Junkyard Find: 1979 Oldsmobile Omega

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1979 oldsmobile omega

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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  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Jun 25, 2011

    I am surprised no one wants this for a rod. It even has factory AC. Put in a Olds 305,350 or 403 or SBC. But I guess real Novas get more respect.

  • And003 And003 on Apr 06, 2012

    I could easily see someone using this car as a project involving GM's E-Rod crate engine ... perhaps as a phantom 442.

  • Secret Hi5 Cream of mushroom interior looks good. Impractical for families and denim jeans wearers.
  • Matt Posky Hot.
  • Lou_BC Murilee is basically correct on the trim levels. People tend to refer to Ford's full-sized cars as "Galaxie 500" or "Galaxie's" even though that's just the mid level trim. I was never a fan of the '69 snout or any of the subsequent models. The vacuum controlled headlight covers typically failed. It was a heavy clunky system also found on the Mercury's like the Cougar. The XL's and LTD's could be purchased with factory bucket seats and a center console with a large shifter, similar to the type of throttle on an airplane. The late 60's era Ford cars had coil springs in the rear which rode nice. The shape of the fender wells did not lend themselves to fitting larger tires. The frame layout carried on to become the underpinnings of the Panther platform. I noticed that this car came with disc brakes in the front. There was a time when disc's were an upgrade option from drum brakes. Ford's engines of similar displacement are often assumed as being from the same engine families. In '69 the 429 was the biggest engine which was in the same family as the 460 (385 series). It was a true big block. In 1968 and earlier, the 428, 427, 390's typically found in these cars were FE block engines. The 427 side oiler has always been the most desired option.
  • Drew8MR Minivans are expensive new if you are just buying them for utility. Used minivans are often superfund sites in back compared to the typical barely used backseats in a lot of other vehicles and you aren't going to get a deal just because everything is filthy, broken and covered in spilled food and drink.
  • Arthur Dailey This is still the only 'car' show that our entire family enjoys. This is not Willie Mays with the Mets style of decline. More like Gretzky with the Blues. It may not be their 'best' work but when it works the magic is still there.