By on June 19, 2013

Picture courtesy GM

The bare and plain fact that TTAC was, to some degree, built on the GM Death Watch series often causes our readers to think that we, as a group of writers, hate GM. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your humble author grew up thinking the “Mark Of Excellence” was a mandatory part of every seatbelt buckle and that the Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency was the most awesome sedan money could buy. If we’re angry at GM, it’s in large part because the people who ran the company destroyed an incomparable, irreplaceable legacy through their complacency, incompetence, and short-term thinking. The men who ran the company into the ground managed to snatch an improbable defeat from the jaws of victory. There is no hell hot enough for the architects of General Motors’ fall from grace. They destroyed a big part of the United States and there was no, repeat, no reason for it to happen.

And now the emblem of their seemingly deliberate failure is coming up for sale.

Nine years ago, the final Oldsmobiles rolled off the assembly line. Although the brand had been somewhat revitalized by a thoroughly unified-looking lineup that imitated the look of the peerless first-generation Aurora, GM had starved the brand of a proper followup to that car and had relentlessly cut money out of the interiors and engines while bullying as many dealers as possible into voluntary closure. The inexplicable popularity of Buick in China meant that when it was time to compress that particular area of the Sloan Plan from two nameplates to one, it was the Rocket brand that took the bullet.

As if to emphasize the fact that Oldsmobile’s death was a matter of heartless planning rather than some sort of emergency situation, the company built a “Final 500″ of all five major vehicle lines. The Intrigue that is coming up for sale next month is supposedly the last Oldsmobile ever built, featuring over 1,000 signatures from plant workers. It’s worth noting that multiple sources claim an Alero was actually the last one built.

The Intrigue is expected to fetch about forty thousand dollars; less than what you’d pay for a modern puffer-barge like the BMW 528i. Will it ever be worth more than that? I doubt it. America may be a shadow of the country it was when the open road resonated to the sound of a million Dynamic 88s, but one thing remains consistent: we don’t value the losers.

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126 Comments on “The Last Soldier Prepares To Cross The Block...”


  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Paging Dr. Old!

    Olds has been forgoten, but anyone old enough to grow up with Pontiac still cry that they are gone and Buick should been the one to receive the axe.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Agreed, I still have yet to see how Buick was a great keeper. China aside, Pontiac was much more viable in the long run, had a much better lineup, and a younger buying age.

      GM has
      1 core brand
      1 luxury brand
      2 semi luxury.

      It makes no sense to leave out a sporting brand, chevy has massive shoes to fill.

      • 0 avatar
        Easton

        Unless you have at least $40k to drop on a Camaro or Corvette, the Chevy line-up has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING sporting to offer. Best look elsewhere, like the Ford Focus ST.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          I’m talking about sporty, not some wanna be who thinks they can outrun everything on the road because they have a spoiler on a front wheel drive car.

          Also I never said anything about chevy brand being sporty.

      • 0 avatar
        MadHungarian

        Pardon me, but what was the better lineup, other than the G8? For years GM seemed to saddle Pontiac with many of its bad ideas, such as the plastic-cladding craze, the Aztek, the Trans Sport van, and the Solstice, which was nice looking but nevertheless a failure.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I say keep both and sell both as semi luxury, Pontiac for the sporty or RWD models and Buick with the sort of models they sell now. There was no good reason to kill Pontiac, none whatsoever.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      The Intrigue was a great car. I leased a 2001 for a few years, got 30 MPG at 80 MPH on a trip to Cape Cod one summer. It was head and shoulders above the other GM mid-size cars, at the time. good looking (imho) and had a distinctive engine with decent performance. I remember thinking, “Finally something other than badges to justify the higher prices Oldsmobile had to command in the GM pricing hierarchy.”
      The disaster of Ron Zarella, poor marketing, shortage of product development funds and zero Divisional advertising dollars allocated to let customers know Intrigue was available at Oldsmobile dealers, for example. As they say, the rest is history and today GM all together sells just a few more cars in the US than Oldsmobile did at its peak.

      In 1986, one could hardly have imagined Oldsmobile would be gone in 18 years. The Division’s sales were typically constrained by production capacity and had been on a 14 year run of average sales of a million cars a year. At the time, only Chevrolet and Ford had ever exceeded that volume in one year. Only Chevy and Opel among GM brands today do it. I believe only Toyota, and perhaps Honda have ever exceeded that volume of cars in the United States. That is qualified because Oldsmobile didn’t sell trucks through most of its life. The market is much different today, in that CAFE has driven a contorted definition of trucks to include what would have been station wagons and luxury sedans in the day. Olds had 10%+ of the market.
      It was exciting to be at Oldsmobile and see Ford only hundreds of units ahead some ten day periods. It was THE place to be in GM. Many leaders came through Oldsmobile, including former CEO Bob Stemple.

      I had a gut feeling the 1984 reorg would be the death of Oldsmobile when I learned the bulk Oldsmobile, Product Engineering and all manufacturing activities, plus the local Fisher Body plant would become Lansing Automotive Division. BOC actually struggled with a name for the business unit, responsible for J,N, & eventually L cars,GM of Mexico and Saturn when it evolved into the Small Car Group. It was a bigger business unit than Chrysler Corporation. I recall my excitement to hear the SCG announcement, followed by the sick feeling when GM went on to say the HQ would be in Troy, Michigan, no longer in Lansing.

      Today, Oldsmobile’s Administration Building, a marble and glass tower that was Oldsmobile HQ, is abandoned, recently finding a use as a prop to wrap a banner celebrating ATS North American Car of the Year award. Driving by the place reminds me a little of the Willys-Overland and Packard HQs. At least in Lansing they are building some wonderful Cadillacs, Buicks, Chevrolets and GMCs in gleaming award winning new plants that arose from the ashes of Oldsmobile.

  • avatar
    Motorhead10

    Amen – the brands all blurred together and it was a muddy mess. My Collector Edition Trans Am many never be worth more than I paid for it – but (love it or hate it) to me it is the ultimate example of all the excessive style and performance that could have made Pontiac viable.

  • avatar
    akitadog

    I bought a ’99 Intrigue GL as my first bought-with-my-own-money car (slightly used, of course). Arguably, it was GM’s best midsize car at the time, with its powerful DOHC, or “Twin-Cam,” 3.5L V6, very decent set of standard equipment, and pretty good looks. I enjoyed that car, and it ate up the highway miles, but ended up selling it to my sister at about 95K miles, due to just having bought my ’05 Cooper S, which proved to be a mistake, as the MINI was a lemon, and I had no real reason to switch out cars, except for pure covetousness.

