By on March 23, 2021

Today’s B/D/B was suggested by commenter namesakeone, who posited that a couple of the cars featured in the worst halo cars article last week might make an interesting trio for this segment.

I needed to cover one more as a Rare Ride first, which is why we saw that Thunderbird yesterday. Requirement out of the way, it’s time to have our first multi-decade, Rare Rides-sourced Buy/Drive/Burn.

All cars featured today were halo convertibles for their manufacturer at the time of their offering. They hail from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. And of course we’re assuming here in The Present Year that you could buy a brand new example of each.

Chrysler TC by Maserati

Oldest car first. The Chrysler TC by Maserati was the brand’s halo vehicle introduced in 1989. Designed in conjunction with Maserati in Italy, the TC was assembled at two different Maserati factories and fitted with a very luxurious interior before it was shipped to eager US customers. The front-drive TC was technically on its own (LeBaron-based) platform, though it looked a lot like the much less expensive LeBaron with which it shared some components. Today’s example is one of the earlier 500 equipped with a high-output 200 horsepower 2.2 inline-four, developed by Maserati. It’s paired to a five-speed Getrag manual, for the most fun Italian luxury experience possible.

Cadillac Allanté 

Cadillac-Allante-747The Allanté was Cadillac’s grandest attempt to capture the 1980s/1990s “European car buyer” who eluded General Motors for… forever. Introduced for 1987, it was designed and built in Italy by Pininfarina. The bodies included Italian-fitted interiors, and were flown at great expense to Detroit for final assembly at Hamtramck. Another front-driver, the Allanté also used a unique platform, the V. Today’s car is the most developed example from Allanté’s final year in 1993. It has the 4.6-liter Northstar V8 good for 295 horsepower. Those horses are routed by a brand new four-speed auto which debuted in the Allanté and was used through 2006 in the DTS.

Ford Thunderbird

Our 2000s halo mobile is the Ford Thunderbird. It debuted for the 2002 model year, in the prime of the Modern Retro Is Cool thing amongst older buyers across the nation. The only rear-drive vehicle here, the Thunderbird shared its platform with the not retro Lincoln LS, and very retro Jaguar S-Type. All examples had a five-speed automatic that directed power from a 3.9-liter Jaguar V8 good for 252 horses. Pictured is the 2003 007 Edition Thunderbird, but you can swap it for a regular one if it’s your Buy.

Three decades and three halos. Which one will light up your life with a Buy?

[Images: Chrysler, GM, Ford]

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72 Comments on “Buy/Drive/Burn: Three Decades of Halo Convertibles...”


  • avatar
    07NodnarB

    Burn the Allante…no northstar. Would have rather had last years car with the pushrod engine making 200 ‘reliable’ horses. Drive the TC…into a brick wall. Buy Thunderbird, cuz why not?! A parts bin hot mess, sure, but it still looks pretty damn good…

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      Buy the Allante, because by now you can pick one up for about $1500.
      Drive the TC – it’s got a good manual transmission.
      Crush the Thunderbird. It was a good idea that turned out to be a turd to drive.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Man Corey, you didn’t make this one easy…

    Burn the TC. You can’t put puffy seats and acres of gaudy wood trim, and then glue a trident on it and call it a Maserati. It was such an cynical, overpriced, failed attempt at a halo car.

    Drive the Thunderbird. I never got on board with the styling and interior is REALLY heavy on the parts-bin equipment and switches, but when I had one as a rental, cruising with the top down heading towards Santa Monica on a 75 degree night, I think I figured out what it was made for. It’s too heavy to be fun in the corners, and the transmission and weight blunt the engine horribly. But for a cruiser, it makes a good weekend drive.

    That leaves buy the Allante. I always liked the angular design, hated the billboard-like dash with the wall of identical buttons, and I know the Northstar is on borrowed time. But of the three, I think it has held up the best.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree here. And the Allante still has parts availability. There were also -some- made optioned with analog dials instead of the unreliable electric ones.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I think that was later in production.

        • 0 avatar
          C5 is Alive

          No-cost optional analog gauges debuted in 1988.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Ah early then, thanks for the info. I know the last Allante I saw had the digital gauges and it may have been an MY87 I can’t quite recall.

          • 0 avatar

            We’re only talking a 93 with N* here anyway, so as late as possible.

          • 0 avatar
            C5 is Alive

            Corey’s correct that the take rate seems to have been pretty low for most model years. It was higher on the N* cars.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “the take rate seems to have been pretty low for most model years. It was higher on the N* cars.”

