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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Junkyard Find: 1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser Wagon, Deadhead Edition
Jerry Garcia died more than 20 years ago, but Grateful Dead-themed stickers will be showing up on junkyard vehicles as long as junkyards exist.In this series so far, we’ve seen several Steal Your Face-ized junkyard inmates, including this ’68 GMC pickup, this Ford Probe that no doubt had Kansas Highway Patrol sniff-dogs straining against the Colorado border in their eagerness to make an easy bust, and this stereotype-reinforcing ’83 VW Vanagon.Now we’ve got this Malaise Era Olds wagon from the first year of the GM G-body.
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Crapwagon Poll: 1967 Ford Mustang Vs. 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass

Mark’s look today at a couple of late Sixties’ performance icons has inspired me. Yes, my automotive ADD kicked in and off I went to eBay in search of affordable Cutlass and Mustang projects.

And, really, I’m still searching. The majority of what I’ve found are either total basketcases, poorly-done “customs,” or pristine show cars with prices to match. I’d love to find a car that has needs, but could be driven away and worked on over time.

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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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Junkyard Find: 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon Fastback Brougham Sedan

The early fifth-generation Olds Cutlass was a huge seller in the United States; not as big as the Cutlass’ peak in 1976 (when it was the best-selling car in the country), but one of the most popular cars on the street during that period. However, very few Oldsmobile shoppers opted for the odd-looking Cutlass Salon fastback sedan (or its Buick Century sibling), making today’s Junkyard Find nearly as rare as, say, a Geo Prizm GSi.

As more proof that rare does not always equal valuable, I present a rust-free, totally restorable Cutlass Salon Fastback Brougham Sedan, spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yard last week.

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Adam's En"light"ening Experience

My friend Adam is a great guy. He is a first generation American, Air Force Officer and genuinely pleasant person. Like anyone else, he has his preferences and dogmas. He believes television peaked with “The Rockford Files” and owns the complete series on DVD. He also believes any car worth owning was built before 1973. As such, he owns a stunning all-original 1963 Pontiac Gran Prix and this beautiful 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible.

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  • Dukeisduke A '51 Chevy Styleline De Luxe 4-door next to it, in the same color (Fathom Green) as the one my grandfather owned. It has a couple of accessories visible - bumper guards, like on my grandfather's, and the rear fender moldings above the taillights, which his didn't have.
  • Scott Do any car companies research demographics?going after a shrinking car buying market isn’t a recipe for success.hazrd a guess that most people in their prime car buying years don’t know anything about broncos or give a sht about a heritage model. Going to die on the vine. Bad strategy and failure for future growth
  • MaintenanceCosts The Jeep 4xes are impressive vehicles, even after accounting for the expected Stellantis/FCA lack of reliability. A Wrangler is not of any use to me but this powertrain in a Grand Cherokee L will be on my test-drive list when it inevitably happens.I just wish the gas engine were something other than a coarse and ugly-sounding four. These cars with either the Pentastar or the six-pot Hurricane would rocket right to the top of the list, although I'm sure they would sacrifice a couple of mpg when running on gas.
  • Mike Beranek The suicide door T-Bird in blue is a stunner. I love the look of that car.
  • Cprescott Interesting car. Even in its current condition it looks better than any Honduh made in the last decade. Honduhs already come with a built in junkyard designed look - mishmash of elements that don't work well together.