toronado

jaiello21

Quote from: 76eldo on November 11, 2015, 12:19:01 PM
The tem "Bullet Proof" is associated with the 79's 425 engine and Turbo 400 trans.

There will always be little things you will be fussing with when you own an older car.

Do you have a deposit on this car or is the guy holding off on showing it to anyone else until you decide?  While you are pondering, someone may be purchasing.

When I see a car I like and the price is comfortable I go for it before someone else gets it.

Brian

Hi Brian,

The gentleman is going to be out of town until Saturday which is when I will be viewing the vehicle. To my knowledge he will not be showing the car to anyone before me. Also, he did not warn me of having this plethora of other "potentially serious buyers".
"Cadillac- A New Measure of Automotive Supremacy"

76eldo

That's good.  Gives you time to think.  When you go there, take it out for a nice 15-20 minute run.  Check for leaks when you get back.  Make sure it re-starts when hot.  Look at the trans fluid too.  Should be a pinkish red, not brown, and should not smell burnt.

Speaking from experience, your best leverage is to put $5500.00 in a roll in your pocket and another $1000 in your wallet.

If the $5500 doesn't entice him, go to $6000 and see if that does it.

One thing I will tell you is that if you buy the car, once it's yours, you will fall in love with it on the way home.

Good luck to you,

Brian
Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443
I prefer email's not PM's rachlin@comcast.net

1960 62 Series Conv with Factory Tri Power
1970 DeVille Conv
1970 Eldo
1970 Caribu (?) "The Cadmino"
1973 Eldorado Conv Pace Car
1976 Eldorado Conv
1980 Eldorado H & E Conv
1993 Allante with Hardtop (X2)
2008 DTS
2012 CTS Coupe
2017 XT
1956 Thunderbird
1966 Olds Toronado

chrisntam

1970 Deville Convertible 
Dallas, Texas

Barry M Wheeler #2189

Sorry Chris, he told us that he goes to see it on Saturday.
Barry M. Wheeler #2189


1981 Cadillac Seville
1991 Cadillac Seville

jaiello21

#19
Hello everyone,

As promised I am reporting back on my experience with the '79 Cadillac Coupe DeVille D'Elegance. Well, I felt that the car was in excellent original condition. The Blackwatch Green Paint was original except for the bumper fillers, and still shined very nicely. A few rock chips here and there on the body but it definitely did not show the 79xxx miles that were on the odometer. It was in very nice shape, and the landau top was crack and rust free. No rust bubbles underneath the top where it met the body which I have often found to be the case. Underneath, the car had been rust proofed and was extremely clean as well as rust free. The interior was even better than I had anticipated. The D'Elegance cushions were in perfect shape, with really no discoloration or wear and of course very comfortable. The dash was free of cracks and everything functioned as it should. The steering wheel was also free of cracked wood or shrinking. This vehicle even had the factory AM/FM CB and 8-track combination!

The car rode and drove beautifully just as one would expect from a Cadillac of this vintage. The 425 engine was a bit louder than I had anticipated, but this was my first experience with them so I expect this is just how they are. Nothing over bearing just a little intrusion. Under acceleration there was a bit of what I would call a "Carbureted noise" which was almost like a subdued burble noise. There was no whine or pinging noise just this sound under acceleration. Not sure if this is normal or not as I am not familiar with these engines. The owner did state that he has begun to use non-ethanol gas in the vehicle as he feels it runs better that way. The car has new hoses and plugs as well as a new radiator, exhaust, and clutch fan. Along with the car was a thick thick stack of service records dating back to the original owner who resided in Virginia. The only non original thing which I found to be incorrect was the bumper piece below the license plate that was black. I will include that in the pictures here. All in all, I was very very pleased with the car from its aesthetic appearance to its mechanical underpinnings. It drove well, and looked excellent. Now I just have to negotiate price with the seller and convince my father, who will be enjoying the car with me, that this is a keeper. He is not sure of the color. Sorry for the long rant again everyone, just wanted to share my thoughts on it as well as hear yours  :) Edit: It appears that my photos are too large and that I can only upload one at a time so instead of adding 12 posts to this thread you can view them here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/137725336@N05/?

Jared
"Cadillac- A New Measure of Automotive Supremacy"