By on September 18, 2013

aeroback3

Yes, yes, I know… it’s supposed to be the age of the Aerostar! Don’t be such a historical literalist! Go back to Curbside Classics, why don’t you?

No, seriously, stay here. Please. We’ll have snacks later. Possibly.

Right now, on eBay, an Aeroback of eye-watering rarity is being auctioned. It’s a 1978 Cutlass Salon. That’s not rare: the Cutlass was often the best-selling A-body. It’s a Cutlass Salon Brougham. That’s not rare: the economy wasn’t great back then and a lot of people downsized from Cadillacs into Cutlasses. However, according to the owner, who would have no possible reason to lie, “There were only 6558 of these cars built with the 260 V8 and only 170 of these had the T50 Borg Warner 5 speed transmission.”

Now we’re talking. But the question now becomes: Why was there ever an Aeroback in the first place?

aeroback2

The 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass was the best-selling car in America, which no doubt left GM feeling a little worried about the fact that a significant downsize was right around the corner. When the new A-body arrived in 1978, dealers had no trouble at all clearing their old inventory. (One of the late buyers of the ’77 Supreme, incidentally, was my mother, who saw the ’78 and promptly bought a ’77 Supreme Coupe with the 403.)

The 1978 A-body coupe was a tidy affair that would spawn such legends as the Regal Turbo Coupe and, after a facelift, the 442/Monte Carlo SS/Grand Prix 2+2 NASCAR specials. But the sedan got off to a much rockier start. Chevrolet and Pontiac got conventional upright-pillar cars that echoed the look of the successful 1977 B-body full-sizers, but Oldsmobile and Buick got Aerobacks in two-and-four-door form.

aeroback1

Why? Seriously. Why? I believe that the answer taps into one of my favorite topics in this world: the difference between signified and signifier. For decades, General Motors masterfully manipulated the image of the automobile, often creating vast gaps between the reality of a particular product and the impression it was meant to convey. The laser-perfect impression of the Sloan Plan held in the minds of most adults born before, say, 1980 is proof of that. Everybody knew what it meant to own a Pontiac or an Oldsmobile, concepts that lost their value as the imports ascended to power.

I will go to my grave believing that most GM employees of the Seventies honestly believed their products were as good as the new Japanese arrivals. It must have seemed like another stupid California fad, like surfboards or Pet Rocks(tm). Therefore, they gave the new A-body a look that was intended to convey an import “feel”. The GM forum guys always wonder why the Aerobacks were Buick and Olds products, not Chevy and Pontiac products, because hatchbacks were “cheap”. They’re not thinking it all the way through. The GM product planners knew what was happening in the Europe. They knew there was an age of large hatchbacks and fastbacks coming (cf. Ford Granada/Scorpio and the 1981 Mercedes “2000”) and they believed in a fastback future. Chevy wasn’t the first car to get the tailfin, why would it be first to get the fastback?

As it happened, however, the market didn’t want the “style” of the fastback. They wanted the reliability and fuel economy of an actual Accord. So GM walked it back in a hurry and brought out the upright sedan for both Buick and Oldsmobile. The X-Body team was slightly better-informed and they did it the right way in 1980: sedans for the prestige brands, hatches for the cheap seats.

The Cutlass aeroback in the auction is, therefore, a failure. But what a glorious failure it is! V-8, rear-wheel-drive, five-speed manual in a fastback two-door body style. It’s an E90 M3 coupe twenty-seven years in advance. You just know that with some tuning it would make a hell of a track rat with which to surprise people. I wish I’d had a chance to know the person who specced it out. “Give me all the luxury, but no fancy-pants Turbo-Hydramatic.” My kind of fellow. (Yes, I know it could have been a lady buyer… ooh.)

The story of GM in the thirty-four years since the Aeroback and now has, in a way, been a story of a journey from style to substance. From flash to engineering. From signifier to signified. To put it bluntly, from fake to real. They haven’t reached the end of that road yet — but can any of us say that we have?

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123 Comments on “This Is The Dawning Of The Age Of The Aeroback...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    And in typical GM-of-the-day fashion, they made this LOOK like a hatchback, but didn’t put an actual hatchback in the thing.

    But what a fabulous time machine. I hope it finds a good home.

    (By the way, you might want to fix this sentence: “The GM product planners knew what was happening in the Europe.” I’m sure “the Europe” would thank you. And unless I’m mistaken, the Chevy Impala was the best selling car in America in 1977.)

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    A friend of the family’s uncle had two classics when he died last year, a fully restored ’69 Torino coupe hardtop in yellow with black racing stripes and I believe a ’78 battleship grey one of these with something like 14K original miles, heck it was such an eyesore next to the Torino. I never gave it more than a passing look so I can’t confirm if it had some kind of special package with a manual. Although I do recall people trying to buy it occasionally, and really who in this day and age would want this in standard form, low miles or not.

  • avatar
    k9H20

    Aeroback has a much nicer ring to it than Crosstour. That 1981 Mercedes 2000 is AMAZING, never heard of it.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    That car is one of the ugliest things ever! The platform is pretty good, for its time, and with the right engine, big tires, it had great potential.

    Word in the trenches was they originally thought of doing hatch, but NVH concerns killed that idea. Olds and Buick were supposed to be quiet, after all.
    They thought it looked like an import- I recall a photo of some nearly as homely Toyota model slant back used in some of the sales meetings.

    We all knew it was awful looking. One District Manager made the mistake of announcing at a regional meeting that his neighbor had come up to him and told him it was just ugly. The Regional Manager, noted for astoundingly “colorful” language, came down on him like a ton of bricks. Something about it was our product, and we had to get behind it. They were failures, though the huge bulk of Cutlass Supreme volume remained in the so-called “formal” coupes. The notchback sedan was much more popular, for sure. Olds had 3 of the top 10 best selling cars in the country through 1986, so this didn’t hurt too bad. It is an embarrassment, though.

    It sure is ugly, though!

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I’d love to spring for something like this.

      Granted, it’s not the prettiest thing, (this coming from the owner of three Azteks and a Malibu Maxx, among other ‘beauties’), but I’ve always liked the two door Aerobacks. In the funky late 70’s way, the 442 version of this was even funkier. Of course, the contemporary Hurst/Olds editions were better looking and actually fairly quick for the mid-malaise era.

