Oldsmobile
Overview
 
Oldsmobile was a brand of American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 produced for most of its existence by General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

. It was founded by Ransom E. Olds
Ransom E. Olds
Ransom Eli Olds was a pioneer of the American automotive industry, for whom both the Oldsmobile and REO brands were named. He claimed to have built his first steam car as early as 1894, and his first gasoline powered car in 1896...

 in 1897. In its 107-year history, it produced 35.2 million cars, including at least 14 million built at its Lansing, Michigan
Lansing, Michigan
Lansing is the capital of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located mostly in Ingham County, although small portions of the city extend into Eaton County. The 2010 Census places the city's population at 114,297, making it the fifth largest city in Michigan...

 factory. When it was phased out in 2004, Oldsmobile was the oldest surviving American automobile marque, and one of the oldest in the world, after Daimler
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is a division of its parent company, Daimler AG...

 and Peugeot
Peugeot
Peugeot is a major French car brand, part of PSA Peugeot Citroën, the second largest carmaker based in Europe.The family business that precedes the current Peugeot company was founded in 1810, and manufactured coffee mills and bicycles. On 20 November 1858, Emile Peugeot applied for the lion...

. The closing of the Oldsmobile division presaged a larger consolidation of GM brands and discontinuation of models during the company's 2009 bankruptcy reorganization
General Motors Chapter 11 reorganization
The General Motors Chapter 11 sale of the assets of automobile manufacturer General Motors and some of its subsidiaries was implemented through section 363 of Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York...

.
Oldsmobiles were first manufactured by the Olds Motor Works in Lansing, Michigan
Lansing, Michigan
Lansing is the capital of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located mostly in Ingham County, although small portions of the city extend into Eaton County. The 2010 Census places the city's population at 114,297, making it the fifth largest city in Michigan...

, a company founded by Ransom E. Olds
Ransom E. Olds
Ransom Eli Olds was a pioneer of the American automotive industry, for whom both the Oldsmobile and REO brands were named. He claimed to have built his first steam car as early as 1894, and his first gasoline powered car in 1896...

 in 1897.
Encyclopedia
Oldsmobile was a brand of American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 produced for most of its existence by General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

. It was founded by Ransom E. Olds
Ransom E. Olds
Ransom Eli Olds was a pioneer of the American automotive industry, for whom both the Oldsmobile and REO brands were named. He claimed to have built his first steam car as early as 1894, and his first gasoline powered car in 1896...

 in 1897. In its 107-year history, it produced 35.2 million cars, including at least 14 million built at its Lansing, Michigan
Lansing, Michigan
Lansing is the capital of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located mostly in Ingham County, although small portions of the city extend into Eaton County. The 2010 Census places the city's population at 114,297, making it the fifth largest city in Michigan...

 factory. When it was phased out in 2004, Oldsmobile was the oldest surviving American automobile marque, and one of the oldest in the world, after Daimler
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is a division of its parent company, Daimler AG...

 and Peugeot
Peugeot
Peugeot is a major French car brand, part of PSA Peugeot Citroën, the second largest carmaker based in Europe.The family business that precedes the current Peugeot company was founded in 1810, and manufactured coffee mills and bicycles. On 20 November 1858, Emile Peugeot applied for the lion...

. The closing of the Oldsmobile division presaged a larger consolidation of GM brands and discontinuation of models during the company's 2009 bankruptcy reorganization
General Motors Chapter 11 reorganization
The General Motors Chapter 11 sale of the assets of automobile manufacturer General Motors and some of its subsidiaries was implemented through section 363 of Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York...

.

Early history

Oldsmobiles were first manufactured by the Olds Motor Works in Lansing, Michigan
Lansing, Michigan
Lansing is the capital of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located mostly in Ingham County, although small portions of the city extend into Eaton County. The 2010 Census places the city's population at 114,297, making it the fifth largest city in Michigan...

, a company founded by Ransom E. Olds
Ransom E. Olds
Ransom Eli Olds was a pioneer of the American automotive industry, for whom both the Oldsmobile and REO brands were named. He claimed to have built his first steam car as early as 1894, and his first gasoline powered car in 1896...

 in 1897. In 1901, the company produced 425 cars, making it the first high-volume gasoline-powered automobile manufacturer. Oldsmobile became the top selling car company in the United States for a few years. Ransom Olds left the company in financial difficulties and formed the REO Motor Car Company
REO Motor Car Company
The REO Motor Car Company was a Lansing, Michigan based company that produced automobiles and trucks from 1905 to 1975. At one point the company also manufactured buses on its truck platforms.REO was initiated by Ransom E. Olds during August 1904...

. The last Curved Dash Oldsmobile was made in 1907. General Motors purchased the company in 1908.

The 1901 to 1904 Oldsmobile Curved Dash
Oldsmobile Curved Dash
The gasoline powered Curved Dash Oldsmobile is credited as being the first mass-produced automobile, meaning that it was built on an assembly line using interchangeable parts. It was introduced by the Oldsmobile company in 1901 and produced through 1907...

 was the first mass-produced car, made from the first automotive assembly line, an invention that is often miscredited to Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry...

 and the Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

. (Ford was the first to manufacture cars on a moving assembly line.) After Olds sold the company in 1899, it was renamed Olds Motor Works and moved to a new plant in Detroit. By March 1901, the company had a whole line of models ready for mass production. Unfortunately, a mistake by a worker caused the factory to catch fire, and it burned to the ground, with all of the prototypes destroyed. The only car that survived the fire was a Curved Dash prototype, which was wheeled out of the factory by two workers while escaping the fire. A new factory was built, and production of the Curved Dash commenced.
Officially, the cars were called "Oldsmobile automobiles," colloquially referred to as "Oldsmobiles." It was this moniker, as applied especially to the Oldsmobile Curved Dash, that was popularized in the lyrics and title of the 1905 hit song "In My Merry Oldsmobile
In My Merry Oldsmobile
"In My Merry Oldsmobile" is a popular song from 1905, with music by Gus Edwards and lyrics by Vincent P. Bryan.The song's chorus is one of the most enduring automobile-oriented songs...

."

The 1910 Limited Touring was a high point for the company. Riding atop 42-inch wheels, and equipped with factory "white" tires, the Limited was the prestige model in Oldsmobile's two model lineup. The Limited retailed for US$4,600, an amount greater than the purchase of a new, no-frills three bedroom house. Buyers received goatskin upholstery, a 60 hp (45 kW) 707 CID (11.6 L) straight-6
Straight-6
The straight-six engine or inline-six engine is a six-cylinder internal combustion engine with all six cylinders mounted in a straight line along the crankcase...

 engine, Bosch Magneto starter, running boards and room for five. Options included a speedometer, clock, and a full glass windshield. A limousine version was priced at $5,800. While Oldsmobile only sold 725 Limiteds in its three years of production, the car is best remembered for winning a race against the famed 20th Century Limited
20th Century Limited
The 20th Century Limited was an express passenger train operated by the New York Central Railroad from 1902 to 1967, during which time it would become known as a "National Institution" and the "Most Famous Train in the World". In the year of its last run, The New York Times said that it "...was...

 train, an event immortalized in the painting "Setting the Pace" by William Hardner Foster. In 1926, the Oldsmobile Six came in 5 body styles.

In 1929, as part of General Motors' companion make program
General Motors Companion Make Program
General Motors pioneered the idea that consumers would aspire to buy up an automotive product ladder if a company met certain price points. As General Motors entered the 1920s, the product ladder started with the price leading Chevrolet marque, and then progressed upward in price, power and...

, Oldsmobile introduced the higher standard Viking brand, marketed through the Oldmobile dealers network. Viking was discontinued already at the end of the 1930 model year although an additional 353 car were marketed as 1931 models.

1930s

In 1937, Oldsmobile was a pioneer in introducing a four-speed semi-automatic transmission called the "Automatic Safety Transmission", although this accessory was actually built by Buick
Buick
Buick is a premium brand of General Motors . Buick models are sold in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Taiwan, and Israel, with China being its largest market. Buick holds the distinction as the oldest active American make...

, which would offer it in its own cars in 1938. This transmission featured a conventional clutch
Clutch
A clutch is a mechanical device which provides for the transmission of power from one component to another...

 pedal, which the driver pressed before selecting either "low" or "high" range. In "low," the car shifted between first and second gears. In "high," the car shifted between first, third and fourth gears.