    • 0 avatar
      salhany

      I think you and I share a brain. I had a ’99 Intrigue GL with the 3.5 as my daily driver for 5 years, putting 135K+ on it in total after buying it with 40K. It was a very comfortable, smooth, stylish car. I really enjoyed driving it. Some odd quirks (strangeness with batteries with mine) and a couple of engineering mistakes (water would get into the blower motor and rust it out), but overall a solid car. I sold it when it reached 135K as I had just replaced a water pump and needed a car with fewer miles to make a bunch of long-distance highway trips, but I still miss it. A very European feeling car, nothing like its Grand Prix or Regal cousins.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ akitadog & salhany – Interesting to hear. I know only one person who had an Intrique, and she liked it too. I remember some of her friends were appalled when she got it. She’s a successful consultant and is married to a doctor; they were expecting her to get a 3-series, I think. She found a great end-of-model-year deal on an Intrigue, however, and decided to buy it.

        Don’t diss the other second-gen W bodies. Properly optioned and maintained (two big ifs for any car, but particularly GM cars of that era) the Regal and Grand Prix were good cars too.

        I will say that late ’90s Grand Prix (Grands Prix?) I see nowadays almost all have rusted out rocker panels – perhaps a design flaw, although their current owners seem to be doing the cars no favors.

        • 0 avatar
          salhany

          Nothing against the other W bodies, but I test drove both a Grand Prix and a Regal of the same era when I was in the market at that time. All three of the cousins were on the same huge used car lot, so I had lots of choices and time to compare them. To me, the ‘Trigue was clearly the best of the bunch for me. The ergonomics were better than those of the Regal (which had all the controls on one steering wheel arm instead of two) and the ride and ambiance were better than those of the GP.

          I didn’t have a chance to drive the supercharged Regal GS at the time, which was a pity, but I bought the Trigue and never regretted it.

  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    “It’s worth noting that multiple sources claim an Alero was actually the last one built.”

    Because it’s true. The Intrigue’s last model year was 2002, two years before the Olds division was killed off.

  • avatar
    felix

    I LOVED the Olds Intrigue! Never owned one but rented several back in the day. Smooth, comfortable, and surprisingly good handling. The suspension was well damped and the steering responsive. Closest thing to a Euro sport sedan back the late 90s. Told myself i would buy one someday. Probably won’t happen now…

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      I thought the Intrigue looked very attractive on the outside. The interior, however, was typical mid-90s GM.

      You remember the marketing tie-in with the X-Files movie? Agents Mulder and Scully drove a silver Intrigue!

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Good explanation of the love/hate for GM. They had the tiger by the tail and then did what so many former great American companies did, they completely shot themselves in the foot. Greed, arrogance, stupidity, all of the above and more. The worst part is the legacy of complete disregard that they developed towards their customers. I think that is the primary reason for such emnity towards GM; there are lots and lots of people that bought one of their cars in the last 30 years (that’s a HUGE number of cars!) and wish that they hadn’t.

    To be purely objective, GM did develop a lot of significant engineering over the years, Olds in particular, but the credit for their innovativeness gets lost in their ensuing mediocrity.

    Anyway, I thought that the Alero was the last model that Olds produced, coming off of the assembly line in July 2004.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    This car is about $38,000 too expensive. The brand needed to die. Badge engineering at its absolute worst. I have a sad sigh whenever I see the Trailblazer / Blazer variant on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I’m not old enough to remember a time when Olds was anything other than an also-ran. Regardless of a few people’s fond memories, the brand was already dead.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      You do realize the trailblazer is totally different then an s10 blazer right? As in almost no similarities.

      • 0 avatar
        Tim_Turbo

        Well Olds made the Bravada for both the s-10 style and Trailblazer, so maybe that is what he meant. And since we are being specific, they also had a “Trailblazer” appearence package on the S-10 Blazer for a few years (99-01 I think).

  • avatar
    mikey

    Jack has it right. China is the one and only reason we still have the Buick name plate. I suppose axing Olds, and then Pontiac made good sense at the time. I just wish Pontiac had survived.

    I got great memories of the Oldsmobile,and it too should have survived.

    The first paragraph say it all. My view from the lowest rung,on the GM employee ladder,pretty well confirms Jacks well stated analysis.

    It breaks my heart at the car shows,viewing what GM managed to do up to the early seventies. IMHO it wasn’t untill around 2006,that GM started to get the message.

    Too little too late.

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    agree 100% with everything Jack said about GM’s fall.
    the sins of the E suite in Detriot should be a mandatory standalone class for all MBA students.

  • avatar
    JoelW

    “Although the brand had been somewhat revitalized by a thoroughly unified-looking lineup that imitated the look of the peerless first-generation Aurora, GM had starved the brand of a proper followup to that car and had relentlessly cut money out of the interiors and engines while bullying as many dealers as possible into voluntary closure. The inexplicable popularity of Buick in China meant that when it was time to compress that particular area of the Sloan Plan from two nameplates to one, it was the Rocket brand that took the bullet.”

    I worked at Oldsmobile consumer relations from 1993 to 1998 in Lansing as both a customer service rep and customer service trainer. I was a contract employee that worked for EDS but the GM people really made us part of the Oldsmobile family. As a trainer, I participated in many new-hire tours of the final assembly plant in Lansing (Achieva, Skylark, Grand Am). These were some of the best years of my career and I admit a certain sense of wistfulness when I think back on those years. I was both an attendee and volunteer at the Olds centennial even in 1997… good, good times for sure.

    My own perspective on the mid-90′s product transformation that started with the Aurora based on my memory of how it was pitched to us… the plan was to make Oldsmobile more like Saturn… for awhile there it was mandatory to call dealerships “retailers” for example. They wanted Olds to be the “step-up” brand for Saturn owners to eventually move into. In retrospect, we can see why this was doomed to fail since most new Oldsmobile purchasers were a completely different demographic than Saturn purchasers (read: older). I believe some of the bread-and-butter Olds customers were alienated by the new product line and would guess that many of them migrated to Buick or elsewhere. Olds did keep an upscale version of the 88 around for a few extra years called just the “Regency” so there was a “classic” model in the line up. And as we can all guess the “appeal” that GM wanted for the Oldsmobile line to a, well, younger set probably did not materialize in the way that product planners and marketers expected.

    I have a signed copy of Helen Early and Jim Walkinshaw’s first 100 years of Oldsmobile book and will keep that forever as one of my favorite keepsake of my own Oldsmobile years.

    Still have one Oldsmobile in my own garage…. 2004 Silhouette with 80,000 some miles.

    OCA (Oldsmobile Club of America) still alive and going strong and as long as own any Oldsmobile you can still join :)

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      I knew GM was doomed from the moment when I first shopped for a slightly used Aurora. My salesman Berger, who had sold me several cars in the past, explained it featured the famous Northstar engine, slightly reduced in displacement and output so that it did not equal or exceed the power of its Cadillac version.