      Lots of potential, to be sure. But if I ended up with something like this, it would be bone stock…

      You’re right… It sure is ugly!

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Geo, good to see your name again, ’bout time you showed up!

        I for one hated these “roachbacks©”, and saw nothing desirable about the cars of this generation.

        ©Zackman

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        The 5 speed seemed like it would be cool, but the only engine choice was the Olds 260V8 (and the 260V8 diesel, in ’79, if memory serves). This engine has the dubious distinction of the smallest bore of any V8 sold in America. All Olds short deck engines, 260,307,330,350 and 403 shared the same stroke. Bore diameter limits valve size. Valve size limits power. The 260, with its small valves was a disaster, a real slug. The diesels were so slow, we published a service bulletin advising that they might not back up out of slight depressions. If they would get to 40 mph in something crazy, like 14 seconds, they were considered “normal”. Worse, I ordered a diesel 5 speed diesel company car, thinking it would get great mileage. It was so slow. My foot was into it wasting fuel making black smoke and going nowhere fast. It actually did not achieve the economy I typically got with a gas 350 V8 Olds 98 of the day!

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Man, those must have been dark days. Whenever I drive an economy car these days and think to myslef, “Man this thing is pathetically slow”, I try and remember the worst malaise era cars I’ve ever driven, like a Diesel Tempo or Opel Kadett and am thankful that whatever I’m driving isn’t that suicidally slow.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          Sorry Doctor Olds but I loved the 260 V8 in my ’81 Cutlas Supreme. Sure it was no powerhouse, but if I wanted to win races that’s what my ’79 Trans Am w/400 4 speed was for. Still that little 260 would effortlessly cruise at 75 MPH all day long down the interstate returning close to 20 MPG. When I sold it, other than a little lifter noise, it still ran great with 197K on odometer and 12 MN winters worth of cold starts. After I lifted one of the rotted body mounts out of the trunk floor with my hand I knew it was time for a new vehicle. That and the fact that it wasn’t much for towing boats or snowmobile trailers, but I did do that with it for a couple of years.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Carlson fan. I don’t mean to knock the 260 engine! It was absolutely bulletproof. Just not very high output. Olds engineers did so well calibrating it for fuel economy, the Buick guys had to go so lean in attempt to match our economy with the 3.8L V6, that we had hellacious drivability problems with the V6’s! I thought my boss would fire at one point! I was a District Service Manager, and one aspect of the job that was no fun at all was “scrapping” parts. That really meant the dealers held parts until after warranty claims were paid 90 days so they could be checked to be sure they were bad, write product reports on weird or frequent problems for engineering and so on. Usually I just told them to pitch them after a time. My boss wanted to look at one dealer’s parts and we found a pile of V6 carburetors! They had given up on trying to adjust them and taken to wholesale carb replacement. It was tough trying to make those carbureted cars run at cold start (where 90% of emissions are produced) and CAFE added more challenges that fuel injection eventually became necessary to address.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Responding to DrOlds’ post about the carbs on the Buick 6s: they got them straightened out by 1980–my Dad’s Cutlass Sedan (new notchback sedan version of a base Salon) and ’83 Regal Custom Sedan were pretty good, especially the Regal. Sure, the Cutlass stalled a few times during break-in, but my Dad’s biggest problem, as a medical salesman, with numerous stops during a typical workday, was eating starters! (Apparently, the starters on those engines weren’t made to last very long when they were being used ~21 times per day, four days a week; my Dad used Fridays for paperwork, and worked out of our basement office.) I think he had replaced two of them by the time he passed the car on to my Mom, and obtained the Regal.

            The Regal, though, with the Computer Command Control carb (which became standard in 1981), did exhibit occasional minor hesitation when cold; not enough to be dangerous, especially if you knew to be aware of it. Usually, it would happen once during warmup.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Those diesel engines redefined “Turtle”. My friend’s family bought a ’79 (or 80 – those were the party daze) Olds Custom Cruiser diesel wagon. Loaded to the gunwales, we timed it to 60 in something like 21 seconds. But is was really quiet inside, and really comfortable. Yeah the engine was toast in 60K as they were not exactly maintenance oriented. But I can still hear the Talking Heads booming out of the rear pillar mounted speakers, the clink of spent whippets on the floor, a cold Moslon and the delightful aroma from rounds of one-hits. ….Never listen to electric guitar….this is a crime against the state…this is the verdict they reached…

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            And ironically, if you can find a later example of this engine, with beefier head bolts and water-separating fuel-filters, among other things, the thing will be as reliable as the day is long, yes?!

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          IIRC, I’ve seen a 5-speed Diesel Calais from a Car & Driver test, but it may have had the 5.7 in it. (Wait–I can picture the car now, and I think it was a ’79, since the ’80 had a four-light front. Did the ’79s have the 260 Diesel, or both Diesel V8s, as options?)

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @sgeffe- IIRC the 5 speed was only available with the 260 diesel, not the 350. I think the trans did not have enough torque capacity for the 350, but it was a long time ago!

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            OK–I didn’t know about what the tranny could handle. According to “oldcarbrochures.org,” which has JPEGs of just what the name says, the ’79s only had the 260 (except for the 350, which was optional in the Cruiser wagon), but the 350 became the only optional Diesel in 1980. (Likely due to the LACK OF POWER described.) And this was with all transmissions, including the slushboxes.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’ll agree with you on the four door, but I think the design hangs together on the coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      Skink

      Yeah, I sold Oldsmobiles in the 79-81 model years. They had the slantback Cutlass in a four door as well. The brochures reflected the expectation that these slantback European-looking cars would appeal to vibrant young people. You could get the four door slantback Cutlass with vinyl upholstery, or the mouse fur. The bluehairs bought the slantbacks with the vinyl seats, because they could slide in and out of the seats much easier than the mousehair chairs. They came in looking for the vinyl seats in the hipster slantbacks as if AARP had written about it.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      If forced to a choice, I’d take this “ugly” thing over all of the other ugly things being sold today.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        Yep.. for the interior alone.

        The plastic in modern interiors reminds of when Great Stuff was a new product… Schphlutt…Wow look at that stuff expand!… Well, let it dry and we’ll just knife it off.