            Somewhere in the bowels of RenCen the sudden rise in sales triggered the familiar “discontinue model” order so synonymous with GM.

          • 0 avatar

            Now since I am about that research, I just looked at every Allante on eBay right now. I was interested in which had analog, anything unusual, and the -one- to get of the lot.

            93, Analog: https://www.ebay.com/itm/1993-Cadillac-Allante/164756429240

            90, Analog: https://www.ebay.com/itm/1990-Cadillac-Allante/233940058938

            93, Analog: https://www.ebay.com/itm/1993-Cadillac-Allante/324518669348

            90, Analog: https://www.ebay.com/itm/1990-Cadillac-Allante/164774058397

            91, Analog: https://www.ebay.com/itm/1991-Cadillac-Allante/174671988922

            93, Mary Kay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/1993-Cadillac-Allante/164748776876

            And, the one to get. 93, analog, green over ivory. *chef kiss*
            https://www.ebay.com/itm/1993-Cadillac-Allante-Convertible/124643250912

          • 0 avatar
            C5 is Alive

            Hmm. Analog gauges may have been more common than I thought, at least in later cars.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @Corey:

            Yeah, that green one is pretty. But it’s got rust, and weird stains all over the bottom of the engine that look a lot like oil to me. Northstar Immolation, maybe?

            https://cdn.dealeraccelerate.com/cam/34/2217/103069/790×1024/1993-cadillac-allante-convertible

            Anyone know what that gunk is?

            By the way, that “Classic Auto Mall” is actually an ex-factory outlet where I used to live, right outside Reading, PA. The place was absolutely dead as hell when I worked there (’94, as I recall). Reading was dead too, and it sounds like not much has changed there since.

            Glad they found something to do with the space, though! I’d love to visit that dealership.

  • avatar
    ciscokidinsf

    I was just about to spend my stimmy in a TC Chrysler. Not the lame Auto but the real 4-cyl Maserati DOHC engine with Manual. Does a respectable 200HP with 220 of torque according to the notes (Should be good, but that assumes a lot) but Alas, car in the middle of the mountains, on some ranch on an area with no GPS or Cell signal and 2 hour search produced nothing.

    Buy the Thunderbird to re-sell at the last gasp of Mecum Auctions
    Drive the REAL TC Chrysler, manual Maserati engine or nothing.
    Burn the Allante and the ever-failing Northstar

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “I was just about to spend my stimmy in a TC Chrysler.”

      No joke?

      • 0 avatar
        ciscokidinsf

        Into the mouth of madness, you can go. Sanity kicked in the 2nd hour of my search. My phone signal goes dead once going into that little sierra.

        But the universe may have this for you. Warning, towing will take a very patient, very skilled towing person as is somewhere in the northern CA mountains, with bad, narrow roads:

        https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/cto/d/watsonville-1990-chrysler-tc-by-maserati/7291927246.html

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That passenger side bumper isn’t exciting me but otherwise seems interesting.

          So its really difficult to find this place?

          • 0 avatar
            ciscokidinsf

            My recommendation, ask the guy to meet you about what should be 3-4 miles away at the nearest firehouse. And follow him to where he is. If I had more time and patience, I might have done that. Or maybe your cell phone signal doesn’t drop like mine. print out a map.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “print out a map.”

            I’d still be stuck in Geneva without paper print out back ups.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          This made me look at more pictures of TCs, and I have to say the expensive-looking dash cap with K-car vents sticking out of it is the cherry on top. Such a distillation of what the car was.

          • 0 avatar

            Especially bad was in 1990 when they ditched the Italian wheel and instead added the standard minivan airbag wheel with a strip of wood glued on. Props for being first automaker to have standard airbags across the line, not so much for the execution:

            https://www.eastbaytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Chrysler-Maserati-Dash.jpg?w=620

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            EXEC1: So what do we do with TC to comply with the corporate mandate for driver’s side airbags in 1989?

            EXEC2: Just use the Caravan’s steering wheel and glue on a fake wood strip. If we try to order a new one from Italy its going to be $600 a unit.

            EXEC1: Will that work for TC?

            EXEC2: Its not really working now, why spend more good money after bad?

          • 0 avatar
            C5 is Alive

            Odder still that Chrysler used two different airbag steering wheel designs in this period, this four-spoke (“sport?”) model seen most often in the Daytona/LeBaron and the two-spoke airbag wheel used in the sedans and most (but not all) minivans.

