At $3,000, Is This 1989 Cadillac Allanté A Winner?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Cadillac dominated this past weekend’s 24 hours of Daytona, and now, with today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Allanté, it could dominate your driveway too. That is, if its price doesn’t automatically give it a DNF.

It seems that a fashionable trend among the young folks these days is to eat capsules of laundry soap. Yep, these are our future leaders. Well, at least the ones that survive. Taking part in a fad can make a person feel like they’re part of the social fabric, and not some freakish outlier who isn’t cool enough to have his farts smell of Fresh Coral Blast.


Then of course, there are those who refuse to kowtow to social norms, those who like to march to the beat of their own dominatrix. You know what, I tend to like those kinds of people better. One such individual, who proudly put their personality on display for all to see was the builder of last Friday’s custom 1979 Chevrolet Corvette trucklet.

All pointy in front, and aping the Chevy SSR’s bed in back, that ‘Vette was definitely a show for an audience of one. That’s likely the reason why its $13,500 price tag earned a 71-percent Crack Pipe loss from you, despite it’s being in what looked to be excellent condition. Oh well, we’ll just let its freak flag fly at half staff for now.

Hey, how’d you like that long-ass race at the Daytona Motor Speedway over the weekend? Mustang Sampling Racing really owned the Daytona Prototype class with their Cadillac DPi-V.R. cars, and even a cooling problem late in the game couldn’t thwart the winning #5 car’s dominance.


If you think about it, Daytona is kind of a funny place for Cadillac to be since off the track the company hasn’t really had much luck with sports cars.


An example of that is today’s 1989 Cadillac Allanté, which represents what was once the company’s first serious attempt at a two seat roadster in… well, almost forever.

The car was unique among all of GM’s products at the time as the design and construction of the due posti convertible’s body was farmed out to the Italian design house, Pininfarina. The Allanté is also notable for having what was once described as the “world’s longest assembly line” as the Pininfarina-built bodies were flown 4,600 miles from Turin to Detroit for final assembly, 56 at a time in a specially outfitted 747.


Unfortunately, while intended as a direct competitor to the likes of the Mercedes SL and Jaaag XJS, the Allanté’s humble bumble FWD V-car platform wasn’t up to the emotive task. Over the course of severn model years, and with constant tweaks and improvements, Caddy was only able to move a mere 22,000 Allantés off of dealer lots.


This one made that move in 1989, and that means it’s powered by a 200 horsepower version of Caddy’s 4.5-litre HT-4500 V8. Now, mind you, back in 1989 having 200 ponies stampeding through the front wheels was jaw dropping. Today, you get more than that in a GTI.

Working in tandem with the small eight is a four-speed automatic. Don’t bemoan that fact, the Allanté never came with a stick. There’s 88,000 miles under the fashionably Italian belt and it’s claimed in the ad that the car “[s]tarts, runs, and stops as should, does not blow smoke.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I appreciate all of those factors in a car. One other thing I appreciate with this particular car is that it comes with a dolly for the aluminum hard top. How fancy is that?


You might just want to park that rack somewhere and actually use the hardtop on the car. That’s because the soft top is torn on the driver’s side corner. The seller attributes this to rubbing against the underlying frame, but whatever the reason, that’s how you get squirrels.


Other than that, the car looks to be in fine shape. The clean Pininfarina lines have held up amazingly well over the years, and the red paint comes across as both unexpected and flattering here.

The interior styling hasn’t held up as well, and there does appear to be some bleed in the LCD for the Driver Information System. I guess better there than somewhere important like the climate control above, or the stereo—with vertical cassette no less—below. Also in the negative column here—an old school mobile phone takes up valuable console space and the driver’s seat looks to be splitting its seams on the cushion.


The best year for the Allanté is the last year, 1993, as that car carried all of the previous model year improvements and the 295-hp 4.6-litre Northstar V8. That model is substantially quicker than previous years, and handles better too owing to its revised active damping suspension and variable assist steering rack. This ‘89 may not be the best year, but then it still looks to be a pretty sweet cruiser, comes with a clean title, and has a price tag that’s only $3,000.


What’s your take on this Allanté and that three-grand asking? Does that make you want to buy it in preparation for a trip to next year’s 24 Hours of Daytona race? Or, does that price black flag this seller’s chances?

You decide!


Boston, MA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Eric Francis for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.