1989 Cadillac Allante
8-cyl. 273cid/200hp FI
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The Allante was Cadillac’s answer to luxury convertibles such as the Mercedes-Benz SL and Jaguar XJS. The car was produced in small numbers and was unique in several ways. First, the bodies were designed and manufactured by Pininfarina in Italy, then flown to Detroit for final assembly. Engine power was initially provided by a 4.1-liter aluminum V-8 engine with multi-port fuel injection at 170 hp, mated to a front wheel drive automatic transmission.
The mild power ratings set against the Allante’s 3,720-pound curb weight, plus the front-wheel-drive configuration and automatic transmission made the car more suited for comfortable highway cruising than for sporty driving. Yet the Allante offered state-of-the-art technology for Cadillac, with four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, Macpherson strut suspension, a digital dashboard, and a Bose stereo. The Allante was sold with an aluminum hardtop and cloth folding top on all models.
For the 1989 model year, Cadillac bumped the engine displacement to 4.5 liters and hp up to 200. This engine gave the Allante bragging rights to the most torque of any front-wheel-drive car in production. In 1990, the Allante became the first front-wheel-drive car to be equipped with standard traction control, along with a host of other technologies just gaining popularity at the time. Among the features that might now appeal to nostalgia buffs, the built-in cellular telephone was a $1,200 option.
The most notable improvement to the Allante came in its final year of production, when the 1993 model received the 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 engine at a hefty 295 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. Enthusiasts rejoiced as this was the engine they felt the Allante should have had all along. It is worth noting that the 1993 production run of Allantes was 4,670, which is by far the largest run of the car’s history, almost 25% of all Allantes ever built.
For collectors, the 1993 models tend to be the most desirable, though low-mileage examples should be a primary consideration due to high-mileage maintenance issues that have occurred on the Northstar engine.