      Say what Berger? GM spent real money to detune the engine. For what reason? When you quit trying to make the best car possible, given your budget, you are finished. The exception is if you have a shared monopoly, but GM had not enjoyed that in decades.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @jimbob457- They didn’t exactly detune it. The 4.0L Aurora V8 had specifications identical to the 4.0L Lexus LS 400 V8 of the day. However, they did choose a smaller displacement for the exact reason the salesman described.

        • 0 avatar
          jimbob457

          God bless you. In the words of our great President William Jefferson Clinton: “I feel your pain”. So, why are you still, after all this time, making excuses for a failure that was not your fault?

          GM didn’t own Lexus. The already designed and tooled Northstar (whatever its early, but fixable faults, it was reputed to be a lower-cost stone copy of a celebrated Mercedes Benz V-8) must surely have been cheaper, easier to sell, and would not have set off my BS detector as an Aurora power plant.

          Aside from its, imo, ugly butt, the Aurora was an attractive car. The foolishness over the engine put me off, so I never owned one.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            jimbob457

            all the car companies have done this at one time or another. Would you not buy a Porsche Cayman because it doesn’t get the more powerful version of the engine it shares with the 911?

            The northstar was not a copy of a old mercedes design either. It was more closely related in design to the LT5, at least in basic concepts.

            its fine that you feel the way you do, but don’t pretend gm did or does anything that every other company out there did/does.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            Uhh.. Duh, de GM Northstar wuz already dere. It was designed, debugged, and
            tooled up. WAKE UP! What part of stupid do you not understand?

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Jimbob says
            Uhh.. Duh, de GM Northstar wuz already dere. It was designed, debugged, and
            tooled up. WAKE UP! What part of stupid do you not understand?

            Spoken like a true internet troll. I believe you are the one who needs to wake up. Not quite sure what part of you you don’t understand. The Aurora version was just a smaller bore version of the 4.6. Much like the 3.4 in the Cayman is the smaller bore version of the 3.8 in the 911. We’re not talking capital investment here.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            My point is that the old GM spent at least some extra money to deliberately produce a lesser car. This was due to the fact they were operating on a seriously flawed business model.

            The fact that Porsche is now doing the same thing is amusing. So much so that Jeremy Clarkson recently had a whole program segment making fun of them for doing that very thing.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I can never forgive GM for what it did to Flint, Lansing, Pontiac, and Saginaw. I know there are other cities and states, and that there are other reasons why these cities have fallen on hard times. However, I see what these cities have become on a weekly basis. The Flint area had 80000 GM jobs at one time, now there are less than 7000. If you think Detroit looks bad, spend some time in Flint.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      GM wasn’t the only culprit in the deaths of those cities.

      Blame MUST be laid at their feet as well, for being so shortsighted and complacent as to become dependent on not just one industry, but ONE COMPANY within that industry.

      And on the unions, who behaved as if it was acceptable to squeeze ever-more-extortionate pay and benefit packages from the company, because the good times would of course continue in perpetuity.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I agree. There is plenty of blame to go around.

        It just seems so crazy how much money they threw into the factories in Flint and Lansing even in the 1990s and very early 2000s, just to close them. GM had zero plan. My family has a concrete business in the Detroit area (I do not know where Hoffa is). Seventy percent of our business was GM factories at one point. Buick City and Lansing Assembly were both redone or updated close to when they closed. So much wasted money.

        • 0 avatar
          OneAlpha

          Absolutely. Plenty of blame.

          New York, Los Angeles and Chicago won’t sink economically, because their economies are not only huge, but diverse, containing some aspect of almost EVERY legal and illegal industry.

          Detroit was known as the Motor City for a reason, and it killed them when the business climate shifted.

          We joke about Detroit being a shithole, but it really was terrible what happened there over the past two generations.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I agree. I don’t like the idea that GM (or any other company) destroyed a city by closing a plant. It implies that that company somehow owed that town employment in perpetuity regardless of the circumstances.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          They don’t owe Flint or Lansing anything, but in Flint especially, closing factories effectively closed the city. The factories do become woven into the fabric of the towns they are built. I understand automation has a lot to do with changes as well. The squandering of talent, resources, and opportunity by GM bothers me. The result make me sad because the post industrial landscape of Industrial Michigan is 20th century ruins.

          What would happen to Lordstown if GM decided to close the plant?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          And GM didn’t owe Flint, but they sure owned it. Buick City was a 230+ acre complex that employed GM workers, in one form or another, for over 100 years.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Alas poor Oldsmobile. I’m old enough to remember the GM brand when it was supposed to be reasonably priced, appealing to the up-and-coming young professional, somewhat sporty, more fun to drive, a bit more noticeable but not too noticeable to make your co-workers think you’re earning way more then they were.

    Unfortunately, during my lifetime, that marketing message from GM applied to not only Oldsmobile, but also Pontiac, Saab and now Buick. If it wasn’t for the Chinese ….

    • 0 avatar
      Motorhead10

      Even Fletch saw the badge engineering in 1985 “As I pulled up to my imitation palatial apartment building, I noticed the familiar red OldsmoBuick of one Arnold J. Pants, esquire, attorney to the former Mrs. Irwin M. Fletcher.”

    • 0 avatar
      Cubista

      It’s been awhile since they made a truly “fun” car, but the Hurst Olds Cutlass coupes that were made in the ’80′s DEFINITELY qualified. T-tops (of course), deck lid wing spoiler, V8 engine, and Hurst Lightning Rod shifter made for a ride that was funkier than James Brown’s trousers. You could seriously light ‘em up in one of those. It’s forgotten because most Gen-X’ers tend to fixate on the Buick Grand National/GNX from the same era, but you’d be a fool to sleep on the Hurst edition if you have a chance to grab one.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Sigh .

    Jack’s right as are all the others who cut through the B.S. and identify greed and arrogance killed the golden goose that was Generous Motors Corp. for most of my life .

    What a waste .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    While I agree that GM had a couple cars in Oldsmobile when they killed it, I think they still needed to kill it. They should have kept the cars though. The Alero and Intrigue were better by far than their Chevy equivalents – drove tons of them as rentals. So rebadge them as Chevys and off you go.

    GM STILL has too many brands and too many sales channels. I find it unfathomable that there is really a business case for both Chevy and GMC trucks. All they really need is Chevy and Cadillac. Cadillac IS the sporty brand these days, “traditional luxury” is dead and gone. The whole idea of cheap, tacky, rolling sofas (like the Oldsmobarge Pregnancy 98 that my folks had) needs to take a dirt nap. If the Chinese love Buicks, build them there – they already get cars they don’t sell here as Buicks.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      While I agree with you on GMC, they’ve cheapened Chevrolet car too much for it to pass as what was Pontiac/Olds/Buick, and Cadillac is off in a different market altoegether. You still need a middle brand (at least in NA) for the “nice” Chevrolet and other random crap a step above (Encore), or you have to quit Daewooing up the bowtie. Branding matters so much in today’s ad-soaked world, which is why I question the new Impala so much… esp stickered at what $30K? Lex ES350 MSRP starts at 36… LT Impala starts at 28.9 and LTZ2 at 35.7 [!] why buy the bowtie when you could have a Lex for similar money? How’s that $40K Taurus working out for Ford in the volume dept?

