The Chelsea Houses and the John Lovejoy Elliott Houses are a group of housing projects located between West 25th and 27th Streets and 9th and 10th Avenues in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. I pass directly through this part of Chelsea almost daily, and I noticed something peculiar. Lately, New York City has been surprisingly bountiful with fantastic Curbside Classic sightings.
Why, just this week I complimented a man on his Nash Metropolitan right outside of where I work. Generally, though, pre-1995 cars are in the minority. For every 50 near-new Highlanders, Accords and Impalas parked in a neighborhood, you might find one early 1990s Buick Regal or an MN-12 generation Mercury Cougar. One car, though, that refuses to fade away like its contemporaries is the Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. I’ve only seen a handful uptown or in other boroughs, but the Chelsea Projects–despite having little else pre-1995, other than an old Cadillac Brougham–seems to be its nesting grounds.
There’s this white 1989-90 sedan I spotted in the parking lot, still proudly displaying its Big Apple Oldsmobile dealer sticker. I wonder what that dealership sells now?
Another quite tidy example from the same era. 1989 ushered in slightly more aerodynamic styling, but there were few, if any, visual changes up through the end of the car’s run in 1996, except for a taillight change in 1991 (the block taillights were replaced by ones that had three horizontal segments).
These Cutlass Cieras became quite solidly reliable cars. There was no reason for them not to be, because GM sure had plenty of years to iron out any bugs. J.D Power consistently ranked these at the top of their class.
Because the tooling had long ago been paid off, Cutlass Cieras and their equally long-lived Buick Century cousins were very profitable cars for GM. The Cutlass Ciera was consistently the best-selling Oldsmobile despite the arrival of newer models and even a direct replacement, the W-Body Cutlass Supreme sedan.
In its final year, the Cutlass nameplate was dropped and it was simply the Ciera, in sedan or wagon form. 115,893 sedans and 8,857 wagons were produced; contrast this with the aging but still considerably newer Cutlass Supreme sedan, which shifted only 43,836 units. Granted, the Ciera undercut it by a good three grand, and a large proportion of Ciera sales were fleet, but that was still a considerable difference. The story was different at Buick, with the 1996 Century sedan shifting 20,000 fewer units than the Regal despite a similar price differential.
Don’t be mistaken in thinking, though, that it’s only the newer, less angular Cieras roaming this neck of the woods. This must be one of the 1987 Cieras that didn’t come with composite headlamps, as they were standard only on Brougham and GT models.
The dog dish wheels are an odd touch. Note the Regal in front, which is probably the second most common pre-1995 car I’ve noticed in NYC. I haven’t seen many A-Body FWD Centuries, though, although I recall them being quite common upstate.
It’s not just sedans around these parts, either. This one is definitely a 1985 Cutlass Cruiser, due to the grille. However, that front fascia looks like it could have been lifted off another Ciera post-accident.
Cruiser sales were always a fraction of total Ciera sales and that percentage dwindled over time. I’d blame that more on the declining popularity of wagons than the wagon’s unchanged rear half. Yes, a 1982 Cruiser looks very similar to a 1996 Ciera wagon from behind but it’s not as though the sedan’s revisions were a quantum leap, aesthetically.
This is what always bothered me about the Ciera. Why the flags? There was nothing European or global about this car: exports were limited; the vast majority sold were plain-jane S and SL editions; and it was clearly positioned and sold as a more efficient, front-wheel-drive alternative to regular American mid-sizers. The flags made sense on the Colonnade Cutlass Salons, as they boasted Euro styling touches and a handling package. The Aeroback Salons were vaguely European in their styling, despite being flaccid dynamically, so the flags also made some sense there. But on the Ciera?
By the end, the Ciera was available only in sedan or wagon, with a 2.2 I4 or 3.1 V6 and either a 3- or 4-speed auto. An unexciting end to a fairly unexciting, albeit honest and reliable car. However, let’s not forget the interesting and less common derivatives that don’t exist within the two-block area of the Chelsea Projects. Like the 4.3 diesel V6, with its dismal 85hp and 165lb-ft of torque to propel it (although I hear these were more reliable than the diesel V8s Oldsmobile was also making).
There was the European-inspired ES, Oldsmobile’s answer to the Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport.
Maybe you’d like your Ciera with two fewer doors and a touch of Broughamance?
