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Which Used Car Should I Buy: '70 Cadillac SDV or '73 Pontiac Grand Am?

I know of a dealership in Chicago that has 2 cars that have piqued my interest: a '70 Cad. SDV, & A '73 Pontiac Grand Am with-get this-a 4-spd! I know, right? Anyway, I love land yachts-I owned a '68 Buick Electra powered by a 430 about 10 yrs. ago, which leads me to buy the Caddy, but a chance to own possibly a rare vehicle in the Grand Am, pulls me in that direction. In a perfect world, I hit the lottery & buy both cars, realistically, though, I can only choose 1. Fellow gearheads, what would you do? Yes, I know gas is over $4 a gallon-but my wallet cannot afford a newer car-I just need something that will get me off a 2 hr work commute! And, I have sufficient skills to do maintenance & repairs on either vehicle as needed.

I’d probably lean towards the Pontiac due to the rarity. If you care, the Pontiac will probably get slightly better mileage too. I had a 1974 Cadillac as my first car, and it got around 8 MPG city with a 500 CID V8.

Ultimately I’d probably check out both cars and just get the one that was in better shape overall.

Bear in mind that cars of this era were not rustproofed nearly as well as modern cars, and a few Chicago winters will have these looking like swiss cheese. So whatever you buy, I’d keep it away from the road salt.

The Grand AM would be my choice. Take a magnet with you and ck for filler. Lift all carpets and look under the car for cheap body repairs. If can get it on lift it will gave you a better look. Also check the numbers to see if the 4-spd is factory.

I’m confused, you mention your 2 hour commute - I assume this is NOT going to be your commute car, right? As for which one, pick the one you really like, ignore the ‘rare’ aspects of the Grand Am. This is not an investment, it’s a hobby, and you’ll enjoy it more if you pick the one you want to spend time in (and on).

I’d go with the Caddy. It’s not smog car, like the Grand Am, and it may actually appreciate in value. Either car is going to get rather poor fuel mileage. The Grand Am will have 4bb 400, and the Caddy will have a 4bby 472. You probably won’t get over 11 or 12 MPG with either one. Getting into the double digits with the Caddy will take effort. Also either one will be quite unreliable by modern standards.

I tend to lean towards the Grand Am because of the 4-speed; assuming it came from the factory that way and it’s not a conversion.
The GA will do much better on gas than the Cadillac, that’s for sure.

If the GA is tuned correctly, carburetor is right, and so on you should be able to eke out 20 MPG on the road with it. I’ve owned several GM cars of this era (72 Monte Carlo, 74 Monte Carlo, 75 Buick, etc.) and even the 72 MC would get 20 and sometimes 21 on the road with the A/C going and the car loaded down on vacation.

I would examine the clutch linkage in the Pontiac VERY closely…Even when brand new, since so few were built, the clutches were always problematic in these cars…If someone has converted it, well, good luck…

I owned a Caddy for ten years (1997 El Dorado), and I would never EVER own one again. I do not know much about the 1970 SDV, but if you have to buy a part, I hope you have a large bank account.

Well, it’s seems I was right to come here for advice: everyone for the most part was supportive. Let me respond to all-1 @ a time: oblivion & oldbodyman, thank you for your advice-I will be sure to closely inspect the bodies of both cars. Texases & FoDaddy: I do mean to drive whichever car I pick nearly every day, as driving reduces my commute to 1hr or less, & I will enjoy working on the car as it needs it-I love wrenching on cars-I’ve even resurrected a few that others said wouldn’t run again. Ok4450 & Caddyman: I’ll definitely take the advice about the 4-spd to heart(& hope it’s a factory original); in addition, ok4450, you’re right about the mileage in the mid-'70s: I owned a 2-bbl. 350-powered '75 Bel-Air sedan that averaged about 20mpg-& even out-ran a '85 5-liter Mustang GT stoplight racing! Finally, Lindy565: I don’t have a large bank account, but I do have ingenuity-if need be, I’ll research the entire car, (should I buy the Caddy), & compose a file of where to get whatever I need. I’m sorry that you had a bad experience with your El Dorado, but it must have had some positives for you to keep it 10 yrs. Thanks again to all-I’ll post what I decide, for those that are interested.

Oooooooook, the Fates have decided to increase my dilemma-the dealership that has the cars I’d like to get has acquired a nice '73 Olds 98 coupe-I’ve got to see this because one of the photos shows the air cleaner, & I suspect the decal reads in part, I think(or hope),“Rocket 455”. Is there someone out there that can verify or disprove this? If it’s true, maybe I’ll buy this one, keep it intact, & leave it for my niece.

Yes I they had a Rocket 455. As always be sure it a numbers matching car. Their are books that can help you with this. The Gr AM if a factory 4 speed IMOP would be a better car.