Cadillac Allante Accessories

Cadillac Allante Survey

The Allante was Cadillac's first venture into the ultra-luxury roadster market. The vehicle was sold from 1987 until 1993, with roughly 21,000 models built over its 7-year production run. The Allante's production was planned at 6,000 units per year; sales figures, however, show that Cadillac only built about half as many. Originally designed under the code name "Callisto", the Allante was intended to restore Cadillac to its position as a premium luxury automobile builder. Allante's direct competitor was the very successful Mercedes-Benz SL, and to a smaller degree, the Jaguar XJS. Allante's 4.1 liter V8 was shared with other Cadillacs across the line, but when specified to the Allante, several changes were made.

Unlike Buick's Reatta, which shared powertrain and underpinnings from the Riviera and the Oldsmobile Toronado, Cadillac borrowed very little from the Eldorado and Seville for Allante. The body kits of the Allante were designed and built in Italy by Pininfarina (of Ferrari fame). The completed bodies were shipped 3,300 miles (5,300 km) from Italy in specially equipped Boeing 747s, 56 at a time, to Cadillac's Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly plant. The body kits were then mated to the chassis. This led to a few interesting nicknames, such as "The Flying Italian Cadillac" and "The world's longest assembly line." The Allante was initially priced at US$ 54,700, far above the price of any other contemporary Cadillac.

Cadillac Allante Grille Today's Cadillac XLR, also a convertible roadster, at roughly $70,000 is similarly priced. The high performance Cadillac XLR-V at $100,000 has regained the cachet of being the most expensive Cadillac product, when adjusting for inflation. The car's front-wheel drive (FWD) powertrain was unique in its class, and brought the car in for serious criticism. FWD is rare among high-priced sports and touring cars, as the configuration's frequent tendency toward understeer under heavy cornering, torque steer under heavy acceleration, and a poor front-rear weight balance is not desirable. The Mercedes 560SL - along with the rest of the Allante's competitors - was rear-wheel drive. Many car magazines and auto enthusiasts argued that no sports car, let alone one at the Allante's price, should have been FWD.

Early reviews cited Pininfarina and not Cadillac as the source of this decision, saying they felt it would make the car more versatile. Additionally, poor power-to-weight ratio in the early years also made the car perform sedately. This led the target market to conclude that by offering an underpowered car at over $50,000 with no engine upgrade option, Cadillac was not serious in competing in the performance roadster market. This initial impression gave the Allante an image ("all show, no go") from which it was never able to recover. In 1991, Cadillac added a power-latching mechanism for the convertible top, improved projector headlights and the digital instrument cluster was repriced, it was now a $495 option for the convertible model, priced at $57,260.

Cadillac Allante WheelsA mid-year price drop brought the Allante convertible down to $55,900, and the hardtop convertible down to $61,450 (from $62,810). Allante still boasted the most luggage room in its class; an astonishing 16.3 cubit feet of storage, when utilizing the pass-through compartment into the cabin area - more than twice the 7.9-cubic-foot (220 L) trunk of a Mercedes SL. The Allante for 1992 was priced at $58,470 for the convertible, and $64,090 for the hardtop/ convertible. Both prices included the mandated gas guzzler tax, which was now at $1,300. As it had been the custom for a few years now, price drops were announced mid-year, $57,170 for the convertible, and $62,790 with the removable hardtop.

Again, the digital cluster (available at no extra cost on the hardtop) was optional on the convertible, priced at $495. 1992 was the last year of the multi-adjustable Recaro seating design, as 1993 would go into production with less expensive Lear-designed 8-way dual power seats. Also available on the convertible at extra-cost, a pearl white paint group priced at $700. Introduced in early 1992 for the 1993 model year, Allante was scaled down to just one model this year, the soft-top convertible priced at $59,975 (not including a mandatory $1,700 gas guzzler tax for vehicles sold in the United States). The removable 60.5 lb (27.4 kg). aluminum hardtop was now a separate option, as well as the $495 LCD digital instrument cluster in place of the standard analog instruments.