Posts from ‘Oldsmobile’
The Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera pictured here was charged with tasks no single vehicle should ever be asked to undertake. First, as a Ciera, this midsize sedan was expected to replace the defect- and recall-plagued Omega in the minds of Oldsmobile shoppers—a daunting project. This particular car was additionally handicapped by being equipped with a General Motors diesel engine.
By this time, GM’s diesel woes were well known, and despite the fact that the 4.3-liter V6 oil-burner seen here was but a distant relative of the head-gasket-blowing 5.7-liter mill that would poison Americans against diesels for decades to come, buyers would ultimately turn a jaundiced eye against it.
Still, in gasoline-fueled form, the Ciera and its chassis mates—the Buick Century, Chevrolet Celebrity, and Pontiac 6000—would go on to find millions of shoppers. Modern-feeling for the day, these stalwarts of mainstream motoring would soldier dutifully on until their styling conservatism would be challenged mightily by the likes of the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable.
Here in the Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood, we still see the occasional Ciera on the road, typically in light blue, and usually in suspiciously good condition. Odds are, however, the car isn’t sporting a diesel engine.
Don’t look now, but summer is almost over. Labor Day has passed, and that means the summer cruise night season is soon to be ending in many parts of the country. Did you partake in one yet? If not, you should—either as a spectator or a participant. Most urban areas have weekly informal car gatherings; most are evening cruise nights, and some are early-morning weekend get-togethers (such as the “Cars and Coffee” show series), but all are great ways to enjoy cars without all the formality of an organized car show. The best part about these cruises is that you never know what rare or interesting vehicle might show up. The photos seen here were taken at the last two editions of the Monday Night Car Show, which kicked off this past June at the Westfield Old Orchard Mall in Skokie, Illinois. . . . .. . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Events recently conspired to remind me that it’s now 50 years since I started high school. With model-year 2012 having passed into history, I thought my minor golden anniversary was a good excuse for recalling a few “golden oldies” from model-year 1962. This is a personal list, so don’t be offended if you don’t see one of your favorites. Also be advised that we’ll be back soon for a sentimental journey to 1963, now that model-year ’13 is here.
Chevrolet Corvair Monza Spyder
An early example of mass-market turbocharging, the ultimate version of Chevy’s rear-engine compact seemed quite exotic in 1962, especially for a Detroit product. Offered as a coupe and convertible, the Spyder claimed only 150 horsepower, but that was sufficient, thanks to low weight. Worthwhile suspension upgrades were included. So were the regular Monza’s de rigeur bucket seats and a handsome multi-gauge dashboard with tachometer. A four-on-the-floor manual transmission and special brake linings were “mandatory options.” Though not cheap at $2,600 minimum, the Spyder was the next best thing to owning a Porsche 356. It was certainly just as tail-happy, as a certain Mr. Nader would soon loudly proclaim. Spyder sales were respectable at around 40,000 through 1964. Corvair was then redesigned, but the turbo engine continued as an option for the new top-line Corsa, though only through ’66.
Many members of the Consumer Guide Automotive staff also work on Collectible Automobile magazine. A few days ago, a small collection of vintage automobile advertisements and dealer brochures landed on CA Editor-in-Chief John Biel’s desk, courtesy of a reader in Wisconsin. Most of the ads were from non-automotive magazines, so they weren’t the typical pieces for muscle cars and such that were placed in the “buff books.”
One advertisement that caught my eye was for the 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme coupe. The mid-Seventies was the era of the personal-luxury 2-door coupe, and one of the most popular was the Cutlass Supreme. The interesting twist to this ad was that it was selling the car on low price rather than luxury. Placed in the February 1975 issue of Sunset, the main theme of the copy was the $4,048 base price and all the features that the money bought you.
Four photos showed what was presumably a zero-option Supreme coupe. It would have come with a 250-cubic-inch inline 6-cylinder engine and a 3-speed manual transmission. Other standards included blackwall tires, small “dog dish” hubcaps, and manual wind-down windows. The bench-seat interior was finished in velour. Power steering and front disc brakes were part of the deal, and GM’s new-for-1975 high-energy ignition system was included, too. EPA estimated fuel economy was noted at 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway.