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Oldsmobile’s 1989 lineup was crazy weird

Besides being the birth year of Taylor Swift, 1989 was largely when Japanese luxury brands burst onto the U.S. automotive landscape. Cars like the Lexus LS400 and Acura Legend were giving Cadillac, Chrysler, and the Germans a serious run for their money.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/01/17/1989-oldsmobile-lineup-crazy-weird

My Dad bought a new 1987 Trofeo my senior year. I enjoyed driving it, especially with its full digital dash, U-handle shift lever, and the front perforated leather “sport” seats were quite comfortable on long drives.
My sister bought a brand-new 1989 Cutlass Supreme SL coupe when she graduated college. It wasn’t a bad car, but it lacked the appeal of the Trofeo (to me, anyway).
The Cutlass Calais (and the 98) were mainstays at our county Driver’s Ed faciility (just down the street from the Olds dealer), so everyone in my school was quite familiar with those sub-optimal cookie-cutter boxes.
My Dad bought several more Oldsmobiles after that (Aurora, 2 Silhouettes), and I was sad to see the brand disappear. Unfortunately, it had run its course.

I owned a 1990 Custom Cruiser and put almost 200,000 on it and I loved that car why is Alex Hevesy bashing it??

For reasons that still elude me, I decided we needed an luxurious four door sedan in 1988. We examined and test drove a number of cars on the market then including the Acura Legend, the Volvo 740, the Saab 900, the Cadillac Seville and even the Oldsmobile 98. The Olds was just a big beast. I drove one and wrote it off as a possibility. My final choice was the Legend L with a 5 speed manual transmission. We had that car for ten years and loved it every time we drove it.

Huh - just shows how opinions can vary. I liked the updated (and longer) Toronado that year, although I liked the also-updated Riviera better. The wagon was pretty cool; big wagons were still selling back then, although minivans were quickly pushing down their sales. I didn’t really appreciate the FWD Cutlass coupe back then, but over time began to realize its styling was really quite sleek and rather European. The Calais was no better or worse than the big-selling Pontiac GrandAm (or the slow-selling Buick Skylark), but I think the Calais was better-looking. Overall, I don’t think that the Olds lineup was any “weirder” than the other GM divisions, just different in some ways - perhaps consistent with Oldsmobile’s desire to have a more “international” flavour.

In 1987, my wife wanted a new car. She owned a 1971 Plymouth Satellite with a 383/4bbl.
We test drove every single car on the market that was less than 25k and the 19k Toyota Camry 4 cylinder/auto flat blew the doors off of them including the 71 Satellite. Nothing that Ford, GM, or especially Chrysler made at the time even came close to that Camry. It was scary how a little Japanese car could so dominate the American “Big Three”.
The cars that came out in '88, '89, were just cars with very little personality at all.

Why is presenting simple facts ‘bashing’? If these cars had been competitive in the market they would still be in showrooms.

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GM was trying to be more European but missed the mark because, well, they were just idiots.
The station wagon was the SUV of that era so it shows how perception and IMAGE have changed, now people NEED the image of being TOUGH hence the move in the market for prickup trucks with no bed and SUV’s that are not about “sport” but about image. It’s all Magical Thinking but there it is and I’ll choose to ignore it and stick with my old reliable models that I bought cheap because nobody wants that 'image" anymore.

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For a small town Olds dealer in the 70’s and ‘80’s we sold A LOT of Toronados. As a reward, when the new generation Toro was unveiled in the summer of 1985, we had the good fortune of participating in a Toro Drive-a-Way from the GM Training Center in Charlotte, NC. This was one of the most technologically advanced vehicles to come out of Detroit and one of the first that technicians could run diagnostics through the car’s touch screen and HVAC controls. But alas, on my 250 mile trip home from Charlotte in 90 degree NC August heat, the HVAC controls hung up with the HEAT wide open. Even at 75 MPH and the windows down it was one of the longest 4.5 hour road trips I’ve ever made!!

True statement. But say anything negative even if factual and this place turns into an old folks home full of grumpy old men. You’re jabbing at their memories.

Yea. I learned that by leaving a comment about Fieros catching fire on another forum. I am still getting arrows.

Indeed, I came so close to purchasing a well situated Cutless FWD coupe that came with 5-speed standard transmission, floor mounted shifter. I was somewhat surprised that it was available that way.
Didn’t take the opportunity to test drive that model but wished I had, likely would have purchased it has I done so.
Looked for one later but have never seen a similarly equipped Cutlass of that year vintage.

Some years later found a Trofeo on a used car lot. Again came close to getting that one too, was fond of its appointments and style. Still looking for one with low mileage.

My dad was fond of Oldsmobiles and always prodded me to get one before going ten-toes-up. Still have not done so and now it is getting harder to find one.

Back in the early 90"s I stopped at a garage that sold reparable;e wrecked vehicles. I looked at a easy fix Trofeo, got the asking price and went home to figure repair cost. Came back the next day to buy it. As I was walking up to the door there was a guy right behind me so I opened the door for him . He walked up to the counter and said . I’ll take that Trofeo out there. So much for being a nice guy… So I bought a SAAB . Should have just went back home. ,

I bought a 1993 cutlass supreme sl coupe in 2000 with 168000 miles on it, a one owner car. I drove it for 8 years, having 246000 miles on it. I took it off the road and had it restored. About 4 years ago I had a 3.8 supercharged v-6 put into it, I had it tuned to about 300 hp. I store the car in the winter. It was a nice car to drive, now it is a fun car to drive.

My first car was a 1987 Pontiac Trans Am that I owned for exactly four months in 1990 before the engine blew. My next car was the car I originally saw sitting in the used car lot at Maxon Pontiac in Union, NJ; an '87 Oldsmobile Trofeo. It was painted its signature metallic red paint you saw in all the ads. The next 2.5 years of ownership were met with daily electrical issues from the car completely dying at full speed and turning back on again by itself (no exageration) to false oil level warnings where I kept adding oil to a hot engine and catching the engine on fire. The engine itself was never an issue. It kept going and going, and had real good low-end torque, and the transmission was pretty good until it wasn’t. It was an interesting car to say the least. Traded it in for some Japanese thing, but I can’t say I regret having the experience with it.