1940s

For the 1940 model, Oldsmobile was the first auto manufacturer to offer a fully automatic transmission
Automatic transmission
An automatic transmission is one type of motor vehicle transmission that can automatically change gear ratios as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually...

, called the Hydramatic
Hydramatic
Hydramatic was an automatic transmission developed by both General Motors' Cadillac and Oldsmobile divisions. Introduced in 1939 for the 1940 model year vehicles, the Hydramatic was the first fully automatic mass-produced transmission developed for passenger automobile use.-History:During the...

, which featured four forward speeds.

Starting in 1941 and continuing through 1996, Oldsmobile used a two digit model designation. As originally implemented, the first digit signified the body size while the second represents the number of cylinders. Body sizes were 6, 7, 8, and 9, and 6- and 8-cylinder engines were offered. Thus, Oldsmobiles were named 66 through 98
Oldsmobile 98
The Oldsmobile 98 was a full-size automobile and the flagship model of the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The name first appeared in 1941 and was used again after American consumer automobile production resumed post-World War II...

.

The last pre-war Oldsmobile rolled off the assembly line on February 5, 1942. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Oldsmobile produced numerous kinds of material for the war effort, including large-caliber guns and shells.

Production resumed on October 15, 1945 with a warmed-over 1942 model serving as the offering for 1946.

Oldsmobile once again was a pioneer when, for the 1949 model, they introduced their Rocket
Oldsmobile V8 engine
The Oldsmobile Rocket V8 was the first post-war OHV V8 at General Motors. Production started in 1949, with a new generation introduced in 1964. Like Pontiac, Olds continued building its own V8 engine family for decades, finally adopting the corporate Chevrolet 350 small-block and Cadillac Northstar...

 engine, which used an overhead valve
Overhead valve
An overhead valve engine, also informally called pushrod engine or I-head engine, is a type of piston engine that places the camshaft within the cylinder block , and uses pushrods or rods to actuate rocker arms above the cylinder...

 V8 design rather than the flathead
Flathead engine
A flathead engine is an internal combustion engine with valves placed in the engine block beside the piston, instead of in the cylinder head, as in an overhead valve engine...

 "straight-8
Straight-8
The straight-eight engine or inline-eight engine is an eight-cylinder internal combustion engine with all eight cylinders mounted in a straight line along the crankcase...

" design which prevailed at the time. This engine produced far more power than the engines that were popular during that era, and found favor with hot-rodders and stock car racers. The basic design, with few minor changes, endured until Oldsmobile redesigned their V8 engines in the mid-1960s.

1950s

Oldsmobile entered the 1950s following a divisional image campaign centered on its 'Rocket' engines and its cars' appearance followed suit. Oldsmobile's Rocket V8 engine was the leader in performance, generally considered the fastest cars on the market and by the mid 1950s their styling was among the first to offer a wide, "open maw" grille, suggestive of jet propulsion. Oldsmobile adopted a ringed-globe emblem to stress what marketers felt was its universal appeal. Throughout the 1950s, the make used twin jet pod-styled taillights as a nod to its "Rocket" theme. Oldsmobile was among the first of General Motors' divisions to receive a true hardtop
Hardtop
A hardtop is a term for a rigid, rather than canvas, automobile roof. It has been used in several contexts: detachable hardtops, retractable hardtop roofs, and the so-called pillarless hardtop body style....

 in 1949, and it was also among the first divisions (along with Buick and Cadillac) to receive a wraparound windshield, a trend that eventually all American makes would share at sometime between 1953 and 1964.

In the 1950s the nomenclature changed again, and trim levels also received names that were then mated with the model numbers. This resulted in the Oldsmobile 88
Oldsmobile 88
The Oldsmobile 88 was a full-size car sold by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors and produced from 1949 until 1999. From 1950 to 1974 the 88 was the division's top-selling line, particularly the entry-level models such as the 88 and Dynamic 88...

 emerging as base Dynamic 88 and the highline Super 88. Other full-size model names included the "Holiday" used on hardtops, and "Fiesta" used on its station wagons. When the 88 was retired in 1999 (with a Fiftieth Anniversary Edition), its length of service was the longest model name used on American cars after the Chrysler New Yorker
Chrysler New Yorker
The Chrysler New Yorker was a premium automobile built by the Chrysler Corporation from 1939–1996, serving for several years as the brand's flagship model. A model named the "New York Special" first appeared in the 1930s...

.

GM styling as a whole lost its frontrunner status in 1957 when Chrysler introduced Virgil Exner
Virgil Exner
Virgil Max "Ex" Exner, Sr. was an automobile designer for numerous American companies, notably Chrysler and Studebaker. He is known for his "Forward Look" design on the 1955-1963 Chrysler products and his fondness of fins on cars for both aesthetic and aerodynamic reasons.-Early life:Born in Ann...

's "Forward Look
Forward Look
Forward Look was a design theme employed by Virgil Exner in styling the 1955 through 1961 Chrysler Corporation vehicles.When Exner joined Chrysler, the company's vehicles were being fashioned by engineers instead of designers, and so were considered outmoded, unstylish designs...

" designs. When compared side to side, Oldsmobile looked dated next to its price-point competitor DeSoto
DeSoto (automobile)
The DeSoto was a brand of automobile based in the United States, manufactured and marketed by the Chrysler Corporation from 1928 to 1961. The DeSoto logo featured a stylized image of Hernando de Soto...

. Compounding the problem for Oldsmobile and Buick was a styling mistake which GM called the "Strato Roof." Both makes had models which contained the heavily framed rear window, but Detroit had been working with large curved backlights for almost a decade. Consumers disliked the roof and its blind spots, forcing GM to rush a redesign into production on some of its models.

Oldsmobile's only off year in the 1950s was 1958. The nation was beginning to feel the results of its first significant post war recession, and US automobile sales were down for the model year. Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac received a heavy handed makeover of the 1957 GM designs. The Oldsmobile that emerged in 1958 bore little resemblance to the design of its forerunners; instead the car emerged as a large, over-decorated "chromemobile."

Up front, all 1958 Oldsmobiles received one of General Motors' heavily styled front fascias and quad-headlights. Streaking back from the edge of the headlights was a broad belt consisting of two strips of chrome on regular 88s, three strips on Super 88s, and three strips (top and bottom thin, inside thick) on 98s that ended in a point at mid-body. The bottom of the rear fender featured a thick stamping of a half tube that pointed forward, atop which was a chrome assembly of four horizontal chrome speed-lines that terminated into a vertical bar. The tail of the car featured massive vertical chrome taillight housings. Two chrome stars were fitted to the trunklid.
Ford styling consultant Alex Tremulis
Alex Tremulis
Alexander Sarantos Tremulis was an industrial designer in the North American automotive industry...

 (designer of the 1948 Tucker Sedan
1948 Tucker Sedan
The 1948 Tucker Sedan or Tucker '48 Sedan was an advanced automobile conceived by Preston Tucker and briefly produced in Chicago in 1948...

) mocked the 1958 Oldsmobile by drawing cartoons of the car, and placing musical notes in the rear trim assembly. Another Detroit stylist employed by Ford bought a used 1958 Oldsmobile in the early 1960s, driving it daily to work. He detached and rearranged the OLDSMOBILE lettering above the grille to spell out SLOBMODEL as a reminder to himself and co-workers of what "bad" auto design meant to their business.

In 1959, Oldsmobile models were completely redesigned with a rocket motif from front to rear, as the top of the front fenders had a chrome rocket, while the body-length fins were shaped as rocket exhausts which culminated in a fin-top taillight (concave on the 98 models while convex on the 88 models). The 1959 models also offered several roof treatments, such as the pillared sedan with a fastback rear window and the Holiday SportSedan, which was a flat-roofed pillarless hardtop with wraparound front and rear glass. The 1959 models were marketed as "the Linear Look", and also featured a bar-graph speedometer which showed a green indicator through 35 miles per hour (56.3 km/h), then changed to orange until 65 miles per hour (104.6 km/h), then was red above that until the highest speed read by the speedometer, 120 miles per hour (193.1 km/h). Power windows were available on the 98 models, as was two-speed electric windshield wipers with electrically powered windshield washers. The 88 still relied on vacuum-operated windshield wipers without a washer feature. 1959 Oldsmobiles were offered with "Autronic Eye" (a dashboard-mounted automatic headlight dimmer) as well as factory-installed air conditioning and power-operated front bench seat as available options.

The 1959 body style was continued through the 1960 model year, but the fins were toned down for 1960 and the taillights were moved to the bottom of the fenders.

