December 5, 2020

The Car History of Alex Beloff III

IT WAS CHARLIE AGAIN WHO ALERTED ME TO THIS OLD TIRED LOOKING CADILLAC SEVILLE.  WE HAD JUST TRADED FOR IT.  NOBODY WAS REAL SURE WHAT IT WAS.  IT WAS A 1978 CAR THE COMPANY DID NOT WANT.  THE MOMENT I SPOTTED THIS BLACK OVER SILVER RWD SEVILLE WITH FACTORY CHROME WIRE WHEELS, I IMMEDIATELY KNEW IT WAS A RARE ELEGANTE (FIRST YEAR).

IT HAD LEATHER BUCKET SEATS, CONSOLE WITH FIRST CLASS WRITING PAD AND INSTRUMENTS, EVERY CONCEIVABLE FEATURE, WITH THE SEATS FRONT AND BACK TRIMMED IN PERFORATED LEATHER AND SIMULATED SWEDE WHICH ALSO MATCHED THE DOOR PANELS.  EVEN THE TRUNK WAS CARPETED TO MATCH THE INTERIOR INCLUDING THE DECK LID AND A CB RADIO.

THE SENIOR TECHNICIAN SAID ALEX, I UNDERSTAND YOU BOUGHT THAT SEVILLE.  GIVE ME $400 AND I WILL PULL THE INTAKE MANIFOLD.  WHAT’S HAPPENED TO THESE SEVILLES IS BILL MITCHELL CHIEF STYLIST FOR CADILLAC WANTED THIS CAR TO COMPETE WITH THE ROLLS ROYCE, SO THEY INSTALLED ALUMINUM INTAKE MANIFOLDS FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS.  IT WAS MUCH LIGHTER AND DISSIPATES HEAT.

PROBLEM, BECAUSE THEY ARE BOLTED TO CASTE IRON HEADS, WE HAVE GALVANIC CORROSION BETWEEN ADJOINING METAL PARTS.  THAT MEANS THE GASKETS DISSOLVE AND STARTS TO EAT AWAY AT THE ALUMINUM INTAKES (YOU POTENTIAL SEVILLE OWNER, PAY VERY CLOSE ATTENTION.  THIS IS SERIOUS.)  WHEN THIS OCCURS, THE ENGINE STARTS SUCKING AIR AND RUNS POORLY.  GRINDING OR MILLING THE INTAKE MAY NOT WORK IF THE MATERIAL IS EATEN AWAY TOO MUCH.  TO GET ONE FROM A JUNK YARD HAS IDENTICALLY THE SAME ISSUE.

YOU CHEVROLET FOLKS, THE 427’S HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM.  EVEN DOUBLE GASKETS MAY NOT BE ENOUGH TO SEAL THEM PROPERLY.  I WAS LUCKY.  THE INTAKES WERE FINE, AND WE REINSTALLED THE INTAKE AND PERFORMED SEVERAL OTHER MINOR AND PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE PROCEDURES.  THE LADY WHO BOUGHT IT NEW SERVICED IT AT WAYNE STEAD RELIGIOUSLY.  IT PERFORMED GREAT.

IT DEVELOPED A FUEL LEAK AFT OF THE LEFT REAR WHEEL.  ELECTRIC FUEL PUMP IN THE FUEL TANK HAD TO BE REPLACED.  MORE FUN.  AT NIGHT AFTER CLOSING, I PULLED THE SEATS OUT OF THE CAR ONE BY ONE AND PUT THEM ON A TABLE.  WITH LACQUER THINNER AND BRAND NEW WHITE WASH RAGS, I INCH BY INCH REMOVED ALL THE YUCK.  SAME TREATMENT FOR ALL THE CARPETS, CONSOLE, DOOR PANELS, DASH AND LEATHER WRAPPED STEERING WHEEL (THE BELOFF TOUCH!) INCLUDING ALL TRUNK CARPETING.

NOW ON TO THOSE PRICELESS FACTORY WIRE WHEELS.  I DON’T THINK SHE EVER HAD THEM THOROUGHLY CLEANED.  GOOD NEWS FOR ME – THE OIL AND TAR FILM FROM THE ROAD HAD PRESERVED THE CHROME.  HOWEVER, SMALL PROBLEM – THREE OF THE WHEELS LEAKED AIR WHICH REQUIRED CONSTANT AIR REPLENISHMENT.

