Yes, from the Volaré to the Troféo, Detroit marketers of the 1970s and 1980s knew that an accent in the car’s name meant “no need to buy one-a-them fancy imports with no pushrods in the engine, we got your class right here!” to American car shoppers. Unfortunately for General Motors, the Cadillac Allanté cost much more to make than those other accented cars, what with flying the bodies (on customized Boeing 747s) between the Pininfarina shop in Italy and the Hamtramck assembly plant in Michigan, and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class-grade price tag on the Allanté scared off most buyers.
For many years, I wandered junkyards in search of one of the rare Detroito-Italian cars of the late 1980s — the Cadillac Allanté and the Chrysler’s TC by Maserati. Finally, just this year, it happened: I found this 1989 Allanté in Southern California, then this TC by Maserati in Northern California, and now we’ve got this 1988 Allanté here in Denver. (Read More…)
There are bad ideas, there are terrible ideas, and then there’s the transverse V-8 drivetrain. There’s just something comically pathetic about having eight cylinders sitting sideways in the front of a car. The Eldorado you see above and its predecessors didn’t suffer from that; they had the engine pointing the right way so you could open the sharply-creased hood and see a proper mechanical vista. In those cars, and in the Toronado, front-wheel-drive was a nifty engineering trick for low-speed traction and a flat floor so all three of your bitches could sit in the back of your pimpmobile without discomfort.
The transverse V-8, however, was something else. It reeked of cost-cutting, of easy assembly, of last-minute decisions to add a decent engine to a middling platform. With very few exceptions, it’s been a lousy idea. And yet there were two vehicle platforms that had not one, but two completely different V-8s installed in them. One of them, of course, was the Cadillac E/K-platform, which shouldered the load of both 4.9-liter OHV and Northstar DOHC engines in the Eldorado, Seville, and Deville/DTS. (Arguably, the E/K was similar enough to the G-body that one could add the Aurora “Shortstar” to the mix for a total of three difference V-8s.)
And the other? Make your guess and click the jump.
Damn that Jack Baruth and his uncanny ability to awaken the latent spiritual needs and carnal passions sorely missing in my life. I’m talking about the love of owning a 99-cent Caddy Limo from a strong bloodline, sporting a nearly perfect black leather interior. With 25 years of historical flaws in full sight, this 3800lb lightweight is still a charmer in the Cadillac Tradition. The designation as “The Cadillac of Tomorrow” holds true, have you driven the latest poseur sedans to wear the Wreath and Crest? Torqueless V6 motors, tall buffalo butts and Euro-wannabe interiors only above that of a Hyundai Sonata. I can hear it now:
“LULZ OMG you are nuts because the CTS-V is awesome and that thing’s a POS. The new Caddies even come in a wagon with a stick! Who wouldn’t want a Cadillac that can do all that?”
My bad, they still make one coupe/sedan that’s somewhat worthy of the Fleetwood 75’s halo effect, but don’t be talkin’ that Euro-Caddy station wagon mess to me. This Houstonian spends too much time watching southern hip-hop music videos with proper American Iron getting the respect it deserves. Where else can we embrace the best remnants of Detroit in popular media? But I digress…