Model of Seville-ity: The Cadillac Seville in Miniature

Posted by: Doug in Member Blogs
In the early seventies, Cadillac was losing market share to the foreign car companies it had never before considered a threat. Suddenly, the high quality build, compact dimensions, smooth handling of cars like the Mercedes-Benz 280 were becoming more popular. Cadillac recognized this and in a two tier approach, faced this competition head on. The second phase of this assault were the downsized full-sized cars of 1977, but the first phase of the assault was a totally new model that compared in size and handling to the best European cars.


The car that ultimately became the Seville was designed by Bill Mitchell, General Motors chief of design since the late fifties. Cadillac had considered calling the new car LaSalle, which was a reference to the lower-priced companion brand to Cadillac in the thirties. Instead, it named the new car Seville, which was a name on the cars from the 1950's.

General Motors considered two cars as the basis for the Seville. The first car considered was the German Opel, and some early designs were based on this car, while the second car that was considered, and was ultimately used to develop the Seville, was the new Chevrolet Nova. Cadillac heavily re-engineered the Nova, and the new Seville was a very subtle design, which did not feature much of the design influence of the big De Villes and Fleetwoods. The new small Cadillac was the most expensive car in the range with the exception of the 75 limousine. The first-generation Seville is one of the few classic American cars of the seventies, yet has never been modeled in 1/64-scale.

The Seville was a huge success, and when time came to replace the car, Cadillac took a totally different design approach. For 1980, the new car would be based on the front wheel drive Eldorado platform, and would not have continuity of design with the previous model. It's most prominent feature was the "bustleback" rear end, emulating Hooper-designed Rolls-Royce cars. This unique car was modeled in miniature by several manufacturers. The first was produced by Hot Wheels at a time when the company was producing authentic reproductions of showroom models. The Hot Wheels Seville was a faithful reproduction of the Seville, with red plastic tail lamps and a silver and maroon or gold body, an exact copy of the range-topping "Elegante" model. Tomica at the time was still battling it out in the American market, and introduced its interpretation of the Seville, with opening doors and tiny "Seville" script on the front fenders. While most Tomica Sevilles were painted metallic silver, the model was also available in the two-tone paint job of the Seville Elegante. Welly copied the Tomica model, with opening doors. Yat Ming and Tin Toys also offered their version of the Seville, clearly with 'inspiration' from the Tomica casting but with closed doors.

1980 Cadillac Seville - Hot Wheels

1980 Cadillac Seville - Hot Wheels

1980 Cadillac Seville - Welly

1980 Cadillac Seville - Yat Ming

1980 Cadillac Seville - Tomica 

1980 Cadillac Seville - Tin Toys

The Seville was downsized in 1986, and the STS model was first marketed seriously in Europe. This model was followed by a new car in 1992, featuring the Northstar V8 engine in 1993. Tootsietoys manufactured this fourth-generation Seville in black and burgundy colors. Unlike the simple castings without windows of earlier Tootsietoys, this Seville was on par with the likes of Zylmex and Yatming. Several different wheel styles have appeared on these models and they may still be in production. 

1992 Cadillac Seville - Tootsietoy

1992 Cadillac Seville - Tootsietoy

The fifth generation Seville was introduced for 1998, and had styling quite similar to the previous model, although it was all new. Maisto created a generic version of this car in police and taxi colors. It was not identified as a Seville, due to Mattel owning the exclusive rights to produce small-scale Cadillac cars. Maisto intended to offer the Seville as a licensed model but were forced to re-work the grill into generic form, which had a rather limited life and is not in the current line.

1998 Cadillac Seville Taxi - Maisto

1998 Cadillac Seville Police - Maisto


The 2005 model year sees the introduction of the rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions of the STS, which replaces the Seville. Only time will tell if this critically-acclaimed car sees production in 1/64 scale.

Tags: Vehicles, Tales of Toy Cars

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