Talk about dodging a bullet, right?
The Cadillac Allanté was a competent halo car with—as I'm sure most of you know—one of the most intense production processes ever.
Pininfarina would send the car bodies from Italy, 56 at a time, in a special Boeing 747 all the way to Detroit…where they'd be mated with their American-made chassis and engine.
It's something that tried to reignite the coachbuilding heritage of Cadillac—indeed, in 1959 and 1960 Pininfarina made 200 "Brougham" bodies for General Motors—but the arrangement was far more trouble and expense than it was worth.
But of course, Lincoln wouldn't have known that until after a few years of production…
After a number of years away from the show circuit—I think the 1983 Continental Concept 100 four years earlier was the last—Ford dusted off their own Italian coachbuilder for a kick at the luxury convertible can.
I've been over a bit of Vignale history before with the Tatra 613 but suffice it to say by 1969 the company was absorbed by Ford-owned De Tomaso and by 1974 had ceased operations.
It's since been brought back as a trim name for the Mondeo—including free car washes, if reports are to be believed…which is a sad way for an Italian carrozzeria to limp along in the afterlife.
At the 1987 Detroit Auto Show, just a few months after Cadillac and Pininfarina announced their partnership, Lincoln introduced the Gilda concept by Vignale.
By Vignale? Not really—this was the work of the Ford design studio. It's not too outlandish; likely, Lincoln wanted to create something as production-ready as possible in case the Allanté was a hit.
Said to be based off of the Mercury Cougar / Ford Thunderbird, but with a Lincoln V8 engine, independent suspension all-round, and all-wheel-drive.
The best styling cue is how the rear lights echo a "continental" spare tire—a detail that holds up remarkably well even today.
Looking inside the car you'll notice its Thunderbird roots, with an elegant Speedster-style tonneau cover behind the two-seat interior.
Like the Allanté, the car was shown with both a removable hardtop, cloth folding convertible top, and the speedster tonneau cover.
Would it have sold? As a halo car, would it have sent buyers to Lincoln showrooms? I have no idea.
But I do know that it'd sure be fun to browse the local classified ads for one…by now they'd likely cost less than $10,000 and perfect for winter driving duties in Canada!