            In another sign of Chrysler’s penny-pinching, the wood strip covers where the cruise control buttons are mounted in most other 1990+ Chryslers. Obviously there was no compelling reason to upgrade the TC to the newer steering column (which also introduced the double-sided ignition key to Mopars) from the 1980s-vintage column with stalk-mounted cruise.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Buy the TC. Whatever. It’s my money and I’ll enjoy owning it.

    Drive the Allante. I’m an Allante apologist and this would be my buy if it was a 4.5L. As it stands, first year Northstar is a bit too much of a gamble for me.

    Burn the Thunderbird. I’m also a retrobird apologist and it is hard to leave this one out but the other two just move me more.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Buy the Allante. As far as I concerned, it’s the only worthwhile car of the three.

    Something has to be Drive, so I’ll give that place to the Thunderbird, although what a sports oriented neighbor has to say about his father’s Thunderbird, don’t expect much from the driving experience.

    Burn the TC. I’ve only seen one of those that has ever brought a smile to my face, and in that case it wasn’t the car but rather the situation.

    Until the pandemic, every fall the Richmond area had a really good, really extensive car show out at a winery east of Richmond. Normally, cars would be classed by either marque, or nationality, or a combination of the two depending on the focus of that year’s show. In 2018, Italian cars were done in four classes: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, and everything else Italian. A guy shows up with a TC, and promptly places it in the general Italian class.

    Within five minutes, all the other owners in that class had forced him to move the car elsewhere.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    This one is way too easy.

    Burn the TC, looks way too much like a dime a dozen LeBaron

    Drive the Cadillac, FWD burn outs are fun on occasion.

    Buy the T-bird, though not in the 007 color. Turquoise would probably be my first choice with red or white as alternate choices.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Didn’t we just do this article?

    Buy: Allante has drawbacks but I know it can be made to run because its essentially an E-body platform 4.5/440T4.
    Drive: Tough. I’ve never driven either but I’ll take the Jag V8 over Chrysler turbo or Mitsu V6.
    Burn: TC as much as its probably a better thing to own and take care of.

    EDIT: If you force the NOrthSTART on me I reverse the Allante and TC. N* must be cleansed with fire.

  • avatar
    C5 is Alive

    Buy: The TC, just because I hate the Thunderbird THAT much. As has been noted here before, the TC would surely have made a more favorable impression if it had debuted at least a year before the 1987 LeBaron as was originally intended.

    Drive: The Cadillac. The Allante is far from perfect, but it was truly one of the brand’s last grabs at greatness before descending into GM parts bin mediocrity and utter irrelevance among the respectable HNW crowd.

    Burn: There’s literally nothing redeemable about the T-Bird. Its engine isn’t powerful enough, its chassis and build quality aren’t solid enough and its attempted “retro” flair is nowhere close to believable enough to offset those deficiencies.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I can’t play by the rules on this one…Burn them all.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Buy: Allanté. By far the best looking of the three, and some proper head bolts in that Northstar should result in a pretty reliable and easy-to-fix toy.

    Drive: Thunderbird, just so I can see if it’s as soft and wimpy as everyone says even with a V8.

    Burn: TC, because Maserati’s involvement failed to differentiate it meaningfully from a SWB LeBaron.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Buy a monster truck. Drive monster truck over all three until they burn.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    This might be the best B/D/B ever.

    Buy: Cadillac – the Northstar is just some headbolts away from being right and at least I know what I’m signing up for – those glorious buttons appeal to my OCD brain – I feel you can squint and see the roots of “art and science” design in the Alante

    Drive: Ford – I wanted to love this car when it came out – it is the most modern of the three and is built on a comfortable, albeit not a soul-stirring platform – but it lacks a back seat making the Chrysler and Caddy more pragmatic

    Burn: Chrysler TC – a tarted up Lebaron is still a tarted up Lebaron

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Nothing to think about. Burn the Italian K-car, drive the T-Bird like it’s stolen, right into the ground and walk away (the only RWD) after installing dragstrip gears and shift kit, I bet it’ll drift good, buy and store the Allante, I’m sure it’ll appreciate the most.

    I’m totally not a fan of the 007 franchise, and the Caddy was in “Tango & Cash”.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Convertibles?! Where I live, a convertible would be ideal exactly 6 days out of each year, but on 4 of those days I would be stuck doing something else. Meanwhile the cowl shake and extra poundage would be liabilities *every* day. [This probably means I secretly want a convertible and just can’t admit it to myself.]

