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Thread: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

  1. #21

    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    I'm an Olds fanatic. I grew up on Olds and my father's an Olds fanatic too.

    I loved what Olds stood for in the past. When in house engineering stopped it became a shadow of it's former self. My father ponied up the cash and bought an '86 442. He also scraped together $5735 in 1971 and bought himself a fully loaded Viking Blue '71 442 convertible (he still owns it).

    I got bitten by the bug and bought a tired but running 91,000 mile Garnet Red '66 442 in high school for a paltry $1200 on the outskirts of Saskatoon. It was one of 2,400 that year equipped with a 4-speed transmission. God that was an amazing car. I was forced to sell it to a cop when he caught me doing a speed far in excess of the limit. Being a scared teen who was about to lose a licence that was just recently acquired, I relented and sold it to the police officer. I believe I got $8800 for it. I thought I made out like a bandit.

    I should have taken the suspension. That car would be worth $60K+ today.

    I've been through over a dozen Oldsmobiles all from the mid 60's to the late 80's.

    Another one of my favorites was an extremely rare 160,000 km '78 Cutlass Calais with an Olds 260 V8 motor and a 5-speed Opel sourced transmission. I bought it from a trailer park resident in the middle of nowhere. The price? $600. It had a lot of other strange features. It had a Sanyo am/fm cassette player with a 'record' button on it and a jack at the rear of the unit in which I could plug a microphone into. I later learned that I could dictate into it or hit the record button and save anything that was playing on the radio to a blank tape. I was astonished. The car also got amazingly good fuel economy for a car of that vintage. I was getting 32-34 mpg on the highway without any problems.

    I even stumped my father as he was quite the authority on all things Oldsmobile. We went down to the local GM dealership and they insisted that the Cutlass never came with a 5-speed manual trans (especially an Opel sourced one). I had to bring the car in to convince them otherwise. They ran the VIN numbers with GM Canada. It came back as one of 11 Cutlass Calais cars used in a Canadian Economy Test Program in 1977-1978. Apparently they used the radio to dictate and record results as they were driving.

    I wish I had kept that car too. I sold it in a moment of weakness for $2000 as the frame was in poor condition and I needed the money to finish my last year of technical college.

  2. #22
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    I think GM should have axed Pontiac instead of Oldsmobile.

  3. #23
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    I think GM should have axed Pontiac instead of Oldsmobile.
    Why?

    Pontiacs (in general) at least sell. I haven't been a huge fan of recent efforts, but the division has had a number of models trhat did ok in the market - whereas Oldsmobile didn't have a successful model for years before the ax fell.

    Also: Pontiac makes some sense as GM's "upscale performance" brand. But Olds no longer had a niche...

  4. #24
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    "Another one of my favorites was an extremely rare 160,000 km '78 Cutlass Calais with an Olds 260 V8 motor and a 5-speed Opel sourced transmission. I bought it from a trailer park resident in the middle of nowhere. The price? $600. It had a lot of other strange features. It had a Sanyo am/fm cassette player with a 'record' button on it and a jack at the rear of the unit in which I could plug a microphone into. I later learned that I could dictate into it or hit the record button and save anything that was playing on the radio to a blank tape. I was astonished. The car also got amazingly good fuel economy for a car of that vintage. I was getting 32-34 mpg on the highway without any problems."

    That is amazing! You guys Up North get (and got) some offbeat stuff from GM that we didn't (and don't) get down here...

    My family had one big Olds after another when I was a kid; 1971 Regency with 455; '77 Regency with 350; 84 Regency with the 307..... all great tanks. Lots of fond memories of those cars....

  5. #25

    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    As you can see by the dash, my car was equipped with both idiot lights and a gauge package. When you used the radio, a green idiot light would illuminate that read "RADIO". On the left you can see the tach redlines at a measly 4,400 RPM. To other owners of a '78 Cutlass: were these cars equipped with both idiot lights and gauges?

    The radio picture shows the Sanyo AM/FM cassette player with the "RECORD" feature. Beneath the green light it reads "TAPE" and below the red light it reads "REC". The buttons "PAUSE" and "FFWD" are on the left and "RWD" and "REC" are on the right. You could plug a microphone in the back and record whatever you want to say or you can record whatever was playing on the radio and play it back. I used to get girls to give me their name, number and 30 seconds to tell me why I should call them. I recorded the information and saved it for later so I never had to write down numbers. I still have some of those tapes in storage today.

    Once, I used it to exonerate myself from a militant police officer by recording our entire conversation. The tape was enough evidence to prove my innocence and all charges were dropped. The officer wound up with a suspension. It was a life saver.

    I wish I kept this car.

  6. #26

    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    Here is an interior shot. As you can tell, the short throw European Opel based transmission looks very out of place with the rest of the car. The shift pattern is unusual in the fact that Reverse is located where 1st would be , and 1st is located where 2nd would be on North American cars. To get into reverse you had to move the shifter to the far left and forwards and not to the far right and rearwards. The first few weeks of ownership were confusing as I instinctively kept trying to put it in reverse and found myself in 5th gear, stalling out.