1960s

In the 1960s Oldsmobile's position between Pontiac
Pontiac
Pontiac was an automobile brand that was established in 1926 as a companion make for General Motors' Oakland. Quickly overtaking its parent in popularity, it supplanted the Oakland brand entirely by 1933 and, for most of its life, became a companion make for Chevrolet. Pontiac was sold in the...

 and Buick
Buick
Buick is a premium brand of General Motors . Buick models are sold in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Taiwan, and Israel, with China being its largest market. Buick holds the distinction as the oldest active American make...

 in GM's hierarchy began to dissolve. Notable achievements included the introduction of the first turbocharged
Turbocharger
A turbocharger, or turbo , from the Greek "τύρβη" is a centrifugal compressor powered by a turbine that is driven by an engine's exhaust gases. Its benefit lies with the compressor increasing the mass of air entering the engine , thereby resulting in greater performance...

 engine in 1962 (the Turbo Jetfire), the first modern front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive is a form of engine/transmission layout used in motor vehicles, where the engine drives the front wheels only. Most modern front-wheel drive vehicles feature a transverse engine, rather than the conventional longitudinal engine arrangement generally found in rear-wheel drive and...

 car produced in the United States (the 1966 Toronado
Oldsmobile Toronado
The original Toronado began as a design painting by Oldsmobile stylist David North in 1962. His design, dubbed the "Flame Red Car," was for a compact sports/personal car never intended for production...

), the Vista Cruiser station wagon (noted for its roof glass), and the upscale 442
Oldsmobile 442
The Oldsmobile 442 was a muscle car produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. It was introduced as an option package for F-85 and Cutlass models sold in the United States beginning with the 1964 model year. It became a model in its own right from 1968 to 1971, then reverted to an...

 muscle car
Muscle car
Muscle car is a term used to refer to a variety of high-performance automobiles. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines muscle cars as "any of a group of American-made 2-door sports coupes with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving." Usually, a large V8 engine is fitted in a...

. Olds briefly used the names Jetstar 88 (1964–1966) and Delmont 88 (1967–1968) on its least expensive full size models in the 1960s.
Notable models for the 1960s:
  • Oldsmobile 442
    Oldsmobile 442
    The Oldsmobile 442 was a muscle car produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. It was introduced as an option package for F-85 and Cutlass models sold in the United States beginning with the 1964 model year. It became a model in its own right from 1968 to 1971, then reverted to an...

     - began as a 1964 muscle car
    Muscle car
    Muscle car is a term used to refer to a variety of high-performance automobiles. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines muscle cars as "any of a group of American-made 2-door sports coupes with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving." Usually, a large V8 engine is fitted in a...

     option package (4-barrel carburetor, 4-speed manual transmission, 2 exhausts) on the F-85/Cutlass. In 1965, to better compete with the Pontiac GTO, the original 330 CID V8 rated at 310 hp was replaced by a new 400 CID V8 rated at 345 hp. The 442 definition was changed to "4" hundred CID V8 engine, "4"-barrel carburetor, and "2" exhaust pipes, and was named by "Car Craft Nationals" as the "Top Car of 1965." In 1968 the 442 became its own model and got a larger 455 CID (7.5 L) V8 engine in 1970.
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass
    Oldsmobile Cutlass
    The Oldsmobile Cutlass is a line of automobiles made by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The Cutlass began as a unibody compact car, but saw its greatest success as a body-on-frame intermediate car....

     (1961–1999) - mid-size car. Oldsmobile's best seller in the 1970s and 1980s, and in some of those years America's best selling car. In 1966 a top-line Cutlass Supreme was introduced as a four-door hardtop sedan with a more powerful 320 hp 330 CID Jetfire Rocket V8 than the regular F-85/Cutlass models, a more luxurious interior and other trimmings. In 1967 the Cutlass Supreme was expanded to a full series also including two-door hardtop and pillared coupes, a convertible and a four-door pillared sedan. Also came with a 7.0L 425 CID engine as an option in 1966-1967
  • Oldsmobile F-85 (1961–1972) - compact sedan, coupe and station wagon powered by a 215 CID aluminum block V8 engine from 1961 to 1963. In 1964 the F-85 was upgraded to an intermediate sized car and the aluminum V8 was replaced by conventional cast iron six-cylinder and V8 engines. The Cutlass was initially the top model of the F-85 line but became a separate model by 1964 with the F-85 nameplate continued only on the lowest priced models through the 1972 model year, after which all Oldsmobile intermediates were Cutlasses.
  • Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser
    Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser
    The Vista Cruiser is a station wagon built by the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors from 1964 to 1977. It was based on the Oldsmobile Cutlass/F-85 model but prior to the 1973 model year it utilized a wheelbase which was longer than that of the Cutlass/F-85 sedan.Unlike most station wagons, it...

     (1964–1977) - a stretched wheelbase Cutlass station wagon, which was stretched to 120" from 115" in the 1964-67 models and to 121" from 116" in the 1968-72 models, the stretched area being in the second-row seating area. This car featured an elevated roof over the rear seat and cargo area and glass skylights over the rear seating area, which consisted of a transverse skylight over the second seat (two-piece from 1964 to 1967, one-piece from 1968 to 1972) and small longitudinal skylights directly over the rear cargo-area windows, and also featured standard second-row sunvisors. The three-seat models featured forward-facing seating, at a time when most three-seat station wagons had the third row of seats facing the rear. From 1965 to 1970, it would be Oldsmobile's flagship station wagon, as no full-sized wagons were produced. The third-generation 1973-77 models no longer had skylights other than an optional front-row pop-up sunroof. This car was merely an up-line trim package on the Cutlass Supreme wagon and carried the Vista Cruiser nameplate rather than the Cutlass nameplate. The optional third seat was rear-facing in the third-generation Vista Cruiser.
  • Oldsmobile Starfire
    Oldsmobile Starfire
    Oldsmobile Starfire are automobiles produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors in two generations from 1961–1966 and 1975–1980. The Starfire nameplate was also used for the 1954–1956 Ninety- Eight series convertibles, and all 1957 Ninety-Eight series models. 1961 was the first year for...

     (1961–1966) - a sporty and luxurious hardtop coupe and convertible based on the 88. The Starfire featured interiors with leather bucket seats and a center console with floor shifter, along with a standard Hydra-Matic transmission, power steering and brakes (and power windows and seats on convertibles). It was powered by Oldsmobile's most powerful Rocket V8 engine, a 394 CID engine from 1961 to 1964 rated from 330 to 345 hp, and a larger 425 CID Super Rocket V8 from 1965 to 1966, rated at 375 hp.
  • Oldsmobile Jetstar I
    Oldsmobile Jetstar I
    The Oldsmobile Jetstar 1 was produced for only two model years - 1964 and 1965. It was designed as a sporty, high-performance full-sized car and only offered as a two-door hardtop for both years, based on the Olds 88's B-body.-1964:...

     (1964–1966) - Life for the somewhat obscure Jetstar I started in 1964. It was designed to be a low cost option to the successful full size Starfire series - more of a direct competitor to the Pontiac Grand Prix
    Pontiac Grand Prix
    Picking up where the Pontiac Ventura model left off, the Grand Prix first appeared in the Pontiac line for 1962. It was essentially a standard Pontiac Catalina coupe with minimal outside chrome trim and a sportier interior...

