Cadillac Allanté

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Cadillac Allanté
Cadillac Allante.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer General Motors
Pininfarina
Production 1986–1993
Assembly San Giorgio Canavese, Italy
Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly (Detroit, Michigan)
Designer Pininfarina
Body and chassis
Class Luxury roadster
Body style 2-door convertible
Layout FF layout
Platform V-body
Related Buick Reatta
Buick Riviera
Cadillac Eldorado
Oldsmobile Toronado
Powertrain
Engine 4.1 L HT-4100 V8
4.5 L HT-4500 V8
4.6 L Northstar V8
Transmission 4-speed 4T60 automatic
4-speed 4T80 automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 99.4 in (2,525 mm)
Length 1987–89: 178.6 in (4,536 mm)
1990–93: 178.7 in (4,539 mm)
Width 1987–1991: 73.5 in (1,867 mm)
1992–93: 73.4 in (1,864 mm)
Height 1987–1991 52.2 in (1,326 mm)
1992–93: 51.5 in (1,308 mm)
Curb weight 3,720 lb (1,690 kg)
Chronology
Successor Cadillac XLR

The Allanté is a two-door, two-seater roadster manufactured and marketed by Cadillac from 1986 until 1993, with roughly 21,000 units built over a seven-year production run.

Originally designed under the code name "Callisto",[citation needed] to compete with the Mercedes-Benz SL and Jaguar XJS, the Allanté featured a slightly modified variant of the 4.1 liter V8 used across Cadillac's model line.

The Allanté is noted for an unusual production arrangement, where completed bodies — designed and manufactured in Italy by Pininfarina[1] were shipped 4,600 mi (7,400 km) from Italy in specially equipped Boeing 747s, 56 at a time,[1] to Cadillac's Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly plant where they were mated with domestically manufactured chassis and engine assemblies.[1]

1987[edit]

The 1987 Allanté featured a removable aluminum hardtop, the industry's first power retractable AM/FM/Cellular Telephone antenna and a multi-port fuel injected variant of GM's aluminum 4.1 L (250 cu in) HT-Cadillac 4100 V8, along with roller valve lifters, high-flow cylinder heads, and a tuned intake manifold. The roadster featured an independent strut-based suspension system front and rear, Bosch ABS III four-wheel disc brakes and a complex lamp-out module that substituted a burned-out bulb in the exterior lighting system with an adjacent lamp until correction of the problem. The Delco-GM/Bose Symphony Sound System – a $905 option on other Cadillacs – was standard on Allanté. The only option was a cellular telephone, installed in a lockable center console.

1988[edit]

For 1988, the Allanté featured revised front seat headrests, and a power decklid pulldown as standard equipment. Analog instruments, in place of the standard digital dash cluster, were also now available as a no-charge option. The base price was raised to $56,533, with the cellular telephone still being the only extra-cost option.

Cadillac Allanté with closeup roof

1989[edit]

In 1989, the price rose to $57,183. Allanté's engine, the new 212.0 in (5,385 mm) 4.5 L V8, produced 200 horsepower, and with 270 lb·ft (366 N·m), it provided the most torque from any front-wheel-drive automobile in the world. Unlocking the trunk also unlocked the side doors – similar to Mercedes-Benz and BMW. As a theft-deterrent, Allanté added GM's Pass Key (Personal Automotive Security System), utilizing a resistor pellet within the ignition key that has the ability to render the fuel system and starter inoperative if an incorrect ignition key is used. Allanté also received a new speed-sensitive damper system called Speed Dependent Damping Control, or SD²C. This system firmed up the suspension at 25 mph (40 km/h) and again at 60 mph (97 km/h). The firmest setting was also used when starting from a standstill until 5 mph (8.0 km/h). Another change was a variable-assist steering system.

1991 Cadillac Allanté (rear view)

1990[edit]