    The car was strangely optioned too. No power windows but power side view mirrors and a power trunk. No air conditioning but a power moonroof. Fuel economy was outstanding as mentioned before - somewhere in the region of 32-34 mpg. I had a couple of friends I went to school with who had a '78, '79 Cutlass and an '80 Cutlass, and my gas tank would always last 50% longer than theirs. They just couldn't understand it. Even the local Oldsmobile club spent an entire hour crawling over, under and around it. I had no problems letting them test drive it either. Every time I took it to GM for service the mechanics were all over it.

    These are the things that I miss that were associated with Oldsmobile. Technical innovation, experimentation, and the boldness and daring to 'play around'. It's a real shame.

  7. #27
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    I think GM should have axed Pontiac instead of Oldsmobile.
    Why?

    Pontiacs (in general) at least sell. I haven't been a huge fan of recent efforts, but the division has had a number of models trhat did ok in the market - whereas Oldsmobile didn't have a successful model for years before the ax fell.

    Also: Pontiac makes some sense as GM's "upscale performance" brand. But Olds no longer had a niche...
    Until the announcement of the G8, and the recent re-labelled Holden, Pontiac hadn't had anything resembling performance except the T/A, in a couple of decades. It was the division of the Grand Am. The idea of a 4-door Grand Prix was enough of a reason to axe the whole division. They are redundant with Chevrolet.

  8. #28
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    "Until the announcement of the G8, and the recent re-labelled Holden, Pontiac hadn't had anything resembling performance except the T/A, in a couple of decades. It was the division of the Grand Am. The idea of a 4-door Grand Prix was enough of a reason to axe the whole division. They are redundant with Chevrolet."

    Actually, both the Grand Am and the Bonneville (to name two) sold in very large numbers. Boring? Sure. But they did sell - which Oldsmobiles of the same period did not....

  9. #29
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    Question for ReasonOne -

    Is that speedometer in km or miles? I can't quite see it.

  10. #30
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by ReasonOne
    To other owners of a '78 Cutlass: were these cars equipped with both idiot lights and gauges?
    Not an owner, but I drove one in '58 (see my earlier post). Being a hire car, it was no doubt pretty much as low-specced as they came. From memory, it just had speedo, tacho, fuel & temperature gauges - and, of course, being a US-market car, it had an 85mph speedo!

  11. #31
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand
    Quote Originally Posted by ReasonOne
    To other owners of a '78 Cutlass: were these cars equipped with both idiot lights and gauges?
    Not an owner, but I drove one in '58 (see my earlier post). Being a hire car, it was no doubt pretty much as low-specced as they came. From memory, it just had speedo, tacho, fuel & temperature gauges - and, of course, being a US-market car, it had an 85mph speedo!
    In '58???

  12. #32

    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    Question for ReasonOne - Is that speedometer in km or miles? I can't quite see it.
    Hi Henry,

    The speedo is in km. You can make out 85 MPH at the top end as well as 135 KM in smaller letters. Being a Canadian car in 1978, the display of the speedometer in miles and kilometers were mandatory. Note the feeble 4500 RPM redline. At the time this picture was taken this car only had 168,000 km (it had only rolled over once; the mileage was confirmed through service records). That's just over 100,000 miles. I kick myself for selling this one.

    Canada was forced to do the metric changeover around the era this car was built.

  13. #33
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    I must have been looking at the wrong set of pictures. I see it now.

    4400 rpm redline? That's hilarious.

    135 kph speedometer? Ugh. At least in Canada, you didn't have to highlight the "55" (88 kph), although that regulation didn't come around until 1980.

  14. #34
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry
    I must have been looking at the wrong set of pictures. I see it now.

    4400 rpm redline? That's hilarious.

    135 kph speedometer? Ugh. At least in Canada, you didn't have to highlight the "55" (88 kph), although that regulation didn't come around until 1980.
    That was common in the late '70s/early '80s. Engines were just strangled by smog gear and weak cams. As I recall there were only a handful of cars that had engines that could be spun beyond 5,000 RPM; mosthad factory redlines that began in the 4,500 range. A few - like the Corvette L-82 - could rev higher, but not by much. Maybe 5,200-400 RPM.

    6,000-plus was risky - assuming it would even spin that fast. 6,500? You'd blow it up for sure.....

  15. #35
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    In '58???
    Oops...finger trouble! Make that '78! :-\

  16. #36
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand
    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    In '58???
    Oops...finger trouble! Make that '78! :-\
    Either way I'd be surprised if it had a Tach.

  17. #37
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    Either way I'd be surprised if it had a Tach.
    I can't be sure - it was 30 years ago!

  18. #38
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand
    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    In '58???
    Oops...finger trouble! Make that '78! :-\
    Either way I'd be surprised if it had a Tach.
    GM offered a tach as part of a Rally gauge cluster that was optional on many mid-late '70s cars.

  19. #39
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand
    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    In '58???
    Oops...finger trouble! Make that '78! :-\
    Either way I'd be surprised if it had a Tach.
    GM offered a tach as part of a Rally gauge cluster that was optional on many mid-late '70s cars.
    And how many cars in the rental car fleet do you think were equipped with that option?

  20. #40
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone miss Oldsmobile?

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand
    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    In '58???
    Oops...finger trouble! Make that '78! :-\
    Either way I'd be surprised if it had a Tach.
    GM offered a tach as part of a Rally gauge cluster that was optional on many mid-late '70s cars.
    And how many cars in the rental car fleet do you think were equipped with that option?
    Probably not many - but was that the question?


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