: Drove LS1Mike's Trans Am: Review and Pix / Bonus: billc83's '88 Allanté



gdwriter
07-24-10, 11:48 PM
LS1Mike lives within spitting distance of some friends on the Kitsap Peninsula across Puget Sound from Seattle. I make a trip to see them every year and attend the Bremerton Elks Car show.I met Mike at the show last year, and he told me if I came back this year, I could take his 2000 Trans Am WS-6 for a drive. Who could turn down an invitation like that?

Here's a few pix:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs044.snc4/34582_415202788093_776743093_4409637_6597082_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs072.ash2/36945_415202803093_776743093_4409638_6154638_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs187.snc4/37704_415202863093_776743093_4409643_568793_n.jpg

Mike could tell you what mods he's done to the engine. What impresses me is he's done a lot of the work himself:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs028.ash2/34756_415202843093_776743093_4409641_1285994_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs188.snc4/37726_415202848093_776743093_4409642_1516021_n.jpg

On to the driving. I'm one of a handful of people Mike has let drive his Trans Am, which I find very flattering (thanks, Mike!). He had warned me that the clutch was very tricky, and it was OK if I stalled it out because everybody does. Except I didn't. I'm the only one Mike's let drive it who didn't stall it out at least once. Considering I don't remember the last time I drove a stick, I'm pretty proud of that. The clutch is tricky, and not every start was particularly smooth, but I never stalled it. The more I drove it, the better I got at it.

First off, it sounds great. I know it's got an aftermarket exhaust, and I love the bad-ass sound. When shifting, the exhaust sounds just like the Bullitt Charger. We had the T-tops off (how can you drive a Trans Am on a sunny day any other way?), so you could revel in the sound the entire drive.

Can it move? Oh, yeah. As expected from an LS1, it's got torque out the wazoo, but it'll also rev willingly. I especially enjoyed nailing it in second gear pulling onto a freeway on-ramp. Damn, that was fun.

The shifter is pretty notchy, but as with the clutch, I got used to it pretty quickly. The shift to third was especially notchy until Mike told me about a trick — shift it with your palm. Don't know why it works, but it does. Even if the shifter isn't as slick as a Honda or BMW gearbox, this is definitely a car that needs a clutch pedal (surprised Rick?).

The ride surprised me. I was expecting it to be like a buckboard, but it was surprisingly smooth. We didn't drive on particularly rough roads, but still, I was impressed. Nor did his car have the cacophony of squeaks and rattles F-bodies are infamous for.

The only things I didn't care for were the steering, which felt very stiff, making the car less responsive in turns as it could be. And the seats suck (which Mike acknowledges). I managed to get semi-comfortable, but the car deserves better.

Overall, it was a blast. I'm not sure I'd want to have one as a daily driver, and Mike's isn't. But as a fun car, it definitely fits the bill.

LS1Mike
07-24-10, 11:55 PM
Gary, I changed the oil in it today...While I was in there I checked the fluids...Guess why the steering was so dang heavy... The Resivor was at the add mark when hot! You can try it out again next year, and I will have a full bottle of N2O. I promise!

gdwriter
07-24-10, 11:58 PM
Followed Mike home to check out the rest of his fleet and the yard that takes him four hours to mow with a rider. After driving the Trans Am, where you sit so low, it felt like I was up in a big SUV when I got back in the Seville (Betty's having electrical issues, so I couldn't drive her this year).

Mike nailed it a couple of times with me following, and it was fun to give Sabrina the Italian tuneup. The Northstar sounds completely different, but I love the thrust, and it would rev all the way to redline before shifting.

