1979 Cadillac Fleetwood: good idea for restoration?

I am considering purchasing and restoring a 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood with the 425 CI motor [fuel injected].
Some questions:
Was this a good year for the Fleetwood? I'm told by various sources
that the '79 Fleetwood is a good one.
The motor only puts out 195 HP. What would you do to tune it for greater HP? I assume the car has only comes with one exhaust and the thought occurs to me to put in another one. I'm also considering going to a high-performance air filter (K&N) and injection kit, though I doubt the latter exists. What other recommendations can anyone offer?
What grade of motor oil would be best? I'm thinking 10W40 in MobilOne Extended Performance synthetic. Maybe 10W30? For an engine that size and age, I'd think 5W30 and 5W20 are too thin. (Assume car has circa 100k miles).
The car originally took HR78-15 tires. Would this correspond to P225/75R15 now? Or P235/70R15? What did the "H" stand for -- was it a width and if so, what would that be in millimeters?
I assume this car took UNleaded gas in 1979. Would it need 93 octane? Does anyone have a manual or know right off what kind of gasoline grade it required? I plan to run Techron (2 of the big bottles) to clean out the fuel system before the first oil change.
Lastly, what does it typically cost to reupholster all the seating in a big car like this (all new leather)?
Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer suggestions.
BTW: This was Lefty's car in the movie 'Donnie Brasco' Not that that's importatnt.
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wrote:

Replace the word "restore" with the phrase "dump a lot of money in to". While the '79 was and is a decent car it has almost no collector interest. You will buy it as a $900 car and spend $5k on it so that in the end you will have a $900 car. Not that this is a bad thing, just don't fool yourself in to believing it will be worth something when you get done. If you want something that will give at least some of your money back to you look for a 50's or 60's version.

Other than the miserable 425 it was ok. Mid to late 70's up to the mid 80's is a pretty sad time for engines in all American cars due to emissions standards.

/ I would remove said motor and sit it to the curb for the trash collector. Replace motor with a nice pre '72 472... Bolts right in and gives you some actual power.

I always used 10w40 in them. They aren't that picky... Just use what ever the owners manual suggests.

No idea what it translates to. The 225's work well.

Regular ol' unleaded.
.
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These are hugely expensive cars to restore and maintain in top condition, yet they have relatively poor resale value due to low collector interest. If you get into it, double any good initial cost estimate and you might be close.
John
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F. Baker wrote:

It probably has restrictive intake, exhaust, and a very low-duration camshaft. I expect that the most worthwhile change would be to change the cam. I bet the engine's maximum output is somewhere short of 4000 RPM--its breathing is so restrictive, it's maxed out at low speeds.
I have no idea how well the EFI system would cope with a better-breathing motor. I can tell you that the dual exhaust might gain you a bit, and the filter will make no difference whatsoever.

Look in the manual. I'd expect 10W30 would be the recommended oil.

The "H" was a load rating. The alphanumeric system indirectly implied a width based on the load rating and profile. (My '78 Trans Am originally came with GR70-15 tires: one load rating lower; a 225/70-15 is basically the same size so that's what I run.)
See http://www.tireguides.com/tip5.html for the equivalent sizes. A 225/70-15 would be a bit too small for your car; the site recommends 225/75, 235/70, etc.

It should take 87 octane because that was about the only version of unleaded available back then. (My "performance" engine, including higher compression, still takes 87.) Note that the way octane was rated changed some time I think in the early '80s (from RON to [RON+MON]/2 ). If I recall, my owner's manual calls for 91-octane unleaded; this is called 87-octane these days.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Amoco had 95 octane in the mid-70s. By 1979, both 89 and 93 octane were common at nearly all stations. It was the high octane leaded fuel that was becoming impossible to find. IIRC, unleaded fuel was just beginning to drop to 87 octane.
At that time, I had an Opel GT that would only run on the Amoco high test and a motorcycle that ran on 89 octane but not 87. I can remember having to start checking the rating about that time when I filled up the bike. The Opel was a '72 model, so Amoco had been selling this grade for at least that long.
George Patterson Coffee is only a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to your slightly older self.
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F. Baker wrote:

I thought this was a restoration. If you want a fast car then get something else.

