Oldsmobile

Abandoned History: General Motors' High Technology Engine, and Other CAFE Foibles (Part IV)

We return to the saga of GM’s High Technology engine today, after taking a diesel detour in our last entry. Concurrent in the High Technology engine’s timeline, the Oldsmobile diesel’s failure was quick, but certainly not painless. It put the majority of American consumers off the idea of a passenger car equipped with a diesel engine. And by the time GM pulled the diesel from its various brand lineups, there was a strategy change over in HT4100 land: Not calling the engine HT anymore.

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Abandoned History: General Motors' High Technology Engine, and Other CAFE Foibles (Part III)

In today’s edition of Abandoned History, we return once more to the late Seventies engines of General Motors. After the disaster which was the V8-6-4 and the subsequent release of the quite flawed HT4100 V8, we take a sidestep today into diesel. Time for a turn with the cost-cut cast iron Oldsmobile oil burner that accompanied the troubled gasoline engines at GM dealerships across the country.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Upmarket Brand American Midsize Sedans in 1997

We’re back with more 1997 midsize sedan action in today’s edition of Buy/Drive/Burn. They’re all on the smaller end of the midsize sedan scale, all American, and crucially, all wearing semi-upmarket branding.

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Rare Rides: The 1990 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Sedan, FE3ling Zesty

Last week we featured the very uninspiring Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, which was a basic three-box A-body that never excited anyone, ever. Today we look at another Cutlass from the Oldsmobile Cutlass Everything Incorporated timeline.

This one’s a bit more exciting, as it says FE3 on the back.

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Rare Rides: A Pristine 1993 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, Much Driving Excitement

Today’s Rare Ride hails from the the much overused Cutlass nameplate at Oldsmobile. Just in this series we’ve had the Cutlass Calais and a Cutlass Salon, and today we head to the end of the Cutlass era, with a Ciera.

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Rare Rides: A Nearly-new 1997 Buick Skylark Coupe

When was the last time you saw a Nineties Skylark? More relevant to today’s subject, when did you last see one in showroom condition? The answer to the latter question is probably during the Clinton administration.

But here we are in the just wonderful year of 2020, and somehow a stunning late model Skylark has survived. Let’s take a look.

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Rare Rides: An Ultra Brown 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza Cruiser

In the Eighties, did you seek a compact car with the highest possible number of lamps at the front? If so, the choice was clear in ’84: Oldsmobile Firenza.

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Rare Rides: The Most Excellent 1992 Oldsmobile Bravada

Today’s Rare Ride represents a landmark for the Oldsmobile brand and a somewhat unsuccessful luxury badge experiment for General Motors.

Let’s check out the rarely seen first-generation Oldsmobile Bravada.

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Rare Rides: A Pristine 1996 Oldsmobile LSS Guarantees Sports Luxury Enjoyment

An oft-overlooked offering in Oldsmobile’s product catalog, the LSS was available for a few short years as the Rocket brand headed toward closure. Comfort and sporty driving appeal awaited its customers then, and still awaits you today.

Come along as we learn about this very beige supercharged sedan.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Moderately Luxurious American Coupes From 1976

It’s been a while since Buy/Drive/Burn covered a trio from the Seventies; December 2019, in fact. But today we return to that decade of automotive change with (almost) everybody’s favorite topic: personal luxury coupes.

Let’s sort out which of these PLCs was worth taking home in ’76.

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Rare Rides: A 1990 Oldsmobile Trofeo - Last of Personal Luxury

Today’s Rare Ride is one of those last-of moments for a historical nameplate. For nearly 40 years, Toronado was the luxurious coupe flagship of the Oldsmobile brand. But changing consumer tastes and a thinning of the herd at General Motors meant that, by 1990, the Toronado name was not long for the world.

Let’s talk about some personal luxury as we pour one out for the Troféo.