    . Standard equipment included the 345 hp 394ci Starfire engine, vinyl bucket seats and console. Keeping the “sport” part of the Starfire, it possessed less of the luxury and glitz. It weighed in at 4028 pounds, and 16,084 were produced for 1964. It was a Starfire without the frills and was informally dubbed “the poor man’s Starfire”. Proving to be an ill-fated model, 1965 concluded the 2 year run for the Jetstar I. Only 6,552 were sold. The introduction of the Pontiac GTO and Oldsmobile 4-4-2 in 1964 insured the future of the musclecars were the intermediates, and the front-drive Toronado loomed big in Oldsmobile's future taking over the flagship status from the Starfire. Further confused with its lesser brethren with the Jetstar 88 nameplate, there was no way but out for the Jetstar I. And close examination of prices revealed that unless one bought a sparsely optioned JS1, there was little financial incentive to buy a JS1 over the Starfire. Take the $3602 base price and add the $107.50 power steering, the $43.00 power brakes, and the $242.10 automatic transmission (all standard on the Starfire), and you had a $4,000 Jetstar I. And less than $150 more would buy you the $4148 based priced Starfire, which not only included those standard features but a more luxurious leather interior. But lost in the mix was a jewel of a high performance car in the ’65 Jetstar I. Trimmed down to 3963#, the ’65 model was an overlooked performance car. The new 370 hp 425ci Starfire engine delivered 470 lbft of torque, was durable, and was quite an improvement over the ’64 394. How serious was that horsepower and torque in ’65? If you wanted this much power in a Pontiac, it was only available in the top-of-the-line 421 HO Tri-Power engine that was not standard in any Pontiac model, but an extra-cost option. The new Oldsmobile Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission was a vast performance improvement over the previous “slim-jim” Hydra-Matic transmission. But best of all, Oldsmobile offered the Muncie 4-speed with Hurst shifter in ’65. Oldsmobile boasted in a 1965 press release that “a Jetstar I proved to be the top accelerator of the entire event” at the 1965 Pure Oil Performance Trials in Daytona beach. Those trials were sanctioned and supervised by NASCAR.Note: between 1964 and 1966, Oldsmobile named its least expensive full size model the Oldsmobile Jetstar 88 which the Jetstar I was not related to, and priced $500–$600 below the Jetstar I.
  • Oldsmobile Delta 88 (1965-1989) While the "88" series of Oldsmobile's date back to the 1940s, and were offered in a variety of trim levels, the introduction of the Delta 88, which superseded the Super 88 line as Olds mid-level full-sized vehicles, was a watershed event for the division. Better trimmed than the low price Dynamic 88 range, but available in a wider range of body styles than the Super 88 had been, the Delta range was an immediate hit with car buyers. It quickly over shadowed the Dynamic 88 line. To pump life into the Dynamic 88 range, Oldsmobile renamed it the Delmont 88 for 1967. However the Delta continued to climb in popularity to the point where Oldsmobile dropped the Delmont range at the end of the 1968 model run. Eventually the Delta 88 was joined by the Delta 88 Royale, a premium trimmed Delta. The Delta continued to be Oldsmobile's most popular full size line. In an attempt to modernize marketing efforts as Oldsmobile's fortunes declined, the "Delta" name was dropped in 1989, but the car lived on as the Eighty-Eight until Oldsmobile ended it's production in 1999.
  • Oldsmobile Toronado
    Oldsmobile Toronado
    The original Toronado began as a design painting by Oldsmobile stylist David North in 1962. His design, dubbed the "Flame Red Car," was for a compact sports/personal car never intended for production...

     (1966–1992) - a front-wheel drive
    Front-wheel drive
    Front-wheel drive is a form of engine/transmission layout used in motor vehicles, where the engine drives the front wheels only. Most modern front-wheel drive vehicles feature a transverse engine, rather than the conventional longitudinal engine arrangement generally found in rear-wheel drive and...

     coupe in the personal luxury car
    Personal luxury car
    A personal luxury car is a highly styled, luxury vehicle with an emphasis on image over practicality. Accenting the comfort and satisfaction of its owner and driver above all else, the personal luxury car sometimes sacrifices passenger capacity, cargo room, and fuel economy in favor of style and...

     category, introduced in 1966. At the time, the largest and most powerful front wheel drive car ever produced, and one of the first modern front wheel drive cars equipped with an automatic transmission. The original Toronado was powered by a 425 CID Super Rocket V8 engine rated at 385 hp, mated to a three speed Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission. The Toronado was Motor Trend
    Motor Trend
    Motor Trend is an American automobile magazine. It first appeared in September 1949, issued by Petersen Publishing Company in Los Angeles, and bearing the tag line "The Magazine for a Motoring World". Petersen Publishing was sold to British publisher EMAP in 1998, who sold the former Petersen...

     magazine's 1966 "Car of the Year."

1970s-1980s

Oldsmobile sales soared in the 1970s and 1980s (for an all-time high of 1,066,122 in 1985) based on popular designs, positive reviews from critics and the perceived quality and reliability of the Rocket V8 engine, with the Cutlass
Oldsmobile Cutlass
The Oldsmobile Cutlass is a line of automobiles made by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The Cutlass began as a unibody compact car, but saw its greatest success as a body-on-frame intermediate car....

 series becoming North America's top selling car by 1976. By this time, Olds had displaced Pontiac and Plymouth as the #3 best selling brand in the U.S. behind Chevrolet and Ford. In the early 1980s, model-year production topped one million units on several occasions, something only Chevrolet and Ford had achieved.

The soaring popularity of Oldsmobile vehicles resulted in a major issue in the late 1970s. At that time, each General Motors division produced its own V8 engines, and in 1977, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, Pontiac and Buick each produced a unique 350 cubic inch displacement V8.

It was during the 1977 model year that demand exceeded production capacity for the Oldsmobile V8, and as a result Oldsmobile began equipping most full size Delta 88 models (those with Federal emissions specifications) with the Chevrolet 350 engine instead. Although it was widely debated whether there was a difference in quality or performance between the two engines, there was no question that the engines were different from one another. Many customers were loyal Oldsmobile buyers who specifically wanted the Rocket V8, and did not discover that their vehicle had the Chevrolet engine until they performed maintenance and discovered that purchased parts did not fit. This became a public relations
Public relations
Public relations is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc....

 nightmare for GM.

Following this debacle, disclaimers stating that "Oldsmobiles are equipped with engines produced by various GM divisions" were tacked on to advertisements and sales literature; all other GM divisions followed suit. In addition, GM quickly stopped associating engines with particular divisions, and to this day all GM engines are produced by "GM Powertrain" (GMPT) and are called GM "Corporate" engines instead of GM "Division" engines. Although it was the popularity of the Oldsmobile division vehicles that prompted this change, declining sales of V8 engines would have made this change inevitable as all but the Chevrolet version of the 350 cubic inch engine were eventually dropped.

Oldsmobile also introduced a 5.7L (350cu-in, V-8) diesel engine option on its Delta 88 and 98 models in 1978 and a smaller 4.3L (260 cu-in) displacement diesel on the '79 Cutlass Supreme. These were largely based on their gasoline engines but with heavier duty cast blocks, re-designed heads, fast glow plugs, and on the 5.7L, oversized cranks, main bearings, and wrist pins. There were several problems with these engines, including water and corrosion in the injectors (no water separator in the fuel line), paraffin clogging of fuel lines and filters in cold weather, reduced lubrication in the heads due to undersized oil galleys, head bolt failures, and the use of aluminum rockers and stanchions in the 4.3L engines. While the 5.7L was also offered on the 1980 Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, and Chevy Impala, they were soon discontinued by all divisions by the mid 80s.
Notable models:
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
    Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
    The Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was a mid-size car produced by General Motors for the American market. It was always at the top of the Cutlass range. It began as a trim package, developed its own roofline, and eventually was mechanically divorced from the later, smaller Cutlasses.The Cutlass Supreme...

     (1967–1997) - more performance and luxury than the lower priced Cutlass and Cutlass S models, fitting in at the lower end of the personal luxury car
    Personal luxury car
    A personal luxury car is a highly styled, luxury vehicle with an emphasis on image over practicality. Accenting the comfort and satisfaction of its owner and driver above all else, the personal luxury car sometimes sacrifices passenger capacity, cargo room, and fuel economy in favor of style and...

     market. Models were similar to the Pontiac Grand Prix
    Pontiac Grand Prix
    Picking up where the Pontiac Ventura model left off, the Grand Prix first appeared in the Pontiac line for 1962. It was essentially a standard Pontiac Catalina coupe with minimal outside chrome trim and a sportier interior...

    , Chevrolet Monte Carlo
    Chevrolet Monte Carlo
    The Chevrolet Monte Carlo was an American-made two-door coupe introduced for model year 1970, and manufactured over six generations through model year 2007. It was marketed as a personal-luxury coupe through most of its history, with the last model version being classified as a full-sized coupe...

    , and Buick Regal
    Buick Regal
    The Buick Regal is a mid-size car introduced by General Motors for the 1973 model year. North American production ended in 2004 and began again in 2011. For the 2011 model year, Buick re-introduced the Regal to the North American market, positioned as an upscale sport sedan...

    .
  • Oldsmobile 98
    Oldsmobile 98
    The Oldsmobile 98 was a full-size automobile and the flagship model of the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The name first appeared in 1941 and was used again after American consumer automobile production resumed post-World War II...

     - Oldsmobile full-sized luxury sedan that was downsized in 1977 and 1985, became front wheel drive in 1985
  • Oldsmobile Toronado
    Oldsmobile Toronado
    The original Toronado began as a design painting by Oldsmobile stylist David North in 1962. His design, dubbed the "Flame Red Car," was for a compact sports/personal car never intended for production...

