Complete Cadillac Allante lineup, specs, economy, dimensions

1990 Cadillac Allante - Technical Specs, Fuel economy, Dimensions1989 - 1996 Cadillac Allante CabrioletAllante2 Trims 204 to 299 Hp

The Cadillac Allante had big shoes to fill from the start. In a desire to make the Cadillac brand image more luxurious and compete with the Mercedes-Benz SL, the Allante was to serve as GM’s proof that it could create a masterpiece. But the Cadillac name hadn’t been used on a two-seater roadster since the 1930s and there was a lot of catching up to do. What resulted was a two-door, two-seater roadster that was available from 1987 to 1993. While Automobile magazine claimed the Allante’s debut was a significant mark in automotive history, unfortunately, Cadillac never quite hit the mark they were shooting for and sales were lackluster. The sales goal of 6,000 units per year was never met, and only 21,430 units were produced in total over the model’s entire span from 1987 to 1993.

Cadillac Allante Design and Construction

The Cadillac Allante might have one of the strangest histories in all of GM. In the attempt to put luxury behind the Cadillac brand, they decided to outsource the designing and part of the construction of the Allante. After an extensive search, the Italian-based coach builder Pininfarina was selected. They had been used by Ferrari and Mondial as well. Now here’s where it gets very interesting, and expensive. Pininfarina built the bodies and convertible top, which were then packed into a specialty-built jumbo jet and flown over the Atlantic to receive subframe, suspension, and drivetrain in Detroit. This process was infamously known as the Allante Air Bridge and is likely part of the reason why the price tag of this Cadillac was nearly double any other Cadillac on the market. 

Engine Specifications

As a two-seater roadster, the Cadillac Allante had an upgraded V-8 stuffed under its relatively small hood. The 170-horsepower 4.1L V-8 used in the 1987 Allantes was competitive with the Mercedes SL’s 3.8L V-8. It featured high-flow cylinder heads, a tuned intake manifold, and multi-port fuel injection. The result was still a bit lackluster with a modest 10-second 0 to 60 mph time. Once Mercedes bumped up to a 4.5L, the Allante was along for the ride. The V-8 grew to 200-horsepower 4.5L in 1989, and eventually to the impressive 295-horsepower 4.6L L37 Northstar in its final year of 1993. This finally dropped the 0 to 60 mph time to more respectable under 7-seconds. One wonders what might have happened to the Allante had this engine been fitted from the start.

Features and Options

The Cadillac Allante had a removable aluminum hardtop, which would eventually prove to be one of its major design flaws due to issues leaking. A high-end Delco Bose sound system was part of the standard package, along with independent strut front and leaf rear suspension, four-wheel Bosch ABS disc brakes, and a retractable AM/FM/cellular antenna (industry first). Options were limited on the 1987 Allante as most luxuries were standard, which is only sensible considering the price tag of $54,700. The only choice was whether to include a cellular phone or not. Later years introduced adjustable suspension, optional analog interments, 16” wheels and tires, and a soft-top model. In addition to receiving the engine the Cadillac Allante needed from the start, the 1993 final year version also had the latest in traction control and refined road sensing suspension and speed-sensitive steering. What might have ended up hitting the mark came about six years too late. The Allante was going to need a significant investment to keep up with industry rivals, and the lackluster sales meant the funds weren’t going to be made available. Hence came the end of the line for the Cadillac Allante.