By on June 11, 2014

photo (26)

 

Spotted in the wild, somewhere north of Toronto: a brown Olds Alero with a vinyl roof. I’m not sure if this qualifies as a “Brougham” type car (does the roof alone qualify it?), but it’s a combination that I’ll likely never encounter again.

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67 Comments on “Spotted In The Wild: The Brown Brougham...”


  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Brolero

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Oh noooooo Dave don’t look at it! It’s all too shocking!

    IMO, the vinyl roof applied to any car does not qualify it for Brougham status. Yesterday I was sitting in a meeting and a bit bored, so I was staring out the window. A full-vinyled circa 2010 Camry went by. That’s certainly not a Brougham.

    I think the most liberal definition we can use (since the real one, of a sedan with open compartment for the driver does not apply) is when there is a factory-spec trim level/package designated with the name Brougham. Thus, it was last possible to buy a Brougham in North America in 1996.

    • 0 avatar
      crtfour

      That’s the worst….seeing a Japanese car with the vinyl roof.

      • 0 avatar
        DeeDub

        Lexus LS400 with vinyl roof, gold emblems and chrome wheel well trim:

        http://www.clublexus.com/forums/ls400/93758-cabriolet-ls-sighting.html

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Now, I must have it. Although burgundy roof on silver? Not my first choice.

          • 0 avatar
            raresleeper

            No, no, no.

            No Japanese cars with vinyl roofs.

            Except maybe a vintage Toyota Crown. Just because- hell- it’s a Crown.

            All others must be stripped of their canvas/vinyl roof thingies.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Personally I think when done well these roofs make the car look much more attractive and prestigious. In the insane world of my mind, not having a roof on your “luxury car” makes you look less exclusive.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            28, are you saying my Verano will never be a Regency Elite if I don’t deck it out in vinyl?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I don’t recall all of the options for Regency Elite but I don’t believe a vinyl or carriage roof came with the trim. Now if you’re looking for a Regency Elite Brougham, well a roof comes with the territory.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Used-Red-Plastic-Regency-Elite-Emblem-Nameplate-/281064856251?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item4170c55abb&vxp=mtr&_uhb=1

            One Verano Regency Elite coming up!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    That’s awesome, esp on the coupe (needs sail panel emblems though). I have seen these carriage roofs on all sorts of Buick N-bodys, Buick/Olds H-bodys, etc and occasionally a Toyota such as Avalon or Camry.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    The Alero was a very sad car. Not because it was a POS but it was a great design that was executed horribly. These really were fun cars to drive and when you drove them you could tell they could have been world class contenders if quality materials had been used to build them. But instead every single part (and I mean every..singe..part) of these cars was penny pinched to such low quality that they were all total pieces of crap, and everything goes wrong on these cars.

    It’s another example of a good design being butchered by gm bean counters. It’s a metaphor of the sad fact of GM itself. It’s a company with the talent to make world-class products but never will because the finance dept rules the roost and still does.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Completely agree. I really liked these when they debuted – the styling hit the mark and they were the right size. But sloppy build quality and the cheapest parts possible ruined these cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Drewlssix

      Last gen Oldsmobiles were all good looking cars at the time and SO close to being genuine competition to entry luxury competition from other lands but the GM gremlins were lurking behind every poorly fitted panel and trim piece.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      I remember being floored by the concept car (the Alero Alpha) and just being crestfallen when the real thing came out. I know production cars never look quite like the concepts, but clearly the person who did that translation was not given much to work with.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Love it.
    The 70s re-created (sorta).
    Anybody remember:
    Diamond in the back
    Sunroof top
    Diggin the scene with a gangsta lean

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    It is quite likely the original, octogenarian owner of this vehicle is either now in a nursing home, or has left this mortal coil. While the OEMs recoil at the sight of their model/brand image being landau’ed or vinyl topped, the dealers happily adorned a fair portion of their allocation thusly in order to appeal to their last-time buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Not long ago I saw an old guy getting out of his new, fully vinyled XTS. Black/black with gold emblems. It was a hot mess.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      It definitely seems to be an American thing. I mean, we get them, but you don’t start seeing a lot of them until you get to Niagara Falls or Windsor.

