At $4,000, Is This 1993 Cadillac Allanté A Total Haute Rod?

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

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Allanté has Hot Rod in script on its boot lid, a scoop on its hood, and some serious bling in its wheel wells. Could that all be enough to warrant its price?

Tramp Art is an art form revolving around the transformation of discarded materials—cigar boxes, shipping crates and the like—into geometric or filigreed designs. Named for itinerant artisans, the profession was most popular between the years 1870 and 1940. Today, rare examples of such work are highly sought after by collectors.


I bring this up to demonstrate that the United States was for a time home to so many industrious individuals that even itinerant hobos had jobs. This advocacy for art and industry seems to have been lost over time, and that is perhaps a strong reason why yesterday’s hand-crafted 2001 VW R32 5-door was looked upon with such derision. There’s just no appreciation for individual incentive and labor any more.

Of course it could have just been the car’s $17,000 asking price, which a sizable 86 percent of you felt onerous, thus dooming the car to a Crack Pipe loss.

Okay, let’s move from a car that was built in someone’s backyard to one that has the distinction of being constructed on what is to this day the world’s longest production line.

This 1993 Cadillac Allanté was, at the time of its introduction, an attempt by Cadillac to re-invent its moldering brand. They’ve had multiple tries at this since, so you can figure out that the Allanté didn’t do the trick.


It wasn’t for lack of trying however. Cadillac went to the extreme length of engaging Italy’s renowned Pininfarina design house to not only pen the Allanté’s clean lines, but also to stamp and weld together its body after the fact. Naturally, those bodies needed to be mated to drivetrains, interiors, and other ancillary bits. However, instead of shipping all those smaller parts to Italy for assembly, Cadillac took the opposite route, deploying specially-designed Boeing 747 shipping planes to cart the bodies to Detroit where they were then transferred to GM’s Hamtramck assembly plant for final bolt-up.


The whole thing was called the Allanté Air Bridge and it added significant cost to the car’s production.

The resulting car was pretty nice, although its FWD V-body platform, shared with the recently down-sized Eldorado, Olds Toronado, and Buick Riviera wasn’t fully up to the task in competing with the Allanté’s primary target, the Mercedes SL.


Initially things weren’t all that great under the hood either. The aluminum 4.1-litre V8 offered at the car’s introduction wasn’t a powerhouse, but would get bumped for a 4.5-litre, 200 horsepower engine two-years into production.


Things really got interesting in ’93. That’s when the Allanté received GM’s active damping ‘Road Sensing Suspension’ as well as the lauded DOHC Northstar V8. The Northstar pumped 295 horsepower to the front wheels and finally gave the car the walk to match its body’s talk.

The changes were well received by the car buying public too, as 1993 saw the highest production in Allanté history—4,670 cars. Of course, this being a GM story, you know that once they got it right, the company unceremoniously cancelled the car after one model year. This is why we can’t have nice GM things!


This one still seems pretty nice, although there are a number of personalizations that may seem questionable. The car comes in Pearl Red over a black leather interior, which is a decent color combo. Everything here looks to be in good shape too, with no evident wear on the seats, or other tactile interior pieces.


The paint is in fine shape, however the body beneath that is marred by two owner add-ons. The first is a minor one—that being a badge on the boot lid that says ‘Hot Rod.’ Yeech. That could probably be lifted off with a hair drier and a plastic scraper. The other issue is a bit more egregious. That’s the hood scoop that’s tacki-fying the bonnet. It does have Northstar badges on either side, but appears to have been lifted off of an old Fox-body Mustang. The ad says that’s removable so don’t get your panties in too big a twist over it.


Other elements of the exterior, save for the chrome wheels, seem to be in good nick. That’s an important consideration since elements of the Allanté—pieces like the headlamps, tail light clusters, side-view mirrors, and interior trim—are no longer being made.

The engine bay looks as tidy as you would want. The early Northstars have a rep for oil leaks but this one doesn’t show evidence on the top end at least. There’s a modest 90,000 miles on the odometer, which by the way is digital as the car sports the optional all-digital dashboard. What it doesn’t seem to have is the also optional aluminum hardtop.


There is an aftermarket amp added to the stereo so at least you’d be able to hear your NPR even with the soft top down. The title is clean and the car sports Colorado plates, although you might notice those show different tags in several of the ad’s pictures.

Another thing you might want to consider is the fuel filler placement on the Allanté which is under a knee-level flap on the driver’s side flank. If you have a bad back you might want to consider another ride, or maybe the full-service pumps.


The asking price is $4,000. That’s a far cry form the sixty-grand this car cost new. The Allanté is an important piece of Cadillac history with a great bit of lore and stories surrounding its oddball construction. With the Northstar, it’s not all that bad a performer either. All that being said, the little Caddy has never found much favor among collectors. Prices for the cars are all over the board and there are few fans that are clamoring over nice examples like this one.


With all that in mind, what’s your take on this Allanté and that $4,000 asking? Does that seem like a fair deal for a Hot Rod Caddy? Or, is that price a longer haul than the car’s original production?

You decide!


Denver, CO Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Kevin 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.