  • avatar
    mr_mike

    I have a fascination with this car, and as these were my coming of age years, would love to get my hands on this one. The first car of my memory was my parent’s Omega with the same powertrain combo, and would like to get my hands on something with it. I also can’t say I hate this design… something about the naivety of youth in those early days!

    Would love to pull the trigger on this one (it shows up on my saved searches often…)

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    What hump?

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    Wasn’t the latest 2004+ Grand Prix supposed to have been a 5-door fastback as well?

    Not for nothing, but aberrations like these is what makes me love cars and, heck, love GM so much. Sure, any car company can produce a misguided project or failure, but no one fails with as much grace and dedication as General Motors. I love it. It makes automobiles interesting. Can you imagine a world filled with only 240DLs and Accords? Yuck.

    Also, though it looks like/is in fact a truncated Cutlass sedan, it sure has a more cohesive, attractive look than that concept Mercedes. Yeesh. What an abortion of design THAT thing is.

    And finally, I cannot believe Jack left out this period ad showing the Salon’s taut, lithe, Euro-inspired handling:

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Granted the bricks stood out from a styling perspective, but we do live in the world you describe. Most of the stuff sold today do look like Camcords save standouts like MY13 Fusion.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Interesting you say the GP was being designed as a 5 door. They have a fairly uncommon feature for a sedan of having the front passenger seat fold flat. That really stuck out to me (so much so that I briefly considered buying one when I was car shopping last year). Perhaps it is a vestigal left over of those 5-door plans they had!

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “They have a fairly uncommon feature for a sedan of having the front passenger seat fold flat.”

        They did that? I had an ’07 for a short time and never knew.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-reviews/first-drives/2004-pontiac-grand-prix-gtp

          According to this it was optional. My dad got one of those GTPs as a rental once, when I just had my learner’s permit. What a motor!! He let me drive it around a bit (with him riding shotgun). it had been raining that day so learned pretty quick that damp streets and a supercharged Series III 3800 don’t play well!

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @gtemnykh- I don’t believe they were ever intended to be hatchbacks. The front seat folding down was to allow really long things to be carried in the car through the rear seat pass through from the trunk. I leased an ’04 GTP Comp G option. It pulled 139 MPH with ease! A great car, actually. I used it for some 8′ 2X4’s with that seat folded flat, if memory serves. Didn’t it also have some cup holders so it could be used as sort of a table for rear passengers? Remember how the rear doors opened almost 90 degrees?

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I like it! It would look great sitting next to my Alero Coupe!

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    Sure, it’s kind of goofy looking, but seeing how it’s still a Cutlass, I like it!

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Heh.. this reminded me of those 80s Rivieras with the short butts so I googled “Riviera short trunk”.

    I didn’t get cars.

    Anyone remember when/which model those were?

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      caddy and buick both had those horrible notch-back cars for a while (this was pure 80’s GM, lets make a small car, by taking a full size car and cutting the trunk in half, we’re GM, people will buy it), when I first saw the title, it was those abominations I was expecting to see, the aerobacks, not so bad.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        Thanks, now I also remember the Caddys. I recall seeing them in traffic and feeling sad because they’d had a terrible accident that necessitated amputating the butt, but also glad they’d somehow survived.

        Didn’t they also give them fake continental kits on what was left of the trunk lid? Maybe that was therapeutic.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      79-85 were the long hood short trunk “downsized” Rivs and 86-88 were the further downsized FWD 3800 Rivs which also had very short trunks (along with Toro and Eldo). GM cleaned up the Riv and Toro size wise for MY89, but the Eldo stayed small until the MY92 redesign.

  • avatar
    Numbers_Matching

    The aerobacks are still in living memory (just barely) for me when they were introduced in the fall of ’77. Even back then, as a young kid, their sightings caused a ‘what the hell?’ kind of reaction on me.

    The 5-speed/260 combo is rare, but I have also seen 3.8L/3-speed manuals in G-bodys.

  • avatar
    SteveMar

    My car-obsessed 11 year old self saw these cars and wondered what the hell GM was thinking. My car-obsessed 46 year old self looks it and wonders what the fuss was all about. Maybe it’s the haze of nostalgia or the intervening 35 years have dulled my sensitivities. Either way, if I had the money laying around, I would bid for this in a heartbeat. Nothing like it still on the road and a blast to drive from my childhood. How many malaisemobiles can you say that about?

    • 0 avatar
      Numbers_Matching

      I don’t know how a 105 hp/3400 lb car could be a ‘blast’ to drive, but it could be a fun cruiser. I think I remember reading that the 0-60 time was somewhere between 15 and 17 seconds for an automatic 260 cutlass. You might be able to shave a second or two off that with the 5-speed. But over 13 seconds — who cares anyway, your there for the nostalgia.

    • 0 avatar
      old5.0

      Same here. I used to despise the GM late-A and G-bodies, if only because they were so common. In the early nineties, my high school parking lot was overflowing with early and mid-eighties Cutlasses and Regals. 20 years later, I’ve developed a soft spot for them. Nostalgia overcomes all of us eventually, I guess.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Yessir..see my War And Peace-length post further down the thread–if I could find an un-donked, near-mint last-year-of-production Cutlass Supreme Brougham Sedan with the 307, 4-speed AOD, and every option in the book, I’d be a happy camper!

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I test-drove a new V6 5-speed Buick version of this car, and thought it was a stone. It certainly was ugly though.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    I, too, would like to wax nostalgic about this car, but alas, I am old enough to have worked on one. My neighbor had the Cutlass 442 version of this exact same car (but it only had a Saginaw 4-speed). I had the pleasure of helping him work on it. Complete engine replacement (a gutless low-compression 350SBC 4bbl) at just over 100K miles, then the tranny broke (helped him fix that, can’t remember exactly what we replaced, I think a gear and a couple of synchros), and the final straw for him was when the grossly-undersized rear axle blew up at around 120K miles. The car got sold for parts, despite the thousands that he had put into it in the few prior years.

    This car is the epitome of the malaise era, despite its rarity.

  • avatar
    340-4

    This is legit – 170 produced with the 5 speed. One popped up for sale recently and I didn’t even bother. What a dog.