In 1990, Cadillac offered a lower-priced ($53,050) companion model with a cloth convertible roof and without the removable aluminum hardtop, and a model including the hardtop at $58,638. By midyear, prices were dropped to $57,813 for the hardtop/convertible and $51,500 for the convertible, which included a $650 Gas Guzzler Tax along with $550 destination charge. The fully integrated cellular telephone, which was equipped from the factory on just 36 cars this year, was available for an additional $1,195. Allanté's bumper-to-bumper new car warranty, seven years and 100,000 mi (160,000 km), was three years longer than other Cadillacs, and an additional 50,000 mi (80,000 km) of coverage. Allanté owners also received a special toll-free number to call for service or concerns. Headlamp washers and dual 10-way Recaro seating remained standard, among other niceties. A driver's side airbag was added to the leather-wrapped steering wheel, eliminating the telescoping steering wheel — which retained its tilt feature. The analog instrument cluster – introduced the previous year – was standard on the convertible (available at no extra cost on the hardtop/convertible), however, only 358 cars were equipped with the analog cluster. Technological news was the addition of traction control – the first front-wheel drive automobile in the world to be equipped as such. The elaborate system was able to cut fuel to up to four cylinders to reduce power and optimize traction. The electronically controlled shock absorbers were retuned to remain in "soft" mode for up to 40 mph (64 km/h). Previously, they entered "normal" mode after just 25 mph (40 km/h). A revised audio system allowed a CD player to be added as standard equipment, along with the cassette player. Of the 2,523 built for 1990, only five were exported – four to Canada and one to Germany. Allanté was available in eight colors this year, the most popular was Euro Red, found on 1,012 cars, while the least chosen was Gray Metallic, with only 28 made. Interior color choices (and production figures) were Charcoal Gray (1,343), Natural Beige (767), and Maroon (413).

1991[edit]

In 1991, Cadillac added a power-latching mechanism for the convertible top, and the digital instrument cluster, featured in all but 275 Allanté models this year, was repriced (it was now a $495 option for the convertible model). Prices began at $57,260, although a midyear price-drop brought the Allanté convertible down to $55,900, and the hardtop/convertible down to $61,450 (from $62,810). Allanté still boasted the most luggage room in its class; an astonishing 16.3 cubic feet of storage (when utilizing the pass-through compartment into the cabin area), more than twice the 7.9 cu ft (220 L) trunk of a Mercedes SL. Of the 1,928 models produced for 1991, only seven were manufactured for export – five to Canada, one to Italy, and another to Puerto Rico. Canadian models offered a kilometer-based instrument cluster, daytime running lamps, and an engine block heater as standard equipment, while the Italian model featured a list of European-mandated modifications, including breakaway side mirrors, specific European headlamps and turn signals, a front tow hook, rear fog lamps, deletion of the deck-lid mounted center brake light, a wet-arm windshield washer system, coolers for the power steering and automatic transmission fluids, and a revised steering column to compensate for the removal of the driver's airbag. The rarest factory color was 49U – Light Blue Metallic, of which 20 were made, while the most popular color (with 569 manufactured) was 47U – Euro Red. The most popular interior color, 171 – Charcoal Gray leather, was featured in over half (1,009) of the 1991 models.

1992[edit]

The Allanté 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 midyear, $57,170 for the convertible, and $62,790 with the removable hardtop. The optional digital cluster was priced at $495 (available at no charge on the removable hardtop model), however, only 187 cars were equipped with the standard analog cluster this year. Also available on the convertible at extra-cost, a pearl white paint group (option YL3) priced at $700 (found on 443 models for 1992). This was the last year of the multi-adjustable Recaro seating design, as 1993 would go into production with less expensive Lear-designed eight-way dual power seats. Of the 1,698 produced this year, only four of them were specifically built for export – all of them to Canada. As with the previous year, the most popular exterior, found on 549 models, was 47U – Euro Red, while only 15 were made in 49U – Light Blue Metallic. Three shades of leather were available for the interior, the colors and production totals are: Charcoal (859), Natural Beige (652), and Maroon (187).and (50) Polo Green

1993[edit]

Introduced in early 1992 for the 1993 model year, Allanté 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. The $700 pearlcoat paint option (in Flax or Canyon Yellow, with Hawaiian Orchid added midyear) was available. Also optional: chrome squeeze-cast aluminum wheels. For its final outing, Allanté received the 4.6 L (280.7 cu in) Northstar DOHC V8 engine. This engine was initially rated at 290 hp (220 kW), but Cadillac upped the rating to 295 hp (220 kW) at 5600 rpm by the time the first models were sold. Torque output was 290 ft·lb (390 N·m) at 4400 rpm. A new unequal-length control arm rear suspension, shared with the Seville and Eldorado, was also introduced that year, improving handling. Also new for the small Cadillacs was Road Sensing Suspension, an active damper management system, and improved disc brakes. The Bose name was no longer associated with Allanté's sound system, as the 1993 model went into production using GM's Delco "Premium Symphony Sound System". Other changes for the Allanté included a revised variable-assist power steering rack, deeper front spoiler, and single-piece side windows, which did away with the stationary forward vent window. Production was the highest ever, but still short of the planned 6,000 per year. Of the 4,670 Allantés manufactured for the 1993 model year, 115 were for export – France (1), Austria (2), Belgium (5), Germany (5), Switzerland (6), Japan (11), and Canada (85). In comparison to the U.S.-destined Allanté, the Canadian models differed little, aside from the kilometer-based instrument cluster, but were equipped with daytime running lamps and an engine block heater as standard equipment. European-destined models held breakaway side mirrors, a front tow-hook, and rear fog lamps, among other specific features.

