The Milan logo was modeled after an Auburn Boattail Speedster hood ornament and a Cadillac wreath. The car was named after Milan Daniel, the designer of the Roadster and founder of the company
Milan Coach Builders converted 76-79 Sevilles into Milan Roadsters in Simi Valley, CA.
June 1979 Motor Trend-Milan Coach Builders, Simi Valley, CA 93603: The Milan Roadster convertible is the only 2-seat convertible currently being produced in the United States. It begins with a standard Seville and the 114"wheelbase is reduced to 96". The Milan uses a custom convertible top, and [an optional] fiberglas hood and a stainless steel grille. It has an overall length of 15.5 feet-the same size as the 450 SL Mercedes. The car is available at select Cadillac dealers. The Milan costs $39,000, but hurry, they're only going to build 500 of them this year . See Home Page for more information.
MILAN COACH BUILDERS at the 1979 CHICAGO AUTO SHOW
Milan Coach Builders booth on the lower level of the February 24 thru March 4, 1979 Chicago Auto Show. Two custom built Cadillac 2-seat convertibles are seen. Both cars started as Seville 4-door sedans and were restructured as these convertibles. Note that the two tone Milan has the optional Milan installed fiberglass hood and stainless steel grille...some, but not all, Milan Coach Builders' conversions have this unique hood and grille.
Best estimate is that about 509 1976-1979 Sevilles were converted into Milan Roadsters at the Milan Coach Builders production facility in Simi Valley, CA from late 1978 until the end of 1979. An enclosure to a Milan letter stated that since 1976, approximately 500 Sevilles were converted to Milan Roadsters. The assumption is that the enclosure is talking about the Milan Simi Valley facility production numbers and that this "approximately 500" number does not include the number of Seville conversion kits sold by the Milan Convertible Co.
Seville owners could buy kits from the Milan Convertible Co at least through 1987. Owners used these kits to convert their own 4-door Sevilles into Milan Roadsters using local craftsmen. The Milan fender emblems are not shown as an item on the inventory list which leaves me to believe that "kit" roadsters do not have Milan emblems on the front fenders or the "Personalized by Milan Coach Builders" on the sills of both doors. "Kit" roadsters may or may not have the fiberglass rear insert as this was a kit option...all Simi Valley Milans have the fiberglass rear insert behind the front seats.
Some companies that did conversions of the 1st Gen 1976-1979 Sevilles:
Milan Coach Builders (1976-1979 or 1978-1979)
Milan Convertibles, Inc (New York) Used Milan kits, parts and jigs
Coach Design Group(San Remo)(1978-1979) Back seat and power top
Carelli (Casino) (1979, 1983) 2 door hardtop
Global Coach (Insbrook) (1980-1983) 2 door hard top with back seat
American Custom Coachworks (Paris) (1980-1982) 2nd Generation Seville convertibles
Grandeur Motor Co (1979) Had fake spare tires in front fenders
Auto Classic (in Mexico) (1978) Used Milan kits, parts and jigs
See the 76-79 Seville web page for other conversion companies.
Do not have this literature: Year: 1979 CADILLAC (Seville [Milan Coach Builders]), "Milan Roadster Convertible": 2 page (single-side printed) color sheet, 11x9. Brown and black sheet, with white lettering and Milan Coach Builders emblem, has photo rendering showing three-quarter frontal view of white Milan Roadster Convertible conversion, with red interior, based on Cadillac Seville and view of convertible top, with discussion. Comes with: a) two page factory photocopy of article on the Milan which appeared in Dec. 13, 1978 issue of "The Enterprise" newspaper; b) letter on Milan Coach Builders letterhead to journalist; c) Milan Coach Builders business card which is stapled to letter; and d) original mailing envelope, postmarked Feb. 7, 1979.
Do not have this literature: 1979 CADILLAC (Seville [Milan Coach Builders]), "Milan Roadster Convertible": 2 page (single-side printed) color sheet, 11x9. Brown and black sheet, with white lettering and Milan Coach Builders emblem, has photo rendering showing three-quarter frontal view of white Milan Roadster Convertible conversion, with red interior, based on Cadillac Seville and view of convertible top, with discussion.h sheet is photograph showing exterior or interior features of MiGi-Stutz; f) form letter "To Customers and Enthusiasts" on Fun Products, Inc., letterhead, dated Nov. 1, 1979, to potential customer; and g) original mailing envelope. Price: $20.
FUN FACT: Milans are 'cut in two Sevilles' that are welded back together. That means what used to be the Seville's rear door jambs are now the Milan's front door jambs.
Below are two 1979 Milan Coach Builders conversions...one with the optional Milan hood and stainless steel grille and one with the standard Seville hood and grille.
Both of these cars were built for Cadillac dealers.