Read the owners manual and resist the temptation to use synthetic at this late date.

Call caddy.

Is there a problem that you are trying to fix with this elixir? If so I would have a mechanic look at it.

Leather,,,lotsa bucks.

This is a car with 28 years under it's belt. Chances are you will have lots of other issues besides getting the engine to run right. How's the rest of the drivetrain, brakes, suspension, electrical. And a biggie, how's the body. Chances are you have some rust so have someone give it a good going over.

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F. Baker wrote:

Do you mean restore as in restore to brand new stock condition? Or are you planning on modifying it?
Driving it? Showing it?
Building it and selling it?
I'd say do it if you want to unless you're going to build it and sell it, because you'll never get your money back on a 79 Cadillac.
If you're "rebuilding" it for fun, you can get 500 cubic inch Caddys that should fit and provide a lot more power. :)
And whatever your budget is... double it. ;)
Ray
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You might get some of your money back from wedding rentals,but is it worth the waiting time.
Midlant ray wrote:

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You might get some of your money back from wedding rentals,but is it worth the waiting time.
Midlant ray wrote:

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Could a 500 CI engine from a '70 or '71 Eldorado literally fit under the '79 Fleetwood's hood and bolt in perfectly? Without complications? You'd be going from EFI to a carb -- don't tell me there's no dead ends involved in that.
-The Derfer
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The Derfer wrote:

from Wikipedia...
425
In 1977 Cadillac introduced a new 425 in (7.0 L) V8, based on the architecture of the 472, but with a smaller, 4.08 in (103.6 mm) bore and 4.06 in (103.2 mm) stroke. The new engine was also 100 lb (45.3 kg) lighter.
The 425 was offered in L33 form, with a four-barrel carburetor, producing 180 hp (134 kW) @ 4000 rpm and 320 ftlbf (498.6 N-m) of torque at 2000 rpm, and L35 with electronic fuel injection for 195 hp (145 kW); torque was the same, but peaked at 2400 rpm.
The 425 was used through 1979 on all Cadillacs except the Seville.
So, I'm no Caddy expert, but the 500 should just "drop in" and if you're going that far and replacing the stock FI with a big old Holley, you'd be doing some reworking anyway.
There is no such thing as "drop in" when you're talking about work of this depth. :)
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The OP had an interesting question, though: how much DOES it typically cost to newly upholster the interior of a large sedan like this with new leather, new stuffing in the seats, etc?
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Another question is whether the original poster is subject to smog check with a '79, and if so, what they look for.
The temptation to drop in a pre-73 engine (ahh, memories of Jerry Reed in "The Survivors"), change the induction system and engine controls, retrofit dual exhausts, etc., can mean trouble at registration time even if in a technical sense it all works. Some places look just at the tailpipe readings and how you achieve the requirement is up to you; some perform various degrees of visual inspection; California (at least) insists that some kinds of aftermarket upgrades be type-certified; some don't have a smog check at all.
And even if you can get away with it where you are, you might find that you've limited your prospects for selling the vehicle in more-restrictive places. It also puts at risk the collector value, if any, of the car (if you can, save *all* the old stuff and do as little body modification as possible).
A good general rule that I offer for most people with most old cars -- do it only for your own satisfaction, hoping for but not counting on profit or even easy saleability -- goes double for smog-relevant systems in cars of that era.
Cautionarily, --Joe
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AMEN! Right now I wouldn't consider sinking ANY money into a '76 or later car strictly due to the Smog regs.
WCV www.westcoastvintage.com over 10,000 Vintage Car T-Shirt Designs.
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I have a restored fleetwood and what most of the others say is true - dont get it for the resale - you wont get much for it - if you want it for its smooth ride then thats fine
ive put about ten grand into mine over the past years and i probably would only get around three or four for it maybe
a 1979 fleetwood is in the guinness book of world records as having the most mileage with no overhaul so its a pretty good motor
i saw a website where a guy turned his 79 into a drag racer - it was interesting
good luck

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If anybody has an interest in a 78 coupe de'ville drop me a line.......it's cheap ( best offer) in the Daytona ,Fla area

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