Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme: A Practical Mid-size Car
Sustaining the production of a vehicle model is a considerably great feat for any automaker. With the introduction of the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme in 1964, Oldsmobile, General Motors' American subsidiary, proved that trying was definitely a commendable endeavor. The model, which provided basic and some superior features, also captured the taste of the American market. In fact, it became the best-selling car in the US in 1976. Despite this reception, demise still came due to tight competition in the midsize car category. Nevertheless, the Cutlass Supreme had its share of colorful evolution.
1964 – 1967: The Cutlass Supreme in three styles
The first releases of the Cutlass Supreme were available in three body styles: a two-door convertible, a two-door coupe, and a four-door sedan. The most noticeable feature of these models was the plush interior, which included a cloth or vinyl notchback bench seat with armrests and all-vinyl bucket seats. The models derived their power from an ultra-high compression Jetfire Rocket V8 engine that could produce 320-horsepower. Later on, this power was boosted by 30 points. Also, each model offered a Turnpike Cruiser version, which was a supercharged car meant for highway cruising.
1968 – 1972: The more powerful Cutlass Supreme
Based on the A-body platform and front-wheel-drive layout, the second-generation models offered greater capability with the enlargement of the Rocket V8 engine to 350 cubic inches with 310-horsepower. Some minor changes were done to the vertical headlights and split grille. Other changes included a cutout rear bumper and exhaust trumpets, SX badges, and a center console with a floor-mounted shifter.
1973 – 1977: Smaller engine for fuel economy
In this generation, the models became less powerful due to downsizing plans by GM. The models only had a four-barrel carburetor on a Rocket V8, which could produce 180-horsepower. Along with a variable-ratio power steering, a three-speed Turbo Hydra-matic automatic transmission became standard. Due to the energy crisis during this era, the units had smaller engines; an inline six and three-speed manual transmission was used, with the Rocket V8 offered as an upgrade option.
1978 – 1988: Some moderate restyling
Even more downsizing occurred in this generation, for the company started focusing on the production of other upscale models like the Calais and the 442. Despite this, the models still received an aerodynamic restyle, wherein a shovel-nose front header panel was used. Also, the units shifted to rear-wheel drive. A few entertainment features remained, including a radio and a cassette player, while a cruise control and air conditioning became standard interior features.
1989 – 1997: Inclusion of practical features
In this generation, the units became more curvaceous and used the W-body platform and shifted to front-wheel drive. Powered by a 3.1-liter V6, the units had a restyled cabin, a redesigned instrument panel, mini-quad headlights, additional passenger-side airbags, and standard anti-lock brakes.