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Rare Rides: The Stunning 1992 Oldsmobile Silhouette, in Teal

A special day has arrived here at Rare Rides. Our subject is modern, sleek, and the Cadillac of Minivans. That’s right, it’s Van Time with the Oldsmobile Silhouette.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: American Two-doors for a New Century

Today’s Buy/Drive/Burn is the first of two consecutive entries where we’ll be evaluating two-door offerings from the dawn of the new millennium. First up is the American car trio… though one of them is thoroughly European.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser International Series

While traveling to my job as Wise and Fair Chief Justice of the 24 Hours of Lemons Supreme Court at the Minneapolis 500 race in Brainerd last week, I flew in via Fargo, North Dakota. Naturally, I visited a Fargo self-service junkyard before boarding my plane home, and that’s where I found this rusty-but-well-preserved ’88 Cutlass Cruiser International Series.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo

The General spent the 1980s experiencing a burning desire to sell high-profit-margin personal luxury coupes that combined the irresistible sales appeal of the 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with the technological sophistication of the latest high-end German machinery. This decade gave us such fascinating GM machines as the Cadillac Allanté, the Buick Reatta, the Pontiac 6000 STE, and the Oldsmobile Toronado Troféo. You won’t find many Troféos today, but I’m always on the lookout during my junkyard travels. Here’s a clean ’88 in a Denver-area self-serve yard.

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Rare Rides: The 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Quad 442 W41

The Rare Rides series has visited a performance 442 Oldsmobile previously, when we took a look at a one-off Hurst Intrigue 442 (which most everyone hated). Today we’ll see the very last time 442 appeared on a factory Oldsmobile.

It’s a Cutlass Calais Quad 442 W41, from 1991.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Ace of Base A-Bodies From 1979

After our most recent Rare Rides post, your author perused The Big List of BDB Ideas and discovered a suggestion commenter Sgeffe made many moons ago. He suggested the most basic coupe A-bodies on offer in 1979. Feeling cheap? Let’s get weird.

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Rare Rides: A Pristine 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon, Shift-It-Yourself Edition

Hearing the Cutlass name inspires visions of 442, of color-key rally wheels, or perhaps thoughts of tacky aftermarket ruination and glittery paint.

This grey fastback sedan doesn’t often come to mind, but perhaps it should. Presenting the 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon. Likely, Olds called it Salon because you can fit big hair into it.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: A Rear-drive C-body Showdown in 1980

A few months ago we selected a General Motors C-body from the three on offer in the mid-1990s, right at the end of the front-drive platform’s lifespan. Today’s trio is a variation on that theme, as suggested long ago by commenter Sgeffe.

He wanted to talk about rear-drive C-platform offerings — the full-size GMs available shortly before everything started going awry for the large sedan customer. Let’s go.

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Rare Rides: Get Some SCX in a 1992 Oldsmobile Achieva

Not just any regular old Achieva, the SCX was a cut above its siblings. In adding actual performance to the SCX trim, the Oldsmobile brand had one last hurrah with a performance coupe.

And someone’s taken care not to drive this one much at all.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
Oldsmobile has been gone since 2004, which makes it hard to believe that the Olds Cutlass spent most of the period from the middle 1970s through the early 1980s as either the #1 or #2 best-selling car in the United States. For 1979, the Cutlass came in second place (behind the Chevy Caprice), and thus these downsized A/G-body fourth-generation Cutlasses once crowded North American streets.Now, most are gone, but this primered ’79 Cutlass Supreme coupe nearly made it to age 40, ending its days in a Denver self-service wrecking yard.
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Buy/Drive/Burn: H-body Hotness in 1999 - the Final-year Showdown

As we were rustling up commentary in the last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, conversation naturally turned to other front-drive sedans available that same year. The discussion sparked the idea for another General Motors same-body showdown, like we saw previously with the luxurious C-body.

Today we’re talking H-body 3800 fun from Oldsmobile, Buick, and Pontiac.

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Rare Rides: The 1991 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, a Wagon-only Olds

Among the fairly common group of vehicles produced on General Motors’ B-body chassis in the 1990s, one stands out. It’s extra-long, fairly luxurious, a last-of moment, and unloved among the sort of people who collect older vehicles.

No, it’s not the Impala SS, which everyone overprices when it’s that Purp Drank color. It’s the Custom Cruiser, by Oldsmobile.

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Junkyard Find: Customized, 363,033-mile 1986 Oldsmobile Calais

Every once in a while, I’ll find a junkyard vehicle that I can tell was loved by some longtime owner. Maybe it shows some absurdly high odometer reading, or evidence of the single-minded pursuit of some lunatic mechanical obsession, or the work of hundreds of hours of creative customization.

