5 cars that made Oldsmobile great (5 that destroyed it)

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Oldsmobile was the oldest surviving American automaker at the time of its demise in 2004. With 107 years of history, Oldsmobile cars can be described as true “classic cars”. But it’s clear that GM never learned to understand heritage. How else to explain their choice to put an end to the oldest truly American manufacturer, founded in 1897 by Ransom Eli Olds? With that, we say goodbye to all the iconic Oldsmobile vehicles that have made us proud through the ages.

The 1940 Hydra-Matic vehicles were the first to include fully automatic transmissions, introduced by Oldsmobile. Oldsmobile’s Cutlass series, which rivaled Chevrolet and Ford, became the best-selling automobile in the United States in 1976. Oldsmobile has developed some of the fastest and most powerful automobiles in the world over the years. And they kept adding to their performance profile until the very end. Oldsmobile muscle vehicles were never particularly popular, but they were often above the competition. Not only in terms of performance, but also in terms of appearance, functionality and elegance.

Oldsmobile’s demise might not have been the best decision for fans, but GM had legitimate reasons to do so. Oldsmobile has failed to meet the growing demand for new technology, performance and design from modern buyers. Because of this, GM decided it was time to withdraw the famous brand, and Oldsmobile was no longer available.


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Excellent: 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88

1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Cropped

Via mecum.com

The 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 wasn’t just a muscle car, it also debuted with the Rocket V8, a new 303 CID V8 powerhouse. After World War II, the Olds Rocket 88 5.0-liter V8 was the first OHV engine to be introduced. The 5.3-liter variant, first available in 1949, produced 240 horsepower in 1956.

1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 2 cropped

Via mecum.com

The 1949 Oldsmobile 88 was Detroit’s first muscle car, thanks to its lightweight body and powerful engine. That year, he competed in nine NASCAR races, winning six. The Rocket 88 was a game-changer in automotive history.

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Excellent: 1961 Oldsmobile Starfire

Via Mecum Auctions

The Starfire was the pinnacle of the Oldsmobile series. Oldsmobile released a sporty convertible in 1961, just as performance cars were starting to gain traction. They used 394 325 hp V8 engines in all of the major Oldsmobiles. However, the engine produced 330 horsepower in Starfire, setting the performance benchmarks for the 1961 model.

Via Barrett-Jackson

These models were more luxury vehicles than real muscle cars. Nonetheless, they offered power, performance, and a sleek appearance. The Starfire was a wonderful introduction to future Olds muscle cars because of these three characteristics.

Related: 1961-66 Oldsmobile Starfire: Costs, Facts & Figures

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Excellent: 1966 Oldsmobile 442 W30

1966 Pontiac Oldsmobile 442 in a garage owned by Jay Leno

Jay Leno’s garage

The 1995 Oldsmobile 442 was not the ultimate model in the 442 series of great cars. Due to its new engine, 1966 was ranked as one of Detroit’s most powerful muscle cars. The new model included a 400 V8 engine with 350 horsepower under the hood.

The good old ones: 1966 Oldsmobile 442 W-30, ultra-rare

via WheelsAge

You got a special dynamic air induction with tubes running from the front bumper to the carburetors if you went for the w30. The W-30 bundle wasn’t expensive, but it was strangely overlooked. As a result, only 54 were made.

Related: Check Out This Convertible 1 of 113 1972 Oldsmobile 442 W-30

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Excellent: 1968 Hurst Olds

1968 Hurst Olds 1

via mecum.com

The partnership between Hurst and Oldsmobile has been one of the most successful between a large automaker and a small aftermarket maker. In the late 1960s, GM’s muscle car divisions faced a new challenge: an engine size limit of 6.55 liters in all small and medium cars. GM’s guidelines did not apply to Hurst because it was an independent company.

1968 Hurst Olds

via mecum.com

So Oldsmobile transported partially disassembled 442s to Hurst, where they added the massive 7.45-liter 455 V8 with 390 hp and their famous shifter. And the result was one of the best cars in the Oldsmobile lineup of all time.