      • 0 avatar
        cpthaddock

        Although there must have been more, I can only recall one model of car from my youth that came with a roof condom – the Hillman Avenger (wikipedia tells me the US got this as the Plymouth Cricket).

        Through proximity to Sun City snow birds, I’ve become somewhat desensitized to this interesting roof adornment. The Fake spare wheel on the trunk thing is another matter entirely.

        My personal vote for “weirdest octogenarian retro mod” goes to the fire truck red suburban clad with enough wood to build a dhinghy I once saw. Many times I’ve wished I got a photo of that.

      • 0 avatar
        BigDuke6

        I was going to say the same thing. As soon as I cross over to Niagara Falls NY I KNOW I’m going to see at least one current US model car with a 70s vinyl roof. I can’t believe there are actually places where you can get this done.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        I think it must be a New England thing. If you see one of these south of the Mason Dixon line it is always a transplant retiree or a hand-me-down from the same.

        As a side note, the drivers are never, and I mean never, attractive. Outside of the very old original owners, the males are the loser spawn who could not afford to buy a decent looking used car; the females are HUGE and/or have enough makeup and hairspray on to qualify as a Superfund site.

        It’s all bad.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Speaking of in the wild. I turned the corner the other day to see a women putting the top down on her Nissan Murano convertible.

  • avatar

    “it’s a combination that I’ll likely never encounter again.”

    Clearly someone who doesn’t live in Florida…

  • avatar

    Looks as if the car in in good condition. My friend owns a 2000 oldsmobile alero, have had no problems so far except the dashboard vinyl peeling up…

  • avatar
    Chetter

    My first car was a 1986 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Brougham. No vinyl roof or opera window though. Not all GM Broughams had the vinyl roof. But I guess it can be said all GM vinyl roofed cars are Broughams.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      I remember those.

      Wow, did those things ride smooooth.

      3800. Thumbs up. Just ate the highway up. That annoying talking parking brake voiceover thingy.

      You never see them anymore, either. EXCEPT… when I visit my family in the deep south. Passing through the pockets of extreme poverty, you still see a couple of these on duty there :)

      • 0 avatar
        Chetter

        Yeah, the 3800 with fuel injection was a great first ride. I used to routinely beat my friend’s ’86 Supra off the line.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        My daily ride when I was a senior in high school was my Grandparents then 1yo ’85 Oldsmobile 98 Regency Brougham, black on lipstick red leather, vinyl 1/2 roof, opera lights. What a wallowing boat! Seasickness was a distinct possibility, yet it also shuddered and creaked over ridges. Only American cars seem to have this ability to wallow over the big stuff and pound on the small stuff. Incredibly unpleasant. And slow, and it never ran quite right despite numerous dealer trips, and it started falling apart literally days after the 1yr warranty was up. Though as the saying goes, it ran badly for a really long time, and is in fact still on the road in the hands of a cousin with ~100K on it after all these years.

        But with very rare exceptions, all of the 80-90’s GM FWD cars are long, long, long gone from the road in Maine. Our annual safety inspection is a very efficient cull of older cars. I can’t remember the last time I saw an Alero on the road here.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    As a former Oldsmobile salesman and sales manager these sim tops as we referred to them as were very popular in the 80’s up to the mid 90’s. Cars like the Aurora, Intrigue and Alero spelled the end of them for the most part. A few people held onto the past and actually had them installed on these cars even though they really looked out of place with the new styling trend. Actually they were a great profit maker for the dealerships so I was sorry to see their popularity end.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      This. While still not a fan, the only cars from the 90’s that could pull this off were cars with “formal” squared off lines. the Town Cars until the 98 redesign or the Cadillac Brougham. Everything else looks ridiculous, especially imports. Florida and many other geriatric places are loaded with these awful things. You name it: Camry, Lincoln MKZ, Altima, Taurus of all model years treated to this. Ugh, just awful. Even better when paired with the wide stripe Vogue tires and wheels and gold package with pinstripe.

