Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Which older Cadillac would you prefer? Why?

I am considering in the future acquiring an older Cadillac for some weekend driving, short errands, etc. I have always liked the 1985 Seville slant-back, and I located a model with 60K in very good condition. Lately, though, I have been interested in the Allante model (87-93). I drove one and liked the feel of the car, but I don’t know if I would like the upkeep on a convertible model. Any thoughts about these two vehicles? preferences? Thanks for your input!

The main knock on the Allante was that it was underpowered. The 1993 model used the Northstar V8 and had adequate power.

I own an Allante (1989) and it is indeed a fine car. They are by no means “underpowered”… Few cars can stay with one up to 70mph and from a standstill, they will burn rubber for as long as you want…Their only real problem is the dashboard electronics, which, when it craps out, is virtually impossible to repair. The prototype anti-lock brakes (Bosch) can malfunction resulting in TOTAL brake failure if you ignore the warning light. These cars had handmade (Italian) aluminum bodies and the earlier models came with an aluminum hard-top that two people can easily lift off. The last year, 1993, they came with the then new NorthStar engine but no hardtop which became a $5000 option. (These cars sold for $55,000 in 1989). The '93 models used the standard Eldo suspension and seats whereas the earlier cars had stiffer springs and Recaro seats…A few cars were built with analog instruments. They built around 3200 cars a year, 1987-1993 for a total production run of about 25,000 cars. The '87-'88 models had engine and transmission problems. The best place to shop for an Allante is on e-Bay. The '89-'90 models give you the best value, an updated engine and you get the hardtop. Many owners of hardtops have sold them to owners of the '91-'93 cars (for big bucks) which did not come with them.

What really killed this car, for $55,000, you got a manually operated soft-top which was somewhat tricky to raise or lower. NOT what Caddy buyers were expecting.

It was underpowered compared to its competition at the time, such as the 350SL, M3, or XJ-S. But certainly not underpowered compared to most cars of the time.

Maybe something from around the 30’s.

Maybe I’m a dope, but I’m a sucker for the Allante also (but I’ve never owned one). I would definitely try to find one with the Northstar V8.

That’s the big decision…The '93 with the Northstar (a Lotus designed engine) is basically a shortened (18") Eldorado and no hardtop (unless you are VERY lucky to find one of the few that came with that $5000 option.) Or you settle for the 4.5L aluminum V8 (in the '89-'92) 220hp, a decent push-rod engine really, and get the hardtop and leather Recaro seats and sport suspension for about half the (or less) the price you will pay for a '93 Northstar. Don’t forget, these are two-seaters…

The 4100/4500 weren’t exactly known for great durability or reliability either. IMO the Northstar would be the better option.

Okay, any particular reason or reasons why a Caddy fan should choose an Allante over a Seville? or vice versa? The use of either car would be for weekend light travel – mainly a cruiser car.


If I were a Caddy coinsurer, wouldn’t be looking at any front wheel drive models, IMO a “real” Cadillac would be a Fleetwood or pre 1985 DeVille. Maybe an early 70’s model with the big ol 500 cubic inch V8.

The Seville is…mundane…It’s engine and transmission are fragile and impossible to repair. Any major failure means scrapping the car, which holds true for the Allante too…But at least they have high scrap value!

Yes! a '69 Deville Convertible, 472 375 hp, 18.5 feet of Detroit Iron!

The only Cadillac of that era (post-'72 to '90) that I’d like to own is the '75-'79 Seville, preferably a '77-'79 without the padded vinyl roof. Still looks great to me.

The Seville got hit with the ugly stick. The Allante body was designed and built be Pininfarina. It is much better looking that the Seville of that era. But if you like the Seville, then you should have it.

The height of opulance in the older Caddys was the 1976 Eldo Barritz convertable, if you can find one. Google some pictures and you’ll understand. '76 Eldo was the last of the American convertables for some years, a true classic.

My sister had one back in the '70s. A friend of mine currently has two, a hardtop and a convertable.