The year is 1986. There’s a new, V8-powered convertible on the horizon from Cadillac â€” the Standard of the World. This particularly special convertible is slottedÂ above the Eldorado in the product lineup. And it was designed by a famed Italian house.
You’re drooling by now, 1986 person. Vamanos, toÂ AllantÃ©!
Much like Chrysler’s TC by Maserati, theÂ AllantÃ© was intended as a halo vehicle for the Cadillac brand. It would blend American engineering know-how and the flair and passion of Italian design, via Pininfarina.
The first factory convertible from Cadillac since the demise of the Eldorado for 1985, General Motors set its sights firmly on the European competition. Both the always-convertible SL from Mercedes-Benz and the sometimes-convertible grand touring Jaguar XJSÂ were targets of theÂ AllantÃ©.
Say that again: AllantÃ©. It rolls off the tongue like a warm pudding, doesn’t it? The name was selected by General Motors after a computer generated a list of 1,700 names which fit the criteria GM typed into it. (I would very much like to see this particular mid-80s computer.)
I wonder if Cadillac’s management was reading through the list alphabetically, got bored about halfway through the A section, and settled on AllantÃ©.
Manufacturing theÂ AllantÃ© was a complicated affair. Bodies were initially finished by Pininfarina in Italy, then shipped (at great expense) via specially modified 747s to Hamtramck Assembly in the similarly picturesque locale of Detroit.
All-American power resided under everyÂ AllantÃ© hood. First, Cadillac used the much-maligned 4100 V8, before switching it out for the less-bad 4.5-liter in 1989, right as the rest of the Cadillac line moved to the vastly superior 4.9-liter V8. The old 4.5 stuck around until the final year of theÂ AllantÃ© in 1993, when Cadillac decided it was time for a bit of an upgrade: the Northstar. This is all happening in front-drive, by the way. No need for old-fashioned rear-drive in this segment.
AllÂ AllantÃ© models sold until 1990 came with a standard aluminum removable roof (60.5 pounds worth), in addition to the convertible top. All this exclusivity and roofing didn’t come cheap â€” base price in 1987 was $54,000, or $119,785 today. For reference, the ’87 560SL was $55,300, and the XJS was a very affordable $44,850.
Prices rose over the years, with the metal roof becoming optional for 1990. In 1992, the soft top version was $58,470, and you’d hand over $64,090 if you wanted the hardtop. Only soft top models were sold in 1993.
Gauges were either digital and unreliable, or analog and less trouble prone. From what your author has seen, most original buyers chose the whiz-bang digital frippery.
The interior of theÂ AllantÃ© had many different components to other Cadillacs, contrary to the parts bin nature of competitors SL and XJS. Note standard multi-adjustable Recaro-designed seats, which were replaced by cheaper Lear units in 1993.
This red beauty hails from 1992, and it’s aÂ special one as you’ve noticed: This particularÂ AllantÃ© is an Indianapolis 500 pace car. Cadillac provided a limited sample of 1993Â AllantÃ©s to the pit crew and staff of the 1992 Indianapolis 500 race, along with some additional 1992 models (figures unknown).
There were also three actualÂ ’93 pace car examples with roll bars and modified air intakes. Despite the fanfare created by the Indy 500 appearance, 1993 would indeed be the last year for theÂ AllantÃ©. Cadillac convertible customers would have to hold onto their money if they wanted an encore â€” the XLR was a ways off.
Today’s AllantÃ© is listed in the cultural backwater of Cincinnati, and is asking $7,000.
[Images via seller]