    Although this has that whorehouse red interior…

    • 0 avatar
      Numbers_Matching

      It’s hard to believe that only 6558 of these were built with the 260. This was the standard V-8 for the entire cutlass line in ’78 (except in California, where they only got the 305). Almost every aeroback (2 and 4 door) I have seen has always had the 260.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @Numbers_Matching- I recall there were very few aeroback coupes produced. That number still seems low. The 260 was the popular choice despite its two barrel carb and low performance.

        • 0 avatar
          Numbers_Matching

          @doctor olds – I would think the olds 350 (~170hp?-gas) would be an even rarer option in a ’78 to ’80 G-body. I know they existed in the Hurst/W-30 cars, but were they an option on the other models such as the cutlass cruiser wagon?

          *That* would be nice with a 4/5-speed.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Numbers_Matching, I am sorry to say I can’t remember exact details of how 350’s were phased out. I am inclined to say the last year for 350 in G body was the ’79 Hurst Olds. I am really fuzzy on the wagon, but don’t think you could get any V8 other than an Olds 260 2bbl or a 305 Chevy 4 bbl other than the ’79 H/O throughout the ’78-’88 run of Olds G bodies. What would really be nice would be a W-31 350 and a 4 to 6 speed manual!

          • 0 avatar

            The T-5 couldn’t handle the power of a bigger engine. Heck the WC T-5s are just about garbage as well in terms of power capacity.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            I put a WC T-5 behind a 345HP ZZ3 crate motor in an ’84 Z-28 for road race track use. It worked fine for that purpose.

            I had checked with the GM F Car Manual Trans release engineer who told me they had been playing with a nitrous oxide L98 Monte Carlo with a T-5 in it. He said it will not hold up forever, but won’t break right away!

            After 11,000 miles on road race tracks, I took the car to the drag strip one time. ([email protected]). On the way home, it began hanging in 3rd gear. Took two hands to get it out of gear. I thought the trans failed, replaced it with a T-56, then found the real problem was just the clutch disc center broken out! A T-5 would not be a good choice behind a 350 or 403, if you wanted to put a lot of shock loads into it. It would probably last a long time with spirited road driving. In my student days, I remember envying a couple of Engineers, one of them Ed Koerner who eventually rose to be Vice President for North American Product Development. Back in the day, he was an engineer at Oldsmobile. and had them build a then current ’73 Cutlass Salon Sedan with a HC W-31 350 V8 and a manual transmission. Likely a T-5. The handling of that car, btw, was ranked competitively against a then current Mercedes by R&T or C&D.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          See my jeremiad at the bottom of the thread–Jeezus Backflippin’ Kee-rist, if I had only known about the rarity, I would have spirited that Salon, my first car, away until I finished college and got a job, whereupon I would have done a frame-off resto!

          Fvck! :-(

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    Everyonce in a while some car from this era comes up and Ebay and I fall in love. A few years ago it was an early 80’s AMC Kammback (basically a Gremlin with the Eagle 4WD system). It was beautiful in two tone Cream/maroon, and I had a very hard time not buying it. The urge is less for this Olds, but damn I still really like it. In either case, I’m better off dreaming because I know the ownership experience is not as good as I imagine.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Jack, ya whippersnapper, I have to contest your premise that everyone born pre-1980 fell for GM’s branding scheme. To those of us who came of age in the 70s the badge engineering was incredibly blatant , and it’s when we came into our prime earning–and car buying– years that GM got into real trouble (adieu, Oldsmobile!).

    Aside from that, great article, I always kind of liked the GM fastbacks, and had no idea GM had V8/5-speed offering back then.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    $5k starting bid (no bids received), $8k ‘buy it now’.

    Pass (even with 45.7k miles).

  • avatar

    When I was a kid, one of my neighbors had the Buick version with the 3.8 liter turbo. It was silver blue with a charcoal graphics package that said Buick Skylark with some kind of bird. I remember he’d come up the street and the car sounded like a cross between a vacuum cleaner and a hand cranked siren turned at a slow speed.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      They never made a Buick Skylark turbo, but there was a Buick Century turbo in this bodystyle.

      I guess 70s LSD could convince a dealer to put Skylark decals on a Century. Or, convince them to buy Skylark decals in the first place.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    With a nice exhaust setup, could that 260 have a proper V8 sound?

    • 0 avatar
      Numbers_Matching

      It would have that characteristc ‘olds v8’ sound, but it wouldn’t be doing much since it can’t breath. You would still have trouble merging into traffic – but at least sound cool doing it.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      Sure. I doubt you’d notice much difference at idle compared to a 350. Accelerating might be a giveaway, being so gradual.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      These Olds engined cars had some of the most ridiculous exhaust setups of any naturally aspirated car I’ve ever seen. Most of them have a single exhaust on a V8, fine, common for the times. But they ran the pipe from the driver side manifold down under the engine, then straight back up into a dual flanged passenger side manifold, then back down under the car through a second flange. Bizarre!

      Check it out:

      http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/1/1/1/3/8/9/6/webimg/538912889_tp.jpg

      Maybe Doc Olds can explain why such a strange setup was chosen while Chevy could run 2 pipes in a Y down into the converter.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @danio- I really don’t know why Olds chose that design. It was already there when I started my College Co-op program in ’69 and I never asked anyone along the way. I was interested in W machines and dual exhausts! I think of it as a more robust design, probably cheaper than a welded “y” pipe, to boot, but I claim no expertise on it.

        Just this past Saturday, I had to have a crossover fabricated for my mom’s ’70 Cutlass. It was about half the price they wanted when they thought it was going to be a conventional “y” pipe.

        • 0 avatar

          The ’68 Cutlass I owned had this set up. I ended up converting it to dual exhausts, when I replaced the 2 barrel Rochester with a 4 barrel Holley.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            Those changes should have helped a lot! A long time friend bought a brand new ’68 Ram-Rod 350CI W31. A beautiful white coupe with red interior which he owns to this day.

            That engine dominated drag racing in the day. Almost 4″ bore and short stroke, they could crank. I was told by an Assistant Chief Engineer that we rated them 325 HP at 5,200 so as not to embarrass the long stroke 400 in the 442 and W30. He said the W31 was really closer to 400HP with headers. We offered 5.66:1 axle ratios, dealer installed, of course.