South of the border, you could get your Cutlass in “Eurosport guise,” complete with ground effects and Pontiac wheels.
But here’s my favorite, and I hope I run into one eventually: the GT, complete with 3.8 V6 (150hp, 200lb-ft), floor shifter, and those funky ribbed door panels like on the 1986 Toronado. Of course, these were only available from 1986-87 (in sedan or coupe guise), so I doubt I’m going to stumble across one.
Two questions, Curbsiders:
1. How often do you see Cutlass Cieras where you live?
2. Are there any neighborhoods or places you know of where a particular car is oddly and disproportionately common? If you tell me you live in Ontario and Pontiac Sunfire sedans are as common as pigeons, I will absolutely agree.
1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser; 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera; 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Coupe; 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Brougham; 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser
I see one often, because I have a 1985 Ciera Brougham Indy 500 Festival Car in my garage. (It also gives me entry into the Brougham Club!) It was an impulse eBay buy because in college I drove an ’86 Ciera Brougham sedan in the same color scheme, but I enjoy this one’s “uniqueness”.
My experience with Downstate NY,,,specifically NYC is 30 years out-of-date, but if it’s like it was when I lived in that area…it wasn’t uncommon to find older vehicles roaming the streets, many haggard and in need of mechanical TLC, but with surprisingly little rust.
When snow struck the area, at least when I lived there, people just didn’t drive. Or went out as little as possible. As opposed to Upstate where they just dump the salt onto the roads and keep moving. And anything over 5 years old is a potential rust trap in a state with no body laws.
Sometimes we get stuck in the past and don’t see things clearly. I wouldn’t have thought of these as classic. I would have thought of one of these as a suitable replacement for my last car and it sure would have been cheaper.
Station wagon. V6 preferred. Don’t suppose sticks were available in that so suppose the non overdrive trannie would be durable enough to stand up. I still see these like the new yorkers must. Cheap and durable transportation.
I see a Cierra and a Celebrity Station Wagon almost every day in my neighborhood in Albuquerque, NM. Almost all of the cars that are stated on this site as rare or rarely seen are common here. Corvairs, old Bugs, Mustangs, my 95 Olds 98 Regency Elite among many others are common daily drivers here. A good friend of mine owns a Ford Fairmont and a 75 Impala, both since new.
Albuquerque may be the most benign climate in the country for cars – low humidity, little snow, etc.
True, but there is emissions testing in that area so that has some impact on the types of vehicles that live there.
Yes other parts of the state are even better because you can have Albuquerque’s climate minus the emissions testing. I honestly say if you want to find a rust free old car and slap whatever engine in it that floats your boat without asking anyone’s permission, New Mexico is the place.
It’s amazing looking at the photos how small that Ciera wagon looks. The Mercury SUV dwarfs it, but even the Corolla looks out of scale next to it.
The proprtions are so different to. One thing I liked about the 80’s cars was the huge percentage of glass to sheet metal. Great visibility and nice proprtions also.
Yet you can cram an amazing amount of stuff into one. I know, I had one. They are also easy to load and unload because the liftover height is so low. In fact, the whole car is so low that I used to lose it in parking lots, as the sides of the bed of a late model F-150 are higher than the roof of the Ciera.
You too? LOL! My dad’s side.
SUVs aside, subcompact and compact cars have
steadily increased in every dimension(length,
width, definitely height, and wheelbase) since
the downsizing craze of the late 1970s-early-80s.
Sadly, this means a corresponding weight gain,
offsetting the fuel economy gains of the past
30 years. Even engine CID has gone back up in the
past 20. (Have we learned ANYTHING from the
Today’s ‘subcompact’ would be a compact by ’80s
standards, and a current ‘compact’ sedan would
be a midsize – interior volume-wise – by that decade’s
standards. Most of that volume increase comes
from height. That Corolla seems waaay taller than the
Ciera in that group, even though the Ciera is probably
a good six inches longer and several inches wider
than it. Is there something going on with peoples’
That Corolla seems waaay taller than the
Ciera in that group, even though the Ciera is probably
a good six inches longer and several inches wider
than it. Is there something going on with peoples’
No, but it’s more space efficient as well as more comfortable to have dseat height be higher. Folks got tired of sitting on the floor.
