The Concurs d’Lemons is one of the best motoring events out there, I think. It’s hard to think of any particular group of people that need more making fun of than hardcore concours-level automotive obsessives, and the Concours d’Lemons does just that, celebrating, as they say, the “oddball, mundane, and truly awful.” This year, the featured marque is the Italio-Americo Cadillac Allanté, and, shockingly, Allanté owners generally don’t seem too pleased with this honor. Huh.
Alan Galbraith, the man behind the Concours d’Lemons, sent out the following announcement, heralding the selection of this year’s featured marque:
The Concours d’Lemons 2018 Featured Marque - Cadillac Allante
From 1987-1993 the stylish Allante body was designed and built by Pininfarina in Italy. The bodies were then FLOWN to Detroit where assembly was completed in GM’s Hamtramck plant making one of the longest assembly lines in the world.
Designed to compete with the Mercedes SL and Jaguar XJS, the Allante was plagued with drivetrain quality issues. GM offered generous trade in values for owners wishing to purchase new Allante’s with updated engines. But after 7 years the expensive Allante was removed from the line up leaving an interesting mark on the “Italian Coachwork, American Drivetrain” genre. Largely overlooked by collectors and extremely undervalued in the market*, the Allante is the featured marque for the 2018 Concours d’Lemons, a series of shows dedicated to featuring the Oddball, Mundane and truly Awful of the automotive world.
The whole debacle is inexplicably sponsored by Hagerty Insurance and Classic Motorsports Magazine who assure us that they will insure and run stories about nearly any old heap, including Allantes. Allante owners wishing to compete for the “My Car has more frequent flier miles than you do” Trophy can sign up to display their Italian/American hybrid by going to ConcoursdLemons.com.
*(no one wants them and you cant give them away)
I’m someone who actually rather likes the Allanté and thinks it’s an attractive, interesting car, and I still think everything Alan said up there is absolutely spot-on.
They really did fly Allanté bodies from Italy to the U.S. That’s just bonkers. I bet they even served them drinks.
Allanté owners, though, don’t really seem to think any of this is funny, because to do so, you’d have to have a sense of humor about your car, which seems to be a commodity more rare in the Allanté community than replacements for those little round Cadillac-badge center-mount stop lamps on Allanté trunk lids.
Here’s some quotes Alan selected from proud, livid, and hurt Allanté owners:
“Its obvious you fancy yourself an intellectual and maybe in california you are. I don’t even own one and I am insulted by your stupid shit” - Cadillac (not even an Allante) Owner.
“The Cadillac Allante was no lemon but thank you for passing on some stupid contest.”
“If you can’t grasp why comparing a top of the line Halo Cadillac to a freakin Pinto is offensive...you my dear sir have lost it.”
I have to admit, I’m really loving the over-the-top, sitcom-grade highbrow huffiness affected in some of these responses. It’s just...perfect.
“Actually there were no ‘drivetrain quality issues’” - Allante Owner (4.1 HT engine)
“But may I suggest that you solicit entrants from trailer parks, Craigslist, etc..”
“Your initial scathing review of the Allante to me isn’t classy, its quite the opposite an affront to class and its probably the reason why you run this ‘fun’ event”
“This ain’t about sense of humor. It is about the value of a car. Your crap can only hurt that.” - $2500 Allante Owner
“I polled the other officers of our Club. The overall response was no we are not interested. As Allante’ owners, club members, and loyal Cadillac enthusiasts, regardless of street or collector value, we hold our Allante’s in high esteem and care for them accordingly.
Our club will not attend your meet. “ Paula Vopelak - Allante Club of America, Atlanta Chapter
The Allanté Owners’ Club Facebook group had a lively discussion as well, though most of those posts have been deleted. Alan managed to snag some screenshots, though:
Yeah, uh, lighten up, Allanté owners. Maybe you kids should hang around with some Chrysler TC by Maserati owners until you feel better.