     (1966–1992) - personal luxury coupe, major redesign downsized the car in 1986, Motor Trend Car of the Year in '66
  • Oldsmobile Omega
    Oldsmobile Omega
    The Omega was one of 2 more X-body Chevrolet Nova clones introduced in 1973 . Naturally it shared the Nova's body and many of its mechanicals, but it had its own unique nose and tail, and, being an Oldsmobile, it had a little fancier trim than the Nova...

     (1973–1984) - compact car based on the Chevrolet Nova and later the Chevrolet Citation
    Chevrolet Citation
    The Chevrolet Citation was a compact car sold by the Chevrolet brand of American automaker General Motors for model years 1980-1985. The Citation and its X-body siblings were among GM's first front wheel drive compact cars, following the trend of front drive compacts such as the Honda Accord...

    .
  • Oldsmobile Calais (or Cutlass Calais) (1985–1991) - popular compact coupe or sedan on GM's "N-body" platform, similar to the Pontiac Grand Am. The series' name was taken from what was formerly the high-end option package for Cutlass Supreme models.
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
    Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
    The Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera is a mid-size car that was sold from 1982 through 1996 by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors.It shared the front-wheel drive A platform with the very similar Buick Century, Pontiac 6000 and Chevrolet Celebrity; both Olds and Chevy considered using the Celebrity...

     (1982–1996) - popular selling upscale mid-sized car based on GM's A platform
    GM A platform (FWD)
    The General Motors A platform was a mid-size car automobile platform designation used from 1982 to 1996. Previously the A body designation had been used for rear wheel drive mid-sized cars....

    . During its run, the Cutlass Ciera was Oldsmobile's best-selling model. It consistently ranked among the highest rated vehicles by J. D. Power and Associates; it was ranked the "Best in Price Class" on July 30, 1992 and the "Top-Ranked American-Made Car" on May 28, 1992. It was also named "Safe Car of the Year" by Prevention Magazine on March 6, 1992.
  • Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser
    Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser
    The Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser is large rear-wheel drive station wagon which was produced by Oldsmobile from 1971 to 1992. The Custom Cruiser used the same platform as the Buick, Chevrolet and Pontiac full-size wagons...

     (1971–1992) - full-size station wagon.
  • Oldsmobile Starfire
    Oldsmobile Starfire
    Oldsmobile Starfire are automobiles produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors in two generations from 1961–1966 and 1975–1980. The Starfire nameplate was also used for the 1954–1956 Ninety- Eight series convertibles, and all 1957 Ninety-Eight series models. 1961 was the first year for...

     (1975–1980) - Sporty subcompact, hatchback
    Hatchback
    A Hatchback is a car body style incorporating a shared passenger and cargo volume, with rearmost accessibility via a rear third or fifth door, typically a top-hinged liftgate—and features such as fold-down rear seats to enable flexibility within the shared passenger/cargo volume. As a two-box...

     coupe similar to the Chevrolet Monza
    Chevrolet Monza
    The Chevrolet Monza is a subcompact, four-passenger automobile produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors for the 1975–1980 model years. The Monza is based on the Chevrolet Vega, sharing its wheelbase, width and 140 CID inline-4 engine...

    , which was itself, based on the Chevrolet Vega
    Chevrolet Vega
    The Chevrolet Vega is a subcompact, two-door automobile that was produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors for the 1971-1977 model years. Named after the star Vega, the car was powered by a lightweight aluminum-block inline four-cylinder engine...

    .
  • Oldsmobile Firenza
    Oldsmobile Firenza
    The Oldsmobile Firenza was a compact car produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors from 1982 to 1988. It was based on the front-wheel drive GM J platform, which was shared with the Buick Skyhawk, Cadillac Cimarron, Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunbird...

     (1982–1988) - compact sedan, hatchback, coupe, and station wagon based on GM's J-body, sharing the same bodyshell with the Chevrolet Cavalier
    Chevrolet Cavalier
    The Chevrolet Cavalier was a compact automobile produced from 1982 to 2005 by General Motors. Built on the company's J platform, the Cavalier was one of the best-selling cars in the United States throughout its life.- Predecessors :...

    , Pontiac Sunbird
    Pontiac Sunbird
    The Pontiac Sunbird, produced by the Pontiac division of General Motors, was Pontiac's second small-car offering of the 70's. The Sunbird model ran for 18 years and was then replaced in 1995 by the Pontiac Sunfire...

    , Buick Skyhawk
    Buick Skyhawk
    The Buick Skyhawk are automobiles produced by the Buick division of General Motors in two generations for the 1975 through 1989 model years. 1975 through 1980 models, all 2-door hatchbacks, were built on the subcompact, rear-wheel drive H-body platform...

    , and Cadillac Cimarron
    Cadillac Cimarron
    The Cadillac Cimarron was a compact car built by Cadillac based on the GM J platform. It was first introduced in 1981 for the 1982 model year, and sold through 1988. During its seven-year model run, 132,499 Cimarrons were built.-Development:...

    .

1990s

After the tremendous success of the early 1980s, things changed quickly for Oldsmobile, and by 1990 the brand had lost its place in the market, squeezed between other GM divisions, and with competition from new upscale import makes such as Acura
Acura
Acura is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Honda Motor Company. The brand has been available in the United States and Canada since March 1986, marketing luxury, performance, and near-performance vehicles. It was introduced to Hong Kong in 1991, Mexico in 2004, and China in 2006...

 and Lexus
Lexus
is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation. First introduced in 1989 in the United States, Lexus is now sold globally and has become Japan's largest-selling make of premium cars. The Lexus marque is marketed in over 70 countries and territories worldwide, and has...

. Oldsmobile's signature cars gave way to rebadged models of other GM cars, and GM shifted the performance mantle to Chevrolet
Chevrolet
Chevrolet , also known as Chevy , is a brand of vehicle produced by General Motors Company . Founded by Louis Chevrolet and ousted GM founder William C. Durant on November 3, 1911, General Motors acquired Chevrolet in 1918...

 and Pontiac
Pontiac
Pontiac was an automobile brand that was established in 1926 as a companion make for General Motors' Oakland. Quickly overtaking its parent in popularity, it supplanted the Oakland brand entirely by 1933 and, for most of its life, became a companion make for Chevrolet. Pontiac was sold in the...

. GM continued to use Oldsmobile sporadically to showcase futuristic designs and as a "guinea pig
Guinea pig
The guinea pig , also called the cavy, is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. Despite their common name, these animals are not in the pig family, nor are they from Guinea...

" for testing new technology, with Oldsmobile offering the Toronado Trofeo
Oldsmobile Toronado
The original Toronado began as a design painting by Oldsmobile stylist David North in 1962. His design, dubbed the "Flame Red Car," was for a compact sports/personal car never intended for production...

, which included a visual instrument system with a calendar, datebook, and climate controls. For 1995, Oldsmobile introduced the Aurora
Oldsmobile Aurora
The Oldsmobile Aurora was a full-size sports sedan made by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors and launched in 1995. The Aurora rode on the same Cadillac-derived G platform as the 2-door Buick Riviera....

, which would be the inspiration for the design of its cars from the mid-1990s onward. The introduction of the Aurora marked as General Motors' catalyst to reposition Oldsmobile as an upscale import fighter. Accordingly, Oldsmobile received a new logo based on the familiar "rocket" theme. Nearly all the existing model names were gradually phased out: the Cutlass Calais in 1991, the Toronado and Custom Cruiser in 1992, the Ninety-Eight and Ciera (formerly Cutlass Ciera) in 1996, Cutlass Supreme in 1997, and finally the Eighty-Eight and Cutlass (which had only been around since '97) in 1999. They were replaced with newer, more modern models with designs inspired by the Aurora.

Redesigned & new models introduced from 1990 to 2004:
  • Oldsmobile Achieva
    Oldsmobile Achieva
    The Oldsmobile Achieva was introduced for the 1992 model year and was a front-wheel drive, compact car based on the GM N-body platform which it also shared with its siblings the Pontiac Grand Am and Buick Skylark...

     (1992–1998) - compact sedan & coupe
  • Oldsmobile Alero
    Oldsmobile Alero
    The Oldsmobile Alero was a compact car produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors from 1999 to 2004.The Alero was introduced in spring 1998 as a 1999 model to replace the Achieva and Cutlass. The Alero went into production on April 6, 1998. All Aleros were built in Lansing, Michigan...

