Random Musings

Please check out some or all of the following posts by Colin Windell in Colin on Cars:

Changing Laws Will Be Meaningless

Ghost With A Body

Oldies Come Out To Play

Big Data Getting Bigger

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I guess some cars are just deeply rooted in my brain, or what’s left of my brain. One of those is pictured below:

 

 

Yes, a picture of a Cadillac Allante. I am not so bad a photographer that I forgot to put more of the rear in the picture; I didn’t want to show the license plate.

My wonderful wife and I were in her beautiful 2018 Corvette convertible and just happened to see this car at a gas station. Here is another picture:

 

 

That’s the Pininfarina badge from just above the rocker panel. Pininfarina was Ferrari’s “coachbuilder” from the 1950s through 2017. I guess that provenance didn’t/doesn’t resonate with American car buyers. Pininfarina designed and built the Allante body.

As recounted in this blog before, the Allante was a bust. Cadillac/General Motors had hoped for annual production of 6,000-7,000 units per year. Whether or not that was a realistic goal, the Allante never came close to those expectations with total production of 21,430 cars in seven model years from 1987 to 1993. As quoted here, the late John Grettenberger, former Cadillac General Manager, offered reasons the Allante 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.”

 

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.”

 

With the hardtop in place I think the Allante is simply one of the best-looking cars ever made. One never fails to stop me in my tracks; I made my wonderful wife turn around so I could see the one pictured here up close.

It’s not a practical car and it’s not a performance monster, but I would love to have one.

 

I was going to write about Maserati bringing back the GranTurismo and showing a new car, the MC20, but that can wait for another day.

 

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