A few more pix:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs074.snc4/35047_415202818093_776743093_4409640_4702219_n.jpg

Love the license plate frame:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs030.ash2/34873_415202873093_776743093_4409644_5057188_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs045.snc4/34609_415202893093_776743093_4409646_2892036_n.jpg

The Trans Am's summer home. In the winter, it goes in the barn out back:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs223.snc4/38474_415202888093_776743093_4409645_7034966_n.jpg

Also checked out Mike's daily driver, the '98 Regal GS. Amazingly clean for a 12-year-old car:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs202.snc4/38446_415202903093_776743093_4409647_5778106_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs052.snc4/34987_415202988093_776743093_4409656_5314495_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs100.ash2/38333_415202983093_776743093_4409655_541564_n.jpg

gdwriter
07-25-10, 12:02 AM
Mike took the cover off the Regal's 3800; he says it just traps heat:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs078.snc4/35255_415202948093_776743093_4409651_3810291_n.jpg

The supercharger unmasked:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs063.snc4/34521_415202958093_776743093_4409652_3316014_n.jpg

Mike's had a bad experience with Dexcool:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs179.snc4/38267_415202978093_776743093_4409654_6351706_n.jpg

Big Poo, Mike's '89 GMC that just keeps going:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs187.snc4/37684_415202998093_776743093_4409657_7154252_n.jpg

gdwriter
07-25-10, 12:04 AM
This is why it takes Mike four hours to mow. This is just from the first fence:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs152.snc4/36955_415203013093_776743093_4409658_458262_n.jpg

His property goes all the way down to the other fence:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs170.snc4/37851_415203028093_776743093_4409659_8291783_n.jpg

The Trans Am's winter home:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs040.ash2/35362_415203068093_776743093_4409662_1691060_n.jpg

gdwriter
07-25-10, 12:12 AM
On Sunday, my friends and I took the ferry to Seattle (I still have to upload pictures from that part of the trip). Before I headed home, I headed across Lake Washington from Seattle and met up with billc83 and his '88 Allanté:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs213.snc4/38983_416748538093_776743093_4448257_3935657_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs030.ash2/34886_416748553093_776743093_4448258_7997076_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs084.ash2/37514_416748588093_776743093_4448261_5250175_n.jpg

Even the trunk lid is carpeted:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs077.snc4/35196_416748608093_776743093_4448263_7315058_n.jpg

Chad, with your brochure collection, you would go nuts over the hardcover Allanté book, complete with a beautiful watercolor painting of the car:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs054.snc4/35051_416748618093_776743093_4448264_5775991_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs200.snc4/38337_416748628093_776743093_4448265_6738601_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs102.ash2/38432_416748643093_776743093_4448267_6839227_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs195.snc4/38065_416748653093_776743093_4448268_6574531_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs177.snc4/38165_416748663093_776743093_4448269_342482_n.jpg

gdwriter
07-25-10, 12:16 AM
Love the intake runners on the Allanté's engine. Cadillac still used a modified 4100 in 1988:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs223.snc4/38491_416748668093_776743093_4448270_6313728_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs037.ash2/35203_416748673093_776743093_4448271_6283059_n.jpg

The exhaust note sounds sportier than I expected:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs052.snc4/34977_416748683093_776743093_4448272_6512585_n.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs171.snc4/37900_416748698093_776743093_4448273_7644590_n.jpg

Thanks to both Mike and Bill. It was great to see Mike again and check out his Trans Am as well as meet Bill and see his Allanté. I hope to bring Betty — with her rust damage repaired — next year.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
07-25-10, 06:38 AM
Cool stuff Gary! It's funny whenever you make a trip to visit a friend from the forums they always seem to have a Regal GS.... :)

Mike, yours looks cleaner than mine too, atleast the driver's seat doesn't have the wear marks on the bottom cushion like mine does. I see you've got the performance shift button too. I guess they got rid of that in the later years as many don't have that.

I've gotta get that Allante book! Was that a Cadillac supplied book or is that something somebody else wrote? It's funny to see the pic of the Allante parked next to the Seville and even with the 11 years apart, their front ends look really similar, with the way the grille & headlights are layed out.

