Gold Keys Included: 1993 Cadillac Allante

In my younger days, any hard cover book touting the exotic cars of the late 80s and early 90s would always include an Allante. Even if book publishers knew the Cadillac flagship was far from an exotic, it was one of the few options they had if they wanted a high-end American sports car / grand tourer that wasn’t a Corvette. This example here on eBay is said to have been lovingly maintained with just under 100,000 miles and is currently bid to $3,800 with no reserve.

The Allante never quite lived up to the sales projections GM had hoped for, and it certainly didn’t become an icon like Cadillac convertibles of the past had. Still, it found favor with brand loyalists who wanted the best car Cadillac offered at the time, so it’s not surprising to see one like this show up as a nicely preserved specimen supposedly under the longterm care of an older owner. I always liked the taillights on these, sort of a precursor to the clear lenses that became the tuner rage in the 90s.

Paintwork is said to be quite nice, and it looks straight and true going down the sides. The interior is likewise in excellent condition, with leather bucket seats showing only minor signs of wear. At the very least, the seats are quite impressive for a specimen that has close to 100,000 miles on the clock. The seller notes no cracks in the dash and that the digital cluster functions all still work – a miracle in and of itself.

The Northstar V8 is a familiar sight in Cadillacs of this vintage, and actually gave the Allante some credibility under the hood. To fire up that 4.6L V8, the original owner was handed a package of gold keys from their Cadillac dealer, which come with the car – along with all books, manuals, and the original calculator in a leather-bound pouch. While they will never achieve the greatness they were expected to have, the Allante is still a looker and a quick, quiet grant tourer.

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Comments

  1. Andy

    I always liked the Allante, but especially with the Northstar. Considering the stretch that Cadillac was just coming out of, I still don’t see what folks have against them. Those one looks great. With no reserve, if I were looking for a bargain Caddy convertible I’d be all over this.

    Like 12
  2. Jerry

    Heard there was an issue with early
    Northstar engines with the head bolts which caused water leaks. There are fixes on youtube that talk about this. Just relaying what I had heard.

    Like 3
  3. DETROIT LAND YACHT

    Coulda been an SL killer…if they had classed up the interior. Too much plastic…not enough wood and leather.And even though the instrumentation was prophetic…it was too gimmicky for it’s time. My neighbor bought one for his mistress. He bought the wife an SL.

    Like 5
    • JohnU

      Definitely wouldn’t be an sl killer performance wise

      Like 1
      • Ralph

        Well this was benchmarked against the 380SL originally, which would have been about par if not even in the Alltantes favor, I think the 380SL was only 150hp? The Allantes had a tweaked 4100 that made 170hp or so.

        Like 1
    • Chris

      As an owner of a ’92 Allante, I want to add that the interior was themed as Italian modernistic. There was significantly more leather inside the Allante than on the SL, but to your point no wood. Wood didn’t fit the theme Pinin was after. He also styled the interior of the Alfa 164, and you can see some similarities – hard angles, rows of beveled buttons, strips of lighted displays, shapes, textures.

      To support your point, however, the path GM chose to build the car was ridiculous and I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like it again. Which is honestly part of the charm.

      The car itself was a global parts bin of the highest technology, best-at-its time parts available and melded them into a car by a respected automotive craftsman. The Allante was hands down the most technologically advanced car on the road at the time. Unfortunately buying the best components was expensive in ways that the buyers didn’t particularly care for, and it meant the owners were paying for the privilege of being prototype testers for tomorrow’s technology. Being crafted in hands of an Italian meant that it was also beautiful but fragile.

      All of which is ultimately why it flopped and why it is fascinating to own. It was a total misread of what buyers in the ultra-luxury segment were looking for, and an expensive exercise in hubris on a corporate level that never should have gotten off the ground. Ironic coming from a corporate climate being driven at the time by the accountants.

      Even if it was perfect — RWD instead of FWD, more reliable, better top design, it still would have flopped because there was no reason for it to exist. But I’m glad it does.

      Like 4
  4. 408 interceptor

    The infamous deathstar V8.

    Like 5
  5. Bakyrdhero

    I’ve always wanted one of these, but honestly I want one of every car produced! These were nice looking cars and precursors the the STS/ETS design that began in 1992. 93 is the only year for the Northstar in these I believe. I remember Kelly Bundy doing the “Bundy bounce” to introduce this car on Married with Children” This one has a nice color combo.

