Cadillac claimed their Allante had the world’s longest production line, stretching 3,300 miles from Italy to Detroit. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Caddy hasn’t done all that many miles since, but will you find its price worth going the extra mile?
Ford’s been dusting off a lot of their former performance model monikers of late. We have the Taurus SHO, the Mustang GT350 and the Le Mans homage GT. One model that they perhaps won’t be resurrecting is the Contour SVT, but that’s okay because we had yesterday’s nifty 1999 edition was upgraded to 3.0 status and sported a price tag that 55% of you deemed Nice Price worthy.
During his life, David Bowie was described, among other things, as a chameleon, constantly reinventing both his music and persona. That ability to roll with the changes in popular culture allowed the singer/actor/Iman-marrier to remain relevant over a more than five decade career. Only a few auto makers have been able to do the same, however many have tried.
Cadillac was at one time advertised as the ‘Standard of the World’ a prideful boast if there ever was one. Over the years, car buyers’ tastes changed, but for the most part Cadillac didn’t, and when it did—cough Cimarron cough—the change was not for the better. Still, Caddy has been trying to reinvent itself for decades now and the only people who seem to care are buyers of the Escalade, who are happy with the bling status quo.
Perhaps one of Caddy’s most audacious attempts to redefine their brand was the Allante. Based on a modified E-platform the two seat FWD convertible was positioned to compete with high-zoot fare like the Mercedes SL and Jag XJS. The bodywork was styled and constructed by Pininfarina in Italy and the completed bodies were shipped—56 at a time—via specially fitted 747s to Detroit for final assembly.
This was not Pininfarina’s first rumba with Caddy, the company having been engaged to hand-build a small series of Eldorado Broughams between 1959 and 1960.
Much later the Allante reacquainted the partnership. Introduced in 1987 it would also serve as Caddy’s halo car for seven model years until the company finally pulled the plug.
This 1992 comes from the second to last model year, and is considered by the seller to be the best of the best. He says it has all the series improvements and the sweet Recaro seats, but lacks the Northstar V8 that debuted in the Allante’s final model year, as well as other cheapenings. This is also the rarest year with only 1,931 cars produced out of the model’s total run of around 21,000.
Instead of the later and more complicated Northstar, this car sports the HT4500, an OHV V8 of four and a half liters and 200-bhp. A four-speed 4T80 automatic backs that up.
Presented in pearlescent white over a dark grey leather interior, this Allante looks pretty pristine. It is in fact described as showroom quality, and as having never been driven in the rain. Based on the 30K on the odo, I’d say it hasn’t been driven much at all.
That’s mama bear mileage, not too little to make you feel guilty about adding more, and not too much to make you feel like it’s spent football season under the bleachers pulling a train with the team.
The original window sticker and Italian quality control (yes, that’s a contradiction of terms) sheet come along with the car, if you’re into such things. It also includes the digital dash—a $500 option at the time the car was new—and a center stack full of buttons, lights, and LCDs that will provide hours of entertainment to learn. The engine looks clean enough to make sweet love to the Queen on, and the space-saving spare looks not to have ever been used. On the downside, there does not appear to be a hardtop.
While the Allante was an unsuccessful attempt at repositioning Cadillac for the market, it still holds your eye today. It’s also a significant bit of history and should make for a competent cruiser that’s a little different from everybody else’s. The cost to take ownership of this fine example is $8,900. What’s your take on this Allante for that much cash? Does that seem like a deal to reposition it into your garage? Or, is that price just not going to be worth it over the long haul?
H/T to copy_run_start for the hookup!
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