In the center is Milan Coach Builders advertising material.
MILAN COACH BUILDERS SALES LETTER BY PHILIP W. WEGENER, VICE PRESIDENT
Milan Coach Builders is pleased to introduce the Milan Roadster Convertible. The Milan Roadster is a handcrafted luxury convertible featuring most Cadillac Options. The Roadster incorporates a custom-designed hood and stainless steel grille (See picture at left)...[Milan Roadsters with a standard Seville hood and grille were also produced by Milan-tommy], as well as a specially designed convertible top covered in the finest European cloth [A vinyl top was standard with the cloth top optional later in the production cycle] The wheel base of 96" and overall body length of 15' 6" makes the Milan Roadster extremely responsive and maneuverable both in the city and on the highway. The car is desined as a two-seater and overall length is comparable to the Mercedes-Benz 450SL. The overall height is 58" and weight is approximately 4,000 lbs.
The Milan Roadster is available now in limited production. The retail price is $39,500. Your price, as a Cadillac dealer, is $29,995. The Milan Roadster is available in your choice of standard Cadillac color combinations plus two-tone and pinstriping to your specification.
ANSWERING THE MERCEDES CHALLENGE, AUTOMOTIVE AGE MAGAZINE ARTICLE, APRIL 1979
ARTIST RENDITION FROM A MILAN SALES BROCHURE
By eliminating the back seat and rear doors, shortening the drive shaft, replacing the steel roof with a convertible top, and substituting a fiberglass hood and a stainless steel Rolls Royce-style grille, Milan Coach Builders of Simi Valley, CA is turning $18,000 Sevilles into $39,000 two-passenger Milan Roadster Convertibles. Eliminating the back seat and rear doors shortens the Seville from 204 inches to 186 inches. Shortening the drive shaft gives the roadster increased torque - "a lot of get-up-and-go; a lot of zip," according to owner Milan Daniel.
Milan Coach Builders buy their cars in lots of six from dealers, convert them to roadsters, and sell them back to Caddy dealers and specialty car dealers. Daniel plans to produce 30 to 40 Milan Roadster Convertibles a month. A production crew of 20 handcrafts each car in assembly-line fashion. Daniel says prospective buyers will get more than just the luxury of a handcrafted automobile. He says the Milan Roadster's shortened wheelbase turns the Seville into a responsive and maneuverable automobile. "You feel like you're in a big car, but you go zipping around like you're handling a sports car," Daniel says.
From Popular Mechanics, Return of the Roadster, July, 1979:
There are many other firms [besides Coach Design Group's Seville San Remo] doing conversions, including another on the Seville done by Milan Coach Builders in Simi Valley, CA, who make a two-door Seville convertible on a shortened chassis with a hand-operated soft top. The styling is a little bizarre, but with 700 pounds less wight [than the San Remo], it has more performance, better mileage and-best of all- a price tag in the $30,000 range. [San Remos cost $45,000 to over $60,000 in 1978-1979 and were the main competition to the Milan-tommy]
[The Milan Roadster was available "through select authorized Cadillac dealers" according to a Milan Coach Builders sales sheet.
Note that the picture above right is an artist rendition done for Milan Coach Builders for advertising; It is not an actual car. The wording on the picture is:
The Milan Roadster is a unique design of a handcrafted automobile. It combines the tradition of Cadillac with
with the spirit of a convertible and classic European styling. It is leading the way in motor car luxury for the
discriminating few who enjoy elegance, beauty, and automobile coachwork at its finest.
The Milan Roadster is in limited production, available through select Cadillac dealers.
For further information, contact:
Milan Coach Builders
Simi Valley, California U.S.A.
Milan Coach builders Sales Letter Questions and Answers - See Below for Original Letter
MILAN COACH BUILDERS, 4545 Industrial Street, Suite 5A, Simi Valley, CA 93063 (old address)
WHAT YEAR SEVILLE DO YOU CONVERT INTO A MILAN ROADSTER? The 1976-1979 4-door Cadillac Seville.
WHERE IS YOUR FACTORY LOCATION? Our West Coast facility is located 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles, CA [Simi Valley]
HOW MANY SEVILLES HAVE YOU CONVERTED INTO MILAN ROADSTERS? Since 1976 we have converted approximately 500 Sevilles to Milan Roadsters.
APPROXIMATELY HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO CONVERT MY SEVILLE INTO A MILAN ROADSTER? It will take approximately 50 hours for completion.
DOES THE MILAN ROADSTER HAVE A BACK SEAT? There is no backseat, however, the front seat remains the same and will accomodate three people. The fiberglass insert option will accomodate small packages or pets. [Sevilles and Milan Roadsters have only 2 sets of seatbelts for front passengers]
IS IT NECESSARY TO REGISTER MY SEVILLE AS A MILAN ROADSTER? Your registration can remain the same until it becomes due, then simply change it to a two-door Seville convertible.