     (1999–2004) - compact sport sedan & coupe
  • Oldsmobile Aurora
    Oldsmobile Aurora
    The Oldsmobile Aurora was a full-size sports sedan made by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors and launched in 1995. The Aurora rode on the same Cadillac-derived G platform as the 2-door Buick Riviera....

     (1995–2003) - full-size luxury/performance sedan (redesigned for 2001)
  • Oldsmobile Bravada
    Oldsmobile Bravada
    The Oldsmobile Bravada is a mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle from the now retired Oldsmobile marque of General Motors. There have been two different vehicles to bear this model name, the first and second-generation GMT330, and the 2002 to 2004 GMT360....

     (1991–2004) - mid-size premium SUV
    Sport utility vehicle
    A sport utility vehicle is a generic marketing term for a vehicle similar to a station wagon, but built on a light-truck chassis. It is usually equipped with four-wheel drive for on- or off-road ability, and with some pretension or ability to be used as an off-road vehicle. Not all four-wheel...

     (redesigned for 1996 and 2002)
  • Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser
    Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser
    The Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser is large rear-wheel drive station wagon which was produced by Oldsmobile from 1971 to 1992. The Custom Cruiser used the same platform as the Buick, Chevrolet and Pontiac full-size wagons...

     (1971–1992) - full-size station wagon. (Redesigned for 1991)
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass
    Oldsmobile Cutlass
    The Oldsmobile Cutlass is a line of automobiles made by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The Cutlass began as a unibody compact car, but saw its greatest success as a body-on-frame intermediate car....

     (1997–1999) - mid-size sedan
  • Oldsmobile Eighty Eight (1949–1999) - full-size premium sedan (redesigned for 1992)
  • Oldsmobile Intrigue
    Oldsmobile Intrigue
    The Oldsmobile Intrigue was a mid-size sedan manufactured from 1998 through 2002 by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The Intrigue's design cues were first seen in 1995 with the Oldsmobile Antares concept car...

     (1998–2002) - mid-size luxury/sport sedan
  • Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight (1941–1996) - full-size luxury sedan (redesigned for 1991)
  • Oldsmobile Silhouette
    Oldsmobile Silhouette
    The Oldsmobile Silhouette and its siblings, the Pontiac Trans Sport and Chevrolet Lumina APV , were a trio of minivans that débuted in late 1989 as 1990 models...

     (1990–2004) - premium minivan
    Minivan
    Minivan is a type of van designed for personal use. Minivans are typically either two-box or one box designs for maximum interior volume – and are taller than a sedan, hatchback, or a station wagon....

     (redesigned for 1997)

2000s

In spite of Oldsmobile's critical successes since the mid-1990s, a reported shortfall in sales and overall profitability prompted General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

 to announce in December 2000 their plans to phase out the Oldsmobile brand. The announcement took place just two days after Oldsmobile unveiled what would be its last new model ever, the Bravada
Oldsmobile Bravada
The Oldsmobile Bravada is a mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle from the now retired Oldsmobile marque of General Motors. There have been two different vehicles to bear this model name, the first and second-generation GMT330, and the 2002 to 2004 GMT360....

 SUV
Sport utility vehicle
A sport utility vehicle is a generic marketing term for a vehicle similar to a station wagon, but built on a light-truck chassis. It is usually equipped with four-wheel drive for on- or off-road ability, and with some pretension or ability to be used as an off-road vehicle. Not all four-wheel...

 - which became, somewhat ironically, another critical hit for the division.

The phaseout was conducted on the following schedule:
  • Mid-2001: The 2002 Bravada
    Oldsmobile Bravada
    The Oldsmobile Bravada is a mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle from the now retired Oldsmobile marque of General Motors. There have been two different vehicles to bear this model name, the first and second-generation GMT330, and the 2002 to 2004 GMT360....

    , the company's last new model, hits Oldsmobile showrooms
  • June 2002: Production ends for Intrigue
    Oldsmobile Intrigue
    The Oldsmobile Intrigue was a mid-size sedan manufactured from 1998 through 2002 by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The Intrigue's design cues were first seen in 1995 with the Oldsmobile Antares concept car...

    and the Aurora V6
    Oldsmobile Aurora
    The Oldsmobile Aurora was a full-size sports sedan made by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors and launched in 1995. The Aurora rode on the same Cadillac-derived G platform as the 2-door Buick Riviera....

    sedans
  • March 2003: Aurora V8
    Oldsmobile Aurora
    The Oldsmobile Aurora was a full-size sports sedan made by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors and launched in 1995. The Aurora rode on the same Cadillac-derived G platform as the 2-door Buick Riviera....

    sedan production ends
  • January 2004: Bravada
    Oldsmobile Bravada
    The Oldsmobile Bravada is a mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle from the now retired Oldsmobile marque of General Motors. There have been two different vehicles to bear this model name, the first and second-generation GMT330, and the 2002 to 2004 GMT360....

    SUV
    Sport utility vehicle
    A sport utility vehicle is a generic marketing term for a vehicle similar to a station wagon, but built on a light-truck chassis. It is usually equipped with four-wheel drive for on- or off-road ability, and with some pretension or ability to be used as an off-road vehicle. Not all four-wheel...

     production ends
  • March 2004: Silhouette
    Oldsmobile Silhouette
    The Oldsmobile Silhouette and its siblings, the Pontiac Trans Sport and Chevrolet Lumina APV , were a trio of minivans that débuted in late 1989 as 1990 models...

    minivan
    Minivan
    Minivan is a type of van designed for personal use. Minivans are typically either two-box or one box designs for maximum interior volume – and are taller than a sedan, hatchback, or a station wagon....

     production ends
  • April 2004: Alero
    Oldsmobile Alero
    The Oldsmobile Alero was a compact car produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors from 1999 to 2004.The Alero was introduced in spring 1998 as a 1999 model to replace the Achieva and Cutlass. The Alero went into production on April 6, 1998. All Aleros were built in Lansing, Michigan...

    compact car
    Compact car
    A compact car , or small family car , is a classification of cars which are larger than a supermini but smaller than or equal to a mid-size car...

     production ends


The final 500 Aleros, Auroras, Bravadas, Silhouettes and Intrigues produced received special Oldsmobile heritage emblems and markings which signified 'Final 500'. All featured a unique Dark Cherry Metallic paint scheme. Auroras and Intrigues would be accompanied by special Final 500 literature.

The final production day for Oldsmobile was April 29, 2004. The division's last car built was an Alero
Oldsmobile Alero
The Oldsmobile Alero was a compact car produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors from 1999 to 2004.The Alero was introduced in spring 1998 as a 1999 model to replace the Achieva and Cutlass. The Alero went into production on April 6, 1998. All Aleros were built in Lansing, Michigan...

 GLS 4-door sedan, which was signed by all of the Olds assembly line workers. It is on display at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum located in Lansing, Michigan.

Production

Model Year(s) Model H.P. Rating Cyl. Remarks
1901-1903 Curved Dash
Oldsmobile Curved Dash
The gasoline powered Curved Dash Oldsmobile is credited as being the first mass-produced automobile, meaning that it was built on an assembly line using interchangeable parts. It was introduced by the Oldsmobile company in 1901 and produced through 1907...

 Model R
5 1
1902 Pirate 7 1 Racer
1904 Curved Dash
Oldsmobile Curved Dash
The gasoline powered Curved Dash Oldsmobile is credited as being the first mass-produced automobile, meaning that it was built on an assembly line using interchangeable parts. It was introduced by the Oldsmobile company in 1901 and produced through 1907...

 Model 6C
7 1
1904-1905 Model N 10 1 a.k.a. "Touring Runabout"
1905-1906 Curved Dash
Oldsmobile Curved Dash
The gasoline powered Curved Dash Oldsmobile is credited as being the first mass-produced automobile, meaning that it was built on an assembly line using interchangeable parts. It was introduced by the Oldsmobile company in 1901 and produced through 1907...

 Model B
7 1
1905 Side Entrance Tonneau 2 5-passenger
1906 Model L 2, opposed
1906 Model S 4
1907 Curved Dash
Oldsmobile Curved Dash
The gasoline powered Curved Dash Oldsmobile is credited as being the first mass-produced automobile, meaning that it was built on an assembly line using interchangeable parts. It was introduced by the Oldsmobile company in 1901 and produced through 1907...

