- The Washington Times - Friday, May 2, 2008

An elegant Cadillac Seville must have made a wonderful belated Christmas present in 1979.

The 1980 models were already on display at the Marvin K. Brown Cadillac dealership in San Diego when the 17-foot-long cedar metallic 1979 Cadillac was purchased and delivered on Dec. 26, 1979.

Bill Pittman, the current owner, surmises that his heavily-optioned car was a leftover 1979 model, one of 53,487 manufactured.

For 26 years and 33,300 miles the original owner kept the Cadillac in like-new condition, always garaging his car. Even the strips of rubber protecting the chrome bumpers are unblemished.

In the spring of 2006 Mr. Pittman saw an ad offering the Cadillac for sale. Although he was not in the market for an antique car at the time, the pristine condition of the Cadillac was too incredible to ignore.

On April 9, 2006 he purchased the car sight unseen (except in photographs) and arranged to have the Cadillac trucked in an enclosed trailer cross country to the garage of a trusted mechanic. Once the car was pronounced in good health, Mr. Pittman drove it to his University Park home. “I wanted a car that I didn’t have a lot to do,” Mr. Pittman explains. “Although it is big, the inside is tight,” Mr. Pittman says, “it feels like a British car.”

When new the Cadillac Seville had a suggested base price of $14,710. “It had pretty much everything including the optional sunroof,” Mr. Pittman says. It came equipped with power windows, power brakes, power steering, power seats and power antenna.

Mr. Pittman says the first owner opted for a dealer-installed “Rolls-Royce” type grille. The windows in each door are capped with vent shades.

The glass sunroof nestles in the cedar fire mist colored tuxedo-grain vinyl top. Inside the car is a sliding panel that can block the appearance of the sunroof.

Power to move the 4,180-pound Cadillac is provided by the 350-cubic-inch V-8 engine that delivers 170 horsepower to the rear drive wheels via a three-speed automatic transmission.

Twenty-nine years ago, Mr. Pittman’s six-foot-wide car was advertised as a small Cadillac, much nimbler than it’s larger brethren. It’s supported by Goodyear GR78x15-inch steel-belted Double Eagle white sidewall tires on a 114.3-inch wheelbase. The wheel covers are designed to simulate authentic wire wheels.

A careful examination showed the Cadillac to be in remarkably good condition. Mr. Pittman discovered everything on the car in working order including the 8-track tape and the exterior opera lights on the C-pillars at the rear of the cabin.

The three spoke steering wheel has tilt and telescopic functions. Atop the dashboard, above the 85 mph speedometer, stands the electronic sentinel tat senses oncoming traffic at night and automatically dims the headlights.

Driving the car is made easier with the cruise control feature. Outside the window in the driver’s door, at the base of the mirror, is a built-in thermometer.

The carpeted floor mats appear to be unused and a matching mat protects the floor of the spacious trunk.

A fitted cover for the spare tire is made of matching material. Tinted glass assists the air conditioner climate control in maintaining a comfortable temperature in the cabin. Red lines in the rear window are an indication that a defogger is installed.

The electronic fuel injection feeding fuel to the engine drinks from the 19.5-gallon gas tank.

During the two years that he has owned his Cadillac, Mr. Pittman has driven it about 2,000 miles with the odometer approaching 35,000 miles. The furthest afield he’s driven it was to Rehoboth Beach, a trip that he says was trouble-free.

“Some cars don’t,” Mr. Pittman says, “but this car makes me smile.”

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