Although I don’t really see well enough in low light conditions to drive, I like the thought of driving before sunrise, but with some light in the sky. Although I don’t like humid weather and allergy symptoms, it is only at this time of year that I could take such a drive well before 6 AM. Of course, because of the intake and exhaust mods on my Z06, I would probably wake half the neighborhood if I decided to take a 5 AM drive. Once again, everyone: everything is a trade-off.
Speaking of trips…as much as this might sound like a “been there, done that” I would like to return to Luxembourg. My wonderful wife, her parents and I visited the magical Grand Duchy in August/September of 2014. Here are two pictures from the trip:
The top photo is from the country’s oldest town, Echternach. I just think the town square evokes a peaceful feeling not of the US. The bottom photo is from the Grund section of the capital, Luxembourg City, which is traversed by two rivers (the Alzette and Pétrusse) that have created valleys and a sense of cities within a city. By the way, Luxembourg is the only European country where I have seen a Corvette. Luxembourgers should not apologize for being hard-working and for being successful, neither should any Americans.
Hey, it’s been more than two months since I have written about this car…although the book Cadillac at 100 : Legacy of Leadership claims it was the first car in the world with traction control while other sources claim it was the first front-wheel drive car with traction control, the Cadillac Allanté was a ground-breaking automobile, albeit ultimately unsuccessful. From the same book, former Cadillac General Manager John Grettenberger on why the car failed:
“We probably brought that car out a little quicker than we should have. The quality wasn’t at the level that Cadillac was historically known for. It was underpowered at the start…It wasn’t fast enough off the line and it didn’t have the top-end speed that we’d like. And it didn’t have an automatic top. Those that were designed by Pininfarina failed every durability test we put them through and it was too late in the program to bring that design responsibility back into Cadillac engineering. The car never did get an automatic top, which I think hurt it.”
I’m sorry, but if you know you’re bringing the car out too soon and you know the car needs an automatic top, then why don’t you wait a year and fix those issues? This is an example of how General Motors lost its way and, along the way, turned many car fans into anti-GM people. By the way, I have also long thought the car was underpowered at first, but it’s interesting to see the division GM at the time say the same thing. (Grettenberger died in March of this year.)
From this article about the Allanté by Eric Peters:
“Then came 1993 and the major updates which might have saved the car – had they been effected back in 1987 or ’88. Chief among these was the installation of an all-new powerplant that was, at last, up to the car’s potential and promise. This was Cadillac’s excellent 4.6 liter/279 cubic inch DOHC Northstar V-8, rated at 295 hp. The addition of nearly 100 hp transformed the Allante into the exotic GT it might have been at the get-go. Zero to 60 times dropped by more than two full seconds to just over six seconds – while top speed climbed to nearly 150 mph. A revised suspension with speed sensitive steering, auto-adjusting road sensing ride control and upgraded brakes rounded out what had, at the 11th hour, finally become an impressive package. So impressive, in fact, that a mechanically stock 1993 Allante was able to serve as Pace Car for the Indy 500 race that year – with only the addition of track-required safety equipment differentiating it from a standard model. There was also a new power-assisted optional hardtop [my note: this somewhat contradicts Grettenberger], one-piece side windows and a new Delco-Bose premium audio system with high-frequency speakers. Most of the hideous quality control problems had been fixed, too.”
“But though it wasn’t too little – it was definitely too late. GM had already decided to euthanize the Allante. Even though sales of the ’93 model were by far the best to date – 4,670 were sold, despite a base price that had by then climbed to $61,675 – there would be no more Allantes after this final hurrah.”
Woulda, coulda, shoulda…as every regular reader knows I love the looks of the Allanté and as most readers know, if the car weren’t a “fail” as a grocery car it would be a very strong contender to be purchased after our move to the desert, whenever that might happen. Anyway…from the Peters article:
Although I personally prefer two-seat roadsters, I can understand why in today’s “automobile” market most big car companies don’t want to produce them. I still think an Allanté might be in my future, but who knows…
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7 thoughts on “Tuesday Trip”
I have gone to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale every year since 2012 and often go with a car nut friend. It was over an Allanté that he almost pulled the trigger and registered to bid. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t get the required paperwork done in time to allow him to bid. It was probably for the best as it clearly would have been an impulse buy.
On our second trip (2017) to the Barrett-Jackson auction at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, I hoped to bid on an Allanté. The bidding started slowly and if I thought I could buy the car for no more than $5,500 all in I would have bid. The bidding picked up suddenly and the car hammered for $8,250 all in.
On our trip to the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale in 2019, I bid on two C7 Corvettes as I have written about in the blog. Both times my high bid was $65,000 ($71,500 all in) and the car hammered for $70,000 ($77,000 all in). In that instance, everything worked out for the best as I have a C7 Z06 for which I paid far less than I would have if I had won the bid on either car.
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Those auctions are notorious for extracting extra money out of people who throw caution in the wind and exceed their own “top price” because it’s only a few dollars more. 🙂
Knowing my own self, I avoid auction participation for that very reason.
I guess a lot of people get swept up by the auction atmosphere, but I set a limit and don’t exceed it.
When I was working for the Orioles, even though I was in charge of preparing materials for the player salary budget and for contract negotiation and arbitration, it was not part of my job to actually negotiate the contracts. In one instance, however, somehow I wound up on the phone with the agent for a player who had just had an outstanding year and was eligible for salary arbitration. With the Assistant General Manager in the room listening, I negotiated until I had reached the top of the salary range I had set for the player. I would not budge on base salary after that, but did agree to some difficult to reach incentives and the agent agreed to the proposal. The Assistant GM thanked me for “being tough” with the agent. I pulled out the salary estimates I had created and said, “See, this is the top of the range and I wasn’t going to pay him any more than that in base salary. That’s our job.”
I think by removing as much of the emotion from the process as possible, people usually make better decisions. Even though for someone who is supposed to be intelligent I have let my emotions make a lot of decisions (too many), when it comes to money I am not emotional. That is a big reason why our family portfolio has outperformed its expected risk-adjusted return by such a wide margin and for more than a decade.
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I am like you when buying a car at a dealership. I do my research on the value of my trade-in if I have one, and decide how much additional cash I will spend. I’ve been known to walk out of the “manager’s office” when they tried to add other charges and fees. Now to avoid that, I don’t go to the top of my offer with the salesman so if they want to add those “required” charges, I’m still within what I expect to spend. Often times, they insist on their “dealer prep charges” and give me the equivalent as additional trade-in value.
The Allante was the first Caddy that had me even consider buying that brand, based on its looks and later its performance. These days, with hindsight being what it is, I’m not sure I would have liked it. The newer performance offerings? Perhaps when they get “old”, IF I live long enough.
Auctions; I suspect most of us have had “buck fever” at one time or another at them. I’m usually the guy that will watch for a while, then come in late. I went majorly over my budget one time, by $1800, on a motorcycle (1960 BSA Goldstar). In the end it worked out ok as the bike was actually worth slightly more than I paid, and I was able to sell it for a profit after 3 1/2 years of use.
As my blog hashtag reads, so many cars, just one life.
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