So what year is it at this 7-11? Well, you you know I didn’t shoot this ten or twenty years ago; as there’s someonething in the picture to prove otherwise.
The red box and the black hatch (Hyundai Veloster?) are dead giveaways. Haven’t seen a Firenza in awhile.
That could be a Veloster in the background, or could be an escape pod from the future…
That’s the problem with the first gen Taurus and Sable, they may have looked futuristic at the time, but they all look several thousand years old today. I don’t know why, but a little rust and flat paint on a Country Squire makes it look old, but the same thing on a Taurus makes it look downright ancient.
I was thinking the billboard gave it away!
But only because where I grew up, it would have said “one for the road”.
Even with the Ranger, only the Veloster looks out of place. Put a Ford EXP in its place or even the Plymouth from this morning.
No Taurusts that age here though the styling trickled down to the Falcon thank god the car didnt our Fords rust and decay just fine in l6 RWD. I dont know what that is next to it I was away the day it was covered but the L/R window says J body, The Hyundai gives it away they didnt look like that 20 years back.
I remember seeing rusty first-gen Tauruses back in high school circa 1994, when the oldest one was nine years old and only three years after the last-of-the-line ’91s. The ’92-’95s, however, are very rust resistant; I still see clean examples today. The ’96-’07 split the difference. Much less rust-prone than the first gen, but I’m seeing rusty rear wheel arches on the third-gens more and more.
Redbox, Veloster, Citibank at 7-11 all prove this is a recent shot, but Paul wrote “someone” not “something” so I’m stumped.
I guess I’ve taken to calling cars in those terms; not quite grammatically correct.
That must be the last Firenza 4-door in captivity…
Here’s another: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/blog/cc-outtake-oldsmobile-firenza-could-this-be-the-nicest-one-left/
And I know of at least one more in town…all in quite good shape.
Oakland is home to so many Cimarrons that you’d think they were actually popular at some point. There’s a Firenza or 4 too. I haven’t seen a Skyhawk in ages though.
Unusual that the Skyhawk is the least common of the J-cars out there. Here in NJ there were tons of them in my HS parking lot (I graduated in 1990). Probably just as many Cavaliers and a couple of Sunbirds too, but even back then, I don’t recall any Firenzas.
What would be truly astounding is if someone found a hatchback Firenza. I think they were dropped after ’83.
Laurence, you could do an Oakland Cimarron roundabout post for CC!
Just kidding…kind of!
The man walking into 7-11 appears to be dressed right for the 80’s with his multi-colored windbreaker. I’ve never seen an Olds Firenza with that little rust before (except in a 1987 Oldsmobile sales brochure).
Glad to see this! This morning I saw a mint condition medium-blue Taurus sedan this vintage and thought of CC (it was parked at a fast-food restaurant, for coffee I imagine). The Midwest is not good to cars; it’s quite a treat to see an old car, let alone one that isn’t rusted out completely (I provided a link for a completely rusted-out Taurus a few weeks back). The Olds pictured is the real find!
A testament to what a pile of garbage the Taurus actually was. Even in relic-happy Eugene, they’re all ragged out. I haven’t seen any first-gen J-car here in the Midwest in seemingly forever, but that Firenza looks immaculate next to this.
In fairness, I saw a remarkably clean original early Taurus here a few months ago. Still, the component quality of these cars was wretched even by contemporary ’80s standards, even though they seemed miles ahead of GM and Chrysler in initial quality. Based on personal experience with late model Fords, I’m convinced absolutely nothing has changed.
Hey I like your Olds’ Firenza, but I think you need more LIGHTS on the front of it!
I can recall seeing exactly one J-Body Firenza in my life. I’m sure many of them rolled past me en route to the scrapyard when I was a toddler, but the only one I ever consciously recognized lived in the parking lot of the second job I ever had. It was a gloriously trashed black Firenza GT hatchback and it only made an appearance for a couple of weeks. That was in the summer of 1999 and I haven’t seen one Firenza since. What a disappointment. I’ve still got my fingers crossed that one day a faux-wood bedazzled Firenza Cruiser will cross my path.
The J-Body Olds’ actually lived into the second generation of these cars, and IMO it looked (relatively) GREAT! Why did they kill this after only one year?
Jeez; I’d completely forgotten about that re-style. Or more like I never knew it existed. I learned another new thing today.
Having never had any experience with most small cars of the 1970s-1990s I tend to base my opinion of them solely on the styling, which leads to me obsessing over some really bizarre cars. I have liked that last-gen Firenza for a while now and would absolutely love to get my hands on one as a daily driver (or at least as a part of my dream daily driver fleet, a handful of “boring” but unique 80s-90s compacts). It’s like a pocket-sized Cutlass Ciera.
My sisters shared an ’84 Sunbird sedan. It was an ok car, but had a tendancy to eat alternators and blow head gaskets if you drove it over 100mph for any length of time.. my big sis and her then BF found that out a few times. It did have a bad NVH problem, and the 1 barrel TBI setup on the OHC 1.8 made for zero throttle response, but it’d get 30mpg at 60mph. it got 10 with me lead-footing it as the OHC did love to rev once you got past 1500rpm. It was fairly roomy, but did have a cheap and nasty interior, but it held up well for 14 years in Texas.