Today’s Junkyard Find combines the first and third types.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: The 1993 C-body Showdown to End All Showdowns

I’ve been saving this one for a while on my Big List of Buy/Drive/Burns. The year is 1993, and you’re shopping the large front-drive sedan offerings from General Motors (rear-drive provides less traction and is archaic). Making a stop at the Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac showrooms, three ruched leather and wood tone sedans await you in top-spec trim. Let’s go.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera

Every so often, I’ll be poking around in one of the self-service wrecking yards I frequent and I’ll come across a very nice older car, clearly babied by its original owner for just about its entire life. It will be a car whose resale value depreciated to insignificance decades ago, dooming it to a junkyard parking space the moment its owner trades it in.

Today’s Junkyard Find is such a car.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: American Luxury SUVs From 1992

We’ve been on a Nineties streak lately, and our last four editions of Buy/Drive/Burn have all taken place within the decade. Well, ready your baggy beige suit and adjust its extensive shoulder pad region, because today we talk 1992. Specifically, Gtem suggested three luxury SUVs which were very popular with middle-class families across the country.

Ford, Oldsmobile, and [s]AMC[/s] Jeep — which makes it to your garage?

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Alternative Luxury Sedans Hailing From 1995

The B&B has proved on many occasions that they enjoy a nice Buy/Drive/Burn or three centered around the 1990s. I sense you want more, so have more! Today’s trio sprang to mind as we discussed the article surrounding Buick’s choice to remove the brand name from all new vehicles. In the comments, things naturally turned to the Oldsmobile Aurora and the modified Rocket logo it displayed.

But what other two vehicles from 1995 do you pair with the brand new Oldsmobile Aurora? Will you want to burn any of these? Let’s find out.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Toasting a Luxury Minivan From 1994

When the Picture Time post for the Villager Nautica went up on these pages last year, the idea for this particular edition of Buy/Drive/Burn was already on my mind. In fact, in the big list of trios I keep for this series, this one has always been at the top of the list.

The year is 1994, and you’ve got a luxury minivan to set alight.

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QOTD: The Best Model Names of Them All?

Last month we featured a Question of the Day about the worst model names ever glued onto the back of a vehicle. Everyone had fun trashing corny, little-known nameplates from here and abroad, as well as the various and oft-nonsensical letters applied to the back of many North American offerings today.

Today we flip this question and talk about the best model names. What’s your selection for the best vehicle names out there?

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Junkyard Find: 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue GLS, Phoenix Open Edition

The Oldsmobile Division had just six years to live when the Intrigue appeared in the 1998 model year, and this car was Oldsmobile’s final version of the long-lived GM W platform. I see thousands of W-bodies every year, during my junkyard travels, but it takes a special one to make me reach for my camera. Say, a supercharged Daytona 500 Edition Grand Prix, or a Lumina Euro, or a genuine Phoenix Open-badged Intrigue.

Here’s an example of the latter car that I found languishing in a Phoenix wrecking yard, just 30 miles from the Phoenix Open’s high-zoot venue.

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Rare Rides: This Racy Oldsmobile Bravada Kept Pace at Indy 500

Last time on Rare Rides, we carried the racing [driver] and special edition themes to new heights, and featured a shockingly bad Jeff Gordon Monte Carlo special edition of which there were 24 copies made. Our ride today is still made by General Motors, and it’s still about racing, but it’s larger and even more rare. It’s also better, because it has an Oldsmobile logo on the front (albeit not the superior rocket one).

Oh yeah, and it’ll go 140 miles per hour.

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Rare Rides: An Intriguing Oldsmobile 442 Shows Us Hurst at Its Worst

Last week, we kicked off this Rare Rides series with a shockingly wedge-y Ghia Probe, but that feels a little international, a bit foreign.

Let’s see a familiar brand from the good old USA [s]that’s never pretended to be international[/s]. It wears an Oldsmobile badge and stripes tinted with that familiar shade of Hurst gold.

Behold, the 1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue 442.

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Junkyard Find: 1983 Oldsmobile Toronado Brougham Coupe

The Oldsmobile Toronado started out as a big sporty car, morphed into an Eldorado-styled full-on luxury boat, then spent its twilight years getting progressively smaller and less opulent. Every Toronado ever made had front-wheel-drive and two doors, and every one had at least some Eldorado DNA in its bloodstream.

