Other than being different colors, there are not many other differences between my two 1993 Cadillac Allantes that I recently purchased. Both are from the same year, with the same Northstar V8 engine — and both have well over 100,000 miles. For some reason, though, one has aged much worse — and has a repair estimate five times higher than the other.
When I traded for these two Allantes, I had no intention of keeping both. Honestly, I didn’t think I would keep either of them — but I was able to find some appealing qualities once I looked past their obvious flaws and started driving them. I really like the styling, as well as the aircraft cockpit-inspired, driver-focused interior. Unlike most sporty cars with a similar vibe, though, the Allante is extremely comfortable. The soft seats and supple ride make for a very relaxed driving experience, and surprisingly, the Pininfarina bodies have held together really well. There are no odd squeaks or rattles from the chassis, and the paint and interior materials still look great. So I decided to keep one of them, and to help me decide, I took both of them up to my mechanic, the Car Wizard, for his assessment.
On the surface, the red Allante would be the obvious choice for the worse car. Other than being slightly rougher looking cosmetically, it was also subjected to questionable mods, including modern alloy wheels, aftermarket exhaust and a strange tuner box attached to the intake that probably adjusts the air/fuel mixture by tricking the engine computer. Additionally, it leaks oil and coolant and has a horrible belt squeal.
The white Allante, on the other hand, presents much better. With a much cleaner interior and completely stock appearance, it gives the feeling of a better cared-for example. While it leaks oil, and gives an erroneous warning for low oil pressure, and rides more harshly like the shocks are blown — I honestly expected it to be the cheaper car to repair. In reality, to fix its oil leak properly requires removing the engine, and since Cadillac no longer makes the magnetic ride suspension components for the Allante, I have to convert it to a normal passive suspension. At least the oil pressure sensor is only $80 to fix, but to fix everything else will cost over $3,500.
While the Red Allante also has an oil leak, it was from an area that doesn’t require removing the engine, and the potentially disastrous will be solved with a simple $5.00 radiator cap. The most expensive item needed is a new belt tensioner, but the total estimate of all the repairs combined is only $600. So swapping the wheels and dumping the white car would seem like the logical choice, but then my mechanic decided to make things more complicated.
He offered to fix my white Allante for free, in exchange for the red Allante. Since I like the white color better, and I’m an idiot, I chose to make this deal. This means my mechanic now has two of my former Northstar-powered cars in his fleet — an engine known for its poor serviceability and unreliability — which many mechanics, including the Wizard himself, tell their customers to avoid. This also means that I will own a sorted Allante without spending any money — which is a rare win for me, I think. Find a Cadillac Allante for sale