OffThaHorseCEO
07-25-10, 03:46 PM
how funny that you mention the Allante. ive been lusting after Allantes lately. I really want the XLR-V and my plans were to get one next winter but i think if i get the allante ill put the XLR off for a year or two.

hate to turn this into an allante thread but since we're on the subject...

did any of the Allantes suffer from any of the common Cadillac issues from that time? I mean like the struts going out, headgasket issues things like that. And most importantly how tough are the transmissions? I hate transmissions, especially when they need replacing because i dont know how to work on them.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
07-25-10, 04:03 PM
I loooove the tail lights on the Allantes.

gdwriter
07-25-10, 04:21 PM
I've gotta get that Allante book! Was that a Cadillac supplied book or is that something somebody else wrote? It's funny to see the pic of the Allante parked next to the Seville and even with the 11 years apart, their front ends look really similar, with the way the grille & headlights are layed out.I think it was a Cadillac-issued book. Bill would know.

I noticed the similarities in the front with the Allanté and Seville parked side by side, too.

hueterm
07-25-10, 05:06 PM
how funny that you mention the Allante. ive been lusting after Allantes lately. I really want the XLR-V and my plans were to get one next winter but i think if i get the allante ill put the XLR off for a year or two.

hate to turn this into an allante thread but since we're on the subject...

did any of the Allantes suffer from any of the common Cadillac issues from that time? I mean like the struts going out, headgasket issues things like that. And most importantly how tough are the transmissions? I hate transmissions, especially when they need replacing because i dont know how to work on them.


Aside from parts in general being hard to find, if you get a '93 that was N*, then yes, it could have the same N*/RSS issues. Prior years had a very intricate Bosch braking system that is apparently a fortune to replace if it goes out.

The '93 kind of cheapened out vs. the previous years. (No wing windows, regular Cadillac type seats instead of the Recaros or whatever were in the previous years, etc.)

I too, get lusty for one from time to time...maybe someday.

billc83
07-25-10, 05:58 PM
The hardcover book is indeed published and copyright 1986 by Cadillac. An Allante specific vendor still sells them for a hefty $75. I was lucky enough to win it at the Northwest Regional CLC Picnic a few years back for the car getting first place in its class (which I attribute to the lack of competition that year; the car is far from perfect). You can barely see it in the trunk, but I also have the original brochure for the car as well.

Gary, it was a pleasure to meet you (and Hoover!) last Sunday. If we had had more time, I would have let you drive the car - it's fast enough to get out of its own way but by no means a speed demon.

Pick your poison if you want an Allante: '93's head-gasket prone Northstar vs. the Bosch III ABS system, which can be problematic if not maintained (and EXPENSIVE if something goes south - a rebuilt accumulator runs $200, pump $570, hoses $150, master cylinder $1,000).

Early Allantes ('87 - early '90s) had a Phase I top, with manual latches, which is known to leak water. Even sadder, GM KNEW about this (as well as several other problems) and still let it go to market. Phase II cars (1990.5 - '92) had automatic latches and aparently the problem had been fixed by then. The rear top pull-down is also problematic on all years.

'87 - '88 had the 4.1L engine, '89 - '92 had the 4.5, and '93 had the 4.6 Northstar.

If you're looking for a car with absolutely no problems, I wouldn't consider an Allante. But if you think you can endure some little annoyances and occassional problems, it might be up your alley. It was, after all, partially built in Italy, and I think we all know how Italian automobiles haven't built a reputation on stellar reliability.

EDIT: Is that what I really look like? I knew you were taking a photo for the second (side-view) photo so I smiled, but it looks SO forced!

OffThaHorseCEO
07-25-10, 09:03 PM
Any worse than this?
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-forums-lounge-member-introductions/206097-very-worst-car-you-ever-owned-3.html#post2314887

if not then im game as it wouldnt be my daily and i could afford to have downtime on it. the difference with the ETC was that it was my daily

I~LUV~Caddys8792
07-25-10, 09:10 PM
How's the pricing of an early '90s Allante v. an M-B SL500 of the same era?

hueterm
07-25-10, 09:30 PM
For like mileage N*, I bet they're about the same.