            We needed better flowing heads, though. One of the experimental garage mechanics owned a sprint car. Olds 35O with Batten aluminum heads. He said it whooped the Chevies on top end but was a little weak on low end torque. Not a frequent comparison heard between Olds and small block Chevy!

            By the time I got there, all engine development was devoted to draconian emissions regulations and fuel economy which first challenged performance an drivability, and then drove decreasing displacements until all that remained was the 307. I used to walk through the storage room where they kept the twin-turbo 455 and DOHC 455’s shown on the cover of Hotrod. When I chose Olds to sponsor me, they were into Can-Am racing with aluminum blocks and turbocharging. What a let down by then.
            Olds fans might like this story about the nearly produced 4 valve/cylinder pushrod 455 Olds V8. They could never get the cylinder block lifter bores to handle the side loading due to pushrod angles. A cam relocation in the block to fix it would have doubled the projected cost of the engine, about $1,900 on top of a 442 with a base price of around $3,200 at the time. It never made it to production. here is a link: http://www.brewcitymuscle.com/forum/showthread.php?43729-Olds-455-Hemi
            Here’s another one, but I can’t find the HR cover with John Beltz, Olds General Manager.
            http://www.streetlegaltv.com/news/the-w43-oldsmobiles-dohc-455-v8-that-never-was/

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          If I could only afford to obtain, and keep up, a ’70-’72 coupe! My Mom had a ’71 “S” Coupe, 350 2bbl, Matador Red (???–any enthusiasts know color codes and trims for those?).

          I know now that if you pay anything less than ~$15K, you may wind up with a basket case in need of a full-frame resto!

          The abuse of a ’71 Supreme (may have even been an SX) on “Top Gear USA” by filling the poor thing with water on the interior, then driving it around a track (the car was a little rough, but probably ~$5K of NOS interior parts and a going-over of the drivetrain probably would have brought the thing back to a nice show car, albeit not Concours-quality), is why I’ll never watch the show again!

          Well, I do have a ’71 SX–a Lane Automotive “Exact Detail” ’71 Supreme “SX” 1:18-scale replica in Matador Red! Close enough for jazz! :-)

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      I don’t know why, this car just screams “potential!” at me…

      I think all TTACers have this though, for all kinds of ugly, unique, rare automobiles of one form or another. That is what makes this community so great.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I have a soft spot for the aero-backs. Although I like any well-optioned A/G body from this era. I had a 1978 Malibu coupe with 305, 4-speed, buckets, tach, F41 suspension package and rallye-wheels. It’s easy to forget now how successful these cars were, they sold in the millions.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      GM owned the midsize market at the time. Cutlass alone held 25% of the segment. I don’t recall for sure but think GM may have had close to 2/3 of it with the Chevys Pontiacs and Buicks. I am certain it was over half the segment.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        They were the Camrys (and Accords) of their day in terms of volume! Both of the sedans my parents had (1980 Cutlass Sedan (equivalent of the base Salon in a 4-door) and 1983 Regal Custom Sedan) were nice examples of the breed; the 231 V6, as has been stated, sounded somewhat agricultural under throttle, but it had adequate power for any situation, and they both handled well, being equipped for my Dad’s medical-sales gig with F41/Gran Touring suspension. (Hell, at least I didn’t get any tickets in either, and only brushed the side of our garage with the sport-mirror on the Regal, which rubbed right out!) I’m not sure what suspension underpinned my Salon, but again, that poor car was used up when I got it! Neither of the sedans had any huge, expensive (engine or transmission) issues, despite my Dad’s hard use of each for his job, which mandated 50,000 miles of use before he could replace the car, after which he had the option to purchase it at a reasonable price. By the time he had hit ~50,000 on the Regal, he had been promoted to Sales Director and no longer qualified for a company car, so in 1986, he purchased a Buick Century Limited 2.8L at the end of the 1986 model run (the last year of carburetors with that motor), and that car’s carburation problems which caused dangerous hesitation, for which my Dad made several expensive visits to the dealer, and for which GM reimbursed a pittance, turned my Dad into a Honda man for life (though a couple years after my Dad obtained his first Accord, a mechanic family friend tracked down a TSB which would have fixed things); this was the first time my Dad had purchased a new car in a while, so he just took a car from the lot, while in hindsight, being a car FREAK at 16 y/o, should have insisted that he inquired as to the availability of the 3.8L injected six. (My own financial burden of a head-gasket replacement on the 1984 Pontiac Sunbird on a commuter college-student’s budget, didn’t help his opinion!) He’s on his fifth Accord, me my third, and my Mom has had two Civics, along with an Integra (past) and Odyssey (present) with perfect power-sliding doors in my brother’s (and sister-in-law’s) care. (Back to that 3.8L in the Century, several years after my Dad sold that Buick, I had the honor of hoon..er..DRIVING a friend’s 1985 Century Estate wagon so-equipped! Totally different experience! 8-D )

        Now I’ve heard that these cars are legendary for frame rot, but even that Salon didn’t exhibit that at 13 years-old, when I traded up, much less the two sedans. When did that usually happen, and did that affect vehicles with the uplevel suspension options to a lesser extent?

  • avatar
    jco

    GM kept trying though

    http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/chevrolet-monte-carlo-36.jpg

    http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2009/05/forgotten_hatch_chevy_corsica.jpg

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6b/Chevrolet_Citation_II_front.jpg

  • avatar
    old5.0

    I was led to believe that there would be snacks…

  • avatar
    philadlj

    It had a face only a mother could love, but I still think the Malibu Maxx SS was one of the coolest vehicles GM’s made in the last couple decades. A real hatch, rear seats that slid back, 240 horses. All it needed was AWD.

  • avatar
    BMWnut

    It would be interesting to know the product planning reasons on why the five-speed got fitted. Maybe there was an under cover petrolhead in the bean counter department that slipped it into the option list while the big boss wasn’t looking?

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      I would imagine that someone at GM/Oldsmobile felt a small V8/5-speed combo in an intermediate had the potential of appealing to a certain sporty, ‘European’ crowd. Along with what would almost assuredly be an image of (if not actually achieving) decent fuel economy, there was method to the madness and, frankly, it was worth a shot. Who knows, in a different, later era (with higher performance and a much better looking car), the small V8 might have worked.