    Like 7
  6. Capt RD

    I drove my Dad’s Allante often over the many years he owned it. A great highway cruiser that ate up the miles in comfort with responsive acceleration at speed.
    Around town driving it always was an attention magnet with the top down.It didn’t like sitting in the garage for weeks at a time and my job to exercise it was always an apprehensive experience the 1st few days but it never left me stranded and there were not really many Allante exclusive components of the running gear so yearly maintenance at a Cadillac shop was fairly simple,the electronics were complicated for the era but Allante Club forums and meet ups had excellent resources especially after the internet became ubiquitous. In his small stable of convertibles it was my fathers pride for 20 years, if we had one of the available hardtop options he would have never let it go and with well over 100K miles on the car the Ivory paint and red leather still looked stunning.

    Like 3
  7. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Nice looking car. This is the first time I have seen the interior on these. Wow! I really laughed out loud at that stack of buttons above the shifter. Going for more coffee and going to look at that stack again. Wow.

    Like 2
    • Jason

      That’s a lot of buttons for sure, but I’ll take that over some of the newer cars that have very few buttons, where you have to go three levels deep into a touchscreen menu just to turn on the rear defrost.

      Like 4
  8. Ben T. Spanner

    There are always Allantes for sale here in SW Florida. One is listed on the FT Myers Craigslist, 61000 miles, includes a hardtop, with an asking price of $2500.

    Like 3
    • Mountainwoodie

      Never understood the attraction of these . Maybe I’m just not old enough…or not old enough to move to Florida with the rest of my ..ahem……age cohort. :)

      Like 1
  9. ClawSS

    I only came to see a mention of the “Bundy bounce” and Bakyrdhero did not disappoint.

    Like 2
    • Bakyrdhero

      Sandy I figured I can’t possibly be the only one the remembers that!

  10. Don S.

    Having owned one of these cars I can attest to the beauty & charisma of the cars, but when things broke, and they certainly did, it was gonna cost far more than it should’ve. The Achilles Heel on these cars was the poorly designed master cylinder/brake system that only the designing engineer himself could get working properly.

    Like 3
    • george Member

      Rolls Royce used exactly the same Bosch system. It was state of the art. You need to change the brake fluid annually, and the system does not like a garage queen life.

      Like 1
  11. Karl

    I was behind one just like this yesterday, it was 40 degrees and homeless person driving of course had the top down with a stocking cap on. It was smoking blue from the exhaust and had been for awhile based on color of the back of the car, both side mirrors were held together with tape and it had just purchased dealer tags on it! It did give me the impression of riches and performance to say the least!

    Like 3
  12. Allen Member

    I think for about the same money and collector-value, I’d go for it’s more modest brother the Buick Reatta. A little leaner, a little cleaner, and that indestructible 3.8 V6. Also, hand-built at a special factory in Lansing. A ’90 or ’91 model would suit best: available as convertibles and the simpler dash.
    FWIW…

    Like 2
    • george Member

      I’ve been told that parts availability is much worse for the Buick than for the Allanté, but I’ve never owned a Reatta.

  13. Bob McK Member

    I owned one of these many years ago. Loved driving the car. I was so proud of it at the time. However, it broke a lot and cost a small fortune to fix it. I then sold it to a friend who kept it for many years, but finally sold it because of the cost to keep it going. I would buy another, if I had to ability to keep it running without making me poor.

    Like 1
  14. George Member

    I bought one from a neighbor for next to nothing two years ago.

    It’s one of the most comfortable cars I’ve ever driven. The interior is lavish with Recaro seats that fit my body perfectly…or anyone else’s. It has a lot of lovely Italian leather and the most sumptuous carpet I’ve ever seen in an automobile. No wood? I think that was part of the plan: The car was to lead Cadillac out of the kitschy ’70s and ’80s.

    The suspension is nicely tuned, the steering is perfectly weighted….and the trunk is voluminous…….. Living near Allante Source, it was pretty easy and not too $$$ to get it sorted out. I’ve put 5K miles on it (had 34K when I bought it) and it’s my preferred highway car.

    Keep an eye on the fluids, and change them all annually, and it’s a great car………except for the convertible top, which is awkward to use and leaky. Pinninfarina’s terrible top design and Cadillac’s stupid pricing decisions are probably what doomed the car, more than anything else. Buyers at the time were just not prepared for a $100,000 Cadillac (in today’s dollars, list when new was about $50K) I suspect at some point, they might increase in value, but for now, I enjoy it.

    Like 4

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