I read on more than one occasion that both men and women
are one inch taller on avg than their ancestors 50
An older gentleman we know still drives a Ciera (Cruiser) wagon (with heavy patina) (not the one linked above).
I was disappointed when all the GM cars went front-wheel drive by the 1980s. The only cars I thought should’ve been front-wheel drive was the Toronado. One thing I did like was their styling and downsizing. Full-sized cars are good vehicles, but not everyone needs or wants one.
Interesting. The LAST car that should have been FWD was the original Tornado. All the benefits of a FWD design were totally wasted on a huge, heavy, 385 hp luxo cruiser. This was the period when GM thought it could do anything it wanted, and often did. FWD fit the A bodies much better. It made them lighter, space efficient and economical. Boring slugs yes, but it fit the target market pretty much perfectly.
Tell me about it. I’ve seen my share of Oldsmobile Toronados when I was growing up, from the very early 1967 Toronado to the mid 1970s. If they were ugly when they first debuted, by the 70s, they became ugly monstrosities.
I had no clue they made a coupe version of this! I used to see a lot of the wagons, but not much anymore (or sedans for that matter). Cleveland salt & rust has claimed many of them I’m sure.
Ever see the Broughamy-looking “Holiday”
Coupe? Rear roof looks disproportionate
on the smaller A-body compared to similar
treatment on the Cutlass Supreme coupe.
Example is mid-’80s.
All the time. These were the last car built at the Framingham plant where my uncle used to work.
I am very familiar with the Chelsea Projects in Lower Midtown Manhattan because an EX-GF of mines live at 443 West 25th St (between 9th & 10th Aves.) where she still lives. How were you able to spend time in that area since its a high crime area where there is too much drug dealing and shootings especially near those seedy night clubs? That’s the poor Ghetto area of the affluent Chelsea area of Manhattan. Anyway not to stray off course from the topic of the story but I would think that many of the inhabitants of that area probably still owned late 1980s to late 1990s cars because low income families or individuals can only afford those kinds of cars plus if they get stolen or damaged, it would hurt less to their own personal savings compared to if they own a brand new car especially here in the streets of NYC.
It is daytime that is why. Whenever I or my family members visit NYC in the warm months we lock all the doors, but usually have a window rolled down and if the car has it the sunroof. I have never felt threatened even when when in seedy areas and you just have to have your wits about you. There are some areas you do not stop in (to read a map or eat a hoagie) or drive real slowly through because that brings in street walkers and drug dealers. Unless that is your thing. When I drive in NYC I do not drive in the lane next to the sidewalk and if there are no stripes I drive down the middle of the road.
Nighttime is another matter though.
trust me there is very little crime in the chelsea projects. many of these cars are driven less then 3k per year that’s why they last for ever. the owners are frequently people living on fixed incomes from social security, etc. since they are around all day, they are willing to deal with the incredibly difficult nyc parking regulations. you will frequently see them waiting in their cars for the street sweepers to come by at the scheduled time. when the sweeper gets close, they pull out of the space to let them clean and then go right back into the space when the sweeper is done. they then sit in the car until the signs say it’s permitted to park there. this takes about 2 hours twice a week. these people are survivors. the greedy real estate developers will do anything to get them out of these neighborhoods but they rarely succeed. many of these people know more about housing and parking regulations than the city officials or most lawyers.
There’s a pretty decent police presence there now, including one of those weird police vans with the raised module. I work just across 10th Avenue and none of my coworkers have had any problems walking through the Projects (at least over the past year or so). There’s still a Scores on 27th but not much else in the way of seedy nightclubs. Seeing projects in Chelsea is weird but it’s not exactly Brownsville in terms of crime, and if it were I would just walk from the 23rd C station along 23rd to 10th and then up. Maybe I’m too confident, but I’ve never felt unsafe or threatened anywhere in Manhattan, even in the wee small hours.
I guess NYC is home to all kinds of cockroaches. 🙂
I still see the occasional Cutlass Ciera (or Century) in Indianapolis, maybe one a week or so. I will echo some others, these are more frequent in poorer areas, as they make good, cheap transportation that will run with little fuss and are cheap to fix when something breaks. We are running out of those kinds of cars – ex-police Panthers and various pickups seem to be taking over in that role.
