- The Washington Times - Friday, February 26, 2010

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 spring 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.

He purchased the car sight unseen (except in photographs) on April 9 that year and arranged to have the Cadillac trucked cross country in an enclosed trailer 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 to,” Mr. Pittman explained. “Although it is big, the inside is tight; 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 said. It came equipped with power windows, power brakes, power steering, power seats and power antenna.

Mr. Pittman said 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 a 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 6-foot-wide car was advertised as a small Cadillac, much nimbler than its 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 to be in working order, including the eight-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 an electronic sentinel that 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 first two years that he owned his Cadillac, Mr. Pittman drove it about 2,000 miles, with the odometer approaching 35,000 miles. The farthest afield he drove it was to Rehoboth Beach, a trip that he said was trouble-free.

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

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