    • Buy the Allante and store it until 2024 when it shall have an EV powertrain installed (solving about 80% of its problems).

    • Drive the Thunderbird just once to confirm my suspicions. I don’t like the car it was inspired by, and I don’t like the car it was based on. (Besides, a halo car built by a truck company is no halo at all.)

    • Burn the TC, because I’m not driving that vehicle anywhere unless a car hauler is following me. (1989 + LeBaron + Maserati: Is there such a thing as “Peak Unreliability”?)

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I think here it may be seven days a year but I bought one anyway. There is much strategery to consider for the limited use convertible.

      I like the idea of the EV Allante, I’ll be curious to see if kits develop for that sort of thing. I think it would bring back some relevance to limited production but otherwise beloved oddballs.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Buy: Allante – Yeah it’s the Northstar but the modern cockpit and seats are for the ages. By the final years the convertible top issues were improved. Plus the body is aluminum.

    Drive: Thunderbird – The LS S-type DEW98 platform is nicely balanced. It’s too bad Ford didn’t get more out of it.

    Burn: Chrysler Maserati TC – Even with the Maserati or Mopar turbo four which are far preferable to the Mitsubishi V6 it’s still a dressed up LeBaron.

    Honorable mention: Buick Reatta convertible.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    This thread inspired me to look in on prices for the Allanté’s successor, the XLR. I always wanted an XLR, from the beginning, but my life has never had room for a two-seater in it.

    HOLY CRAP.

    Crap Northstar XLRs are over $20,000. Nice XLR-Vs with the supercharged 4.4 are over $50,000.

    I think they look great, but that kind of coin is just insane.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Apparently XLR-V didn’t come out until MY06, but yes these things pull a bit more than one may think. I wouldn’t buy one for the prices you’re quoting though unless it was extra clean with sub 40K miles:

      MY04 CADILLAC XLR 2D CONVERTIBLE

      3/18/21 $15,500 32,159 3.1 8G/A Black Regular Southwest Texas Hobby
      1/5/21 $12,900 35,497 4.0 8G/A Gray Regular Southeast Atlanta
      12/22/20 $14,500 45,591 3.6 8G/A Red Regular Southeast Orlando
      1/8/21 $9,000 73,135 – – 8G/A Blue Regular Northeast New Jersey
      2/12/21 $10,500 93,484 4.1 8G/A Black Regular Southwest Houston
      2/4/21 $6,000 105,963 – – 8G/A Silver Regular Northeast New Jersey

      MY05 CADILLAC XLR 2D CONVERTIBLE

      9/10/20 $21,000* 31,491 4.0 8G/A Red Regular Northeast Pennsylvania
      7/8/20 $10,400* 40,318 2.9 8G/A Red Regular Northeast New Jersey
      3/25/20 $8,500* 43,887 3.3 8G/A Brown Lease Midwest Cleveland
      6/1/20 $12,500* 44,064 – – 8CY/A Silver Regular Midwest Cleveland
      11/5/20 $15,000* 46,402 3.0 8G/A Black Regular Southeast Orlando
      6/15/20 $11,900* 57,497 – – 8CY/A – – Regular West Coast myCentralAuction
      6/26/20 $16,000* 57,499 4.5 8G/A Black Regular West Coast Nevada
      5/8/20 $8,000* 59,921 2.6 8G/A Red Regular Midwest Milwaukee
      9/14/20 $10,100* 61,157 – – 8CY/A – – Regular West Coast myCentralAuction
      8/10/20 $8,705* 69,144 2.4 8G/A Blue Lease West Coast California
      9/3/20 $5,000* 72,757 2.8 8G/A Silver Regular Midwest Louisville
      7/24/20 $10,300* 72,795 3.0 8G/A Black Lease Northeast Pennsylvania
      4/17/20 $8,000* 74,782 3.5 8G/A Black Regular Northeast Pennsylvania
      12/22/20 $5,100* 84,881 2.8 8G/A Silver Regular Southeast New Orleans
      8/26/20 $6,800* 107,890 1.8 8G/A Red Regular Southeast Lakeland

