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Michelli De Rojas
Michelli De Rojas

Explore the Streets of Russia with Grand Oper Cars


What are Grand Opera Cars and Why are They So Rare?




If you are a fan of classic cars, you may have heard of grand opera cars, also known as opera coupes. These are rare and luxurious vehicles that were produced in the late 1970s and early 1980s by a small company called Grandeur Motor Car Corporation. They were based on the Cadillac Seville, but modified to have a two-door body style, a faux convertible roof, opera windows, and other distinctive features. In this article, we will explore the origins, features, specifications, legacy, and value of these grand opera cars.


The Origins of Grand Opera Cars




The Cadillac Seville Opera Coupe




The grand opera cars were inspired by the Cadillac Seville, which was introduced in 1975 as a smaller and more expensive model than the typical Cadillacs. The Seville was designed to compete with the European luxury imports, such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW. It had a four-door sedan body style, a front-engine, front-wheel drive layout, and a 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8 engine. It was also the first Cadillac to use fuel injection and electronic instrumentation.




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However, some customers wanted a more exclusive and elegant version of the Seville, especially those who preferred a two-door coupe over a four-door sedan. This led to the creation of the Seville Opera Coupe, which was a custom-made conversion by various coachbuilders. The Opera Coupe had a shorter wheelbase, a longer hood, a smaller trunk, a landau roof, opera windows, wire wheels, and other cosmetic enhancements. It was meant to evoke the style and glamour of the classic opera cars of the 1930s.


The Grandeur Motor Car Corporation




One of the most prominent coachbuilders that produced the Seville Opera Coupe was the Grandeur Motor Car Corporation, based in Pompano Beach, Florida. The company was founded in 1976 by Les Dunham, who had previously worked on customizing cars for movies and celebrities. Dunham wanted to create a unique and luxurious car that would appeal to wealthy and discerning customers.


The Grandeur Motor Car Corporation offered two models of grand opera cars: the Grandeur Opera Coupe and the Grandeur Phaeton. The Opera Coupe was based on the Seville Opera Coupe, while the Phaeton was based on the Cadillac Eldorado convertible. Both models had similar features, such as a faux convertible roof, opera windows, wire wheels, leather seats, wood trim, and gold accents. They also had a distinctive grille with vertical bars and a large hood ornament.


The Features and Specifications of Grand Opera Cars




The Exterior Design




The grand opera cars had an exterior design that was meant to stand out from the crowd. They had a long and sleek profile, with a low roofline and a high beltline. They had large round headlights, rectangular taillights, chrome bumpers, fender skirts, and side moldings. They also had a spare tire mounted on the trunk lid, which added to their retro look.


The most noticeable feature of the grand opera cars was their roof. They had a vinyl-covered roof that resembled a convertible top, but was actually fixed in place. The roof had three sections: a front section that matched the body color, a middle section that was black or white, and a rear section that had opera windows on both sides. The opera windows were oval-shaped glass panels that allowed passengers to see outside. They also had small curtains that could be drawn for privacy.


The Interior Design




The interior design of the grand opera cars was equally luxurious and elegant. They had leather seats that were comfortable and spacious. They also had wood trim on the dashboard, door panels, console, and steering wheel. They had The Engine and Performance




The grand opera cars used the same engine and transmission as the Cadillac Seville, which was a 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8 engine with fuel injection and a three-speed automatic transmission. The engine produced 180 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque, which was adequate but not impressive for a car of this size and weight. The grand opera cars had a curb weight of around 4,500 lbs, which affected their acceleration and handling. They were not designed to be sporty or agile, but rather smooth and comfortable.


The grand opera cars also had the same suspension and brakes as the Cadillac Seville, which consisted of independent front suspension, coil springs, and disc brakes. The suspension was tuned to provide a soft and cushioned ride, while the brakes were powerful enough to stop the car safely. The grand opera cars also had power steering, which made them easy to maneuver in tight spaces.


The Legacy and Value of Grand Opera Cars




The Limited Production and Demand




The grand opera cars were not mass-produced, but rather custom-made by the Grandeur Motor Car Corporation. The company only built around 600 grand opera cars between 1976 and 1983, making them very rare and exclusive. However, the demand for these cars was not very high, as they were very expensive and impractical. The grand opera cars cost around $40,000 in the late 1970s, which was more than twice the price of a regular Cadillac Seville. They also had poor fuel economy, low reliability, and high maintenance costs.


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The grand opera cars were also not very popular among the critics and the public, as they were seen as outdated and ostentatious. They were often mocked for their excessive and kitschy style, which contrasted with the more modern and sleek designs of the European luxury cars. They were also considered to be a symbol of the decadence and excess of the late 1970s and early 1980s, which did not fit well with the changing tastes and values of the American society.


The Current Market and Collectors




Today, the grand opera cars are considered to be collectible and valuable by some enthusiasts and collectors, who appreciate their rarity and uniqueness. They are also regarded as a part of the American automotive history and culture, as they represent a distinctive era and style. The grand opera cars can fetch high prices at auctions and private sales, depending on their condition and provenance. For example, a 1978 Cadillac Seville Grandeur Opera Coupe with only 20,534 miles sold for $28,600 in 2019. However, finding a grand opera car for sale can be challenging, as they are very scarce and often kept in private collections.


Conclusion




The grand opera cars are one of the most rare and luxurious vehicles ever produced by an American company. They are based on the Cadillac Seville, but modified to have a two-door body style, a faux convertible roof, opera windows, and other distinctive features. They were created by the Grandeur Motor Car Corporation in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with only around 600 units built. They were not very successful or popular at the time, as they were too expensive, impractical, and out of fashion. However, they have gained some recognition and appreciation over the years by collectors and enthusiasts who value their exclusivity and history.


FAQs




  • What is an opera coupe?



An opera coupe is a type of car that has a two-door body style with a fixed roof that resembles a convertible top. It also has small windows on the rear sides of the roof called opera windows.


  • What is the difference between a grand opera car and a Seville Opera Coupe?



A grand opera car is a specific model of opera coupe that was produced by the Grandeur Motor Car Corporation based on the Cadillac Seville. A Seville Opera Coupe is a generic term for any opera coupe that was based on the Cadillac Seville by various coachbuilders.


  • How many grand opera cars were made?



The Grandeur Motor Car Corporation made around 600 grand opera cars between 1976 and 1983.


  • How much did a grand opera car cost when new?



A grand opera car cost around $40,000 in the late 1970s, which was more than twice the price of a regular Cadillac Seville.


  • How much is a grand opera car worth today?



A grand opera car can be worth anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 today depending on its condition and provenance.




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