[The genesis of this story was a tip from solidsilver… thank you again.]
This unique artifact is indeed for sale. Not by some celebrity-owned, Beverly Hills boutique but rather Ahl Motors, in Ukiah, California. It’s a small town located about 100 miles north of San Francisco and the eclectic dealership (pronounced “all”) says it specializes in diesel Volkswagens and pickups. Apparently, myriad vehicles too, because, at the time of this writing, the following are listed as available:
Now, you might be wondering what’s so special about another Caddy’ conversion that’s lumped in an ad with a Liberty Sport and old F-150… and the RV. Generally speaking, I’d say nothing as I’m not really a fan of custom jobs; the vehicle ceases being an “X” and becomes “Bob’s X” to which my connection has diminished or been eliminated entirely.
However, this one wasn’t done by Bob or just any old body shop, it was made by Heinz Prechter, of ASC (American Sunroof Company). Further, it was made with a purpose. Or so the legend goes.
After talking with the dealership’s owner, Steve Ahl, I’d obtained permission to share the photos and what little back story there is. By the way, Steve doesn’t just sell cars but seems to have a passion for them. He’d come across this Seville at an auction, about six months ago, and had the foresight to purchase it. He told me it’s been stored in a climate controlled room ever since.
The conversion is seamless by his account, other than a plastic panel in the door jam, which he believes to be from the original conversion work. ASC is rather famous for their creations in both the concept and production industries, having been responsible for many convertible conversions, including for Buick, Chevrolet and Pontiac; but not Cadillac. According to the account he was given at the time of purchase, as well what information he’s been able to turn up, it was created as a tool to convince Cadillac management to produce such a model.
But questions remain. Such as, who funded such an undertaking? And, who were the previous owners?
I’d wondered if ASC possibly used Eldorado doors to cut down on the work but Steve could not confirm it. It seems to me that they’d have made great use of Eldorado parts.
Regardless, Steve’s description and the photographs paint a tantalizing picture. One that includes a touch of exclusiveness, and possibly historical context, without veering too far into the customizer’s realm. But, like any picture viewed through the lens of anxiety, the viewer is at risk of bedazzlement.
At some angles, the car is exposing its age.
Overwhelmingly, the car has been preserved but there are some minor nits to pick. Such as the misaligned headlights but that is an easy enough fix. It’s the era-typical faux Rolls Royce grille that would have to go. However, I suppose, if it was a part of the original alterations, I would probably feel compelled to retain it, for posterity.
So, now for the $17,995 question: how much is he asking for it?
Exterior Color: Silver/Black
Interior Color: Black
Engine: 368 cubic inch V8
Ad (more photos): 1980 Cadillac Seville
Website for Ahl Motors: tdicars.com
Phone Number: 707-468-1019