      MY06 CADILLAC XLR-V 2D CONVERTIBLE

      5/27/20 $38,500* 8,300 – – 8CY/A Silver Regular West Coast Riverside
      4/16/20 $20,900* 68,195 3.7 8G/A Black Regular Midwest Minnesota
      5/5/20 $11,200* 106,871 3.5 8G/A Silver Regular Southeast Atlanta
      6/25/20 $15,200* 106,877 3.7 8G/A Silver Regular Southeast Palm Beach
      10/22/20 $13,750* 109,440 4.5 8G/A Silver Regular West Coast Phoenix

      • 0 avatar

        Be careful not to get bumped at the rear, as I hear XLR tail lamp lenses are something like $2k a set.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Very interesting. That’s… not what people are advertising. Still have the issue that it’s a 2-seater, though.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Dal – Only two things I can think of are Corvettes are too expensive to profit on and make the proles pay for a hardtop convertible. (C5 and C6 are softtops AFAIK). Even in avg/rough condition the C5s pull more, extra clean a lot more:

          MY04 Chevrolet Corvette CONV

          3/15/21 $21,500 19,380 – – 8CY/M Silver Regular Midwest Chicago
          3/8/21 $21,500 33,920 4.5 8G/A Red Regular Southeast Orlando
          2/24/21 $19,100 36,970 – – 8CY/A Red Regular Southeast Palm Beach
          3/16/21 $12,200 93,869 3.0 8GT/A Blue Lease Southeast Orlando
          3/17/21 $12,000 99,189 2.9 8G/A Silver Regular Southeast Lakeland
          2/24/21 $7,900 144,505 – – 8G/A Silver Regular Southeast Georgia
          3/10/21 $6,300 149,927 2.2 8G/A Silver Regular West Coast California

          MY05 Chevrolet Corvette CONV

          3/12/21 $25,000 28,574 4.8 8G/6 Blue Regular Northeast Pennsylvania
          3/8/21 $22,800 32,104 – – 8CY/A – – Regular West Coast myCentralAuction
          3/19/21 $27,500* 32,107 4.8 8G/A Red Regular West Coast Nevada
          3/7/21 $22,950 36,770 – – 8CY/A Blue Regular Northeast Philadelphia
          3/9/21 $24,000 36,879 – – 8CY/M Black Regular Northeast Philadelphia
          3/2/21 $24,300 37,263 – – 8CY/M – – Regular Midwest myCentralAuction
          3/3/21 $23,500 40,093 4.4 8G/6 Red Regular West Coast Seattle
          2/26/21 $22,700 49,419 – – 8CY/A Red Regular Southeast Tampa
          3/17/21 $20,100 60,700 – – 8CY/A – – Regular West Coast myCentralAuction
          3/18/21 $18,000 61,830 – – 8CY/- – Silver Regular Northeast Pennsylvania
          3/22/21 $20,145 65,643 3.9 8G/A Red Regular West Coast San Francisco Bay

          I’m sure some dealers are also thinking I’ll price this up “Becuz Cadillaxz”. 80/20 rule in action.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Yeah, I’m sure the Vettes have something to do with it, although the C5 Vette owners tend to look down on non-V XLRs for performance reasons.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I suspect given its bones the XLR will always have some type of demand, had this been some derivative as the Allante was I don’t think this would be so. If I had 25K to blow, I’d pick up an example under 10K from the South or West and then spend the other 15K shoehorning in an LS2. Evidently this can be done cost effectively on a Miata, but for XLR you’ve already got a working transmission so in theory easier:

            https://www.lsxmag.com/news/is-a-junkyard-engine-ls-swap-worth-the-effort-and-the-money/

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      @dal:

      Perhaps it’s the rarity factor? Not too long ago I was looking at “weekend toys” (think C5 ‘Vette, Miata, ’90s Z28, stuff like that) and for grins looked up XLRs, and yeah, those things go for silly money.

      I’d rather have a C6 ‘Vette – quicker, and no potential Northstar issues.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I’ll admit it: my love for the XLR is based purely on the styling. I think it’s the best-ever expression of A&S and the best-looking modern Cadillac.

        I don’t feel the same degree of want for a C5 or C6 Vette, even though I could get one with the right transmission.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        @Freed

        Attention, the “pay to play” light is illuminated. Please proceed to your dealer for wallet inspection, er service.

        For some reason C5s are hot and always have been, esp the 2000MY for some reason (wanna say something to do with emissions that year its allowed to pollute more and go faster?). C6s until The Year Who Shall Not Be Named were coming down because of the success of and aftermarket demand for C7.