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        You can blame the UAW for a good share of those facts, and the lousy culture they inspired in many of the operations in those cities. I say this as a “Lansing chauvinist”, but also based on quality and labor relations reasons that led to Lansing getting new Vehicle assembly plants while Flint assembly plants were closed. Delphi, nearly half of GM’s one time global 800,000 employees, ended up closing 28 or so of their 30 US plants, unable to make any money in competition with non-UAW suppliers.

        GM had lots of plans, actually spent more on new plants than the $50B cost of the Apollo moon landing program in the early ’80s. The plans just did not work.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Those who look back on the UAW and its role in the US auto industry in another decade or two, may find that the negatives outweigh the positives by a wide margin on the whole in the overall scheme of things.

          The prime example is what the UAW collective bargaining has wrought in unintended consequences for Detroit, the state and the country.

          Yes, GM was badly managed and engineered bad products for decades but without the UAW nailing their coffin shut GM may have lumbered on without dying a financial death.

          But only in America can something as destructive as the UAW get a do-over funded by the taxpayers without any consequences or repercussions.

          There is something fundamentally wrong when 94% of the taxpaying workforce is forced to pay to keep the other 6% living the highlife and partying hardy.

          • 0 avatar
            tonycd

            100% disagree, on multiple counts:

            •The “do-over funded by the taxpayers without any consequences or repercussions.” No repercussions? Everybody who built Oldsmobiles, Hummers, Saabs and Saturns got fired.

            •”94% of the taxpaying workforce is forced to pay to keep the other 6% living the highlife and partying hardy.” The GM bailout wasn’t primarily for the sake of GM. It was to stop the abrupt loss of another million jobs at the very time when the nation’s economy was collapsing. To allow that additional body blow would have been bad for everybody — much worse, in fact, than if GM were to return to a respirator now, just because of the timing. For this reason, the bailout was actually a bargain for taxpayers, and I’m thrilled they did it.

            •Finally, it wasn’t the auto workers who smothered John Rock’s plan to save Oldmobile, or who forced it to sell rebadged sh!tbox Cavaliers and Blazers, or who toasted the brand equity of its fabled Rocket V8 by sticking the name on Chevy engines installed in Oldsmobiles. The workers only assembled the parts the management designed and sourced for them. This fish rotted from the head down.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            tonycd, the opposing views on the topic of handouts, bailouts and nationalization will never be reconciled. There is no common ground for either side to retreat to. The UAW supports it. No one else does. Not even now.

            The fact is, it happened. The majority of taxpaying Americans were against it but Bush did it anyway. Obama just took the ball and doubled down on it.

            We’ll never know if pimping GM to China along with a healthy bribe like we did Chrysler to Italy, would have had a better outcome. The taxpayers lost their collective assets on throwing good money after bad.

            I believe it would have been better to chop up GM to give it away. That’s what we did with Chrysler. Over and done with!

            Making the UAW part-owners in these wasted ventures would have been even better since even the UAW doesn’t have enough fools to strike themselves or bargain themselves into bankruptcy.

            The bailouts a bargain for taxpayers? Only some convoluted UAW logic would come up with that one. Then again, the UAW lost nothing and gained everything, all at someone else’s dime.

            Think of America’s millions of unemployed, many who lost everything so the UAW could go on being supported by the remaining working taxpayers. This was a selective bailing out of the UAW — it did nothing for the millions who lost their job, home and everything else.

            Maybe you can appreciate that I can’t even begin to see your reasoning for justifying bailouts and nationalization of failed automakers like Chrysler and GM.

            Ironically, our government couldn’t wait to dump Chrysler. We should have done the same for GM.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Actually tonycd
            H2s were made by AM General, and that facility was reutilized almost instantly.
            Not all

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Lansing pretty much always had good plants. It’s too bad that most of the GM plans didn’t work out. There is another set of reasons for that too. The UAW certainly didn’t do GM any favors either, but management gave in over and over again for decades. That can be said for any of the Big 3.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          Come on Doctor olds, you I both know that the phenomenal incomopetence of the senior management at GM played a huge role in the downfall of GM.

          Oh, no doubt the UAW demands, were for sure a factor. Remember Flint 98? You guys had the UAW right where you wanted them. What happened? The greedy f–ks at the top saw thier huge,and obscene bonus in jeopardy.
          I’m the first to admit that maybe the UAW/CAW could of done more to insure the survival of GM. But where were you guys? Busy shoving money in your pockets, with truck profits. All the while Honda and Toyota were handing you your lunch.

          The fit hit the shan in late 08. Rick W takes his jet to to Washington. To cry for corporate welfare? Then walks out the door with 20 million cash,and a guaranteed pension. This whole scenario is somehow the fault of the UAW?

          You can feed your corporate speak, and line of crap to the unknowing at TTAC. I lived and breathed it for 36 plus years.

          I could get marched out the door for stealing a fan belt. Maybe the union could get me back. Maybe not. However the criminally incompetent management{i’ve seen many} get a fat bonus and a golden parachute.

          Doc…You know I’m right,and I don’t blame you for not wanting to share your views here.
          Lets not blame the unions for everything.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Behind every great fortune is a great crime.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Amen Mikey. GM upper management has blood all over their hands.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “Lets not blame the unions for everything.”

            Let’s blame the unions for half. Seems fair to me especially in view of the power of strikes exercised so effectively to drive their employers into losing even more money during a time when they could least afford it.

            My take on the golden parachutes? Rank and file workers are entitled to a fair day’s wages for a fair day’s pay. Nothing more. Nothing less.

            Why begrudge the higher paid management employees? They’re getting paid for what they are suppose to be doing. If labor doesn’t like it, get the education to become someone in management. Otherwise, clam up.

            Labor is not entitled to the same pay as management. Never has. Never will. Been that way since the beginning of time. Even in the time of the Sumerians there was management and there was labor. Management was always better compensated than labor. Even in our military, the no-striper is not entitled to what the commander-in-chief gets paid.

            Labor vs management compensation comparisons. How silly can you get?

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            HDC…I’m not going to disagree. I don’t have a problem with management perks, and compensation. Higher education should have its rewards.

            The senior management at GM took a mult million dollar company,and reduced them to begging for a government hand out.

