Did you find yourself sick of the unwavering quality and delightfully reliable nature of your mercedes SL in the late 80’s and 90’s? Neither did anyone else, but if they did, they would’ve gone for the Cadillac Allanté.
Unfortunately, this rare front-drive V8 with Italian shell had an abundance of aged and untested ’80s tech that tried to run before it could walk.
In order to manufacture the car, each body shell must be flown 11.2 thousand kms between Turin and Detroit twice, on three specialised Boeing 747s that Cadillac named ‘The Allanté Air Bridge’.
So it’s no big surprise that the auto was costly. It hit the floors in 1987 at $50,000, with Cadillac foreseeing sales numbers hitting 6000 a year. Before the finish of production, the official cost was $64,000 – to be fair, the Allanté was by then the very definition of the expression ‘fully loaded’, with its power seats and everything being covered in leather: the only conceivable choice left was a car phone.
Cadillac marketed the car on TV and featured in the famed film Terminal Velocity, despite this the company still barely sold 3000 Allantés as word spread of its leaking hood. Pininfarina knew it leaked and needed one more year to amend it, however, the Americans, too motivated by the idea of just getting the car out, drove the design through before it was prepared.
It was a choice that would have permanent repercussions for Allanté.
Cadillac recalled all of the early vehicles to mend the leaks and put the work in for the following five years up-rating its leading car notwithstanding consistently dwindling sales. Greater engines, air bags, walloping sound systems and new improved hoods just couldn’t persuade most wealthy Americans looking for an extravagant two-seater that Cadillac could construct cheaper and better than the Mercedes SL
The destiny of the Allanté was fixed when Mercedes reported another 500SL with a single-button control top, a hurdle that Allanté would never oversee. In spite of updates in 1993, merchants were offering the car at $15,000 under the original cost. General Motors is rumoured to have lost $24 billion on the venture before at last surrendering in 1993.
Akin to any rare car with a charming and vexed history, the Allanté has a solid fanbase. Despite the enthusiasm, rarity and uniquity, this does not equate to expensive pricing, it fetched between £5000 to £15,000 and this is by all accounts the brunt span of its value throughout the years
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