        More than one C4 owner thought their example was blessed by ye gods and thus they wanted the moon… but the market didn’t agree. A few years back I found a Corvette specialist in Georgia who was advertising a restored black MY96 C4 convertible with stick, higher miles but under 100, for about 10K. That’s *retail* but looking back that was probably not a horrible buy, here’s today:

        MY96 Chevrolet Corvette CONV

        11/4/20 $4,800* 144,176 – – 8G/A Silver Regular Southeast Daytona Beach
        6/10/20 $5,100* 144,107 – – 8G/A Silver Regular Southeast Daytona Beach
        5/20/20 $5,600* 85,371 – – 8G/A Silver Lease Southeast Fort Myers
        1/13/21 $6,000* 81,575 – – 8CY/A Black Regular Northeast NY Metro Skyline
        11/9/20 $10,800* 41,868 – – 8CY/A – – Regular Southeast myCentralAuction

        I think 5 dimes for an avg at best (prob rough) 96 Vette is kind of steep, softtop or no (will prob need a top too). I’d rather not be sitting 7,5 in one by the time I do my recon but I guess there is a buyer out there who will. That one for 6 sounds better and was probably cleaner, assuming no top maybe 1,5 in recon that I wouldn’t mind sitting 7,5 in (or less).

        If you really wanted an XLR, try to find an average example at a smaller shop, take cash along with a printout of the valuations I posted and simply say: Look I know about these, do you want to do reasonable business or let it sit another six months before you dump it for this much or less *point at printout*? If you can’t get people talking then f*** them, these are niche cars they want to make a mint on despite the small buyers pool but they also have bills every month too. You could try this tactic with a C6 but that’s a lot easier to sell than orphan XLR model from so-so marque so may not work.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I’m going to buy the T-Bird. Itis mediocre, but frankly thats enough to be better than the other 2. I know, you can bulletproof the Northstar. I can also give the Thunderbird more gear in the rear too. And I don’t have to look for a unicorn of a year.

    Drive the T.C. Always been curious.

    Burn the Allante. Motors Liquidation Corp. managed to build a good 2 seat convertible. It would be a few years before it was available and you had to go to your Chevrolet dealer to get it.

  • avatar
    A Scientist

    Buy: Allante. IMO has aged the best of the three, and probably the least trouble prone

    Drive: Chrysler. Still handsome, but rather cynical and probably the most trouble prone.

    Burn: Thunderbird. Too much promised, too little delivered.

  • avatar
    3SpeedAutomatic

    BUY: I like the Thunderbird, worth keeping for sunny days
    DRIVE: Park the Allante in the Retirement community parking lot, someone might recognize it
    BURN: A combo of Chrysler & Italian manufacturing… a money pit from hell that no one in the retirement community will recognize anyway

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Easy for me

    Buy the Allante as most of the early Northstar didn’t seem all that bad until they had over 100K and plenty of lower mileage examples are around for cheap money.

    Drive the T-
    Bird because it was a pretty cool reimagining of the original and had a smooth V8 under the hood

    Burn the Chrysler/Italian mess even though it wasn’t a bad looker

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Since we’re talking halos.

    https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/pittsburgh-1990-buick-regetta/7289136294.html

    For all kinds of money I want the convertible but this looks to be a hard top with a moonroof. Lame.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Pathetic. I can’t believe that many would rather burn or park the T-Bird. It’s the only one that’s practically a sports car. Jeeze I mean none of them are truly collectible.

    Burn all of them if you must, but the T-Bird would be an absolute kick in the pantz with simple drivetrain mods (fixes) and they wouldn’t even effect emissions (or its value).

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Why, thank you for using my suggestion!

    Buy the Thunderbird, unless you’re talking about used-car prices. The Allante was too expensive new.

    Drive the Allante, unless it was the Northstar. From what I have heard, that engine wouldn’t be running often enough to be driven.

    Burn the TC. A bad copy of a good original.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Burn the TC. It’s a freakin’ LeBaron with a nicer interior.

    For me, the buy/drive rests on a question: whether the head gaskets on the Allante have been replaced. Apparently the job is so expensive that most folks just junk the car instead, so I suspect these might be rare. Therefore:

    Buy the T-bird. Like the looks, RWD handling, plus it’s a more modern car. I understand the engine in these can be problematic, but it’s a newer model than the Allante, and most of these are very low-mileage creampuffs, so I’m thinking these should be OK for light weekend-drive duty for some time.

    Drive the Allante.

    Reverse this if the head gaskets on the Allante in question have been dealt with.

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