Thursday, November 09, 2023

Automotif CDXXXV...

There's been quite the brouhaha among auto buffs regarding the decisions by Ford and GM to expand the Mustang, Camaro, and Corvette badges into entire sub-brands. I mean, that almost happened with the Corvette from the start; in some alternate universe there were probably Corvette Nomad station wagons built right alongside the roadsters in 1953.

One of the most notable recent examples was Oldsmobile's use of the "Cutlass" name to cover all of its midsize coupes and sedans in the mid 1980s.

The Cutlass nameplate had been a winner for GM. Between the '78 and '81 model years, Olds dealers had moved something like two million of the RWD midsize Cutlass, which was available in coupe, sedan, and wagon body styles. 

Hyped by this success, in 1982 they renamed the existing rear-wheel-drive Cutlass the "Cutlass Supreme" and added the slightly smaller and cheaper Cutlass Ciera, built on the on the FWD A-body shared with the Buick Century, Chevy Celebrity, and Pontiac 6000. 1985 saw the Cutlass Supreme and Cutlass Ciera joined by the compact-midsize Cutlass Calais, build on the N-body FWD platform of the Buick Skyhawk and Pontiac Grand Am.

Like the Buick Century, the Cutlass Ciera was a darling of fleet buyers, and so while Chevy and Pontiac axed their A-body cars after the 1990 model year, Oldsmobile and Buick let theirs continue to sell alongside their more modern replacements all the way through 1996.

The car in the photo is a a post-facelift '90-'94 Cutlass Ciera S sedan in Bright White. It's in unusually nice shape for a GM sedan of its era, most of which have either decayed into hooptie-dom or succumbed to rust.

If we split the difference and guess at a model year of 1994, the base engine would have been the 2.5L Tech IV inline-4. This was the final evolution of the elderly pushrod Iron Duke four-banger, with throttle body fuel injection, 9.0:1 compression, and 110 SAE net horsepower, a nearly thirty-percent bump from the original 85hp carbureted version back in '77. If the buyer were feeling frisky...well, they wouldn't have bought a Cutlass Ciera...but if they were feeling frisky by buying-an-Oldsmobile-in-1992 standards, they could have ordered the optional GM corporate 3.3L pushrod V-6, rated at 160hp.