Sunday, March 31, 2013

1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme

The Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was a mid-size car produced by General Motors for the American market. It was always at the top of the Cutlass range. It began as a trim package, developed its own roofline, and eventually was mechanically divorced from the later, smaller Cutlasses.

The Cutlass Supreme name lasted from 1966 until 1997. There was no direct replacement for the Cutlass Supreme itself, although the Intrigue introduced for 1998 was designed in size and price to replace all the Cutlass models.

In 1973, the Cutlass Supreme, like other GM mid-size cars, was redesigned. Hardtop models were replaced by new "Colonnade" styling with fixed center pillars. Concerns over proposed rollover standards caused many automakers to phase out their pillarless hardtops and convertibles throughout the 1970s, and the Cutlass was no exception. Cutlass Supreme coupes had a unique roofline with vertical opera windows not shared with other Cutlass coupes, as well as unique front end styling. For 1976, a new front fascia design with quad rectangular headlamps debuted.

This new Cutlass design was highly successful, becoming one of the best-sellers of the time. The Cutlass line as a whole was America's best-selling car in 1976, helping Oldsmobile to become the only marque outside of Ford and Chevrolet to break one-million units sold. By 1977, however, GM had downsized its full-size models, and the Cutlass Supreme was now nearly identical in size to the redesigned Delta 88. That situation would last only that one year, as GM planned to downsize the Olds Cutlass and other intermediates for 1978.

In addition to the Colonnade hardtop coupe, the Cutlass Supreme was also offered in a four-door Colonnade sedan (with six-window styling and frameless door windows) as well as six-and-nine passenger station wagons - the wagons with the woodgrain exterior trim were marketed under the Vista Cruiser nameplate previously used on Oldsmobile's stretched-wheelbase station wagons with raised roof and skylights from 1964 to 1972.

The Supreme Colonnade sedan was available in 1973 as the Cutlass Salon, which was an option package that included radial tires, upgraded suspension and reclining bucket seats upholstered in corduroy or vinyl trim along with color-keyed wheelcovers - designed as sort of a European-style luxury/touring sedan similar to the Pontiac Grand Am of the same period. For 1974, the Salon package was also made available on the Supreme Colonnade coupe and in 1975, the Salon was upgraded to a separate series available in both sedan and coupe.

For 1973 and 1974, the 350 Rocket V8 with four-barrel carburetor and 180 horsepower (130 kW) was the standard Cutlass Supreme engine with a 250-horsepower 455 Rocket offered as an option. Both three- and four-speed manual transmissions were offered in 1973, but the greatest majority of Cutlasses (including Supremes) were built with the three-speed Turbo Hydra-matic automatic transmission which became standard equipment in 1974, along with variable-ratio power steering.
The 1973-74 energy crisis resulting from the Arab Oil Embargo led Oldsmobile to introduce two new smaller engines to the Cutlass line in 1975. The Chevrolet built 250 cubic-inch inline six and three-speed manual transmission were reinstated as standard equipment on the Supreme coupe and sedan with a new Olds-built 260 cubic-inch Rocket V8 (standard on Cutlass Salon and optional on all other Cutlasses except wagons) offered as an option.

However, the majority of Cutlass Supremes in 1975, 1976 and 1977 were sold with the now-optional 350 Rocket V8 and Turbo Hydra-matic automatic (still standard on wagons). The 455 Rocket V8 was optional through 1976, and replaced by a smaller 403 Rocket V8 in 1977, the same year in which a Buick-built 231 cubic-inch V6 replaced the Chevy inline six as base power in most Cutlass models.

For 1976, the Cutlass Supreme Brougham coupe was added to the line, featuring a more luxurious interior trim than the regular Supreme model with pillowed crushed velour upholstery and 60/40 bench seats similar to the larger Ninety-Eight Regency. It also received quad square headlights. For 1977, the Brougham was also available as a four-door Colonnade sedan. A five-speed manual transmission was available as an option with the 260 V8 in all models except Supreme Brougham and station wagons for 1976 and 1977.  