            This sort of incompetence should some how qualify for a bonus?

            I was an hourly rated member of the UAW and CAW. We had a thing called “progresive discipline”…make a mistake that cost the company money,and you answered for it. Do it too many times,and you are in bigger and bigger trouble.

            I could write a book on the stupid,idiotic mistakes,I’ve seen. Management that couldn’t run a Hot Dog cart, rewarded with promotions, and a huge bonus.

            At my low level, I have personally witnesed, unbelievable ineptitude. Can you imagine what those above me saw?

          • 0 avatar
            Pig_Iron

            No one put a gun to GM’s head to accept those UAW contracts. After NAFTA, they were free to play the field. No one said they couldn’t import. No one said they had to botch every single partnership they entered into; now including one of their oldest in Europe.
            :-(

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            mikey, I had a reply to your comment and when I pressed the “Submit Comment” button it disappeared into the ttac universe of servers.

            So I took my backup copy of what I wrote, retransmitted that and ttac tells me “You’ve already said that” or words to that effect indicating a duplication even when I omit words from the original.

            Sorry dude, I tried. Not the first time this has happened to me. Conspiracy theory, anyone?

  • avatar
    tbp0701

    I also grew up in a “GM family” and thought the 442 was one of mankind’s greatest achievements. I was also fairly proud when I bought my own tier-above-Chevette GM, a ’79 Olds Cutlass Supreme. Then came the issues with the car. While a few problems were due to the car’s age, too many could be traced to how it was designed and built. Around the time, for instance, it became common to see boards serving as rear bumpers, as the originals had fallen off. In my case, I was driving back to my dorm just after handing over a check to a mechanic for more than I could really afford when I heard a clunk and screech. When I saw the right side of my bumper had become detached, I stood behind my car, at the side of the road, laughing. On the upside, this was outside of an apartment building, and I met a girl who had a lot of rope.

    I’ve occasionally considered buying another GM, but the memories of that car–along with all the issues relatives had with their GMs–always crop up and cut the thought process short. I also haven’t really cared for those I’ve driven during the last few years, but they have mainly been rental fodder, so it’s a little unfair to judge. if I ever come across a 442 at the right price it may be tough to resist, however, and it could mean meeting another girl with an impressive supply of rope.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      I grew up riding in my dad’s ’69 442 convertible, and I too thought this car represented the epitome of class, style, performance, and good taste. Of course he sold it when I was 14 in 1980, so I never actually got to drive it – and he was probably wise to do that. But every Olds I encountered, or GM car for that matter, I inevitably compared to that 442, and they all came up short in one way or another. Our ’76 Vista Cruiser was a pale bloated catcon strangled pig compared with the lighter, better built, and more powereful 442.

  • avatar
    morbo

    My personal hatred of GM aside, I never understood the need to kill any of the brands. Obviously badge engineering 6 different version of the same thing (Trailblazer, Bravado, Rainer, 9-7X, Ascender, Envoy) isn’t a path to long term health. but why did EVERY brand have to have a complete lineup.

    I know the dealers would howl, but if the goal was to thin and consolidate the herd anyway, what’s stopped RenCen from building one or two class competitive/leading vehicles for brands outside Chevy and Cadillac? In my child of the 80′s mind,

    – Chevy and Caddy would be full lineups,
    – Pontiac would have been the G8, Solstice, and maybe a new trans Am
    – Buick would be a LeSabre, Enclave, Regal, and maybe a Riviera
    – Hummer was correct as-is and just needed updates as the GM trucks got updated
    – SAAB, yeah, it was going to die no matter what.
    – Saturn, the S triplets (sedan, coupe, wagon), and L triplets (sedan, coupe, wagon) as basic transportation. These could have been restyled existing vehocle, but sold through the Saturn model of no haggle with minimal flair. A way to conquest some Honda/Toyota buyers that would never buy a Chevy but would buy a Saturn
    – GMC To this day no idea why it exists. Surprised the hummers didn’t just become GMC H1/2/3

    Seems to be where Fiat is moving Chrysler. No one brand fills the full model range, but Fiat-Chrysler-Jeep-RAM-SRT fill everything (RIP Dodge).

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @morbo- GM’s plan was not far off your ideas. Chevy and Cadillac are planned to have full lineups. Buick-Pontiac-GMC was to be combined as one channel with a broad lineup- entry luxury from Buick, performance from Pontiac, trucks from GMC.

      GMC is doing quite well. Those who knock GM’s second largest selling brand in America, don’t see the business value. GMC sells more full size pickups than Toyota and Nissan combined, generating $2,000-$3,000 more profit per unit than Chevrolet. They sell to customers who want something uplevel from Chevrolet, arguably plus business, as well as more profitable business.

      GM sales first surpassed Ford 80 some years ago because they offered greater product diversity. GMC as well as Buick are examples of that today.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      And Olds–a Cutlass and 88/98.

      Would have been an “Olds man” if the $500 head-gasket repair on a 1984 Pontiac Sunbird, coupled with the sudden, dangerous losses of power (later found to be fixed by a TSB) that my Dad spent hundreds of $$ to try to fix (of which GM reimbursed ~$100) made my family a Honda family for life. Dad’s on Accord #5, I’m on #3 (plus a Civic), plus my family has a sprinkling of Civics, a ‘Teg, and Odyssey.

      I would still like to find a lightly-used, fully-optioned (as in EVERYTHING), near-mint 1987 Olds Cutlass Supremem Brougham Sedan equipped with the 307 and 4-speed AOD to have as a summer “fun” car–take to Olds club meets and car shows, sit next to said car whilst working on a skin-cancer case, cooler full of “adult beverages” next to my chair! (As I’ve said in other threads on this board, I have a suspicion that most remaining examples of these have either been used as demolition-derby fodder, or have been “donked.” (My first car was a used-up, tired hooptie of a 1978 Cutlass Salon Coupe (the hatchback-looking “aeroback” 2-door) with the Olds 260 V8–sucked gas like a small-block Chebby, while producing less power than that in my Mom’s ’80 Cutlass and ’83 Regal Custom sedans, both with the Buick 231 V6. That Salon still holds fond memories, and I want to own the last year of that G-Body, which, in true GM-of-the-time fashion, was the best in terms of “debugged-ness” and quality.)

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        That’s why I’m so intent on buying this 1976 Cutlass Supreme Brougham, I want to see it in the hands of someone who respects it (me) rather than someone who would donkify it.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Whoops, missed a couple points–Dad’s car was a 1986 Century with the 2.8 2-bbl Chevy V6, and that Sunbird was mine–that $500 head-gasket was a hit to my college commuter pocketbook.

