Junkyard Find: 2001 Oldsmobile Alero Sedan With Manual Transmission

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

General Motors built cars on the N Platform and its derivatives from the 1985 through 2005 model years, and five-speed manual transmissions were available on various N-based machines throughout that time. Very few American buyers of these cars were willing to operate three pedals by the dawn of the 21st century, but I have managed to find a five-speed-equipped Olds Alero in a Denver self-service car graveyard.

By 2001, the only members of the N-Body family (now renamed the GMX130 for its final generation) available with manual transmissions were four-cylinder-equipped Pontiac Grand Ams and Oldsmobile Aleros.

You could get a new Alero with a Getrag five-on-the-floor all the way through the demise of Oldsmobile in 2004.

I'd been looking for a discarded 1999-2004 Alero or 1999-2005 Grand Am with a manual transmission for years, with no success until I spotted this car. Until today's Junkyard Find, the newest manual-equipped N-Car I'd found had been a 1994 Grand Am.

To get the 2001 Alero with a five-speed manual, you had to order the entry-level GX model (complete with hand-cranked windows and no keyless entry) or the four-cylinder version of the more upscale GL2. Then you selected the manual transmission option and got a $785 credit ($1,353 in 2023 dollars).

Air conditioning and an AM/FM/CD radio were standard equipment on all 2001 Aleros. This car is a GX sedan, so its MSRP would have been $17,210 ($29,666 after inflation).

The GL1, GL2 and GLS trim levels could be purchased with a 3.4-liter pushrod V6 engine rated at 170 horsepower, but this 150-horse 2.4-liter Oldsmobile Quad 4 engine was required if you wanted to shift your own gears. Starting with the 2002 model year, the Quad 4 was ditched in favor of a 2.2-liter Ecotec four-banger making 140 horses.

I am aware that some members of the GM enthusiast community do not consider the LD9 2.4 Twin Cam engine to be a true Quad 4, but they're the same ones who deny that the original Cadillac Seville was related to the Chevy Nova. Feel free to debate these theological points in the comments.

The 2001 Alero's siblings were the Chevrolet Malibu, the Oldsmobile Cutlass and the Pontiac Grand Am. The Malibu moved over to the Epsilon platform for 2004, but the GMX130 version stayed in production as the fleet-only 2004-2005 Chevrolet Classic.

The Oldsmobile Division was already known to be doomed by the time this car rolled off the line at Lansing Assembly.

The final Oldsmobile built was an Alero, in fact.

There's no rust and the interior looks decent, though the paint is a bit faded.

We can assume some costly mechanical problem sent this car here, though it could have been a tow-away that was illegally parked and wasn't worth rescuing due to the low resale value for cars with too many pedals and the badges of a long-defunct brand.

Hug your kids. Hug the road.

Connect to the road like a punch to the jaw!

[Images: Murilee Martin]

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Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on May 02, 2023


  • WICKED xKID WICKED xKID on May 03, 2023

    I got an Alero 2000. First one i ever owned i could say very much satisfied with this car bought it for $1500 with literally 100k miles on it .the lady only used it for work in a 5 to 10 miles away from home. I'm second owner of this beautiful twin cam vehicle.💪😎

  • Stephen Never had such a problem with my Toyota products.
  • Vulpine My first pickup truck was a Mitsubishi Sport... able to out-accelerate the French Fuego turbo by Renault at the time. I really liked the brand back then because they built a model for every type of driver, including the rather famous 300/3000GT AWD sports car (a car I really wanted, but couldn't afford.)
  • Vulpine A sedan version of either car makes it no longer that car. We've already seen this with the Mustang Mach-E and almost nobody acknowledges it as a Mustang.
  • Vulpine Not just Chevy, but GM has been shooting itself in the foot for the last three decades. They've already had to be rescued once in that period, and if they keep going as they are, they will need another rescue... assuming the US govt. will willing to lose more money on them.
  • W Conrad Sedans have been fine for me, but I were getting a new car, it would be an SUV. Not only because less sedans available, but I can't see around them in my sedan!