 Model F
7 1
1907 Model H 4
1907 Model A 4
1908 Model M / MR 4
1908-1909 Model X 4
1908-1909 Model Z 40 6
1909 20 22 4 Derived from Buick 10
1909 Model D / DR 4
1910 Special 40 4 Replaces all previous 4 cylinder cars
1910-1912 Limited 60 6 Introduced 1909 as 1910 model
1911 Special 36 4 Compressed-air starter (all)
1911-12 Autocrat 40 4
1912-1913 Defender 35 4 el. Starter & lighting (all)
1913 53 50 6 Replaces Limited and Autocrat
1914-1915 42 20 4 "Baby-Olds"
1914 54 50 6 "6th Generation Six"
1915-16 43 30 6 "4th Generation Four"
1915 55 50 6 "6th Generation Six"
1916 44 "Light Eight" V-8
1917 45 "Light Eight" V-8
1918 45A "Light Eight" V-8

  • Oldsmobile Six
  • Oldsmobile Eight
  • Oldsmobile Deluxe
  • Oldsmobile 66 and 68
    Oldsmobile Series 60
    The Series 60 was a model range of automobiles from General Motors Oldsmobile Division during the 1940s. In Oldsmobile's naming convention, the Series 60 occupied the entry level position for Oldsmobiles sold in the United States beginning in 1939 and throughout the 1940s.Series 60 were built on...

     (1939–1948)
  • Oldsmobile 76 and 78
    Oldsmobile Series 70
    The Oldsmobile Series 70 Dynamic Cruiser was an automobile from General Motors introduced in 1939 as the mid-range model. Two models were produced, the 76 which used a straight-6 engine and the 78 which used a straight-8. The wheelbase was in 1949...

     (1946–1950)
  • Oldsmobile 88
    Oldsmobile 88
    The Oldsmobile 88 was a full-size car sold by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors and produced from 1949 until 1999. From 1950 to 1974 the 88 was the division's top-selling line, particularly the entry-level models such as the 88 and Dynamic 88...

     (1949–1999)
  • Oldsmobile 98
    Oldsmobile 98
    The Oldsmobile 98 was a full-size automobile and the flagship model of the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The name first appeared in 1941 and was used again after American consumer automobile production resumed post-World War II...

     (1941–1996)
  • Oldsmobile 442
    Oldsmobile 442
    The Oldsmobile 442 was a muscle car produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. It was introduced as an option package for F-85 and Cutlass models sold in the United States beginning with the 1964 model year. It became a model in its own right from 1968 to 1971, then reverted to an...

     (1968–1971 & 1985-1987)
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass
    Oldsmobile Cutlass
    The Oldsmobile Cutlass is a line of automobiles made by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The Cutlass began as a unibody compact car, but saw its greatest success as a body-on-frame intermediate car....

     (1964–1999)
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
    Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
    The Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was a mid-size car produced by General Motors for the American market. It was always at the top of the Cutlass range. It began as a trim package, developed its own roofline, and eventually was mechanically divorced from the later, smaller Cutlasses.The Cutlass Supreme...

     (1967–1997)
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais
    Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais
    The Oldsmobile Calais, renamed the Cutlass Calais for 1988, and briefly available in 1987 as the limited edition GMO Quad-4, was a compact car produced by General Motors from 1985 through 1991. In part, it was intended to replace the Omega in Oldsmobile's lineup...

     (1985–1991)
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
    Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
    The Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera is a mid-size car that was sold from 1982 through 1996 by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors.It shared the front-wheel drive A platform with the very similar Buick Century, Pontiac 6000 and Chevrolet Celebrity; both Olds and Chevy considered using the Celebrity...

     (1982–1996)
  • Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser
    Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser
    The Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser is large rear-wheel drive station wagon which was produced by Oldsmobile from 1971 to 1992. The Custom Cruiser used the same platform as the Buick, Chevrolet and Pontiac full-size wagons...

     (1971–1992)
  • Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser
    Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser
    The Vista Cruiser is a station wagon built by the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors from 1964 to 1977. It was based on the Oldsmobile Cutlass/F-85 model but prior to the 1973 model year it utilized a wheelbase which was longer than that of the Cutlass/F-85 sedan.Unlike most station wagons, it...

     (1964–1977)
  • Oldsmobile F-85 (1961–1963)
  • Oldsmobile Toronado
    Oldsmobile Toronado
    The original Toronado began as a design painting by Oldsmobile stylist David North in 1962. His design, dubbed the "Flame Red Car," was for a compact sports/personal car never intended for production...

     (1966–1992)
  • Oldsmobile Omega
    Oldsmobile Omega
    The Omega was one of 2 more X-body Chevrolet Nova clones introduced in 1973 . Naturally it shared the Nova's body and many of its mechanicals, but it had its own unique nose and tail, and, being an Oldsmobile, it had a little fancier trim than the Nova...

     (1973–1984)
  • Oldsmobile Starfire
    Oldsmobile Starfire
    Oldsmobile Starfire are automobiles produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors in two generations from 1961–1966 and 1975–1980. The Starfire nameplate was also used for the 1954–1956 Ninety- Eight series convertibles, and all 1957 Ninety-Eight series models. 1961 was the first year for...

     (1975–1980)
  • Oldsmobile Firenza
    Oldsmobile Firenza
    The Oldsmobile Firenza was a compact car produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors from 1982 to 1988. It was based on the front-wheel drive GM J platform, which was shared with the Buick Skyhawk, Cadillac Cimarron, Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunbird...

     (1982–1988)
  • Oldsmobile Achieva
    Oldsmobile Achieva
    The Oldsmobile Achieva was introduced for the 1992 model year and was a front-wheel drive, compact car based on the GM N-body platform which it also shared with its siblings the Pontiac Grand Am and Buick Skylark...

     (1992–1998)
  • Oldsmobile Alero
    Oldsmobile Alero
    The Oldsmobile Alero was a compact car produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors from 1999 to 2004.The Alero was introduced in spring 1998 as a 1999 model to replace the Achieva and Cutlass. The Alero went into production on April 6, 1998. All Aleros were built in Lansing, Michigan...

     (1999–2004)
  • Oldsmobile Aurora
    Oldsmobile Aurora
    The Oldsmobile Aurora was a full-size sports sedan made by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors and launched in 1995. The Aurora rode on the same Cadillac-derived G platform as the 2-door Buick Riviera....

     (1995–2003)
  • Oldsmobile Bravada
    Oldsmobile Bravada
    The Oldsmobile Bravada is a mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle from the now retired Oldsmobile marque of General Motors. There have been two different vehicles to bear this model name, the first and second-generation GMT330, and the 2002 to 2004 GMT360....

     (1991–2004)
  • Oldsmobile Intrigue
    Oldsmobile Intrigue
    The Oldsmobile Intrigue was a mid-size sedan manufactured from 1998 through 2002 by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The Intrigue's design cues were first seen in 1995 with the Oldsmobile Antares concept car...

     (1998–2002)
  • Oldsmobile Silhouette
    Oldsmobile Silhouette
    The Oldsmobile Silhouette and its siblings, the Pontiac Trans Sport and Chevrolet Lumina APV , were a trio of minivans that débuted in late 1989 as 1990 models...

     (1990–2004)

Concept

  • Oldsmobile F-88 (1954)
  • Oldsmobile Golden Rocket (1956)
  • Oldsmobile Aerotech
    Oldsmobile Aerotech
    The Oldsmobile Aerotechs were a series of experimental high-speed vehicles created between 1987 and 1992 incorporating the latest in performance technology with the intention of breaking multiple automobile speed records. The first such car was driven by four-time Indy 500 winner A.J...

     (1987)
  • Oldsmobile Aerotech III
    Oldsmobile Aerotech III
    The Oldsmobile Aerotech III was a 1989 concept car. It was a four-door sedan based heavily on the Cutlass Supreme coupe, and was built to foreshadow the new Cutlass Supreme sedan, which was planned to be released the following year...

     (1989)
  • Oldsmobile Tube Car
    Oldsmobile Tube Car
    The Oldsmobile Tube Car was a 1989 concept vehicle that was the basis for the eventual 1995 production vehicle, the Oldsmobile Aurora. Despite still going under in 2004, Oldsmobile benefited greatly from the Aurora, which served as the archetype of Oldsmobile design for the next nine years.Many of...