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Excellent: 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais 442 W41

1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais 442 W41

via thetruthaboutcars.com

Oldsmobile has attempted to rekindle the magic of the original 442 muscle car since the death of the muscle car era in the early 1970s. The 1991 Cutlass Calais 442 W41 is a high performance variant of the small Oldsmobile Calais with a extremely limited homologation. There were only 204 made in total by Oldsmobile.

1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais 442 W41

via YouTube

It had a highly tuned four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 2.3 liters that produced 190 horsepower. The tiny Cutlass Calais 442 W41 packs a lot of power. In fact, it could outperform considerably larger and more expensive vehicles. They unveiled this automobile about 30 years ago, at a time when 200 horsepower was considered significant power.

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Terrible: Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Diesel

'79_Oldsmobile_Cutlass_Supreme_Coupe

via WikiWand

Due to the 1973 oil crisis and the growing popularity of diesel automobiles from European automakers in the United States, General Motors made one of the first attempts by an American automobile manufacturer to produce a diesel engine.

Oldsmobile Diesel were the worst diesel engines of all time

via Hemmings

As a result, the 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Diesel, a mid-size car with a 4.3-liter V8 diesel, was among the worst performers. The engine was prone to failures after just a few miles, making it the poorest Cutlass and Oldsmobile for generations. The 4.3-liter diesel engine put out 90 horsepower before bursting into confetti and was only available in the 1979 Cutlass.

Related: Ranking The 10 Best Diesel Engines Of All Time

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Terrible: Oldsmobile Bravada

2002-Oldsmobile-Bravada

via netcarshow

Bravada’s history is brief. When did they do it all GM divisions had virtually the same cars with different badges. In the case of the Bravada, it debuted in 1991 as a model based on the GMT330 platform.

2002-Oldsmobile-Bravada

via netcarshow

Since the 1920s, Oldsmobile has not produced an SUV or truck based vehicle. Customers have required extensive recalls to repair, and sales have been dismal compared to comparable SUV models.

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Terrible: Oldsmobile Omega

Oldsmobile omega

Via Wikimedia Commons

The Omega shared a lot of DNA with the failed Chevrolet Citation, making it one of the lackluster variants of GM’s X-most platform. The Omega was supposed to be a sports car in the early 1980s, but it was spoiled by the “Iron Duke” engine and the X-Body.

Via Barrett-Jackson

Unfortunately, these four- and six-cylinder automobiles have not received enough R&D. The Omega was also breaking records … in terms of engine, gearbox, corrosion and other issues. These X-bodied automobiles have been a fiasco, plagued with recalls and warranty issues their entire lives.

Related: Here’s How Much A Classic Oldsmobile Omega Is Worth Today

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Terrible: 1986-1992 Oldsmobile Toronado

1992 Oldsmobile Toronado

Via: Cars for sale

The Oldsmobile is an automobile manufactured by Oldsmobile. By the 1960s, the Toronado had forged a reputation as a great luxury cruiser that was both luxurious and powerful. Unfortunately, when Toronado celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1986 by introducing an all-new wedge-shaped automobile, they decided to “downsize” the label with a dreadful remake. The sleek design, open headlights and, of course, the V8 engine were no longer present.

1992 Oldsmobile Toronado

Via: Cars for sale

Due to falling oil prices, they made it even smaller than before. As a result, it was a huge dud. The Toronado was eventually discontinued and they introduced the Aurora sports car in its place.

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Terrible: Oldsmobile Silhouette

2000 Oldsmobile Silhouette

via Netcarshow.com

This is one of the strangest pickups ever. With a few unusual features, such as a built-in child seat, a power-operated sliding door that plays a tune when it closes, and a dashboard large enough to hold an entire pizza box. It’s easy to see why people were suspicious of this strange vehicle.

2000 Oldsmobile Silhouette Rear

via Netcarshow.com

It was too little, too late, despite the fact that it was innovative. However, the odd design turned out to be unappealing and they built it on the same basis as other GM vehicles. Unfortunately, all of this styling was just to make it look like a Dustbuster, a famous handheld vacuum. The Silhouette barely took off because the driver’s seat was too terrible.


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