Junkyard Find: 1996 Oldsmobile Aurora

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1996 oldsmobile aurora

With a 250-horse 4-liter version of Cadillac’s Northstar V8 and lines that owed nothing to the nonagenarian-aimed designs of a decade earlier, the Aurora seemed poised to revive the nose-diving fortunes of the oldest of GM’s divisions. That didn’t quite happen, and Oldsmobile— no doubt doomed by the first three letters of the marque’s name— was sent before The General’s Death Panel before another decade had passed. Where have all the Auroras gone? Here’s one that I found at a Denver wrecking yard earlier this week.

With no Oldsmobile emblems anywhere on the car’s exterior, you had to look at the small print on the engine cover to find any mention of Ransom E. Olds’ 19th-century creation.

Like its Quad 4 stablemate, the Aurora V8 made better than one horsepower per cubic inch. The car was respectably quick. In fact, an Aurora seemed so suspiciously cheaty that it earned the People’s Curse at the very first 24 Hours of LeMons race in 2006.

The ’96 Aurora listed at $34,360, just over 50 grand in today’s dollars. The BMW 525i cost about $1000 more and had 35 fewer horsepower, but buyer demographics were very much not on Oldsmobile’s side in that matchup.

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  • Towncar Towncar on Jun 15, 2012

    I've got the Aurora's half-sibling, the last-gen Riviera. I liked its looks better than the Aurora's, and figured the Buick V-6 was a way better bet than the mini-Northstar. (I was right.) Loved what amca has to say about the "raging style" of these cars! But I have to say they were not really short on practicality. There's ample room in the trunk and very decent legroom front & back. KalapanaBlack, I doubt the underseat battery was really a bid for better weight distribution--there's just simply not room for one single more thing under those low hoods. But the upside is that being isolated from all the heat and vibration makes the batteries last forever in these cars. I had 10 years out of one, and I don't think I've ever got a full 5 out of one in the conventional position.

  • Ru4us Ru4us on Feb 03, 2016

    I have a beautiful 2001 Aurora I'd like to sell. Beige leather interior, White diamond, fully loaded. She needs a new engine and air compressor. She died at 101,000 original miles due to the engine pin metal incapability noted in posts above. I would not recommend a new engine as I'm told the new engines have the same flawed metal compatibility problem. The engine needs to be replaced with a rebuilt which is both less expensive and more durable. The flawed pin has been replaced in the the rebuilt. Not so funny thing is, the 3 weeks before the pin snapped, I put nearly 2k into repairs. New tires around, New Alternator etc. She's a desert vehicle so that means, she has no rust and her body is in beautiful condition considering her age. If anyone is interested, you can notify me via a new post. I will send you photos. I will NOT ship the car to you if you're interested. Best offer. Cash only.

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.