1988-1993 Cadillac Allante
For 1988, it got a power pull-down for the decklid, no-cost optional analog instruments, and improved headrests. The following year brought a 200-bhp 4.5-liter ohv engine and a more aggressive 3.21:1 final-drive ratio. Together they improved 0-60 performance to less than 8.5 seconds -- but also prompted $650 in federal "Gas Guzzler" taxes.
Other new features for 1989 included 16-in. wheels and tires, three-mode automatically adjustable Speed Dependent Damping (SDD) suspension, speed-sensitive power steering, softer seats and door panels, and other improvements.
By 1990, Allante prices were closing in on $58,000. That's when Cadillac took a stab at enhancing affordability with a new soft-top-only version that cost about $6,300 less than a fully-equipped model. Aside from jettisoning the lift-off metal roof, buyers of this "budget" Allante paid extra if they wanted the LCD instruments or Pearl White paint.
New standard features in every Allante included traction control -- an industry first with front drive, suspension refinements, a standard compact-disc player, and a driver's-side airbag. During the year, a power header-latching mechanism was added to the folding top.
For 1991, more suspension and steering refinements and a more powerful Delco-Bose Gold Series Symphony sound system were found.
Nothing much changed for the 1992s, but they were destined to be short-term cars anyway. That April, a substantially improved 1993 Allante went on sale, the first car with Cadillac's all-new 4.6-liter 32-valve dohc Northstar V-8, which pumped 295 thoroughbred horses and 290 pound-feet of torque through a new overdrive four-speed automatic transmission with electronic controls.
This powertrain could launch the car from rest to 60 in less than seven seconds. Also notable were a new short/long-arm rear suspension, new-generation traction control and Speed-Sensitive Steering systems, and a more complex and responsive Road-Sensing Suspension in place of the SDD setup.
One-piece door glass replaced the former fixed ventpane look, seats were reconfigured, and the hardtop became a $4,500 option. Thanks to its early release, the 1993 Allante was around in time to serve as the pace car for the 1992 Indianapolis 500.
The best Allante ever, it was finally the internationally competitive luxury roadster its creators had envisioned. Sadly, it reached that exalted status six years too late.
What was wrong with the timing? Find out in the next page.