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Sunday, September 5, 2010
Cars I Have Known, Part V
I found this on The Truth About Cars a couple of days ago and was waiting for time to do a proper post on it.
I still don't have time. But I am going to do a post anyway, because the spirit has moved me.
And I'm supposed to be cleaning my desk. But, I digress.
The article is about the Oldsmobile Cutlass body style series that started in 1978. As a refresher, the 1977 Cutlass was a monster. Long and wide, usually powered by a 350 V-8 it was considered a midsized car. That could seat 6 fairly comfortably, if two were children, and handled like the Queen Mary.
The '78 on the other hand was about a foot shorter, 6 inches narrower and was powered by a 260 V-8. It didn't wallow into corners like the '77, and being smaller, was easier to maneuver in traffic and parking lots. It still seated 5, if one was a child, and became an instant hit.
For years this body series, which lasted, with one update, for 10 years, filled 4 -6 spots on the Top Ten Most Stolen list. a dubious distinction maybe, but also a hint of its popularity.
Spots that, coincidentally, have been taken by Honda Accords. According to the article, the Accord is the Modern Cutlass.
I have owned 4 of these Cutlasses. Two '78 two-doors, an '80 wagon and an '82 two-door. And I loved them all.
My first I called my American Bimmer. Bucket Seats, Factory Gauge Package, Glass Moon Roof, 260 V-8 and, the reason I bought the car, a Factory 5-speed. Mine was Midnight Blue, with a Baby Blue vinyl Landau Top. It had an interesting history. A couple bought it new in 1978 and shipped it to Denmark, where the husband was stationed for his job (details on the job are classified). In '82 or '83 they gave the car to their son, who lived in Cincinnati. In '86 he showed up with it in the garage I worked in because the headlights didn't work.
It was love at first sight for me. We agreed on a price and I took her home. We had two young'uns at the time, and putting car seats in and out of the back was a pain in the back, but everything else made it worthwhile.
That body style was big on the inside, small on the outside, and one of the last cars you could still work on. It averagaed probably 20 MPG (who measured gas mileage in 1986?) but still was able stay out of the way of traffic. and the rare 5-Speed gave it just a little bit of foreign feel.
The other Cutlasses have their own great stories that I'll tell later.
But back to the article; there is one point I have to argue with. The '78-'88 Cutlasses are comfortabel to me; the Accordss, not so much. Mom has one (2005 I think), and while adequet for short trips, after an hour I am ready to ride in the trunk just to see if I can find room to make my legs comortable.
To my 6'-4" 280 pound self, they just aren't comfortable. my legs rub somethng no matter where I put them, my butt gets tired after 30 minutes and I can't seem to shift my weight to somewhere that isn't already sore or tired. Give me an old Cutlass anyday.