Saturday, May 3, 2014

My Father Had an Oldsmobile, and so Did I

I found this article -The Five Best Oldsmobiles to Come off the Line, while I was out surfing the net the other day. Not a bad piece, but, as always, I have some quibbles.

Number 5 car is the 1968 Hurst Olds. Without seeing the other 4 we can let this stand. But it does deserve higher ranking. The Hurst Olds was the hottest car in any showroom. Culminating in the 1970 version, they were a 5 passenger rocket ship. They handled like a late sixties car (meaning it cornered like Jello), but straight line, wow; what a ride.

Number 4 is the Toronado, the first front wheel drive car by an American company since Cord died during the Great Depression. An iconic car, it definitely belongs on the list.

Number 3 is the original Rocket Ship; the 1949 Olds 88. A small car with a big car engine; the same formula Pontiac would revive in 1964 with the GTO. As usual with Pontiac, following Oldsmobile's lead. definitely needs to be on the list.

Number 2 is a station wagon. A WHAT? Yep; a station wagon. available with a 455 cubic inch V-8 and a Hurst 4-speed, not exactly your standard depot hack. But what really set it apart was the raised rear roof and the glass roof over the back seat. we had a 1966 model Vista Cruiser when I was a kid. riding under that roof made you feel special; there wasn't another car on the road with a windshield in the roof. Yes, it deserves to be on the list, but higher than a Hurst Olds? I might have swapped the two, had I been writing up the list.

Number 1 is THE Iconic Oldsmobile; the 1901 Curved Dash Olds. Little more than a carriage with a lawnmower engine attached, this was the car that started it all for Oldsmobile.

And now; some quibbles. Limiting the list to 5 cars really is difficult, and because of those limitations some really special cars have been left off the list. Like the 1939 Oldsmobile; first with an automatic transmission; a design that was so sturdy, it was used in American tanks during WWII.

The 1978 Cutlass is also missing; the first downsized Cutlass, this car was so popular that for years it was the most-stolen car in the country; different years of the body series holding sometimes the top 5 spots. It's popularity was later eclipsed by the Honda Accord on this list, but still this body style Cutlass is a great car.

The article also disses the Alero; I have one and while I do find some issues with it, I do like it. Seats 5 comfortably, has the ability to get out of its own way, gets better than 20 MPG, and is still, at 15 years of age and over 200,000 miles, a good running automobile. And, again for its age, fairly trouble free. 

What are my issues? The doors seem a little tight, and getting in and out is troublesome, for somebody my size. The front cup holder is useless, except for change, and the middle armrest is a little short. The glove compartment is a little small too.

One last thing; it has a four cylinder engine; I wish it had a V-8. But it is a dual  overhead cam, fuel injected 4 cylinder. I would love to have that technology on an old 350 V-8 in a 78 Cutlass; that would be a Rocket.

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