Frankly it was a better car than the 94 Achievea she replaced it with.
@sean, now you’ve got me fantisizeing about a Cavalier wagon with V6 I saw on Craigslist a while back. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm Oldsmobile conversion anyone?
I think you should hold out for a clean Firenza Cruiser shell and mate it with a Generation III 3400/5-speed – which probably isn’t all that difficult to do. I never see them in real life, but they exist on internet classifieds sites.
Here is the rare Ice Racing RallyX edition Firenza Cruiser:
It got a very Cutlass Ciera front end for its last year, which made it look better but people still stayed away, I think the Skyhawk lived on one more year until 1989. I only saw old ladies driving Skyhawks, and they were all grey sedans.
According to my records, only 12,256 1988 Firenzas found homes. What were people thinking? This was a great looking car and I’m sure Oldsmobile dealerships were practically giving them away at this point. The overwhelming majority of them were also sedans… I couldn’t even find a picture of another coupe like the one in that ad, maybe they’re extinct. Interesting that the Firenza and Skyhawk carried over the notchback coupe style while the Cavalier and Sunbird coupes got an entirely different roofline. Amazing that GM invested this much effort in the finer details right as they were about to pull the plug. The earlier J-car variants were mostly all obvious rebadges with slightly different grilles.
Speaking of which – yes, the Skyhawk carried on all the way to 1989, with it’s awesome pop-up headlights that appeared sometime around 1987, but only on the higher trim levels. The lower spec cars got another entirely new grille a year later. These looked so good on the ’87-only hatchback, but still pretty cool on the notch coupe. This must have been a badass little grenade of a car with the 2.0l turbo… and yeah, I never saw any of these either.
Oh wait, oldcarbrochure.com came thru…
My step-sister’s husband’s family worked for Buick and he (Troy) special ordered her a new red Skyhawk identical to your pictured car. I was probably 15 years old when it first appeared in the driveway. It had a very interesting domed hood on it & when I asked Troy what it was for, he said it normally came with the Turbo cars but they were able to get it added to her non-turbo version.
It was a very sharp car but probably didn’t last long in Illinois… I moved to Alabama shortly afterward & lost touch with them. I’ve never seen one of those special hoods since then.
I’ve got one of these 1987 skyhawks. Here’s a recent picture…
I’ve never seen a last year Firenza but it looks very nice. Bummer.
I remember the restyled ’88 Firenza well, because I got a brochure on them at my very first Chicago Auto Show. I had just turned eight and it was a very big deal to me! I even wrote about it on CC about a year ago: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/blog/live-from-thechicago-auto-show-in-1988-and-1992/
I really liked the ’88 Firenza. I still have the brochure, too!
That article was one of the first I ever read on here and went a long way towards getting me hooked on CC. Did you know that Volvo’s official US blog recently linked to it? I’ve been meaning to mention this on here since I noticed, but kept forgetting. I’d consider that pretty high praise!!
Did you also know that Irv Gordon’s P1800 is just about ready to cross the 3,000,000 mile threshold? When you saw it 25 years ago it was practically a baby with only a third of that. That guy is one of my personal heroes and I’d love to see his car up close.
If you’ve got any more pictures from Chicago Auto Shows of days gone by I’m sure everyone here would enjoy a sequel. I wish I still had pictures and brochures – all the 30lb. bags full of them – from the few I got to go to as a kid. The last time I went to a big-name auto show was around the same year your pictures were taken, which is pretty sad. Every spring I plan on going and something always comes up, or I forget, or what-have-you. The last few years have been really disgraceful on my part, as I now work right across town from where the New York show is held each year. I usually make the smaller, local one – but it’s nowhere near the same.
Would it be too much to ask for you to scan in that brochure? You’d be doing a great service to it’s handful of fans out there in cYbErSpAcE… the internet is shockingly lacking in ’88 Firenza content.
Actually, oldcarbrochures beat me to the punch. Feast your eyes: http://www.oldcarbrochures.org/index.php/NA/Oldsmobile/1988-Oldsmobile/1988-Oldsmobile-Mid-Size-Brochure
That’s a great find. Rusty Tauri are a dime-a-dozen even here in the northeast, but I can’t remember the last time I saw a Firenza in the flesh.
That faded cream color on the Fierenza is another color gone with the wind. I usually associate that with K-cars.
We have one Gen 1 Taurus rumbling around town, looking awful. I am not in the snow belt, so either that thing’s a transplant or someone hosed it down with sea water on a daily basis. I had a 92 Taurus for 5 years and never had a speck of rust.
Back in the early ’90s, a neighborhood buddy’s mom had a circa-1987 Firenza coupe, white with (I think) a blue interior. I know it wasn’t an ’88; I would have remembered that! She was a schoolteacher and the car was always immaculate. It was traded in on a 1992 or 1993 Accord coupe in Rosewood metallic with brownish-burgundy interior. That was a pretty sharp car too.
It looked pretty much like this, but I think it had the steel wheels with chrome lug nuts and center caps:
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