I don’t know why that is, that such nice looking cars would end up in some of the poorest sections of town. I live in Tacoma, Washington, and you don’t see these in nice neighbourhoods. You see them in more dumpy areas, where gangs seem to hang out.
@jpc, I couldn’t agree more with you LOL having lived here for 41 years already in NYC. I used my EX-GF’s pseudonym initials BTW hence CAG.
Cieras are qulite common around Richmond too. I know of two pre-1990 models within half a mile of my house, and I see others of the featured generation frequently. I see a fair number of this generation of Century as well. GM just built so many, and they hold up well enough, that they’re still common. The fact that the original owners (if a private purchase rather than a fleet vehicle) probably tended to be older folks also helped longevity.
(apparently I live in a bad part of town, judging by previous comments. News to me…)
Richmond, or at least my part of town, also has a high number of VW Rabbit pickups. Kind of a hard one to explain. But i know of three that live in my neighborhood and I’ve seen another three around the area. That’s a lot for a semi-obscure 80’s VW…
In Durham, NC, where I previously lived, there was a hugely disproportionate number of 1970’s Ford F-series pickups relative to their age. The things were *everywhere*. A good many were still hauling things around, too–very few restored examples. Just long-lived, indestructible work trucks. Something very honest about that.
Out here on the outskirts of Seattle, I see a lot of these Cieras. An older neighbor has a light-blue 4-door in very good shape, and another neighbor has the Buick equivalent. Almost always, the drivers of these cars have hair in the white/grey/gone spectrum.
Not too many Cieras around in the parts, not surprising since they went out of production in 1996, which is eighteen years ago now. A Ciera, especially in its last years, was hardly a collector piece. I did see a GT a while ago, and it had a beautiful interior.
It is great that GM didn’t listen to the buff mags on the Ciera. Instead they listened to the wallets of the buying public that actually bought them, and they sold loads of them. In these parts, anyway, most were rentals and sold off after a year at excellent prices. I remember a 1989 going in 1990 for $5800 at the time, a screaming deal for a car with a/c in Soviet Canuckistan at the time.
GM sold lots of them to elder drivers, but then alienated younger ones.
I don’t know if that is true. Sure lots of oldsters drove these cars, but many young families did, too. In our family garage, we saw lots of them. The early ones were typical GM, and the best ones 1989-1991 with the 3.3 engine, which were very good cars. Problem was GM went into the truck/suv big time and neglected car development. Thus, by 1992 the Ciera was all about cheap and my this time, the Japanese competition was pretty slick indeed. That’s what did Oldsmobile in more than anything.
I can imagine a real life version of “Cosmo Kramer”, “George Costanza” or “Newman” driving these and jockeying for parking spots. Jerry would still have a SAAB.
I watched a Seinfeld rerun tonight and Jerry was driving an early 70s Impala! It didn’t look right.
Mother-in-law bought a new Ciera Brougham in1987. Loaded with just about every option except the V-6. That harsh little 4 cylinder made it quite unpleasant to drive, but she could care less. Got a blank look when I asked her why she got the 4. Kept it 18 years when we took the keys away. Had a whopping 36,000 miles at the end.
36,000 miles? That’s not quite breaking it in. Most cars, if taken care of, will go well over 100,000 miles.
With an Iron Duke, that is the equivalent of a billion miles.
What I find interesting is that not a day goes by without spotting some type of A-body usually a Ciera or Century. In fact they are far more common than any Camry or Accord or Altima from the late 80’s through the 90’s of which hardly any are ever seem in Upstate, NY. The 3 Ciera’s I owned were all reliable high mileage examples that just wouldn’t die and I would add dad’s 1984 Brougham to the list despite it’s rack issue that I remedied with some TransX and a turkey baster. My friend is in the process of trying to purchase a really clean 1990 Eurosport Celebrity wagon with the 3.1 and 4 speed trans. it has well over 150k miles but looks and runs like new and is from PA. He should be bringing it home this weekend from Carlisle.
Well, the Ciera was an appliance of the best kind, and didn’t get a lot of lovin’ a lot of the time. I saw really badly maintained examples all the time, but the Buick 3.3 was a tough thing that could take it. They were a lot cheaper than their Japanese competition, too, accounting for their numbers.
1. Up until about three years ago Cutlass Cieras were quite common here in Rhode Island and southeastern MA. They’ve become a rare sight recently.