        And “Sumpremem?” Obviously, spelling goes out the window with a little “consumption!” Oh well! :-p

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Olds should have been merged or co-marketed with Saturn in the eary 1990s when the Cutlass Supreme looked like a giant Saturn SL. Olds could have adopted Saturn’s no-haggle pricing and customer-service philosophy. Together they had a fairly comprehensive line-up of vehicles.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    How did Jack get me to wax nostalgic about my Oldsmobile Achieva? It wasn’t even an SCX. Still, the Achieva and its 3100 V6 got me everywhere I needed to go in college.

    Ladies, especially ones that work at nursing homes, love a late 90s GM badge-engineered geriatric mobile.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Famous last words:

    “What is good for General Motors, is good for America”
    Or was it the other way around?

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      He actually said “What is good for America, is good for General Motors, and vice versa.”

      GM accounted for something like 4% of US GDP then.

      Their sales today are equivalent to 1% of US GDP, would be closer to 2% if their captive finance unit was the primary lender as GMAC was a few years ago.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    It’s a good thing that people hold on to their classic Oldsmobiles. And I hope to continue that trend myself by purchasing a 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Brougham. Because, well…it’s 2700 bucks for a well-maintained classic (in my eyes) car, and I would be a fool to continue driving around in my well-worn 1995 Buick until the engine self-destructs.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      3800s seldom self destruct.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        It’s the L82 3100, the one that blows head gaskets and hydrolocks. I’ve got about 110,000 miles on it and nothing has happened yet, but I’m scared. My mom’s ’99 Cutlass hydrolocked, and I would rather sell my Buick before that happens.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Kind of embarrassed that I was so thoroughly won over by a car that a lot of people would see as old crap…

          I’ve read many a comment on this site about the Colonnades that suggests they were some of the worst cars ever built.

          • 0 avatar
            dastanley

            Hey don’t be embarrassed. If you like it, you like it.

            When I was growing up, my parents owned a ’69 Olds 442 and then owned a ’76 Vista Cruiser (Cutlass station wagon). Granted, the 76 paled in comparison with the 69, but some of that wasn’t GM’s fault. Emission requirements were increasing faster than technology could keep up without strangling performance in the 70s. And our Vista Cruiser wasn’t built as well as the 442 was – it spent lots of time in the shop for transmission work, amongst other things. But I suppose perception is all relative. Based on some of the later Cutlasses, the Colonades probably were “classics”.

            In 1980, my dad bought an ’80 Cutlass coupe that initially seemed pathetic compared to the 442. It’s all relative.

  • avatar

    A co-worker bought a new Cruze last year (it’s a 2012). It has 6,000 miles on it and it’s already overheated on him and spent three days at the dealer replacing heads and head gaskets. As much as I like to think GM has changed, the more things like this happen to scare me away.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      How many heads has the dealer put in it? It only has one.

      • 0 avatar

        One head, but on the second head gasket. I’m not sure why the first gasket failed, but his son warped the head on it after driving it while it was overheating being stuck in the one lane HOV lanes in Houston. He stopped the car and was blocking the HOV lane. Cop told him he had to move it.

        Dealer determined the overheating was due to head gasket failure. Didn’t give a reason. They replaced the head and gasket. Got it back and it started overheating again. Took it back and they replaced the head gasket again. Now it seems to be running fine. But again, it’s a car with 6000 miles on it. He’s only changed the oil once on it (at the dealership no less). Why is it already blowing head gaskets?

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          The first one sounds like a production defect, or possibly the sticking electronic thermostat. The second failure sounds like the dealer’s fault. Either way, not a warm fuzzy feeling.

          Unfortunately with anything mechanical there are some defective parts that get through. There is a guy out there who has also had this happen to his Toyota or Honda or Ford… you just don’t happen to know him personally. These Cruze’s are not known to have any specific issues like this (as of now), so this one falls under the law of statistics.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Did the diesel kill Oldsmobile? People actually liked Oldsmobiles when they came out, and the Cutlass was the best selling car in the US in 1976. They could still put up big numbers in the early ’80s, but the strong selling diesels were starting to turn into pumpkins at an alarming rate. Those cars shattered GM’s illusion of competence for many, and may well have helped create Taurus and Camry customers.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I can totally understand that, the 1976 Cutlass redesign took a rather goofy looking car and made it look damned good.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      In 1980, Oldsmobile sold roughly 300,000 diesels, a volume that nearly rivaled Buick’s entire volume, plus Olds sold almost a million more gas engine cars!
      The diesel was very popular for a while but dealt a huge blow to Oldsmobile’s reputation in the end. The V8′s problems were addressed by the ’85 MY, but volumes fell so far due to the poor reputation and decline in resale value that only 15,000 or so were sold and the engine was cancelled.

      I think Oldsmobile could have overcome the diesel damage. They had lots of satisfied gas engine customers and still sold over 1 million in ’86 after the diesel ended its ’78-’85 run. We thought our customers would turn away from the first round of downsizing in the late ’70′s, but we did better than ever. Following on the diesel, the combination of radical downsizing, also released to meet CAFE, and new transmission and engine control technologies fraught with quality growing pains with the wholesale move to FWD caused the downward spiral in reputation. As Olds bread and butter models were engineered and manufactured by other divisions, their powertrains were identical, they could not justify a higher price point in many consumer’s minds.

      Oh, I should add, Cutlass was not just number one in 1976, it was the number one seller for well over a decade, accounting for 25% of the midsize market much of the time. To bring perspective, Cutlass sold like Camry and Accord combined today.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Think you responded to the wrong comment, Doc.

        Okay, that’s better now.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          It may have been unintentional. I had the same problem and have written about the misdirection of replies on more than one occasion in other threads.

          I use Opera v12.15 and it tells me if my connection to ttac has been reset, where and which server.

          Even after I have reestablished my connection to ttac, and hit the reply button again, there have been times, and there continue to be times, when my reply to someone goes all the way to the end of the comments section.

          And there are other times, even with a good connection, my reply just disappears into the vastness that is the ttac server universe and the “Leave a Reply” box just goes blank.

          I have enabled my “copy to note” function so as to always have a copy of what I wrote in case of my bits and bytes departing for another galaxy.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          It seems like an appropriate response to what I wrote.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        @Dr. Olds:

        I thought that the Cutlass was the best-seller at least through 1985 or so.

        (I presume it certainly would have been if you counted the Ciera A-Bodies along with the G-Body Supremes/Classics. Please correct me if I’m wrong.)

  • avatar
    DownEaster

    Too bad to see the last Oldsmobile sold off. Should be in a museum. Back in the late 1970s and 1980s Olds was the car to have. Remember all the Cutlass Supremes onn the road in the 1980s based on the 1978 restyle? Then everything became Cutlass with Olds. Cutlass Supreme, Cutlass Ciera, and the Cutlass Calais. GM killed Olds by not shifting the cars and too much overlap with Buick and Pontiac. After the Saturn S-Series died after 2002, GM tried to turn Saturn into Oldsmobile with an import flair. It didn’t work. Hoepfully GM does well in the future but the loss of Pontiac especially has hit them hard in sporty cars. It isn’t the same anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Forgot about the Calais, with the craptastic Quad-4s! (Although, as Dr. Olds has stated in other threads, GM eventually got things right, but unfortunately, the damage had been done. No flame wars, please!)