TAKING THE CAR TO OUR PRESTIGE PRODUCTS (VOGUE TYRE) WAREHOUSE IN OAKLAND AND HAVING A CAREFUL EXAMINATION BY KNOWABLE MANAGER MIKE  SAID, THE WHEELS ARE LEAKING AT THE SPOKE STUDS.  THE ONLY CORRECTIVE ACTION IS TO SEND THEM TO LA WHEN THEY WILL STRIP ALL THE WORN AND CRACKING SEALS WHERE THEY WILL RESEAL ALL THE WHEELS PROPERLY WITH A CLEAR LOOKING SUBSTANCE.

REMEMBER THESE ARE TUBELESS TIRES.  INNER TUBES IN TIRES BACK THEN I THINK WERE ILLEGAL.   MOUNTED WITH BRAND NEW VOGUE 205 WHITE WALLS (EXTREMELY RARE TIRE SIZE) MADE THE ENTIRE CAR LOOK SPECTACULAR AND LONGER AND LOWER.  I HAD OUR CUSTOM EXHAUST FOLKS PUT A NICE Y PIPE WITH DUAL EXHAUSTS AND VERY ATTRACTIVE CHROME BEVELED TIPS ON IT.

AFTER MOVING TO GRAPEVINE TEXAS IN 2007, I HAD FRIEND DEWAYNE, FAMOUS FOR BEING A MECHANIC OF RICHARD RAWLINGS FAST AND LOUD, THROW HIS HANDS UP IN THE AIR AND SAID, I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR SEVILLE.

I CONTACTED BRUCE IN CHICAGO, A MEMBER OF THE CADILLAC LASALLE CLUB, LISTED AS AN EXPERT REGARDING ERRATIC OPERATION ON A SEVILLE.  BRUCE SAID, YOU HAVE A SMALL METAL BOX THAT IS A BODY CONTROL MODULE BCM AND ECM ELECTRONIC CONTROL MODULE THAT CONTROLS CLIMATE CONTROL OPERATION, ELECTRONIC FUEL INJECTION AND OTHER VITAL FEATURES.  IT IS IMMERSED IN PHENOLIC RESIN SO THAT AMBIENT TEMPERATURE AND MOISTURE WILL HAVE NO AFFECT ON IT.   HOWEVER, THE DIODES AND OTHER ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS I AM NOT FAMILIAR WITH FAIL WHICH REQUIRES A COMPLETE REBUILD THAT NO ONE CAN ACCOMPLISH ANYMORE.  

BRUCE BEFORE RETIREMENT WAS THE DESIGNER OF THOSE COMPONENTS FOR CADILLAC MOTOR CAR DIVISION.  FOR A MODEST UNDISCLOSED AMOUNT OF MONEY AND FAST TURN AROUND DELIVERY, HE SOLVED MY PROBLEM.  I ALERTED STEVE STEWART, EDITOR OF THE CADILLAC MAGAZINE, ABOUT THIS CORRECTIVE ACTION FOR ANY SEVILLE 1976-1979.  YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY WE DON’T SEE ANY AROUND?  INTAKE MANIFOLDS ARE SHOT, BCM AND ECM’S ARE SHOT, AND THE FACTORY WIRE WHEELS HAVE LONG SINCE DISAPPEARED.

IT SEEMS AS THOUGH ROB GAMBLE AND I HAD ONE OF THE FEW SEVILLE ELEGANTES LEFT.  ROB’S 1979 HAS A FEATURE I DID ENVY.  HIS CARPETS WERE TANGIER CARPETS AND APPEARED TO BE FUR   –  BEAUTIFUL!  I SOLD ROB MY RESTORED FACTORY WIRE WHEELS.  WE SWAPPED WHEELS AND TIRES.

 

I SOLD THE SEVILLE ELEGANTE ALONG WITH THE MATCHING PARTS DONOR SEVILLE TO THE SAME COLLECTOR IN ARLINGTON.

 

RETURN

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