      But at the time, all of the smallest V8s that Detroit was releasing (the Chevy 262, Ford 255, and Pontiac 265 spring immediately to mind) were universally reviled, and all were quickly dropped after only two years of production and poor sales.

      Probably due to their later, dire financial straits, Chrysler (fortuitously) never had the opportunity to bring back a small V8 after the 273 was enlarged to 318 in 1967.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        The Chevy engine was a 267, not a 262. Unless Chevrolet had a 4.3 V8 before the “Mini LT1” 4.3 in the 1990s.

        • 0 avatar
          Numbers_Matching

          Actually NoGoYo, there was a mid-seventies 262 V8 that was introduced on the Monza in ’75. It only lasted a few years and was replaced by the 267. It made roughly 110 hp. Yawn.

        • 0 avatar
          rudiger

          There was a 267 in the nineties? The only info I could find was it was sold from 1979-1982, then discontinued because it couldn’t meet emission regs.

          The 262 went into the 1975-1976 Monza.

          What’s really interesting, though, is that both the 262 and 267 were so lame, they don’t appear to have a 3-digit RPO code like nearly every other SBC. They’re just known as the ‘262’ and ‘267’.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I’m not sure on the actual displacement, but there was a 4.3 liter LT-architecture V8 used in the 1990s, I think only in B-bodies.

          • 0 avatar
            rudiger

            Found it. The ‘Mini LT1’ was never referred to by its CID but always as the 4.3L V8. This led to a lot of confusion with people thinking it was a V6 or, if they figured out it was a V8, that it was an LT1.

            It had a 305 bore but different crankshaft and rods, which calculates to an actual displacement of 263. Various sources erroneously call it a 265 (the original SBC and later small Pontiac V8) or 260 (the Olds).

            It was the base engine in the ’94-’96 bubble Caprices and, unlike the 262 and 267, got an actual RPO code of L99 (which, to make matters even more confusing, is currently the RPO code for the 6.2L, LS3-based engine going into 2010-up Camaro SS automatic-equipped cars).

            It really says something about how messed-up GM was during this time, with a constant, confusing changing and creating of new and similar engine displacements, both within and between divisions.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Not to be confused with the 4.3 V*6*, which, if I understand correctly, was simply a SB V8 less two cylinders, and utilized in the Astro/Safari vans and S-10/S-15 pickups and SUVs. (Were the blown 6s in the GMC Syclone and Typhoon 4.3s? IIRC, they were.)

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I would say this combo was done thanks to the bean counters, marketers and CAFE.

      Automakers were very worried about CAFE, particularly GM and nothing beats an OD manual trans for hwy MPG. More gears make better use out of a limited amount of power or a narrow power band. So the best available tech at the time was the 5sp.

      Smaller bores usually mean less places for fuel to hide and lower CO and HC emissions. Smaller displacement means the engine has to operate at a higher volumetric efficiency to generate the same amount of power as a larger engine and it reduces pumping losses, increasing efficiency. Buick was still being pretty stingy with their V6, the NIH culture was still the norm, and the Cherios debacle was probably still pretty fresh in the heads of the division’s minds. So shrinking down the engine they already built in house satisfied all those concerns.

      So it was only logical to pair the two up. The people in charge of worrying about the emissions and CAFE regulations would be happy if it caught on and sold well. The marketers would have had a wet dream figuring out how to exploit it in advertising and sales literature. “Only 5sp in it’s class” “Best MPG in class” “Best V8 fuel economy”. The sales people and dealerships would have loved it. That way they could advertise a low low base price and/or great MPG to get you in the door and know full well that most people would be checking a number of boxes where the profit margin was at its fattest. “Well that one only that is only $xxxx and there is only that one with the special discount.” “However we have a number of cars in-stock with automatics, and…. how about I show you some of those.”

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I have a buddy who is really into the oddball A/G body cars. He’ll love this. Sent to him.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Looks like a 80s Saab from the side (well a little bit).

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    35 years ago there was one of these hatchback Oldsmobile A bodies on my paper route.

    I delivered the French language newspaper in an English-speaking community – so I guess that goes a long way to explain the tastes of its owners.

    I always thought it was weird-looking compared to my father’s 1978 Pontiac A body. I knew from the LeMans owners manual that standards were available but this is the first time I see one.

  • avatar
    myheadhertz

    This Aeroback has American Motors DNA slobbered all over it.
    Interior is DOPE!

  • avatar
    Blue-S

    These pictures bring back some memories. My dad was a lifelong GM customer. In 1978 when I was 9 years old, my dad drove the whole family down to Columbia Oldsmobile and traded in my mom’s charcoal grey 1968 Chevy Impala 2-door on a 1978 Olds Cutlass Salon. The Olds was a 2-door in camel tan with a camel tan vinyl interior, a 260 V8, automatic transmission, rally wheels and a 2-speaker AM radio. No Brougham for us. Mom lamented the lack of power in that sled from the very beginning, not to mention the stalling that it typically exhibited on cold starts despite being garaged. About two or three years later the weak THM200 transmission took a dive, necessitating some expensive work at AAMCO transmission. This was not the last transmission repair for the car, but at least the others were covered by a lifetime warranty. The car was otherwise reliable enough but delivered poor fuel economy despite its lack of speed. When I began driving in 1985 the Gutless was mine. My 16-year-old self appreciated the mobility, but pined for more than malaise-era GM handling, braking and acceleration. A catalyst delete and a set of dual-compound Pirelli P77 tires (with whitewalls!) helped, but it was far from a cure. Meanwhile, my parents cycled through other mediocre GM products: a 1977 Buick LeSabre which sprouted leprous rust spots within 3 years, a 1981 LeSabre Diesel which came with dirt nibs all over the 2-tone jade green factory paint, an X-body Buick Skylark, etc. Those who decry today’s interior plastics should see the poorly made and indifferently assembled interiors of the malaise era GM cars. The terribleness of those 70’s-80’s GM products deeply ingrained, I chose a different route when I purchased my own first car in the fall of 1986: a well-used and rusty 1973 Fiat 124 Spider. The Fiat was everything that the Cutlass was not: quick, agile, fuel-efficient, fun. Girls loved it. Over the years, I have owned Fiats, water-cooled VWs, a whole host of Chrysler products and a Porsche Boxster, but I have never forgotten just how bad those GM cars were. Rust in peace, Oldsmobile Cutlass!

