Design is one of the main features of any automobile that catches your eye at first glance. However, the design is much more than just flowing lines or nice shapes. It could be the signature style that makes a car instantly recognizable, even by non-car people. For the better part of the 20th century, the American car industry had distinctive design features. Along with the big dimensions and chrome, you could tell an American from a foreign car from a mile away.
However, there were several American car companies that didn’t want their cars to have the same classic American styling. They wanted to dress their models in fancy foreign suits, mostly Italian. They wanted to present something that would look different and have a European flair. The goal was to make cars look more desirable or expensive. The combination of powerful, well-engineered American drivetrains with elegant, prestigious European bodies worked well.
So, here are the 12 best American models with European bodies or designs. Here you will find everything from Le Mans-winning race cars to luxurious coupes, and even a few rare GT coupes. This exquisite combination of cars will captivate your attention with their sensual lines and interesting stories.
1. Cadillac Allante
The ‘80s weren’t a successful period for Cadillac. Through most of the decade, Cadillac tried to reinvent itself and introduce cars to fight their European competitors. But in most cases, those ‘80s Cadillac models weren’t especially interesting. In fact, almost all are forgotten. However, there is one that will be a future collectible, and that is the elegant Allante Cadillac introduced in 1987.
They envisioned the Allante as a competitor to the Mercedes SL convertible. It was a two-seater luxury convertible with Italian styling by Pininfarina. And it came with a Northstar V8 engine and front-wheel drive. It was an unusual combination, but the car looked and performed well. Even the production process was specific.
They did the fabrication in Italy in the Pininfarina factory. And then they shipped them to the U.S. by jet, which affected the final cost. The Allante stayed in production until 1993 and they made just over 21,000 of them. Sadly, the car was too expensive to produce so the factory allegedly lost money on every example they made.