Many of us remember the vehicle we drove to our high school prom. It was, after all, part of our outfit, and part of the entire experience. When Thomas Durisek drove his date to the dance his junior year at Central Dauphin High School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1989, he picked the right car for getting him there in high-class “Cadillac Style”: His dad’s 1984 Seville.
While Tom’s relationship with his girlfriend at the time didn’t end up being very long-term in nature, the relationship with the car certainly did. And this is that car’s story. Her name is Barbara Seville.
Little did Thomas know that 30 years after that prom, he’d be digging the same Seville out of his father’s garage in Enola, Pennsylvania where it had been in isolation and storage for over two decades. The windshield had such a thick coat of dust on it when Thomas arrived with friends to retrieve the car in the fall of 2019, he couldn’t even see out the windows. The car had slept through Y2K, been dormant for 9-11, and completely been oblivious to the world around it. One of the pieces of paper in the car’s archive was a service receipt dated September 24, 1996. The car had 39,474 miles on the odometer at the time.
The next time Barbara saw the light of day was in September 2019. The odometer read 39,500 exactly when Thomas arrived to become reacquainted with that car from his past. His 75-year-old father had decided it was time to move on, and Thomas took the opportunity to take ownership.
Re-awakening the Seville wasn’t without its hurdles, as a 36-year-old Cadillac does not readily return to daily drivability. She rode a transport truck the 2,352 miles to her new home in Phoenix, Arizona before undergoing a mechanical and cosmetic revitalization. The fuel system needed to be refreshed, the tires were old, and a variety of leaks became evident. Even the radio needed convincing to wake up, as it promptly blew a fuse when powered up. Thomas was able to source some body parts that the car needed and have them color-matched. Barbara began to look young again.
Little by little, Thomas got the car back to roadworthiness, and it was a labor of love. He says the nostalgia came flooding back each time he took the wheel. “It was the wildest flashback feeling that thin wheel spinning with just a light finger pressure and looking down the long hood at the dealer-installed Rolls-Royce style grille with the wreath and crest proudly sitting on top. It was the first time I’d driven a vehicle from my early driving years in decades, and it made me smile so wide,” he reports.
Thomas has already shown the car at some small local shows in Arizona and enjoyed putting her through a road test on a drive to Palm Springs, California. “It was so wonderful just floating across the desert on I-10 for 4 hours each way,” he said. “She got me there and back with no incidents and got plenty of attention in the process.” Barbara has seen a couple thousand joyful miles added to her odometer since last fall.
Accompanying Barbara on the road to rehabilitation was her garage-mate, a pristine 3,900-mile Mazda Miata. That car’s story is equally special, so stay tuned and we’ll share it here.
Thanks to Thomas for letting us in on your special Seville story!