Here’s a downsized-but-still-substantial third-generation Toronado I found at a self-service yard in Phoenix, while I was in Arizona to work at the Arizona D-Bags 24 Hours of LeMons.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency Coupe

The greatest Oldsmobile song of all time is Public Enemy’s 1987 masterpiece, “ You’re Gonna Get Yours” (from all the many great Oldsmobile songs out there), but just what kind of Olds 98 was it that Chuck D used to get all those suckers to the side? I say it was the 1977-1984 tenth-generation 98, and here’s an example of a luxurious ’79 Regency Coupe, complete with landau roof and plenty of fake wood trim inside.

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Junkyard Find: 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Brougham

The Cutlass name was applied to so many different Oldsmobiles that you could put together an all-day Cutlass Badging Trivia Challenge and have no shortage of material. By the middle-to-late 1980s, Cutlass had become something of a sub-marque for Oldsmobile, with the Cutlass Ciera, Cutlass Calais, and Cutlass Supreme on different platforms and causing madness in subsequent generations of parts-counter guys. The Ciera (generally spelled “Sierra” by most owners, because what the hell is a Ciera?) achieved its greatest fame as the car driven by various bad guys in the excruciatingly Minnesotan film “ Fargo.”

Here’s a Cutlass Ciera — a Brougham, no less — that I spotted in Denver last week.

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Crapwagon Outtake: 1991 Oldsmobile 442

I love road racing. I grew up about an hour away from the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and spent many summer weekends wandering the grounds while soaking in the sounds and smells unique to the track. I’m pretty sure my first race was the Lumbermens Six Hours IMSA race in 1983, won by my local hero Bobby Rahal. I was four.

While I certainly enjoyed watching the CART and IMSA races, I always looked forward to the support races leading up to the main events. The best battles of the weekend were often dealt by the showroom stock classes, with small coupes and sedans bashing fenders and doors to get an edge in the corner.

Perhaps even as a kid I knew that I’d never be able to afford to race the big bore stuff, and adjusted my expectations downward. That must be why I adore homologation specials.

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Piston Slap: Because You Don't Sell Your First!

TTAC Commentator Matador writes:

Dear Sajeev/Sanjeev,

I own two cars (and two older pickup trucks): a 1995 LeSabre with 223,000 miles and a 2001 Audi A6 Avant with 165,000 miles on the clock. I drive 80-100 miles per day for work. Between work and personal miles, I drive about 45,000 miles per year. The trucks aren’t daily driven too often and are only used when I need to move something that won’t fit in the wagon. Gas isn’t that cheap!

The Buick isn’t going anywhere. It was my first car and I am a firm believer that you don’t sell your first. I would like to drive it a little less, though, keeping it for special occasions. Since the Audi is my main car, the Buick only receives about 35 percent of my overall miles. I love the way that the Buick handles and I am a huge fan of the 3800’s reliability.

I would really like a Buick wagon, but the Century wagon doesn’t appeal to me at all and the Roadmaster is out of my price range (I could have two Rivieras for the price of a decent Roadmaster wagon). I’m not partial to any brand, or against any brand, though I do find Hondas kind of boring.

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General Motors Recalling 1.4 Million Cars for Increased Fire Risk

General Motors announced Tuesday that the automaker would recall 1.3 million cars for an oil leak that could ignite, Reuters reported.

According to the report, 1,345 fires have been reported in cars that were repaired for similar issues under two previous recalls. In six years, 19 minor injuries were reportedly caused by leaking oil.

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Comparison "Test": 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S and 1968 Ford Mustang GT

Confession time: I’ve never driven a car built before the 1980s.

Actually, scratch that. I may have driven a car built before the ’80s — likely late ’70s — but it wasn’t memorable enough for me to actually, well, remember.

Thankfully, my hobby-turned-career has afforded certain pleasures, such as driving two incredible examples of what Detroit had to offer the buying public more than 40 years ago.

It was time to right my dark secret. These two cars — a 1968 Ford Mustang GT and an Oldsmobile Cutlass S of the same vintage — would allow me to do just that.

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  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?