Author Topic: Oldsmobile (Updated)  (Read 7986 times)

MiniVanMan

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Oldsmobile (Updated)
« on: March 22, 2011, 11:53:47 AM »
It may come as a complete shock to most of you, but I kinda like Oldsmobile a little bit.

Part of it stems from home town pride, Olds is one of the few things my city can be proud of. Another part of it is that they were just good cars, and Oldsmobile pioneered MANY things that are commonplace in all cars today.

It was sad to see Oldsmobile die the way it did, a company that had such a legacy in the automotive world was completely raped of its former self. It was almost like casting a celebrity with severe alzheimers in a movie, they have no idea who they are or what they're doing anymore, but someone thought they could make some money off a popular name.

Ransom E. Olds started Oldsmobile in 1897, and the company was procured by General Motors in 1908.



Henry Ford is often credited with thinking up the assembly line, but the 1901-1904 Olds Curved Dash was the first mass-produced vehicle made from the first automotive assembly line. Olds built 425 cars in 1901, making the company the first high-volume gas powered automobile maker in the world.



1901 Curved Dash


1937 marked another pioneer effort for Oldsmobile by introducing a four-speed semi-automatic transmission called the "Automatic Safety Transmission". Although it was actually designed by Buick, it was not available in Buick vehicles until 1938. This transmission featured a conventional clutch 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.



Oldsmobile also pioneered the first fully-automatic transmission in 1940. Oldsmobile began producing military equipment for the war effort in 1942, and resumed production of its automobiles in October of 1945.



In 1949, Oldsmobile yet again created a new industry standard in their creation of the "Rocket V8", which featured overhead valves as opposed to the flathead design that was commonplace during that time. The engine performed significantly better than any other engine in the market, and was extremely popular with hot rodders. Oldsmobiles equipped with the Rocket were considered the fastest cars available.



The 1950's saw styling changes inspired by their growing performance legacy. The cars became more aggressive looking, but a design epiphany by Chrysler's Virgil Exner called "forward look design" which featured lower roof lines, longer hoods and trunk lids and an overall sleeker profile stole Oldsmobile's front-runner status. The '58 Olds was considered the companies only low point in the 50's, partially as a result of post-war recession, and partially due to the fact that the design was a half-hearted attempt at cashing in on Chrysler's new design innovation. 1959 saw a complete redesign for Olds vehicles.

1957


1958


1959


The 1960's saw more pioneer efforts by Oldsmobile.

In 1962, Oldsmobile introduced the first production turbocharged motor known as the Turbo Jetfire.


In 1966, Olds introduced the first production front-wheel-drive vehicle with the Toronado.


In 1964, Olds responded to the Pontiac Tempest-GTO with the 4-4-2 option for the F-85 Cutlass. 4-4-2 is often mistaken as the motor size. It originally stood for 4-barrel carb, 4-speed on the floor, and dual exhaust. The meaning of the number designation has changed with various models.



The 4-4-2 became a beloved muscle car through the 60's and up until 1972. The 1973 model was neutered, thanks to the oil crisis, and the performance of the 4-4-2 quickly began dying off, along with the rest of the muscle cars of that era.

1968


1970


1973


1976


1983


...and we won't even speak of the 1990 "4-4-2".

The 70's may have marked the end of Oldsmobile's performance legacy, but this seemed to matter little as sales soard through the 70's and 80's. The 1977 model year Cutlass (available in 1976) was the best selling car in America at that time. Oldsmobile's sales continued to increase largely thanks to the popularity of each Cutlass model, and in 1985 sales peaked at over 1 million.



By 1977, however, demand for vehicles equipped with the Rocket 350 was exceeding supply, so Oldsmobile made a controversial decision to install Chevy 350's in many Delta 88's of that year. This is widely known as the point in time in which General Motors stopped making brand-specific engines, and started using the same engines across all brands, with few exceptions.

The 1990's were not as prosperous as the 70's and 80's, unfortunately. Olds lost it's place in the market and went downhill from there.

Oldsmobile became somewhat of a test platform for new ideas, and while some good things came from it (the 97 Aurora, for example), this lack of focus on the brand meant that all other Olds models were mostly just badge engineered versions of other GM vehicles. GM shifted the performance mantle of Chevy and Pontiac. There was little reason to choose Oldsmobile over the other brands.

All existing models were phased out sometime around 1997 - Cutlass, Toronado, Ninety-Eight and Eighty-Eight, and were replaced by more modern designs inspired by the Aurora - The aforementioned Aurora, Alero, and Intrigue. The Bravada and Silhouette were rebadged Blazers and Ventures, respectively.



GM announced in December of 2000 its plans to phase out Oldsmobile entirely.

On April 29th, 2004, the very last Oldsmobile rolled off the assembly line - a Dark Cherry Metallic Alero GLS. The car was signed by all of the workers and is on display in the R.E.O Transportation History Museum in Downtown Lansing, Michigan.

This "memorial" was created on a bridge that spanned over the Lansing Car Assembly Plant #1 (now demolished) which produced a majority of popular Oldsmobiles over the years, and still remains to this day.



Truer words were never spoken.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2011, 12:02:07 PM by 77olds »

Rocket 442

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Re: Oldsmobile
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2011, 12:23:49 PM »
Oldsmobiles suck! Grandpa cars! :lol:


I'd like to add that the 4-4-2 only stood for that its first year. in 65 it stood for 400cid, 4 Barrel Carb, Dual Exhaust. After that they gave up on finding a way to fit a 4 4 and 2 into the specs.

Onyx Dragon

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Re: Oldsmobile
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2011, 12:42:34 PM »
A 1969 442 is actually my dream muscle car.  Oldsmobile never got the credit it deserved for that car.

Grim91Z

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Re: Oldsmobile
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2011, 10:50:12 PM »
Oldsmobiles suck! Grandpa cars! :lol:


I'd like to add that the 4-4-2 only stood for that its first year. in 65 it stood for 400cid, 4 Barrel Carb, Dual Exhaust. After that they gave up on finding a way to fit a 4 4 and 2 into the specs.
And in 90-91 it stood for 4 cylinder, 4 valves, 2 cams.


I love Oldsmobiles, and I was actually gonna make a thread about it but I lost time. Not many people know that they created the assembly line. Even high school taught us that Ford did.


And the '58 is a good looking car.
Formerly DoD.

revolt015

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Re: Oldsmobile
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2011, 11:06:03 PM »
Remember when "Heavier frames" was actually a perfectly valid and acceptable selling point?

_(: 3 ⌒゙)_ (⌐■‿■)  し(*・∀・)/ The valves and the piston had a little party and they all ended up with a hangover. d(˚∇˚d)  (n∀)η ε=ε=ε=┌(;*Д`)ノ