Curbside Capsule: 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser S – The Station Wagon’s Last Gasp?

(first posted 6/9/2013)    Here’s another find from our excursions yesterday. Pinpointing the exact vintage of this Olds Cutlass (Ciera) Cruiser S would have been quite difficult had I not spoken with the owner at the graduation party we were attending.

The young lady driving the car related that it was given to their family by grandparents who had parked it beside their barn when it was no longer needed… a bit of cleanup and fresh gas put it back on the road with a minimum of fuss.

The presence of a “Supplemental Inflatable Restraint” confirms this is a 1993+ model, as airbags were made standard in that year. As a 1994 model, the car has the 3.1l V6 (160hp) engine that succeeded the 3.3l from the previous year, along with a four-speed automatic transmission. A 2.2l four-cylinder engine making 120hp (up 10hp from 1993) was also available.

The SUV craze was in full ramp-up mode in the mid 1990s, and traditional station wagon offerings were getting mighty thin. There was still a market for the Cutlass Ciera, and sales stayed well north of 100,000 annually (all body styles combined), due to older, conservative buyers snapping up these tried and true A Bodies. Quality was good in these last years of production, too—the car had been in production for over a decade—long enough for even GM to get it right.

Not only was the Cruiser one of the last remaining station wagons on the market at this time, it was also one of the last Oldsmobiles to wear the Rocket emblem. After a fourteen year run, the Ciera name would be retired and Cutlass would become an N Body starting with the 1997 model year.

The sheer number of Cieras produced over such a long timeframe with decent quality toward the end ensures they will be around for some years yet—true Roaches of the Road™.