The Cadillac Allante, featuring General Motors' new Northstar V-8 engine, paces the 33-car field at the Indianapolis 500 on May 24, 1992.
With a 4.6-liter V-8 engine that turned out 290 hp and 290 pounds-feet of torque, the Allante was billed as "the world's most powerful front-wheel-drive roadster."
It was the third time a Cadillac served as the pace car for the Indy 500 after the Eldorado served duties during the 1973 race and the 370 Twelve did in 1931, though Cadillac produced the LaSalle pace cars used in 1927, 1934 and 1937.
GM, at a time of wrenching reorganization, product downsizing, look-alike design and shaky quality, decided Cadillac needed a high-style, high-tech two-seater in the late 1980s.
The Allante's body design and assembly were subcontracted to Italian designer and coachbuilder Pininfarina. The arrangement proved costly because of an expensive "Air Bridge" -- specially equipped 747s -- that linked Pininfarina's body shop in Italy to Cadillac's assembly plant in Hamtramck, Mich.
The Allante badge was selected by GM from a list of 1,700 computer-generated names.
It went on sale in March 1987 and was largely praised by critics for its chiseled looks and agile handling but jeered for mediocre performance and a hard-to-manage manual top.
And at a time when most luxurious Cadillacs were priced below $30,000, the Allante carried a $50,000 sticker.
Cadillac made incremental improvements to the Allante annually before the much-improved 1993 model debuted with the new Northstar V-8.
Allante production totaled 21,347 during seven model years.