W-Body aficionados – and surely there are some of you out there – will be delighted to read this Craigslist post. The original owner took the most attractive of the first-generation W-Body/GM-10 cars – the slippery, pre-facelift Cutlass Supreme coupe – and went to town on the options sheet. The result is one of the most desirable W-Bodies. It even has a stick!
Here’s proof of the manual, an option that can’t have been a popular choice. The Pontiac Grand Prix and Chevrolet Lumina were also available early in their model runs with manual transmissions but they all became auto-only after 1994. I’ll be sure to share more W-Body trivia when I eventually finish my W-Body anthology!
The five-speed manual transmission isn’t the only interesting option. The original owner also ticked the box for the firmer FE3 suspension. This Cutlass Supreme SL also has power seats, windows, locks and sunroof, as well as steering wheel controls. Surprisingly, the owner didn’t spring for the top-spec International Series; the SL was the mid-range model.
It’s been kept tastefully stock on the outside – I actually don’t mind those vintage “luggage racks” – but underneath the owner has added new struts and a larger anti-roll bar at the back.
Ok, so the 2.8 V6 was no rocketship, even if it had a nice sound. And there’s no mention of how many miles are on this, or how much a replacement steering column would cost. But $1000 for a fully-loaded W-Body Cutlass sounds tempting to me.
Curbside Classic: 1988-96 GM-10 Buick Regal – Right Car, Wrong Time
Curbside Classic: 1990-94 Chevrolet Lumina – Not Quite Saving The Best ‘Til Last
Vintage Comparison Test and Commentary: 1988 Buick Regal, Olds Cutlass Supreme, Pontiac Grand Prix – Road & Track Assesses The GM-10 Personal Luxury Coupes
Very interesting find! These have grown on me more over the years, although even with a stick, I don’t think I could get past the W-body’s jarring ride quality. I’m not a fan of this one’s very broughamy early seats either. The bolstered seat design of later years would make this spec ideal in my opinion.
After all these years I have still not warmed to the styling on these. Maybe I would like it better in a color besides bright red. So stick or not, I will pass here and leave this gem for someone else.
How can you of all people not enjoy such a great update on the ’53 Studebaker? 🙂
The weathering of the plastics reminds me of my 82 J2000. After a few years of the Texas and Florida sun (I foolishly never had the windows heavily tinted) the plastics both bleached and got brittle looking. For instance, I’ll bet that the shift knob was originally black.
I actually liked the styling of these Cutlasses, especially the “floating” roof, which has come back in style. But I would never buy one if I had to take that ugly luggage rack. Or those ugly grey Playschool type buttons on the dashboard.
I would drive a G-Body Cutlass with a diesel before that steaming pile
which was available with a 5-speed in 1979!
Quote: “The original owner took the most attractive of the first-generation W-Body/GM-10 cars”
It’s too early in the day to start drinking, even if it is 5 o’clock somewhere in the world. That is an ugly car. The hyper successful G-body was followed by this????
I would argue that for the W-Cutlass (at least in coupe form) the looks got better as the refreshes came and went.
Even as a little bit of a G-body fan (honestly I thought the space utilization was terrible in the sedans) – the vehicle was an anachronism even when brand new. If GM had set out to build the finest RWD vehicle they could construct they could have made something quite good but what they gave the world in 1978 when the Colonades gave way to their successors was more like: “We’re too lazy to change the way we do things so here’s a shrunken interpretation of the styling themes of the last 10 years and engines we should be embarrassed to be producing.”
Although odd-looking at first, I came to appreciate the GM10 Cutlass after a friend of mine bought a used ‘88 International Edition coupe. It was black with automatic transmission and was the first car I’d ever ridden in with leather seats. One of the coolest features was the pneumatic lumbar and seat bolsters.
By this time, the 2.8 V6 engines weren’t the fastest thing going, but they still gave lively performance and were pretty solid.
The featured Cutlass is tempting, but a little too used up given my current capabilities of restoration. Among other things, it looks like it needs a steering column donor. In the hands of someone who could deal with 29 year old electronics and fuel injection, it would make an interesting driver.
Keep it. It isn’t a basket-handle convertible. No sale.
That’s amongst the nastiest steering wheel rims I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t look forward to having to steer this thing around every day.
I know i’m in the minority but I found the Regal coupe to be the most attractive W/GM-10, with the early ’90s ones before they changed to the revamped Olds dashboard the nicest. The GM-10 Cutlass looked spacey, and I think the styling was a turnoff to the hordes who bought the previous two generations of Cutlass Supreme coupes.
Why driving gloves were invented.
If I knew these came with manuals, I’d forgotten as I’ve never seen one.
These are another one of those cars that I’ve always liked, which may have something to do with never driving one. GM certainly had issues during this time, but these were attractive cars and seemed much more contemporary than most competitors.
A memorable college dormmate—first thing he ever said to me was “Hah! Ah’m Vaughn, f’m Tinnessee! Ah nyever met a Jyew afowur!”—had one of these. V6 with GM’s gargler muffler, extra crunchy just-you-try-and-shift-me 5-speed transaxle. Only his had NASCAR and Jack Daniels stickers all over it and it was a Cadavalier. Or maybe a Beretta. Whatever, they were and are practically all alike.
