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Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Cutlass Ciera
Vehicle Model

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Wikipedia: Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera

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Reference Desk
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A car produced by Oldsmobile for model years 1982-1996. The station wagon version was called the Cutlass Cruiser.

Awards and acknowledgements include:
A Complete Guide to Used Cars (1995 Edition) Best Late-Model Bet in the Mid-size Car category (model years 1990-1995)


History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Automotive Industries page on 26 October 2018, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera is a mid-size car manufactured and marketed for model years 1982-1996 by Oldsmobile. It shared the front-wheel drive A platform with the similar Buick Century, Pontiac 6000 and Chevrolet Celebrity; both Oldsmobile and Chevrolet considered using the Celebrity name, which had originally been used by Oldsmobile in the 1960s. Available body styles included a 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan, and the Cutlass (Ciera) Cruiser station wagon.

The Cutlass Ciera shared the Cutlass nameplate with the smaller Cutlass Calais and the larger Cutlass Supreme. It shared the same engines and certain interior features with the Buick Century. The car enjoyed many factory specialty models including the Holiday coupe, GT, pace car, and International models - the latter of which had a stock body kit.

1982–1988

Production began September 28, 1981 at Doraville Assembly in Georgia for the 1982 model year. In 1984, the Cutlass Cruiser station wagon model moved to the Cutlass Ciera's platform; previously, the nameplate used the rear wheel drive G-body. The Cutlass Ciera came in two trim levels: the base and Brougham /ˈbroʊəm/.

The base models came with a 2.5 L four-cylinder Tech IV (Pontiac Iron Duke) engine, bench seats, and cloth interior. The Brougham was available with an Iron Duke, a 2.8 L V6 engine, a 3.8 L Buick V6 engine, or a 4.3 L Oldsmobile Diesel V6 engine; plush interior with vinyl accents, leather handlebars on the interior door panels, and power windows. The diesel engine proved unreliable just as rapidly dropping gas prices in the mid-1980s minimized its importance.

For 1985, the Cutlass Ciera received its first facelift with revised grille, headlamps, and taillights. For 1986, the Cutlass Ciera's grille had expanded ventilation sections than the similar 1985 model. The coupe received a new, more rounded roofline that was not shared with the other A-body models. For 1987, the Cutlass Ciera was facelifted again with a new grille, and the steering wheel had the Oldsmobile logo moved from the right to the very center, and the 2.8 L LE2 V6 engine was dropped.

For 1988, the Cutlass Ciera received composite headlamps (though some late 1987 models had composite headlamps as well), the new International Series models were introduced, and this would be the last year for the Brougham. The International Series included the emblem with the flags of various countries below the nameplate (see below for exemplar) and was available in all three bodystyles, and came equipped with a standard Buick V6 engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, dual exhaust system, front bucket seats, and power windows.

Between 1983 and 1986, 814 Cutlass Ciera convertibles were made by Hess & Eisenhardt/Car Craft.

1989–1996

The Cutlass Ciera was updated for 1989, with the sedan receiving a modern roofline (similar to the coupe), and revised bodyside moldings and deletion of hood ornaments. Rear seat shoulder belts were added. Both coupe and sedan models received updated rear-end treatments. For 1990, the front seat belts were moved from the B-pillars to the doors. This would also be the last year for the 'International Series'. The changes for 1991 included a new instrument cluster with a trip odometer and an engine temperature gauge. For 1992, the coupe was dropped, and the line-up included only sedans and wagons in 'S' or 'SL' designations. The wagon now had some internal competition in the form of the new Oldsmobile Silhouette minivan (itself based on the Cutlass Ciera's A-platform), offering buyers a choice of traditional station wagon or a multi-configurable minivan. Despite the all-new Olds Achieva and Delta 88 models for 1992, the Cutlass Ciera was still Oldsmobile's best-selling model line, with over 132,000 sedans and an additional 7,793 wagons produced this year. For 1993, the 2.5 L Tech IV engine was replaced by the 2.2 L OHV engine with a 3-speed automatic transmission.

In 1994, the 'SL' designation was dropped. The 'Cutlass Ciera S', available in sedan or wagon form, featured a driver airbag as standard equipment, along with anti-lock brakes, adjustable steering column, electric rear-window defogger, automatic door locks, and delay wipers. The 3.1 litre engine with a 4-speed automatic transmission came standard on the wagon, optional on the sedan. For 1995, the 'SL' designation returned in place of the 'S'. The 1995 Cutlass Ciera SL featured a new shift interlock system that required stepping on the brake pedal before moving the gear shift out of park. For 1996, the final model year, the 'Cutlass' nomenclature was dropped and the car was now known simply as the 'Ciera SL', which continued to be available in 'Series I' or 'Series II' equipment levels. The chrome "Oldsmobile" badge above the driver's headlight was deleted. During this time, Oldsmobile attempted to revamp itself as a European-styled upscale make with new products such as the Aurora, but the Cutlass Ciera's continued strong sales proved almost an embarrassment due to its dated design and perceived image as an "old man's car". On the other hand, because the tooling for the A-body platform had long since been monetized, GM was guaranteed a profit off each Cutlass Ciera and Buick Century sold. In addition, build quality and reliability of the cars was extremely good by this point.

Production of the Ciera ended on August 30, 1996. It was replaced in the U.S. by the N-body 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass, also built at the Oklahoma plant. Sales of this Ciera replacement peaked at 53,438 in 1998 and it was discontinued in 1999.


Reference Desk

The Crittenden Automotive Library's "Reference Desk" is a collection of materials that cannot be shared due to copyright restrictions. Information from these resources, however, can be shared. Go to the Reference Desk page for more information.

TypeTitle
1985 BookChilton's Repair & Tune-Up Guide: GM A-Body 1982-85; Chilton Book Company
1986 Book1986 Oldsmobile: Firenza · Calais · Cutlass Ciera · Delta 88 · Ninety Eight Chassis Service Manual; General Motors Corporation
1989 BookOldsmobile Service Manual: Cutlass Ciera/Cutlass Cruiser 1989; General Motors Corporation
1998 BookGeneral Motors Buick Century, Chevrolet Celebrity, Oldsmobile Ciera & Cutlass Cruiser, Pontiac 6000 1982 thru 1996 Automotive Repair Manual by Gradon Mechtel, Larry Warren, John H. Haynes; Haynes Publishing Group


Photographs

PPG Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Convertible at the 1986 Miller American 200 PPG Pace Car
1986 Miller American 200

Photo courtesy Photo ©John Walczak.  All Rights Reserved.  Used with permission.
June 8, 1986
View photo of PPG Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Convertible at the 1986 Miller American 200 - 935KB


Documents

DateDocument Name & DetailsDocuments
classified date 1994On-Site Air Bag Investigation
1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera S, 4-door sedan
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 48.8MB - 145 pages
22 May 1995No Formal Title, Handwritten Letter 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
anonymous to NHTSA

PDF
- 12KB - 1 page
23 August 1995Letter, No Formal Title 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
anonymous to NHTSA

PDF
- 18KB - 1 page
November 1996Calspan Remote Driver Air Bag/Fatality Deployment Crash Investigation
Subject Vehicle - 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera S
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PDF
- 126KB - 14 pages
22 April 1997Vehicle Owner's Questionnaire 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
anonymous to NHTSA

PDF
- 51KB - 1 page


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
1 January 1994NHTSA Safety Complaint: 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cieraanonymous
11 May 1995NHTSA Safety Complaint: 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cieraanonymous
22 May 1995NHTSA Safety Complaint: 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cieraanonymous
23 August 1995NHTSA Safety Complaint: 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cieraanonymous
18 March 1996NHTSA Safety Complaint: 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cieraanonymous
15 April 1996NHTSA Safety Complaint: 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cieraanonymous
21 October 1996NHTSA Safety Complaint: 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cieraanonymous
22 April 1997NHTSA Safety Complaint: 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cieraanonymous
9 July 1997NHTSA Safety Complaint: 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cieraanonymous
1 October 2009Car Memories: 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass CieraBill Crittenden


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