2. The 1992-1996 Camry has become the new “cockroach of the road” (copyright Geozinger) around here. It’s especially common in the working-class parts of Providence and Pawtucket, but can be found pretty much anywhere. Toyota did a great job with the rustproofing, as I rarely see a rusty one! The same can’t be said about the similar-vintage Corollas (and for that matter, mid-1990s Honda products), though those are very reliable otherwise and are still a common sight.
One small correction – the FWD A-body wagons didn’t come along until ’84 so there’s a LOT of difference between an ’82 Cutlass Cruiser and a ’96 Ciera wagon. The former was still an RWD G-body.
Thank you for the correction… That fact completely skipped my mind! I shall correct that.
1. I see the Cutlass Ciera quite often in upstate NY.
2. I see a ton of Malibu Maxx’s around here. It’s not that old a car, made from ’04 to ’08, but the upstate is absolutely lousy with them.
What a nice set of photos and it is cool to see these cars just keep plugging away. A relative inherited a mid 1990s Buick Century years ago and sure the car is reliable, but they have been spoiled by better handling European and Japanese vehicles so they sold it. I rode in it once and liked it because it felt smaller and less wallowing than 87 Caprice Estate.
It that the nose of an Acura Integra in this photo?
This Cutlass Cierra has been around for a while and owned by the same person because the license plates are over 10 years old. I notice that many vehicles with a hood ornament have the same paint wear pattern on their roof. My Caprice and Voyager were the same way. The Corolla in front looks Camry sized next to the Oldsmobile.
That is a sharp looking 87-90 Caravan across the street and I think the Honda’s pushbar only works well with low speed battles.
People in Portland, OR seemingly gave up on Detroit earlier than others so Centuries, Cutlass Cierras, and Cierras are not terribly common. About 25% of the ones I see are from out of state whether it be their plates, dealer stickers, or rust patterns. Foreign vehicles tend to be the cockroaches around here by far.
I think the W-Body Impala and Impala Limited will be one of the next GM Cockroaches.
There were never enough W Body Impalas around to accord them Cockroach (TM) status but they make a decent beater, with the 3.8 V-6.. Whenever I am in the USA I am struck by the numbers of Camrys there are, off all generations in all conditions. There everywhere and since Toyota sells more than 400,000 a year, the Cockroach supply will be large going forward.
Interesting article. They sold a lot of Cieras back in the day. The 1997 Cutlibu ( Cutlass) replaced Ciera initially. That car was replaced by Alero. Oldsmobile did have “:Cutlass” name on everything for a while there. There was Ciera, Calais, and Supreme. They sold Ciera to a lot of buyers, but towards the end it was fleet and older buyers. One has to wonder if Ciera had been updated what would have happened. Ciera did a lot for Oldsmobile. The thing that was sad to me is Ciera was loaded in the 80’s and going into the 90’s but my the 90’s it was stripped looking even loaded. You could get digital gauges on a Ciera back in the 1980’s too. The Brougham and GT were indeed nice. I liked the fact they offered a 3.8 liter V6 as an option too at one time. That is the one thing Pontiac 6000 STE was missing. That was a Ciera XC coupe at one time too.
Oldsmobile Ciera commercial:
The A Bodies couldn’t meet 1997 side impact standards so it was done. Dual front airbags required in 1998 would have killed the car anyway. This is a car that has its roots in the X Car, and GM left it in the product line too long.
After 1992 most Cieras were rentals, the S model with the Chevy 3.1 was all over the place, usually in refrigerator white. The tooling had been paid off forever so GM made money on every one and could come in at a low fleet price. It may seem hard to fathom but the Ciera sold well right to the end. It was the last big seller in Oldsmobile stores, which loved it.
I recall reading that the last couple of years of Ciera demographics had the oldest average age for any car buyer, 67.
I think were Olds messed up is that they didn’t keep offering a similar car, Buick hedged its bet and moved the Century name to the W-body for 1997 as the bland bench seat version of the Regal, and we kept right on selling Centurys to the same folks that were buying the A-body version, where Oldsmobile moved the Cutlass name to a Malibu based car and then launched the Intrigue in 1998.
