10k: 1993 Cadillac Allanté; Italian Style, Fail-Wheel-Drive

The Cadillac Allanté was another attempt by an American automaker to bring some European style and allure into its American brands.  It wasn’t a failure of epic proportions like the Chrysler TC by Maserati or the AMC Eagle Premier, in fact it could be considered one of the best front wheel drive luxury GT cars to come from an American manufacturer…a dubious honor indeed.  This 1993 Cadillac Allanté convertible is for sale in Lakeland, FL, currently bidding on ebay at $8,501 with 6 hours to go.

The Allanté had a curious production line — first its handsome Serio Pininfarina designed body was assembled by mustached Italian craftsmen in Cambiano, Italy and then shipped via 747 airfreight to Detroit where Teamsters with fat fingers and the inability to measure panel gaps would install the brutish V8s.  The concept of an Italian body with American power was certainly not new (DeTomaso Pantera, Iso Grifo) but somehow the bean counters at GM saddled the Merc SL & BMW 8-series competitor with…gasp..front wheel drive.  Epic fail.  The early cars were powered by a boat-anchor GM HT-4100, a low powered and unreliable V8 that makes us yearn for the reliability and torque of any 60s Fiat engine, but the last year of the Allanté was different…

Thankfully, this 1993 Allanté is powered by the Northstar V8 – a 32 Valve all-aluminum dual-overhead cam 4.6 liter tour-de-force that pumped out 295 horsepower and 290 ft-lbs of torque.  In 1993 the Northstar was a big hit and has made its way into all manner of dune buggys, kit cars and anything that needed a transverse mounted V8 with some serious technology.  Rumor has it that the Northstar has a limp-home mode that allows the driver to drive the car without coolant up to 100 miles by alternating combustion events from one bank to the other, effectively air cooling the cylinder heads. 

The inside of this Allanté looks better than most early 90s American cars – it won’t impress you with fancy gauges and Mercedes quality materials, but it is miles better than a C4 vette.  This particular car has somewhere between 34k and 78k miles, depending on if you believe the odometer or the carfax – and trust us, either one could be wrong.  A simple mistake on a DMV form and that Carfax will forever show a odometer error.  Regardless, an Allanté needing a new gauge cluster is probably about as common as other cars needing an oil change…

Daily driving an Allanté in a fair weather state like California won’t be too much of a problem, just be sure to get friendly with a good mechanic and be prepared to be accosted by grand-cougars, because anyone under 75 won’t have any idea what this thing is.  If you really want Italian style with a California accent – we recommend sticking with a 2006 vintage Pininfarina – Napa Valley wine…much cheaper and its chance of appreciating is better.

See a better 90s classic with Italian lines and American muscle?  tips@dailyturismo.com