The folks in Dearborn spent many decades making Mercuries that were just slightly flashier Fords, and so the car-shopping public had no problem with a Comet that was obviously a Falcon (or Maverick), or a Marquis that was obviously an LTD (or Granada). Not so with GM, whose divisions mostly did a pretty good job of building cars that camouflaged their connections to corporate siblings… that is, until the Malaise Era. By the time Carter was President, you could buy a Chevy Nova with Buick, Pontiac, or Oldsmobile badging. I found this example of the Olds Nova at a Denver wrecking yard yesterday.
Alfred Sloan’s “a car for every pocketbook” idea, with a GM buyer progressing from Chevrolet through Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac as he climbed the ladder of success, had largely been discarded by The General’s bosses by the time this Omega hit the streets. However, a late-70s GM loyalist could have done an all-Nova pocketbook-progression sequence: Chevrolet Nova, Pontiac Ventura, Oldsmobile Omega, Buick Apollo… and then into the pinnacle of X-body success: the Nova-based Cadillac Seville.
Just like yesterday’s Malaise Era Junkyard Find, this car has the good old Buick V6. By 1979, GM had made an “even-fire” version of this engine, so Oldsmobile drivers could experience some semblance of quiet luxury.
There’s really no hiding the Nova here, but the Oldsmobile Division did the best they could on a shoestring branding budget.
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