Out of the A-body cars, it seems like the Cutlass Ciera is by far the most common remaining one in NYC. I’ve spotted lots of cool stuff lately, too – including that same Nash Metropolitan you’re talking about (yellow/white ’58 coupe) a couple different times in SoHo. I saw the Citroen CX that lives in the same neighborhood these photos were taken last week, a ’64 Rambler American, a DIVCO milk truck and two factory CNG-powered Dodge B-series in the East Village, a ’75 Ford Courier on the west side, a 1960 Chevrolet Biscayne and a ZAP Zebra “wagon” which had apparently been turned into a bootleg hybrid out in Hicksville (a real town), Merkur XR4Ti in Oyster Bay, a RHD Triumph Dolomite Sprint today in Long Island City – along with two Checker Marathons and a Carbodies (Austin) FX4 that I always see over there. A blue and white ’58-’60 Lincoln, not sure which model – it was spotted at a distance when I was driving home from work earlier. And when I was driving into work this morning, I kept getting passed on the LIE by a rusty Chevrolet Celebrity wagon! Unexciting, but relevant to this article!
Yup, I’ve noticed those two CXs as well. I’ve also seen a Merkur XR4ti, but up in Inwood. I’ve also seen a couple of Corvairs and Checker cabs.
Have you ever seen the ’53 Studebaker that is parked in front of that Mexican place in the Village? It’s done up in yellow cab livery. There’s also an Italian place in Flatiron/Chelsea with an old Fiat 500 out front.
I’ve always chuckled when I’ve seen the name “Hicksville”.
Over on the East Side, I have seen a number of the Buick Century A-Body wagons, along with a lot of Cieras (mostly sedans) too.
I have seen a decent number of the late 90s (’97-’01) Camrys, and a number of beater Volvos–240s, the classic ones. Funny all the survivors seem to be navy blue or white, never see them in interesting colors (like yellow).
Also, in my neighborhood, closer to the UN, a number of Roadmaster wagons from the early 90s. There’s also a Cadillac Brougham and a really dinged up ’88-’91 Grand Marquis floating around. A few weeks back I saw a ’75-’76 Sedan DeVille in the East 90s, but it was raised up. There is of course the DeLorean that is regularly around the East 60s.
My ’77 Electra and ’93 FWB show up in the neighborhood from time to time, but I usually do not park them on the street and the Electra is mostly living at my parents house in CT now since it has the beach sticker. Sean, ever see that mint green, rusty ’78 Sedan DeVille in the East Village. It’s way over, like almost A or B I think. Still EV though, not LES. I keep meaning to take a picture. As well as submit my own cars.
You know what surprises me? How few old Hondas I see. I can’t remember the last pre ’00 or so Honda I’ve seen. Used to see old Civics from the 80s all the time 10 years ago, but the next generation doesnt seem to have stuck around?
Brings back memories of a Ciera rental I had back in ’92. My first solo USA road trip.
Nice solid well built car. Could have used some stiffer springs & shocks, but I got used to it.
Happy days on interstates, 2 lane black top & everything in between.
The under dash e-brake wasn’t good for handbrake turns though………………
I still see these and their Century brother often down here as they were popular in Florida, I’ll let you guess why….
I see a pretty nice Fargo style bronze colored brougham late 80-something Ciera sedan in front of Cuban restaurant I get take out from every once in a while.
There is a plain jane black Celebrity sedan I have been hoping to catch. I looks like an FBI surveillance car.
I still see Cutlass Cieras & Centuries as well in southwest PA, but the herd is definitely thinning out. It’s kind of sad actually. As the world transitions more to ugly jellybean cars, it’s always comforting to see these relics of a bygone automotive era still soldiering on. Celebrities and 6000’s are all but extinct – save for a ratty rust bucket here & there. One of the more interesting (humorous really) A-body’s left out here is a mid-80s Celebrity..with classic plates!
And for the 2nd question..2006-2014(16?) W-body Impalas are everywhere. You cannot go 5 cars without seeing AT LEAST one. They’re very much the modern Ciera/Century. Old as they are, GM makes a ton of profit on them – a lesson learned & retained from the Ciera/Century era. Recent vintage Nissan Altima are common as dirt too.
W-bodies in general, are everywhere, for a while in the 90’s it was the most produced automotive platform in America, total W-body production used to almost run into full size truck numbers. Sometimes they are so common that you hardly notice them, but they are there. There isn’t an intersection around that you wont come across a Grand Prix, LaCrosse, Regal, Century, Cutlass, Intrigue, Lumina, Monte Carlo or Impala.