     (1989)
  • Oldsmobile Expression
    Oldsmobile Expression
    The Oldsmobile Expression was a 1990 concept vehicle. The Expression was a 4-door wagon that featured fiberglass exterior panels and 6 passenger seating. Among other features showcased were: rain-sensing windshield wipers, in-car vacuum cleaner, TV/VCR with a Nintendo system, and unique four-wheel...

     (1990)
  • Oldsmobile Antares
    Oldsmobile Antares
    The Oldsmobile Antares was a 1995 concept car. The Antares's design was heavily based on Oldsmobile's new "Aurora-look". Many of the Antares's styling cues were showcased in the 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue production model. The Antares was named "Best Concept Car" by AutoWeek, at the 1995 Detroit...

     (1995)
  • Oldsmobile Alero Alpha
    Oldsmobile Alero Alpha
    The Oldsmobile Alero Alpha was a 1997 concept car. The Alero Alpha was a 2-door coupe and its design was inspired by the earlier Tube Car and Antares concepts, as well as the Aurora production car. Many of its design elements were seen in the 1999 production version, which was simply called...

     (1997)
  • Oldsmobile Recon
    Oldsmobile Recon
    The Oldsmobile Recon was a 1999 concept vehicle. It was a 4-door compact SUV that featured a dual panel panoramic sunroof and rear suicide doors. Another unique feature was a reconfigurable instrument panel. The Recon was all-wheel-drive. It also featured a 3.0 V6 engine. The Recon never became a...

     (1999)
  • Oldsmobile Profile
    Oldsmobile Profile
    The Oldsmobile Profile was a 2000 concept vehicle. The Profile was a crossover SUV, with rear sliding doors and 5-passenger seating. The Profile was came with a supercharged 3.5L V6 engine with 250 horsepower, all-wheel drive, and traction control. The gear selector was a dash mounted rotary knob,...

     (2000)
  • Oldsmobile O4
    Oldsmobile O4
    The Oldsmobile O4 was a front-wheel drive concept car designed by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors in 2001. The O4 was a roadster that was aimed at a younger demographic...

     (2001)

Canadian market

In Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 the range was much more limited, with the Oldsmobile Silhouette
Oldsmobile Silhouette
The Oldsmobile Silhouette and its siblings, the Pontiac Trans Sport and Chevrolet Lumina APV , were a trio of minivans that débuted in late 1989 as 1990 models...

 and Oldsmobile Bravada
Oldsmobile Bravada
The Oldsmobile Bravada is a mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle from the now retired Oldsmobile marque of General Motors. There have been two different vehicles to bear this model name, the first and second-generation GMT330, and the 2002 to 2004 GMT360....

 being unavailable to Canadian consumers until much later in their production life.
  • The Oldsmobile Cutlass (1997-1999 version) was not offered there.
  • The Oldsmobile Silhouette
    Oldsmobile Silhouette
    The Oldsmobile Silhouette and its siblings, the Pontiac Trans Sport and Chevrolet Lumina APV , were a trio of minivans that débuted in late 1989 as 1990 models...

     was sold in Canada from 1998 onwards, unlike in the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    .
  • The Oldsmobile Bravada
    Oldsmobile Bravada
    The Oldsmobile Bravada is a mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle from the now retired Oldsmobile marque of General Motors. There have been two different vehicles to bear this model name, the first and second-generation GMT330, and the 2002 to 2004 GMT360....

     was unavailable in Canada until its third generation in 2002; previous models sold in Canada were grey import vehicles
    Grey import vehicles
    Grey import vehicles are new or used motor vehicles and motorcycles legally imported from another country through channels other than the maker's official distribution system...

    .


In Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 all Oldsmobile models were sold under the Chevrolet
Chevrolet
Chevrolet , also known as Chevy , is a brand of vehicle produced by General Motors Company . Founded by Louis Chevrolet and ousted GM founder William C. Durant on November 3, 1911, General Motors acquired Chevrolet in 1918...

 brand.

The Oldsmobile Alero
Oldsmobile Alero
The Oldsmobile Alero was a compact car produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors from 1999 to 2004.The Alero was introduced in spring 1998 as a 1999 model to replace the Achieva and Cutlass. The Alero went into production on April 6, 1998. All Aleros were built in Lansing, Michigan...

 was sold as a Chevrolet in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 but it retained Oldsmobile's badge
Badge
A badge is a device or fashion accessory, often containing the insignia of an organization, which is presented or displayed to indicate some feat of service, a special accomplishment, a symbol of authority granted by taking an oath , a sign of legitimate employment or student status, or as a simple...

 / logo
Logo
A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition...

 on the front, the Chevrolet
Chevrolet
Chevrolet , also known as Chevy , is a brand of vehicle produced by General Motors Company . Founded by Louis Chevrolet and ousted GM founder William C. Durant on November 3, 1911, General Motors acquired Chevrolet in 1918...

 name was used due to buyers' unfamiliarity with Oldsmobile in Europe.

Marketing themes

Early on in their history, Olds enjoyed a healthy public relations boost from the 1905 hit song "In My Merry Oldsmobile". The well known song was updated in the fifties to sing about "The Rocket 88".

The strong public relations efforts by GM in the 1950s was epitomized in the Motorama
Motorama
The General Motors Motorama was an auto show staged by GM from 1949 to 1961. These automobile extravaganzas were designed to whet public appetite and boost automobile sales with displays of fancy prototypes, concept vehicles and other special or halo models. Motorama grew out of Alfred P. Sloan's...

, a "one company" auto show extravaganza. Millions of Americans attended, in a spirit not unlike a "mini-World's Fair
World's Fair
World's fair, World fair, Universal Exposition, and World Expo are various large public exhibitions held in different parts of the world. The first Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom, in 1851, under the title "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All...

". Every GM division had a "Dream Car". Oldsmobile's dream/concept car was called "The Golden Rocket".
The Dr. Oldsmobile theme was one of Oldsmobile's most successful marketing campaigns in the early '70s, it involved fictional characters created to promote the wildly popular 442 muscle car. 'Dr. Oldsmobile' was a tall lean professor type who wore a white lab coat. His assistants included 'Elephant Engine Ernie' who represented the big block 455 Rocket engine. 'Shifty Sidney' was a character who could be seen swiftly shifting his hand using a Hurst shifter.
'Wind Tunnel Waldo' had slicked back hair that appeared to be constantly wind blown. He represented Oldsmobile's wind tunnel testing, that produced some of the sleekest designs of the day. Another character included 'Hy Spy' who had his ear to the ground as he checked out the competition.

In the 1970s, the mid-size Oldsmobile Cutlass
Oldsmobile Cutlass
The Oldsmobile Cutlass is a line of automobiles made by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The Cutlass began as a unibody compact car, but saw its greatest success as a body-on-frame intermediate car....

 was the division's best-selling model, and for several years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was the best-selling car in America. But the sales of the Cutlass and other Oldsmobile models fell beginning in the 1990s. The brand was hurt by its image as an Old man's car, and this perception continued despite a public relations campaign in the late 1980s that proclaimed this was "not your father's Oldsmobile." Ironically, many fans of the brand say that the declining sales were in fact caused by the "this is not your father's Oldsmobile" campaign", as the largest market for Oldsmobiles was the population whose parents had, in fact, owned Oldsmobiles and that by going away from the traditional vehicles that Oldsmobile's brand was built upon, lost many loyal buyers and put the brand on a collision course with Pontiac
Pontiac
Pontiac was an automobile brand that was established in 1926 as a companion make for General Motors' Oakland. Quickly overtaking its parent in popularity, it supplanted the Oakland brand entirely by 1933 and, for most of its life, became a companion make for Chevrolet. Pontiac was sold in the...

 and Buick
Buick
Buick is a premium brand of General Motors . Buick models are sold in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Taiwan, and Israel, with China being its largest market. Buick holds the distinction as the oldest active American make...

 which led to internal cannibalization and a downfall from which it could never recover.

See also

  • List of automobile manufacturers
  • Oldsmobile V8 engine
    Oldsmobile V8 engine
    The Oldsmobile Rocket V8 was the first post-war OHV V8 at General Motors. Production started in 1949, with a new generation introduced in 1964. Like Pontiac, Olds continued building its own V8 engine family for decades, finally adopting the corporate Chevrolet 350 small-block and Cadillac Northstar...

  • Irving Jacob Reuter
    Irving Jacob Reuter
    Irving Jacob Reuter was an automotive leader in the early 1900s. In 1925 he was named general manager and president of Oldsmobile after rising through the ranks at Remy Electric and then General Motors after the two companies merged in 1918....


Further reading


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK