August 29, 2014 marked 10 years that the world lost Oldsmobile. As America’s oldest surviving brand at the time, Oldsmobile had endured more than 100 years of ups until the 1980s, when the brand slowly began to falter.
Perhaps Oldsmobile’s biggest misgiving in its later years was being a part of General Motors, a corporation that at one point in time had no trouble sustaining five-plus automotive brands and tried its darndest to maintain its company structure into the Millennium. We can’t blame GM for producing bad Oldsmobiles because their portfolio was decent, if not great, at that moment. Historical vehicles like the first production car with automatic transmission, the first of the post-war brands (along with Cadillac) to offer a high-compression motor, the first “hardtop convertible” (along with Buick and Cadillac), the first car to answer Pontiac’s serve with the GTO (the 1964 4-4-2), the first full-size FWD car (Toronado), the country’s best-selling car (Cutlass Supreme) . . . all that good stuff happened within 25 years.
As a car-loving kid, the 1953 Fiesta possibly commanded the highest price out of all the collectible Oldsmobiles, but these days the 1970 Olds 4-4-2 W-30 convertible four-speed may be the Olds with the most stature—times change, just like the new-car market.
If you’re shedding a tear at the moment, visit the Lansing State Journal and view their retrospective on Oldsmobile’s heritage.