HOW DOES THE CONVERSION AFFECT YOUR INSURANCE? It does not affect your insurance, however, you may want to increase your collision to cover the cost of the conversion.
Newspaper Articles About Mr. Milan Daniel and Milan Coach Builders (and the San Remo Seville)
Sarasota Herald-Tribune March 4, 1979 (Bolded when an article references the Milan)http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1755&dat=19790304&id=JE80AAAAIBAJ&sjid=kmcEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3286,1997334$18,000 Cadillac Seville Reborn As Ostentatious Two-Door Convertible
by Bob bakker (LA Times Washington Post)
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, California
The sounds you are about to imagine come from men ripping out a new $18,000 Cadillac Seville. Don’t worry. They’re merely labor pains. A tiny, dead chunk of the American Dream is being reborn. Three years after the last American car manufacturer stopped making convertibles, luxurious new ones are reappearing from surprising sources. The work doesn’t take place in Detroit, it goes on in little factories ticked away in suburban industrial parks in Westlake Village and Simi Valley north of Los Angeles. Workmen from competing firms decapitate and virtually demolish a new four-door Seville and transform it into an ostentatious two-door convertible that will be put on the market at $39,000 to $60,000.
In Westlake, veteran Los Angeles car dealer Irv Ogner calls his creation a Sam Remo. In Semi, factory owner Milan Daniel names his prodigy for himself: the Milan Roadster. Production at both plants began several months ago [since March 4, 1979 date of newspaper article-tommy] in a calculated effort to fill a small void in the American automobile market. Sales are reported as excellent. While a variety of business, social and environmental factors during the 1970s convinced American auto firms that the convertible “was a dead horse”, Ogner and Daniel say numerous affluent buyers continue to treasure the thought of a new one. “The response has been phenomenal,” Daniel said. “Every car that comes off the assembly line has a hot seat waiting for it,” Ogner said.
The last convertible made by a major American manufacturer – a white Cadillac Eldorado – rolled off the General Motors line in the spring of 1976, ending a 74-year era of American ragtops. The convertible reached a zenith of popularity after World War II, and by 1963 more than a half-million a year were being sold, accounting for 7 percent of U.S. cars made. Then the demise began. Installation of air conditioning in most other cars, fast freeway driving and federal rollover safety standards helped to erode the convertible’s appeal, industry officials say. American Motors dropped convertibles in 1968, followed by Chrysler in 1971 and Ford in 1973. GM’s Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick and Oldsmobile divisions phased them out in 1975, leaving only the Cadillacs. Ogner, president of Ogner Motors, estimates that he and Daniel are among only four or five small manufacturers of customized convertibles in the country. “There will be others who’ll try to go into it when they see the demand, but they’ll have trouble succeeding," Ogner said. “It takes a large investment because of the overhead.” Ogner’s workers remove the interior and the doors of a Seville and strip off the roof. They install longer front doors and a myriad of special features, such as customized chrome, heavily padded British leather seats, a rose-wood control console and, of course, leather convertible top. Depending on the other “extras”, the customer requests, the price ranges from $45,000 to $60,000. “About half are sold directly to customers, the rest to Cadillac dealers, Ogner said.
At Daniel’s Semi Valley factory, where the finished product sells for $39,000, the changes are more obvious. Daniel not only removes the two back doors, but converts the car to a two-seater, shortening its length by 1 ½ feet.Milwaukee Sentinel February 28, 1979 (Newspaper picture shows two Milans with RR Grille and hood and wire wheels)
Little shops bring back the ragtop
Same article was in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune except this article has a picture of two Milans with the caption: Who said the convertible was a dead horse? Owners of the small factories that are transforming Cadillac Sevilles into convertibles say there’s a buyer waiting for every one that come off the line. Philip Wegener, in driver’s seat, discussed the Milan with Milan Daniel at Daniel's factory in Simi Valley, Calif.
Additional Information About Milan Coach Builders
Coachbuilt.com discussion of Milan Coach Builders - Simi Valley, Californiahttp://www.coachbuilt.com/bui/m/milan/milan.htm
Wikepedia Coach Convertible: List of Companies doing Seville convertible conversions of GM products Cadillac Seville(1st Gen) Milan Coachbuilders(1976-1979), Coach Design Group(San Remo)(1978-1979), Carelli(Casino)(1979, 1983), Global Coach (Innsbrook)(1980-1983), American Custom Coachworks(Paris) (1980-1982), Grandeur Motor Co(1979), Auto Classic(in Mexico)(1978). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coach_convertible
Popular Mechanics Article Milan Coach Builders, JUL 79