Cadillac Allante Forum Discussion, Consumer Report: What's YOUR opinion? We'd like to know... in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Okay. So what's your opinion on these cars? Which do you own? Which HAVE you owned? Let's hear it from ...
I have owned my Allante for a bit over two years and although I have had a few minor problems, I love this car! I had some power window problems that $250+- fixed to my satisfaction at my dealer. I should mention that I have a local dealer that has been nothing but fair to me. I have 55,000 miles on my Allante, and it is a 1993 model. The Northstar runs like a champ and the only negative I can think of is the minor oil leak that many of us experience. I just thought of one other problem that drives me somewhat nuts. The CD player is Delco and not Bose as are the pre 1993 model Allantes, and it plays when it wants to and ejects the CD when it wants to. I have been thinking of installing either an XM radio or a multi disc changer to have some good tunes to listen to when I drive. The radio is hit and miss as well. Good reception most of the time, but sometimes I couldn't find a good station if I was parked under their tower. All in all I'm content with my Cadillac and look forward to getting another someday. An XLR may be the next Cadillac for me in the next few years.
I have an '89. Owned it for a little over a year now. Can't see me ever selling it. Its my daily driver and, at the same time, I'm in the process of rebuilding it.
The biggest problem with these cars is poor maintenance by previous owners. Like any high-end luxury car, these are complicated machines with unique parts - that's part of what you're paying the big bucks for. Some of those unique parts can be pricey. Most of the parts, though, will last indefinitely with proper maintenance.
Luckily, a lot of the mechanical parts, including most of the drivetrain and suspension, are essentially identical to Eldorados of the era. This keeps the cost down and the reliability up. The 4.x series of transverse engines, IMHO, has been unfairly overlooked, probably due to the shadow of the N*. It was truly advanced for its time - aluminum block and intake with cast iron sleeves, iron heads, magnesium valve covers. The Allante-specific intake is awfully close to Chevy's TPI system, just realigned for transverse layout. The onboard diagnostics system is incredible, even for a Cadillac.
The thing is, you can't fairly evaluate the Allante through the lens of today. The Allante was introduced in 1987, and remained essentially unchanged through 1992. Lexus didn't debut until 1989. No one really knew where the auto industry was going, and Cadillac had made a slew of bad styling and engineering decisions - no one was buying the cars Cadillac was selling in the years previous to the Allante. The Allante was a technology showcase - it got everything before the rest of the line and a lot of what it got eventually made it to the rest of the line.
How many aluminum-block V8s were in production vehicles in that era? How many had four-wheel independent ABS in 1987, four-wheel independent traction control in 1990? Four-wheel disc brakes? Electronically controlled suspension in 1989? Tuned port electronically controlled fuel injection in 1987? On top of that, its a two-seat roadster that turns heads everywhere it goes with styling that is still attractive (I think especially so compared to the look-alike cars of today). A lot of high-end cars turn heads because everyone recognizes the marque, and knows what they cost. That's great, but the Allante turns heads because of its looks alone - most people can't believe its a Cadillac.
Oh, and it will go 130mph and out-accelerate or out-handle (not usually both) most of its contemporaries, except the Corvette. Plus, today you can pick them up anywhere from $10k to $15k for most examples - often lower if you're willing to put in some initial funds to fix what's broken. I picked mine up for $7.5k, and sunk in about $1000 immediately, and probably another $1500 in the year or so I've owned it. I'll probably sink another $2k total, and then it will be "done" - everything will have been replaced or rebuilt. IMHO, the Allante is a tremendous value.
The best part, though, is driving it. Top down, sunny day, open road. It has incredible torque, and great road manners. There's plenty of space for luggage, the ride is firm, but pleasant. My biggest gripe is that there aren't any cup holders. Strangely enough, its also awesome in snow - probably even better if you get a 90+ with traction control.
Downsides - as with any 12 year old car, things get old and break. Things wear out and need to be adjusted and realigned. If you're not into preventative maintenance, you might get stranded. Most of the time, problems that will strand you are the same as any car - fuel pump, serpentine belt, radiator hose, etc. Some of the interior pieces haven't faired well under 12 years of UV exposure. As with all Bose stereos of the era, the amps die prematurely. The ABS system, and the cooling system both require religious maintenance. Luckily, there's a huge support group over at the AAG, and just about every problem is solvable, especially if you shell out the $50 or so for the service manual.
If you just want a reliable vanilla daily driver, the Allante is definitely not for you - go out and buy a new Toyota. If you're willing to do a little pampering and invest a little time in learning about this car, the Allante is its own reward. There are very few new cars I'd trade my Allante in on and most of them cost more than I paid for my house.
I have to say, although I've never owned on of these cars, I've always wanted one.
Occassionally I detail cars for extra money. One of my best clients is a 65 year old man who has a 1994 Allante (nick named "Al") and he loves it. It's dark green on tan with a black top and all the gizmos and (here's the clincher on why I'd like to have one aside the good looks/performance) 238k miles. Everything works great on it, but he is a maintanence junkie. Anytime the car needs something, he does it...anytime he thinks it needs something, it's done. I guess that's the trick. To actually care for the car!!
At any rate, there's two cents from a wanabe owner.
I have owned my 92 Allante since 94, it has 112,000 miles on it and I hope to drive it another 112,000. The Allante Appreciation Group has a web site that you can review over a 1000 threads on service issues from other Allante owners at http://126.96.36.199/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi
Sergio Pinafarina was the designer of the bodies of the Allante as well as Ferrari's and the Fiat Spyder among others. Cadillac has history with Pinafarina as they used his design on an early 1950's model Cadillac as well. My memory isn't what it used to be so I can't recall what model or year, but their is a relationship between the two companies.
I am glad that the body is by Pinafarina, otherwise my beloved Allante might be a Cimmaron with a rag top.