William, based on the above comments it appears that sunglasses sold overseas all come with a rose tint 🙂
I, however, don’t mind the styling at all, the sound on that engine was indeed interesting, and I do loves me some bordello red interior. But I’ve never driven one, however the W-body Regal GS I had was quite good so maybe it’d be just fine.
I think the next time you come over the States for a visit, instead of a rental car you should just line up something like this to drive for a few weeks and then unload it before departing again for the full experience!
If it makes me sound any less crazy, I dislike what Oldsmobile did to the Supreme coupe’s styling later in this car’s run. The cladding, the narrow headlights, the uglier interior… It wasn’t ugly but it dind’t look as good as this.
And re: your suggestion, would that I could. Any old W-Body would be great. Hey, if anybody in the NYC area wants to let me drive theirs during the first week of September…
Used to use them when visiting in-laws in Brooklyn. Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes not. Always an adventure. City parking without theft or dent worry was a bonus.
If this is an ’89, this might be the ubiquitous 1974-1994 steering column used on a myriad of GM and AMC/Jeep products until the advent of airbags. I got one out of an ’86 Cherokee at a You-Pull-It for $30 last year. Included keys with AMC logo on a traditional GM key blank. A friend and I had it swapped in in a few hours.
Ah the manual transmission W-Body Cutlass. If it is a 1989 it has to have the Muncie 5 speed trans
1990’s only the Quad 4 versions got it.
I like the looks of the W body Cutlass but I like the 92-97 with the revised frond end and the more streamlined exterior. Though it did make the sedans look more like a longer Saturn S- Series
Getrag 282. The manual was available in the 90s as well, the 3.4 cars got the getrag 284, stronger case.
I didn’t notice the steering column at first glance. This car might have been the victim of a ham-handed car thief. When some brain-dead idiot(s) tried to steal my J2000, they did a “wonderful” job of ripping the upper portion of the steering column apart. It took about $800 (in 1985 dollars) to repair the damage.
The fact it’s only $1000 and has been listed for a week tells me all I need to know.
I do like the body style and the manual trans, though.
Another question – what’s going on with the fit of the hood? Is that just 80’s GM standard panel gap, an age caused misalignment, or leftover accident evidence?
Still, for $1,000 I suppose one can’t get too picky.
I always thought these were decent looking cars, but I’ve never been in one, or don’t recall. The linked vintage review (above) says that the 5 speed was rubbery and less pleasant than the automatic.
I would have expected this car to have some collector value, but the asking price says no one who remembers them cares.
The hood isn’t closed all the way.
I stared this post to possibly call and buy but the better half says no.
I have driven Marie times a w body manual transmission before in a 4 door Pontiac grand prix ste. Was a nice ride and then sold when it had over 210 k miles.
Good chance this will end up scrapped, and worker at bone yard will post a You Tube video: “look what just arrived, when was last time ever saw one of these?”. Then, commenters will sound off saying “save it!”, “it’s a classic”, “why do people not save their cars!”.
Where are all these “save its” when older cars they “love” are for sale?
It’s similar to when the whole crowd cries for a new car with a manual transmission or an affordable V8 option or whatever. “Build this car, and I’ll buy it” Car launches, these people don’t put their money where their mouth is.
I don’t know why, but I have always wanted to turn one of these into a boat. It would need to be a convertible of course. I think it was I something I had a dream about one night many many years ago as a kid, but the thought and image has never left me. I just think it would make a really nice looking boat! Strange I know.
This one might make a better boat anchor.
I’d rather an Eighty-Eight coupe.
Well William, I think we’re in the minority here, but I agree that these looked great. I remember liking them when they were new and being really disapointed when the sedan came out.
Each refresh seemed to make the coupe a little more awkward.
Those are also some of my all time favorite wheels.
That said, I’ll pass on this example. The manual is actually not a positive as far as I’m concerned and that steering wheel needs to be taken somewhere safe and burned I think. 😉
Of course you like these Dan – you would not be a proper lad from Lansing if you didn’t. 🙂
No, I can make a whole list of Oldsmobiles I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. I just think they got these right the first time. 🙂
Interesting that it has a stick shift (that’s got to be rare!).
If the transmission can handle it, you could put the 3.9 “LZ9” engine from an Uplander or Impala and really have a sleeper.
Seriously ugly car and a huge mistake. It was too small vs the ougoing model. I think the Buick version was nicest looking. These never seemed popular and disappeared fast. That roof is hideous this is probably the car that totally killed Oldsmobile. And strangest is that they restyled it into a Saturn look alike. Hideous car.
I’ve always thought that these models were a little better than just OK. Maybe kinda nice. Of course, I have no experience with them. But I do hope somebody buys and keeps it. Being a 5-speed makes it kind of tempting, but still not for me.
That’s one fine looking steering wheel!
This is the time to be buying these cars. They were good new and have gotten better with age. Parts are readily available and they have more class than the cookie cutter cars on lots today. The floating roof styling on cars today don’t hold a candle to the floating roof on this car.