Star Buys For This Month

Dodge Challenger SRT8 6.1 Hemi V8 coupe

Automatic, orange with black stripe, grey leather trim interior. ^power

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Limited edition model, marine blue, 57 ■ Mercedes 430 M Mack with grey leather plate, auto, leather trim, factory chrome I trim, 22 * wheels, fully loaded, MoT 1 wheels, power hood. 19,000 miles, full I year, ta> 6 months, 3 dvd screen, history £5995 I excellent conditions £4495

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DODGE Ram Laramie, 4x4 crew cab, rVr^^fl^^^EI^^HH^f New 2010, black/silver,

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Christer Malm 1960

Swedish Cadillac fan Christer Malm first r laid eyes on a 1960 Cadillac Seville ■¿back in 1983.27 years later hej g jhas what must be the bestl^ example in the world. Worth

Thank goodness for colour printing. Can you imagine how pointless it would be trying to convey the condition of this car on the fuzzy black and white newsprint used in magazines 25-years-ago? Even with the superb photos we have here, it's doubtful that the full impact of this car comes across, so it's time to offer you some of the 1000 words each of these pictures is meant to paint.

Unless you're a concours judge of long experience and even longer memory, the chances are that this is the cleanest and smartest classic American car you've ever seen. If that sounds OTT, go and find a magnifying glass and have a proper look at the reflections in the paint. Then look at how well everything on the dash fits, and then look at the boot - not a mark in there anywhere. There isn't even any grease on the catch.

It's not really enough to describe it as being like new, or even better than new. That's mainly because very few of us spent much time in Cadillac dealerships 50-years-ago, so hardly anyone who reads this will have a point of reference. We shouldn't be too hasty to say that it's better than GM achieved back in 1960; after all. Fisher fitted the body panels with great care and shimmed them by hand to produce very tight and even gaps, so even approaching that standard after a restoration is quite an achievement.

Let's say this car is new: it appears to have been built on a day when everyone was trying just a little bit harder. And then, when it reached whichever mythical dealership it was bound for, it's been lovingly valeted and prepared for a showing that would make maximum impact.

Imagine a large Cadillac showroom in a busy city, maybe with the windows papered to hide the new 1960 models, setting up a turntable to display this car to the drooling hordes who would gather one morning in October 1959, when the new cars made their entrance.

Some entrance it would be, too. The car buying public might have wondered how Cadillac would ever top the immortal, incredible 1959 models, but the answer was simple - they didn't try. Instead, they simply cleaned up and refined what they already had, most noticeably the fins. These went from being the tallest in 1959 to being the most graceful in 1960, which was exactly the move Cadillac was after.

They're shown off to greatest effect on this Seville. It looks odd written with the capital V in the middle, but it was meant to echo >

60 models and discovered that the were among the most difficult Hi Cadillacs tofejjj restore...

prices in the intervening six years. It was S 10,000!

Still, Christer bought it and took it back to Sweden with the intention of restoring it. But life got in the way and it didn't happen, at least not before 1991 when he found himself back in LA. He was on the prowl for old cars again and found another 1960 Seville, this time in black. He bought this one too, thinking it would do as a parts car for the white one back home. Fetching it from the port in Sweden changed his mind. The black car was still in running condition and when he drove the car home from the harbour in Gothenburg, he found that it handled like it was brand-new.

Before the car left the States, Christer had the bumpers re-chromed, so you suspect he knew all along It wasn't just going to be a donor. Sure enough, the restoration of the black car began in earnest while the white one had to wait. In fact, it's still waiting, and still running well, but another story...

Cadillac's lesser series, the DeVille, and literacy went out of the window. The three Eldorado models were top of the tree, with the $7401 Seville and its sister car, the identically-priced Biarritz convertible taking the lion's share of the 2461 Eldo' sales in 1960. The Brougham four-door was more of a white elephant than ever, selling just 101 units, though even that was amazing considering the $13,075 price tag. It was to be the last year for the Seville and the Brougham, with the Biarritz moving into another sub-series for '61 as the elite Eldorado family came to the end of a glorious chapter. And what finer car to represent it than this?

It's doubtful that Christer Malm had all this in his head when he went to look at a respectable, if not immaculate pale blue example in Los Angeles, way back in 1983. It was for sale at J 700, which was too much for Christer back then, so he bought two other cars and shipped them back to his native Sweden. Sure enough, he regretted the missed opportunity and promised himself that the next time one came up, he would buy it. It couldn't take that long, could it?

Well, 1075 units is very rare by American standards - an average of about 20 cars per state (even assuming all remained in the USA), and of those, how many would have survived over 25 years of wear and tear in a country so used to discarding the old in favour of the new? Not many, because it took Christer until 1989, when he found a white one, also in Los Angeles. It was in better condition than the blue one he'd seen in '83, but somethino had haonened to the

Christer decided from the off that he was going to make the very best job he could of the black one. He read up on all the information he could find on the '59 and '60 models and discovered that they were among the most difficult Cadillacs to restore, not just for the addition of complexities like the air-suspension. The sheer numbers of parts in areas like the bumper fixings would give you a major headache if you didn't do what Christer did and number, photograph and label everything as you dismantled it.

The rest of this story is simply a tale of colossal patience. Christer didn't care how long it took, it just had to be absolutely, 100% right. This takes on two massive challenges: firstly, finding the correct parts. New Old Stock (NOS) was the preferred option, and Christer hunted tirelessly for all sorts of apparently minor items. Used parts were the second choice when all options had been exhausted, and these were then restored to perfect condition. Some items were either consumable - like the exhaust, which he had faithfully copied - or flawed from the first, like those airbags. But eventually he tracked down a company in the States that made accurate reproductions and now the car floats reliably on air, just as it should have done in 1960. >

WHiS!

Christer knows good things come to those who wait

Christer knows good things come to those who wait

We mentioned there were two challenges to Christer's patience. The other was in the manual labour. Try to imagine how many hours went into body preparation before anyone even thought of reaching for a spray gun. Black paint is notoriously hard to get right, even more so on a car that's effectively 18-feet of rolling advertisement for your tiniest mistakes.

The same philosophy runs right through the car, so don't think that just because the chassis or drum brake mechanism is hidden from view that it's any less beautiful than the bodywork, the chrome or the interior. You'd expect the engine bay to look nice, but have you even seen the equal of this? Even the fluid in the glass bottles looks brand-new, and when did you last see shiny bonnet springs?

The engine itself has been rebuilt by Christer, as has the Hydra-Matic transmission. The 1960 Eldorados came as standard with a six-pack version of the Cadillac 390 cu. in. big block, making 345bhp instead of the 325bhp you found elsewhere in the Cadillac line-up. As well as churning the V-twin pump for the suspension, this mill turns a compressor for the optional air condition and this car's first owner also ticked the box for cruise control, making a rare and special car even more unusual.

The red 'Cardiff' leather was a special order, and if such a request had been made, the car came out of the factory with a little paper tag over the chassis plate. So of course that's what you'll find on Christer's car.

We could go on mentioning every such detail Christer has followed through in this restoration, but then there wouldn't be room for any other cars in the magazine. So we'd better finish off by saying that the black beauty took to the road again early last summer, and as you must have guessed it won every show it entered. If you read this magazine regularly you'll already know the high class of many restorations appearing from Sweden in recent years, but at Sweden's premier Power Big Meet, held in Vasterlis each July, the Seville was the only car to score the maximum 50 points. That, if nothing else, proves that this restoration is of a standard as high as any in the world. *

Carpeted trunk was a Cadillac trademark luxury

Carpeted trunk was a Cadillac trademark luxury

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