CC Outtake: A-Body Needs A-Nicer Body

oldsmobile cutlass ciera coupe (3)

Some cars just don’t look as good in coupe form as they do sedans. The GM FWD A-Bodies are one such example: the sedans were generally handsome, while the coupes, in my opinion, looked unresolved. Even a revised roofline couldn’t save these stylistically.

oldsmobile cutlass ciera coupe (4)

This Cutlass Ciera I spotted in Greenpoint, Brooklyn would appear to be a 1986 model, based on the sealed beam headlights and the more rakish roofline that debuted for that year.

1983 olds cutlass ciera coupe

From 1982 until 1985, the Cutlass Ciera coupe had one of GM’s ubiquitous upright C-pillar rooflines that looked even frumpier. Really, it was more a two-door sedan than anything.

oldsmobile cutlass ciera coupe (1)

The full wheel covers and white paint don’t help the featured Ciera. GM must have realized they had a dud on their hands, or they didn’t want to eat into RWD G-Body sales, because the coupes were neither huge sellers nor publicized as prominently as, say, the Cutlass Supreme coupe had been. If you wanted a 6000 STE coupe, forget it. You could get a Ciera ES or GT or Century T-Type in coupe form, but the sedans were vastly more popular.


For 1986, Oldsmobile shifted 49,273 Ciera coupes, around 10k more than the wagon. That wasn’t too shabby, given the showroom competition from the G-Body Supreme and the new N-Body Calais, but the sedan left it in the shade with 267,493 units.

chevrolet-celebrity-5pontiac 6000 coupe

The W-Body was a vastly better looking coupe, although as I’ve mentioned before, it is baffling that GM launched them as a coupe and the sedan came 2-3 years later. And that GM kept the A-Body around. The A coupes didn’t last, though. The 6000 coupe’s last year was 1987, the Celebrity coupe 1988, the Ciera coupe 1990 and the longest-lived was the Century coupe which lasted until 1993.

If you’re going to sacrifice practicality, you probably want a car that looks sporty or imposing. The A-Body coupes didn’t satisfy either criterion.