      And yes, the A-Bodies (Ciera) weren’t the greatest things out there, but they got the job done, and were pretty damn bulletproof toward the end of the run–my Dad’s ’86 Century, when it didn’t have the loss-of-power under cold-engine conditions, could take my Mom’s ’83 Regal Custom Sedan with the 231 Buick 6 easily, with what to my 16/17-year-old ears sounded like a cool growl; handling was a little sloppy, and the steering was too light, but had a good snap to center, as I recall. Not to mention that this Century was a Limited, which brought with it the nice crushed-velour seats, along with cruise control; this car started my Dad on only buying the top-trim of any vehicle, with me following suit. Damn nice for the time. Just the other week, I saw a 1983 or 1984 Chevy Celebrity Coupe that could have been a frame-off–it looked absolutely pristine! (I wonder, seriously, if those may have any collectible value in the future? Maybe not muscle-car like, but I’m sure there are enough NOS parts around to support such a market.)

      Just remembered that when I had my first new car into the body shop for dealer-caused paint damage (lot kid backed the car into the dealership wall), I had an Achieva with the 3.1 V6 for a couple of weeks. Car could haul a$$ pretty well–can only imagine what that engine did when stuffed into a J-Body Cavalier or Sunbird, or Fiero of the day; this was before GM started tuning the exhaust note of these engines to that obnoxious, low-quality drone. (Think Corsica or Beretta, circa 1993 or so, and you’ve got it!)

  • avatar

    Still my fav car is the Olds Cutlass Supreme.
    Possibly because my folks bought the convertible version in 72-and the 4 barrel carb because my dad wanted to be able to tow something with the extra power…sure dad.
    I bought it from them a few yrs later,summer jobs did pay off way back when.
    Had an interesting quirk that when you drove over 90 in the rain you’d get a little stream of water coming in exactly above the middle of windshield where the convertible roof attached.(Not that I ever did that. I was a responsible 18 yr-old driver. Heh!)
    I’d prob still have the car if I hadn’t wrecked it in a Georgia cornfield,rolling the car once. Had the top down,not wearing seatbelts and walked away a little sore and w/my right arm all scraped up where it had been resting on the glove box. The windshield on my side held up and saved my life,but anybody on driver side would have been in serious trouble as it was bent down nearly to body.
    Still see a couple around my part of LA and every time I do I go outside and drool a little and remember the great times associated with that car.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      My Mom had a fire-engine-red 1971 Cutlass “S” Coupe, 350 Rocket 2-bbl, reasonably optioned, rode like the wind.

      Would love to find one similar, but these things are too high in value even for a frame-off-restorable “barn find,” so if I happened on a “last-year” G-Body Supreme Sedan (a polar-opposite of my “first-year (1978 Salon), it’d be sweet!

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    kericf, maybe they just had a bad batch of 2012s. Something similar happened to the Cruze belonging to a friend of my grand daughter. That Cruze only had ~3880 miles on it when it happened.

    They checked it out at the dealer but found nothing wrong.

    So now these four girls are commuting to college in my grand daughter’s 2011 Elantra again even though it has lots of miles on it already.

    Weird thing was, the check-engine light came on in the Cruze and the temp went way up. As fate would have it they had just crested Organ Pass and coasted all the way down the mountain into the city, cooling everything down.

    Things could have turned out a lot worse had the Cruze failed in the middle of the desert.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      There was a bad batch of electronic thermostats in the Cruze. There is a TSB out on them and the dealer should have replaced it.

      Unfortunately it isn’t the old fashion mechanical kind, but a computer controlled part.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        It may be an intermittent problem then, but thanks for the info. I’ll call the girl’s dad tonight after he comes home from work to tell him so he can tell the dealership what to replace.

        Right now he’s driving it to work on the Airbase everyday to try and figure out wtf.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    Will the GM stigma ever go away? Not for me it won’t. Pontiac took some hits for the plastic cladding , but what else could they do. GM , then as now builds one car for each segment, then the different divisions have to make theirs stand out. I agree Pontiac should have stayed and Buick should have gone. Sell that in China if they find it appealing , but here , a Buick is a gussied up , less reliable Toyota-esque vehicle and nothing more. They kind of look like Hyundai’s on steroids IMO. The New GM is the same as the old GM. They re-shuffled the cards , but it the same cards!!

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Between the two, Buick or Toyota, I’d take a Toyota any day if I had to choose. But with Toyota’s quality in the gutter, one is as bad as the other.

      I agree that Buick should have been given to Shanghai. GM could then import Buick vehicles made in China into the US, just like VW, Toyota and Honda did way back when that led to their success.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @NoGoYo- I noticed that, cut and pasted the comment where I intended it to go. I think they are in the right places now. I am pretty sure I didn’t make the mistake, as HDC mentioned similar issues.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    @NoGoYo- It happened again! I hit reply to your comment, and it appeared here. I tried to edit it, but was denied permission. The miracle of modern technology!

  • avatar
    donnyindelaware

    im only 27 but for some reason gm and chrysler to me did some of the dumbest stuff that seemed to bite them in the butt later down the road. look at what happend to plymouth, eagle etc badge engineering at its dumbest its a shame for these two companies. when I turned 18 i wanted a stratus coupe that looked so awesome to me that i just had to have it so when we went to look at it the inside looked exactly like a mitsubishi full of hard ass plastice and bad seats i told my dad they wont be making this much longer….

  • avatar
    sckid213

    As a kid who grew up in San Diego in the ’90s, I associated Olds with the Cutlass Ciera, which to me seemed very much like Buicks. I couldn’t discern any difference between Olds and Buick. The cars looked the same, and seemed to appeal to the same types of drivers (old people). I had no idea that Olds was once a forward-looking, high-tech, cutting edge brand driven by yuppies.

    When Olds started their failed resurgence with the Aurora, I took note, and I very much liked their last line of vehicles (especially the Aurora and Intrigue). I didn’t realize that they were basically going back to their roots with those last cars. I thought it was a bit random that this “old person” car company was trying to build Euro-fighters, but figured GM had enough brands that they didn’t have much to lose.

    I remember in high school (circa 2000), a friend of mine’s dad bought an Alero, and my friend – a protypical Socal skater/surfer cool dude – was telling me how nice it was. Something finally clicked in my head that day, and I realized Olds was supposed to be considered on par with Acura and low-end Lexus at the time. But I just couldn’t buy it. In my head, they were still a step below.