The 1993 Allante was also chosen to be the pace car for the 1992 76th Indy 500 Indianapolis 500, the PACE car was driven by Bobby Unser a very historic race in Indy history. It was almost an all Unser race as Bobby Unser was the Pace car driver his nephew Al Unser Jr (LIL Al) won the race and his brother Al Unser Sr (Big Al) came in third. There were just three modified 1993 Allante Pace Cars that had only seat belts, lighted roll bar, and air intake modified from a stock production Allante's, those three Allante Pace cars were provided for the race, as well as just 30 stock 1993 Allante's used as Festival/Pace Cars and 58 stock 1992 Allante Festival/Pace cars that were used by drivers and crews at the opening parade and the closing of the race. Al Unser Jr’s (LIL AL) 1993 Allante Festival/Pace car was featured at both the 2012, and 2013 Keel’s & Wheel’s Concours D’Elegance in Seabrook, Texas, Bobby Unser was Grand Marshall in 2012, and Al Unser Jr (LIL Al) was Grand Marshall in 2013, both signed this 1993 Allante's dashboard above the glove box the current owner of this 1993 Allante a Mr Nick Ferrantino of Houston, Texas has photos of them autographing the car, he is a member of ACA, CAC and the Chicago Allante/XLR clubs. Al Unser Jr also drove his 1993 Allante Festival/Pace car two weeks after his win at Indy to the opening parade for the Detroit Gran Prix XI at the new Belle Isle Raceway track.

The last Allante built was flown from Turin, Italy on July 2, 1993, and completed at Detroit-Hamtramck 14 days later. With 21,430 built, assemblies averaged just a little more than 3,000 a year throughout the car's lifetime. Production official ended on July 28, 1993. Regrettably, it was economics that killed Allante, not the car itself, which reached the point in 1993 where it was absolutely a leader among any vehicles in the world in performance, handling, image, and presence.

1992–93 Allanté with single-piece windows and revised seats

Comparison[edit]

A 1992 comparison test of the Northstar-powered Allanté by Car and Driver placed it above the Jaguar XJS V12 convertible and the Mercedes-Benz 300SL in North America. Although the Cadillac roadster got big points for its new engine, Allanté was criticized for its handling, which was an inherent result of the front wheel drive layout. Ultimately, it was the rapid rise in the retail price of its competitors due to changes in exchange rates that won the test for Cadillac. At that time, the Allanté's price seemed a bargain compared with the $71,888 Jaguar and $90,335 Mercedes-Benz.

Specifications[edit]

Year Engine Transmission Power Torque 0–60 mph (97 km/h) 0–100 mph (161 km/h) Standing 1/4 mile (0-400m) Top speed Braking from 70 mph (113 km/h)
1987–1988 4.1 L (250.2 cu in) HT-4100 V8 4-speed F-7 auto 170 hp (130 kW) 235 ft·lb (319 N·m) 9.3 17.4
1989–1992 4.5 L (274.6 cu in) HT-4500 V8 200 hp (150 kW) 270 ft·lb (370 N·m) 7.9 26.3 16.3 at 83 mph (134 km/h) 122 mph (196 km/h) 183 ft (56 m)
1993 4.6 L (280.7 cu in) Northstar L37 V8 4-speed 4T80-E auto 295 hp (220 kW) 290 ft·lb (390 N·m) 6.4 17.7 15.0 at 93 mph (150 km/h) 140 mph (230 km/h) 189 ft (58 m)

Production numbers[edit]

Model Year Total Production
1987 3,363
1988 2,569
1989 3,296
1990 3,101
1991 2,500
1992 1,931
1993 4,670
TOTAL 21,430

Pininfarina production records states 21,395 bodies made from 1986 to 1993.[2]

See also[edit]

  • Chrysler TC by Maserati – Another Italian-American front-wheel drive convertible, released to compete with the Allanté.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Schuon, Marshall (April 19, 1987). "THE FEW, THE RICH, PININFARINA". The New York Times, April 19, 1987, Marshall Shuon. Retrieved April 28, 2010. 
  2. ^ "PRODUZIONE COMPLESSIVA" (PDF). pininfarina.it. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2007-08-03. 
  • Daniel Charles Ross. "Cadillac Allanté". Motor Trend (February 1989): 88–93. 
  • Kevin Smith. "Cadillac Allanté, Jaguar XJS, Mercedes 300SL". Car and Driver (July 1992). 
  • Don Schroeder. "Cadillac Allanté Northstar Preview". Car and Driver (February 1992). 
  • Eric Peters Automotive Atrocities-cars we love to hate

External links[edit]