Buick’s are more prevalent here, and the population hasn’t noticeably dwindled in the last two years.
I’ll be firing up the 3.3 liter Century in about thirty minutes and will likely pass at least one or two other A-bodies on the 6.6 mile trip to work.
Have not seen one in Toronto in recent memory. They’re gone here, but I’m sure are still on the road in rural areas.
This is the car that ruined GM for me once and for all. I owned a used 1988 Ciera GT in 1996. It had less than 50,000 miles. I had the car for less than 2 weeks. It’s 3.8 liter went bad for no reason. After that, no more GM products for me
For the life of me, I cant understand why GM ever stopped making these cars. Personally, I hate them. Theyre ugly, slow, boring, aimed at old people and the lowest common denominator of car buyers. But despite being a mediocre driving experience with no enthusiast appeal whatsoever…these are cheap, safe and reliable. There is a HUGE market for that. And since the tooling had long been paid off, cranking these things out like bic cigarette lighters is pure profit. People would buy them as long as they were cheap, reliable and had no major issues. You have to work a lot harder to get the enthusiast on your lot for the latest muscle car, sports coupe, pickup, or offroad vehicle. Sedans are SUPPOSED to be boring and mediocre, yet get the job done with no drama. These do that perfectly. You don’t need to redesign a sedan ever 5 years, since the styling is irrelevant in the first place.
Id go so far as to say that EVERY car maker should collaborate on ONE sedan per size class. The same basic platform developed and perfected by all automakers, varying only in engine choice, grille, tail lites, and interior trim/features would mean you could crank em out by the billions for next to nothing. That would free up development money for the ‘good stuff’.
Lots of Cieras here in central VA, especially in ritzy Charlottesville. The hipster auto mechanic down the road has a forlorn looking wagon parked out front.
“hipster auto mechanic”?!?!?! Now Ive heard EVERYTHING!
Hey, that’s my ’87 Ciera!!! (The grey one with the flag sticker). I was parked on 26th st off of 9th ave. Me and my girl went to the auto show at the Javits center on Sunday.
My center caps are off of a late model Crown Vic NYC taxi. I know it’s sacrilege to swap Ford stuff with GM, but I just couldn’t resist!
My Olds has the rare engine option, the sequential fuel injected 3.8 (pre-3800), proudly made by Buick City, Flint Michigan. She has plenty of pep and only 60k original miles!
Forever an A-body fan, here! First car was an ’86 Celebrity. Congrats Ivan on spotting your car a part of a CC story. What are the chances? Your Olds is a really low-miler!
Thanx! My first car was an ’84 Celebrity.
I got my ’87 after Hurricane Sandy flooded my ’97 Grand Marquis.
The previous owner had the car garaged almost all its life and only used it as a 3rd car, hence the LOW miles.
These cars make me sick
I was the proud owner of 2 cieras.. the 1986 with the 4 cylinder iron duke engine that gave me 10 years of very reliable service dispite being totaled out by the insurance company twice ( i was rear ended and side swiped on 2 separate occasions) and in 1996 i bought the ciera S with the 3.1 six cylinder engine that gave me 16 years of reliable service and logged well over 300 thousand miles before she was laid to rest. If GM was still making these cars I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to buy a new one.. sadly that is no longer an option but the ciera story speaks for itself in the consistent high sales during its production years and longevity of these cars on the road as daily drivers even to this date 19 years after the last one rolled off the assembly line. I believe that if GM would have kept making this car in the same way under the Olds banner with the same comprehensive standard packages, that it would still be a good seller even today. Love these cars because they really gave you everything you needed in a car.. reliability, creature comforts, nice ride, room for 6, tons of trunk space, good power for highway passing and merging, and low maintenance..
Here’s my just-purchased 87 Ciera GT sedan…black/silver, maroon interior, 102k miles, early 90s Ninety Eight wheels added on.
This is my 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Brougham 3.8L. Its been a project of mine for the last few years.
Hi ! I’m French and this my 90′ Cutlass Ciera SL 2 doors with the 3.3L V6.
Here’s my 1988 Ciera SL with the 3.8. The 1st owner purchased it new from HARRIS OLDSMOBILE in Whittier California. Has spent it entire life in Southern California.