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    With the many Monza variants GM had at this time I don’t understand why they even made the aeroback, they’re not bad looking cars but they have awkward proportions thanks to poor integration of the cars styling cues with the roof.

    Even though it has a fake, tiny, crummy trunk like the AMC Gremlins of the time, the Ford Pintos, the Vegas, the VW Fastback, I’d still take it on as a sleeper.

    And as someone who’s owned a VW fastback, I’d much rather have any GM of the era, at least the parts wouldn’t be expensive.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    I had no idea you could get these with a 5 SP stick. Wonder if that motor/trans was availble in the Cutlass Calais. The Calais had the bucket seats, center console/shift, full gage cluster, and I’m not sure what else. That would be cool!

    Anyone besides me think those factory Olds steel ralleye wheels are still the sharpest things ever?

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      I believe it was indeed available with a 5 speed. The Calais ran about 1.3% of Cutlass production in ’78, if memory serves. I ordered a dark blue Coupe with white landau top and put 3,000 miles on it as a company car before buying it for my wife to drive for a year. It had the gauges and the 260V8. Automatic trans, though. It was a nice handling car. I recall selling it for quite a bit more than it cost me and being a little embarrassed because the Ohio title had the original purchase price listed. My buyer was oblivious to that. She was delighted with it. Knowing the low penetration of Calais and that my wife didn’t really care, her ’79 was a high volume Supreme Coupe sao it would have a bigger market.

  • avatar
    MK

    I can’t believe they actually sold 6558 of those, it’s not brown but its quite a turd.

    Somewhere Pt Barnum is smiling.

    [walks away shaking head]

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    In the late seventies (’77 or ’78 I think) Car & Driver ran a road test of an Olds Cutlass with the 260 c.i.d. diesel coupled to the 5-speed manual transmission. If I remember correctly, the engine put out 85 horsepower. I remember the article stated it might be a good automobile if the engine put out some horsepower and the transmission shifted if it had actual gears and not rocks in the transmission case. How long was the 260 in production-one year-two years?

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      The 260 diesel may have been one year- 1979, it think it would have been. Perhaps two. It was not popular. I don’t recall anything particularly “wrong” with the 5 speed, though it did not have much torque capacity.

  • avatar
    salguod

    My Dad was a huge fan of the colonnade cars and he too, when he heard that the ’78 was going to be downsized, went out and bought a ’77 Cutlass Supreme. Mandarin orange with light buckskin interior, moldings, striping and, of course, landau top. I learned to drive in that car.

    I remember as a young gearhead reading the owner’s manual of that ’77 and noting that instead of the 350/THM combination Dad got, he could have had a 260/5 speed and drooling over the idea of a manual, even if it meant a smaller engine. I didn’t know they offered it in the new body.

    I always liked the fastback styling of these though I know most don’t. It has a clean, sporty look. I prefer the 442 or the Buick Turbo, but this with the stick is quite compelling, even if the shifter & truck like boot looks a bit like a plunger handle poking up through the floor.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    “It’s a 1978 Cutlass Salon. That’s not rare: the Cutlass was often the best-selling A-body..”

    To clarify, the formal roof A Special body Cutlass Supreme coupe was the bulk of Cutlass sales. The Aeros were sales flops and more rare. Also, even the Cutlass Cruiser wagon was more common than the slant backs.

    If want to get down to it, and not count the Supreme, then the Malibu was the true best selling ‘A Body’ for 1978.

    BTW: Per Motor Trend, the mid size 78’s were planned to get 350 and 400 ci V8’s, but no 400’s were ever built. Some wagons got 350’s maybe in CA? 1978 Olds Cutlass Supreme/Salon’s biggest motor was the 305 4 bbl, from Chevy, no less. Only the 1979 Hurst/Olds and 1980 442, both in Supreme body, got a genuine Rocket 350 4 bbl. [Not 100% sure about ’80, but darn sure about the 79 H/O!]

    Finally, one of our favorite family cars was a ’78 Supreme, buckets, console and 260 v8. Had it from 1983-92, and the trans never died. I bet it was a THM350.

    • 0 avatar
      Numbers_Matching

      ‘BTW: Per Motor Trend, the mid size 78′s were planned to get 350 and 400 ci V8′s, but no 400′s were ever built.’

      Interesting. The Olds 403 would have been a direct bolt in. I remember Callaway(?) offered a 403 conversion for anyone with a G-body cutlass back in the 80’s. The upgrade involved some suspension improvements and 15 inch mini-lite wheels. I have never seen or heard of the Callaway 403 Cutlass conversion outside the pilot car that was done for the R&T article back in ’83.

      I had all the parts to do this conversion on my own back in the 90’s, but lost interest once I learned the weaknesses of the 403 (scalloped main webs) and the TH200 transmission in the recipient car.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    I don’t know how far GM got to releasing this as an actual hatchback , but certainly the car magazines of the time kept releasing photos / specs of these up to the time they arrived at the dealerships claiming it would be a hatchback . A friend’s mom bought the ’78 Buick Century two-door aeroback new and I believe it is to this day still rotting in her garage. It had an absolutely awful paint job like many GM cars of the time and the paint started peeling off in sheets almost immediately upon delivery even tho she garaged it . She bought it at a dealership where a relative worked as a sales manager but he wouldn’t do anything about the lousy paint job .

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    No mention of the period slope-roof trend which references European designs is complete without the Rover SD1.

    The fact that this vehicle, despite foibles, was a significant success for British Leyland (BL) is important.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rover_SD1

    This was a handsome and imposing vehicle on British roads and it carried a some cachet. This was the last real Rover and there was an “end of an era” atmosphere when it went out of production comparable to the last of the Panthers here.

    To put this in context, consider the well deserved, extensive ridicule and abuse that the Rover SD1’s BL period relatives have suffered on Top Gear … the names that still make strong men reach for support when they hear them: Allegro, Marina, Maxi, Princess – these are the cars I remember killing the British auto industry.