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1975 Oldsmobile sword

Though the Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries oil embargo was raised in March 1974, its effects rippled through the '75 model year, moving all models, together with the 1975 Oldsmobile sword. Fuel economy loomed massive in product selections regarding everything from powertrains to tires. on the far side that, though, the embargo's inflationary momentum hurt the overall economy, car sales enclosed. The standard power team for many Cut­lass models became Chevrolet's 105-bhp, 250-cid inline six and a three-speed manual gear case. the bottom engine within the Salon was a replacement 260-cid V-8, basically a small-bore version of the 350 that Olds engineers whipped up in an exceedingly few months at the urging of acting division top dog Bill Buxton.

Fed by a two-barrel carb and mated to the Turbo Hydra-matic, the 110-bhp engine was accessible on alternative coupes and sedans. solely the wagons maintained the 350-cube V-8 and automatic as customary. This pairing, too, was nonmandatory on all the opposite models. Even then, the 350 and nonmandatory 455 V-8s were scaled back to one hundred seventy and a hundred ninety bhp, severally. the consequences showed. in an exceedingly Motor Trend check of a 350-powered '75 Supreme auto, sixty mph arrived in eleven.65 seconds; the 440 yards took a laggard eighteen seconds at seventy eight.67 mph. Oldsmobile's fixation on gasoline mileage wasn't restricted to engines. associate degree economy-minded a pair of.73:1 rear shaft was used across the board in Cutlasses. Steel-belted radial tires conjointly were standardized on the intermediates, partly owing to their reduced rolling resistance.

Optional air conditioners came with associate degree "economy" mode that cut out the mechanical device underneath sure conditions to scale back drag on the engine. There was even associate degree accessible dash-mounted economy meter for those fascinated by knowing once their right foot was resting significant on the accelerator. The U. S. government's announce figures for sword engines were sixteen mpg within the town and twenty one mpg on the main road for the six, 15/19 for the 260 V-8, 15/20 for the 350 (14/19 within the wagon), and 13/19 for the 455. MT averaged seventeen.8 mpg in its check automobile. The car business was troubled to realize higher fuel economy whereas within the thick of meeting alteration federal laws on exhaust emissions. the most recent weapon in this battle was the convertor, that Olds­mobile place into all its 1975 models. As a division promulgation explained, "The convertor is associate degree emission management device additional to the exhaust to scale back organic compound and carbon monoxide gas pollutants within the exhaust gas stream. It contains one-eighth-inch-diameter beads coated with a platinum-paladium catalyst that accelerates the oxidizing pro­cess and reduces most of the un­burned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide gas to water vapour and dioxide gas." The system enclosed stainless-steel exhaust pipes expected to last fifty,000 miles. Unleaded fuel was needed. Engineering had been junction rectifier by former Oldsmobile chief engineer (and future g president) Robert Stempel, whom company president impotency Cole brought over to the company aspect to develop the device.

From the styling position, 3 new grille styles were created for the Salon (now a full series), Supreme and wagons, and Cutlass/Cutlass S. On all, ver­tical turn-signal lamps were set at the outer edges of the grille sections. "Secondary lights weren't subject to constant restrictions as headlights," Casillo same, "so the designers had lots additional flexibility to be artistic." Taillights on the sword and S had a twin over-and-under theme; the Supreme and Salon had a vertical side-by-side theme. Supreme coupes adopted the swiveling bucket seats as associate degree choice, however with a twist. Reversible inserts let homeowners switch between vinyl and material upholstery, a gimmick that lasted only 1 year. A Hurst/Olds auto continued to be accessible, once more with a alternative of 350- or 455-cid V-8s. (As a proof of the days, the 350 edged aside the 455 in quality.) this point, though, the H/O was engineered on the sword Supreme body and featured customary "Hurst/Hatch" removable roof panels. The 2536 engineered clothed to be the last Hurst/Oldses till 1979. Assemblies of Oldsmobiles -- includ­ing a replacement automobile Starfire hatch­back -- inched up in '75 by 9506 units to 628,902, enough to end third once more. However, sword orders shot duplicate to 319,531. The intermediate line currently accounted for quite 1/2 Oldsmobile's model-year output -- albeit solely by a fraction.

One clear truth regarding the Cut­lass was the charm of its formal-roof coupes. In model year 1975, the two-door Salon and Supreme combined for fifty eight.8 % of sword production and thirty.2 % of all Oldsmo­biles created.

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