      I had an 81 Regal with a 1/4 vinyl roof (two tone green) and an 84 Eldorado (white with blue top)the same way. Worked with those styles, still can’t say I liked it. Especially after water and dirt would accumulate under the lifting vinyl, you’d have dirt streaks down the car and glass

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    What, no Grand Am w/ simcon top?

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    I live in the deep south. The local Cadillac dealer has a few brand-new CTS’es on the lot with these already installed. They are fairly common in my neck of the woods.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    That doesn’t look like a vinyl roof, I think it’s one of those even more horrible fake convertible cloth roofs. Impossible to clean, and they go to pieces even faster than the vinyl one.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Growing up, my folks had one car with a vinyl roof: ’85 Crown Vic. Triple Navy. My grandpa died in ’92, and my mom inherited it. It was pristine, had something like 35k or 40k miles on it.

    So what did my mom do? Her and my stepfather started pulling their 20′ ski boat with it, which spurred overheating issues and, finally, it’s tranny gave.

    I had a ’89 Town Car in hideous Fawn Beige (yellowish-tan) with a dark brown canvas Prestige Roadster top. Wow, it was a pile.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, my old man had TWO such equipped cars, as follows:

    ’94 Caddy SLS. Grandpa Special Champagne with dark brown canvas full simulated convertible top (even had the damned gold screw covers and caddy crest and wreaths).

    Also, one ’89 Tornado. Burgundy with burgundy velour and a QUARTER white vinyl top with opera lights. That top actually looked quite good :)

  • avatar

    I have owned two Aleros, and they were delightful little cars. Sadly, they just didn’t age well, courtesy of GM’s beancounting. Thankfully, neither of my Aleros had canvas tops!

    BTW, this color was called Auburn Mist. It wasn’t very popular for some reason, as I found it to be an attractive shade…

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Back in the day when I rented from Avis for work, and Avis was owned by GM, Aleros were pretty much my favorite rental cars. Good ride, good handling, even the 4s had decent amounts of go, and nicer interiors than most other GM cars of the day. Shame they didn’t last.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Speaking of weird sightings north of Toronto, I actually saw KITT, of Knight Rider fame – complete with scrolling red light on the front, and dashboard signed by David Hasselhoff! Anybody know if there is only one of these things, or did the show require many and/or were reproductions made?

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      I work with someone who owns a repli-KITT which is unmodified on the inside, so a black Trans Am with lights and other bits. If you don’t need the full interior I don’t think it’s a difficult conversion, seems like there are many out there.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    An Alero 2004 was the last Olds made.

  • avatar
    50mission

    Champagne taste on a meisterbrau budget.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    This car looks like it should be locked in a brougham closet.

  • avatar
    mars3941

    I also owned an Alero back in 99 totally maxed out with every option Olds offered for my wife’s driver. We took it on a trip from Florida to Pennsylvania but it did not drive as well as her 2007 Saturn Aura XR she had in 07 we took on a trip to California. Except for the seats needing more support I really liked that Saturn. Soon as they got it right then go out of business.

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    There’s obviously no accounting for taste, but a Landau on a modern car strikes me just as someone wearing a cummerbund over a t-shirt.

  • avatar
    Holden Miecranc

    The thing that strikes me most about that photo is the realization that the Alero would have made for a very nice looking convertible. It would have been a nice alternative to the Sebring.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    Auburn Mist-1999 Oldsmobile Alero only!
    I had a 2002 Alero GX Coupe in Tropic Teal-another car I wish I would have kept! Even my license plate was ALERO GX…

  • avatar
    OzSRV

    Vinyl roofs didn’t last into the 80s here really. They got a bad reputation for being rust traps, caused mainly by the factory fitted ones being applied straight over primered only roofs.

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