    Now, Google “Top Gear Marina” for you-tube hi-jinks.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      I too saw the Rover SD1 influence when I first saw pictures of these in Car & Driver during the summer of ’77. And since my Dad’s Valiant was getting pretty tired and my mother loved her new Buick LeSabre company car, it was logical to shop for a “smaller” Buick that would fit in his side of the garage. The thing is, both my parents liked the look of the Buick Century aeroback and my father likes the way it drove.

      So they bought one from Warren Buick in Rockville Centre, NY on October 16, 1977 (it’s now a RiteAid). It was a Buick Century Special 4door aeroback, dark blue with a blue cloth bench seat interior. Options were 3.8 V-6, A/T, A/C, AM/FM Stereo, power windows and locks, and full wheel covers. It cost $6,100. My mother applied for a 3-year loan at the bank to see if she could get one without my father, but they wouldn’t do it. THAT, thankfully, has changed.

      There were some initial teething problems with the ’78 Century, particularly rear brakes that were warped and the windows. One fell out of its track and my father drove it to the dealership with the whole thing on the front seat. The impellers on the rear vent windows broke a few times too.

      But after a few months, the Century became a faithful and capable car that rode well and delivered OK fuel economy (average 17-20 mpg). The V-6 was sluggish off the line, but it did at least move. The car came on stronger once you hit 35mph. Then it would climb all the way to 85mph before it started running out of breath. After a few years we put Michelin tires and KYB shocks on, and it was pretty stable at higher speeds.

      Combined with looks that everyone but me hated, it become known by my friends as the “Thundering Turtle.” When my Dodge Colt fell apart during my senior year of college in ’85 Dad bought a new car — an ’85 Fox-body Marquis. I got the Buick but I know he missed it.

      I ran that car to 130K miles in 11 years until it was stolen off a Brooklyn street. It was reliable until the last two years, when all sorts of brake and electrical problems started cropping up.

      Say what you want about these cars but ours was reliable and incredibly rugged considering the abuse heaped on it. We must have had a better THM transmission than that cursed 200 because it never gave an ounce of trouble. The V-6 was solid to the end too.

      Believe it or not, there are times I have dreams where I come home to my parent’s house and there’s the gleaming blue Century with 150K miles but still running strong, reading for a ride.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Okay, without having slogged through all these comments, but..there were only 6,558 260s *** TOTAL, *** or 6,558 *** Broughams *** with the 260? (Or was that just with the 5-speed?)

    If it was the VERY FIRST condition, damn! It! All! My first car was a used-up hooptie of a 1978 Salon ** base ** 2-door with the 260, in decidedly un-masculine Pastel Blue, inherited from a terminally-ill (lung cancer) aunt, with likely the sucktasktic THM 200 tranny, along with a INCH of cigarette ash covering the floor, and windows that were so yellow that, to get them to my eighteen year-old standards of perfection back in 1988, I went through EIGHT standard rolls of paper towels and a half-gallon of window cleaner! Even then, it was never perfect!

    Over the two years I had it, I received an AC/Delco AM-FM Stereo unit to replace the Delco AM unit that came with the car, and had it installed at a radio shop, long since gone, that specialized in OEM radio upgrades!

    I had thought of replacing the doors, which were rotted out, but after a couple of years and several little nit-picky repairs (and not knowing what major stuff might go wrong on a high-school/freshman college commuter-student-slinging-burgers-at-the-Golden-Arches-budget), plus the economy of a large V8 with barely any power advantage over the standard Buick 231 V6, and being driven crazy by the various interior rattles and squeaks, I investigated the possibility of acquiring another aunt’s 1984 Light Briar Brown Pontiac Sunbird Hatchback; the aunt’s son’s current girlfriend, ironically, had liked the car when the two had come for a visit with my family, so I traded that Olds (and $1900) for the Sunbird.

    The Sunbird presented it’s own set of problems a couple years later; after $500 spent on a head gasket, and my Dad’s pittance of a GM reimbursement on a persistent carburetor problem on his 1986 Century Limited 2.8L, which required several expensive trips to the dealer for no diagnosis (until a mechanic family friend uncovered a TSB for the problem several years later), my family became a devoted Honda family. As for the Olds, it suffered its end after the cousin’s GF hit a curb at an odd angle, and the fuel lines and driveshaft were ripped away as the car flew over the curb and down an embankment.

    As I’ve noted in other Olds posts on this forum, though a brand-new 2013 Accord Touring Sedan graces my garage, I would love to find a last-year example of a Cutlass Supreme Brougham Sedan, loaded with every conceivable option on the build sheet, preferably with wire wheels, though the body-colored Rallye wheels would be awesome, too! Make that Olds in near-mint condition, or one which could be brought to that condition with a maximum of $1000 of investment in NOS parts. I’d store her in a storage unit for the winter, and take her out on summer weekends, to car shows and an Olds meet or two; proudly sitting next to the car, perfect shiny paint, hood up with perfectly detailed engine, in a lawn chair, working on a case of skin cancer whilst having easy access to a well-stocked, iced-down cooler of various adult beverages within my reach!

    Yeah, I know–FORGET IT!! Most, if not all of those examples, have probably been brought up and besmirched by a certain demographic with predilections for wheels stolen from a 747 at the local large airport, and sound systems which will break windows out of 50th-floor skyscraper windows within a half-mile radius!

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Forgot to add that the supply is likely further diminished considering that a fair percentage, I would guess, never made it to the donked-out state because they were either monster-truck victims, or suffered a similar fate in a demolition-derby.

      And also, make mine with the 307 and 4-speed automatic-overdrive, please; yes, I realize that the combo is not typical V8–my Accord could probably wipe her a$$ with a “G” equipped thus. BUT..it would still be quicker than the two V6s of my coming-of-age-hood, not to mention my FIRST car, the hooptie Salon. :-( My only mods to such a car would be a swap of the likely cassette-equipped Delco stereo to a Delco double-DIN CD unit, an electrochromic mirror from late-build Gs, and a flash-to-pass mod seen on “gbody.com,” if memory serves.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    You bring me that 81 Mercedes. I’ll drive the hell out of it for the rest of my life!

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