the European import trio were finding success with those who craved, and aspired to, a discrete yet stylish prestige four door sedan that was solidly built and handled well. These folks could not see the point of spending their money on the hulking, thirsty look-at-me bulk of a Cadillac, Lincoln or Chrysler Imperial. They were at least a decade younger than the traditional luxury car buyer and having forsaken an American brand were not returning. GM’s market research had highlighted this shift in preferences, especially with women, who found the big Cadillacs too cumbersome for everyday use. It took GM a while to realise that its Standard Of The World brand was under severe and sustained long term threat from the more agile, smaller and glamorous imports. And even when they decided to act in 1971, Cadillac executives grappled with the very notion of what “small” really meant and what “small” ought to look like. It took over two years of indecision and false starts before the decision was made to go ahead and launch the car, which meant a 16 month development program, half the time usually allotted to a new model’s development. The full story of how the Seville went from design to driveway, and its use of the Chevrolet Nova platform, begins on page 20. 10