    Now that I’ve learned much more about automotive history, I understand that Olds was once a very solid, desirable brand. But I think the brand was much too damaged by the mid ’90s for them to ever turn it around with younger people. Maybe if they’d started the Aurora resurgence in 1991, it would have worked. But as things worked out (thanks, Saturn), killing the brand was sadly the right thing to do. I still think the gen-one Aurora is one of the most beautiful production cars of the ’90s.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I really feel like the RWD Cutlass Supreme was sort of the last true Oldsmobile. Sure the FWD Cutlass Supreme wasn’t the worst car in the world, but my neighbor owns a first-gen W Cutlass and while it’s a nicely designed car, it just doesn’t say Oldsmobile like its RWD predecessor did.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I was an Olds fan. What signifies an Oldsmobile for me was the brand new 1972 Olds Custom Cruiser Stationwagon we bought to take overseas to Germany with us, when I was in the military.

        And then there was the new Toronado we bought at the Frankfurt PX and picked up in Antwerp, Belgium.

        Those were Oldsmobiles! They weren’t without their own problems and breakdowns, but it’s sad that era came to an end.

  • avatar
    TomHend

    Hate the GM unions and management all you want, the reason GM failed is because of the US Government.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yup!

    • 0 avatar
      ceipower

      I don’t think so. Roger Smith had a huge negative impact on GM’s future. GM was already in the toilet , then along came Smith who’s every move was wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        There were a lot of factors to be sure. Of course the largest part of the blame for the failure of a coporation lies at the feet of management as they are tasked to direct the company under any circumstances.

        But, no one can deny that the CAFE regulations that came into force in the mid 70′s were a huge blow to the Detroit 3, but probably least to GM. So Government definitely played a role in the decline.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Smith had to preside over the dismantling of a dinosaur in the 80s and to his credit he saw the need for robotics. Pretty much in every other way he (and the other big shots of the period) was a failure, but GM was eventually doomed by two things in my view:

          1. Refusal on the part of management and UAW to accept and embrace change.
          2. CAFE.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    @dastanley: Yeah, you’re right. If it’s survived 37 years, it can’t be that bad of a car!

    Someone probably already took off all the emissions junk years ago to wake the motor back up. If not, I was planning to do that anyway, as well as adding a set of flat-top pistons to get the compression back up and installing a pair of Flowmasters to make the old Olds 350 really sound good.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Some men are Baptists, some are Catholics, my father was an Oldsmobile man.

    That son of a bitch would freeze up in the middle of summer on the equator!

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    I have to say, that as a die-hard Olds man, I am still miffed at GM for killing off Oldsmobile.

    Last Saturday I took my old Alero down to Lansing for the Oldsmobile Homecoming. Olds owners are some of the nicest people you will ever meet!

    It’s a shame that GM doesn’t seem to care about this rich part of it’s history. A few weeks ago I traveled through Lansing and decided to stop for a visit at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum. I knew that GM had given them the last Alero. When I went back, it wasn’t there. I asked the curator where it was, and he said that GM took it back, said it did not belong to the museum!

    I almost made me want to sell my Olds off and say no more!

    However, I didn’t become an Olds fan because of GM, I did it because the Olds people made it such a great company.

    I am going to share this story over at Facebook on “The Brougham Society”.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I grew up in a Ford family, back when that mattered. I met my wife, they were Oldsmobilists. (and Lutherans, too!) This resulted in my getting a 442 and my wife (then girlfriend) a Toronado and a Delta 88 (with 403 power!), they got us through most of the 80′s.

    In early 2001, we went to the local car show to look at potential replacements for our current rides; I was VERY interested in a new Intrigue. My wife saw something new we’d never seen before… A Pontiac Aztek. She was in love. Instead of an Intrigue we got the Aztek.

    I wonder if there were more stories like mine, if more people had purchased Intrigues instead of Azteks, that Oldsmobile would have survived. Maybe not.

    But the 1972 442 I had is on the top of my lifetime 10 best cars. I can’t imagine anything will ever replace it. Unless I get a Z06 Corvette…

    • 0 avatar

      Intrigue like other GM cars of the era had cheaply and poorly made interior. After sitting in GM cars at auto shows I decided to avoid them. I actually wanted to buy Alero around 2001 because of it’s cool looks but did not because it felt unrefined. Even Mitsu felt more refined! IMO GM simply could not compete because making cars cost them more than for competition and they tried to cut costs everywhere they can. I was dumbfounded by their decision to continue to develop and use push-rod engines in 21st century and put it into every mainstream car. I got an impression that GM cars are outdated and are not up to competition.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        This notion that pushrod engines are outdated, is outdated in itself.

        Pushrods- get better mpg, have more power, more upgrade able, weigh less, smaller, and of course there much cheaper
        When dodge is able to make a 5.7 that gets better mpg then a Toyota 5.7, you know your kidding yourself.

        • 0 avatar
          Les

          Overhead Cam technology brings one thing to the party, the ability to more easily raise the rev-limit of the engine, thus increasing absolute horsepower..

          …but we’re already long past a point where absolute horsepower is getting into just plain stupid territory with V-6 beigemobiles putting out ratings that Ferrris and Lamborghinis once claimed as the exclusive province of their V-12 powerplants.

          So, yeah.. OHC not really all that necessary in the modern context.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree it raises horsepower, but its not usable horsepower. Driving at 7,000+ rpm in order to reach the horsepower limit is simply not realistic.

          • 0 avatar
            Les

            “But thrashing the engine to the redline makes it Sporty, like a Formula 1 car! Who wouldn’t want a 1.3 litre that revs to Over Nine THOUSAAAAAND over a 6 litre Lump that gives you peak torque practically at Idle.. that’s hardly ‘sporty’ now is it?”

            [/sarcasm] :)

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        This (above)

  • avatar
    Les

    Seems odd.. during the years when all the GM divisions were allowed so much autonomy they were as much competing with each-other as they were with Ford and/or Chrysler General Motors was so successful it felt genuinely threatened by the possibility of anti-trust action.

    Then consolidation-consolidation-consolidation, everyone get their little ducks in a row under centralized GM authority, homogenize the product lines and kill all the duplicated effort of independent design and engineering divisions because it just makes good business sense… and the result being GM going through Bankruptcy proceedings.. Twice.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Sure it was good business sense, but you can’t say that the individual divisions didn’t suffer massively for it…

      Especially with the forced migration to FWD.

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        Umm…

        If the previous paradigm didn’t make business sense, but during which the company was so incredibly successful it was threatened with possible anti-trust action, and the succeeding paradigm Did make business sense.. and lead to multiple bankruptcies..

        …did the new paradigm Actually make business sense in the first place?


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