Images are from the brochure collection of Hemmings Motor News
Representing the latest and greatest GM had to offer was the front wheel-drive, aero-styled Cutlass Supreme Coupe, which shared its GM10 W-body platform and characteristic B-pillar-mounted vertical door handles with the equally new Buick Regal, Chevrolet Lumina and Pontiac Grand Prix coupes. The Cutlass Supreme’s floating roof/wraparound rear glass treatment was all the rage in those days, and would soon reappear on 1990’s FWD Cutlass Supreme sedan, along with the first-generation Saturn SL (and Ford’s Probe, among many others).
Oldsmobile’s 1988 model year lineup showcased this GM division’s past and future, all sharing space on dealership lots. The veteran rear-wheel drive, three-row seating, V-8-powered Custom Cruiser station wagon represented the old guard, along with the final-year G-body Cutlass Supremetag heuer replica watches
“Classic,” a car notably absent from this 32-page full line brochure.
The sleek appearance of the latest Cutlass owed something to Oldsmobile’s stunning show car/record-setter/engineering testbed, the Aerotech. In custom-built, Quad 4-powered convertible form (two years before the roll hoop-equipped production convertible arrived), this car paced the 1988 Indianapolis 500 under control of General Chuck Yeager. That Oldsmobile-designed and -built 2.3-liter, 150 hp Quad 4 engine was big news this year, being an upgrade for the Cutlass Calais that would eventually find homes under the hoods of other GM division cars. And Oldsmobile continued its push into import territory with German-inspired, FE3 sport-suspended, bucket seat-equipped “International Series” versions of the Cutlass Supreme Coupe, Cutless Ciera and Cutlass Calais. The J-body (think, Cavalier) Firenza was still available in two-door, four-door and wagon guises, while the Toronado could be had as a velour-upholstered split-bench cruiser or a bucket-seat, Euro-style Trofeo.
It’s interesting to ponder how broad Oldsmobile’s lineup was at this time, and how much it overlapped with that of Buick (and even Pontiac and Chevrolet); it’s unfortunate that such an innovative and storied American nameplate would, within 20 years, disappear altogether.
Click the brochure images below to enlarge.