As a longtime Oldsmobile enthusiast, I enjoyed the editorial “Not so `merry' Oldsmobile.” Your assertion that the car had become “dull and stolid” was an understatement. All through the 1950s and 1960s Olds was an exciting car, but then obviously unimaginative dullards prevailed and brought the brand to its knees and now, out of business.
Many car enthusiasts have, over the years, claimed that their favorite classic was the start of the “muscle era” of automobiles. But in 1949, when Olds introduced the overhead valve Rocket engine, that was the true start. Oldsmobile offered the best of both worlds, a more upscale car, but with muscle. In 1964, with the introduction of the “442” model, another new and fun generation began.
How well I remember Oldsmobile's slogan: “This is not your father's Oldsmobile.” Truer words were never spoken, but by then, Oldsmobile had become a bore and was doomed. As I've heard, fan backlash caused Olds to drop that ridiculous promotional babble.
I haven't owned an Oldsmobile for many years because they are dull and stolid. But I do plan on owning one more, another 1950, my favorite Olds.
WILLIAM A. DUNN
A sign of Oldsmobile's closing may have happened in the late 1970s. Right Tool & Die, a minor supplier of stamping dies, was called to Olds' engineering office. After business was completed, the engineer asked me to come with him to an assembly line.
With disgust in his voice he said, “Look at this! We might as well be making Fords!”
I witnessed Pontiacs coming off the line.
Alas, it seems that we must now bid farewell to another institution, Oldsmobile. And while GM may soon cease production of new cars, the memories will live on.
I, for one, will never forget the 18 months and 50,000 miles I had with my brand new blue Olds Cutlass Ciera. I'll never forget the new brakes at 25,000 miles. The air conditioner that died three times, including once on a long, hot summer vacation with the family. The blown head gasket and warped head that were not under warrantee. The repair parts that were out of stock. The cruise control that never quite worked right, and the dealer who couldn't fix it and didn't seem to care. Ah, memories!
And so, farewell, Oldsmobile and don't let the door bump you on the backside as you leave. This is the story I have told friends when they ask me why I now drive a Toyota. Maybe an executive from one of our still-viable car companies will read this and realize that quality is not an option, but should be standard equipment.