Vintage Motor Trend Comparison: 1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass Turnpike Cruiser And 4-4-2 — Performance And Economy

For the February of 1967 issue, Motor Trend tested two versions of the Cutlass Supreme. While these A-Body Olds were reaching their final year of production, MT wanted to try a new and exciting package that had appeared for ’67, one that yielded both performance and economy as well good handling.

We’re referring to the Turnpike Cruising package, or TC, available for the Cutlass Supreme Holiday Coupe. It consisted of a high-compression 400in. engine with a 2-barrel carburetor and special cam, providing a lower torque peak achieved thanks to a 2.41 rear axle. To make matters interesting, MT’s TC came with the high-performance suspension found in the 4-4-2. In short, MT basically considered the thus-equipped TC the equivalent of a 4-4-2, with a different engine and final drive ratio.

With the TC Cutlass Supreme so furnished, it was only obvious to test it against the real 4-4-2. And so, the test’s 4-4-2 arrived with an almost identical list of accessories. That said, tires and brakes did differ between the TC and the 4-4-2.

With the 4-4-2 coming with the standard-for-automatic 3.08 rear axle, MT found the TC package as the better all-around model. At 65MPH, the 4-4-2’s engine sounded comparatively busy at 3000RPM, against the TC, which churned at a relaxed 2200RPM. In general, the TC gave away little in performance against the 4-4-2. With both models sharing identical suspensions, handling was basically equal, and in straight-line acceleration, the TC reached 0-60 in less than 9 seconds; just 1.6 seconds more than the 4-4-2.

Braking distances, however, seriously differed between the two models; with the 4-4-2 performing better thanks to optional front discs.

Another novelty on the TC was Olds’ Climatic Combustion Control or CCC: ‘… what it does is pipe heat from the right exhaust manifold to a special air cleaner box atop the carburetor… where a vacuum-powered, temperature-sensor-controlled door regulates the mix.’ It was meant to improve performance, cold starts, fuel consumption, and emissions. How well this worked in the real world was hard to tell, as Olds engineers declined to state any hard numbers.

In the eyes of MT, the real clincher for the TC package was ‘the excellent gas mileage it gives, which favorably compares with that of smaller, less powerful V-8s and 6s.’ For the 4-4-2 that meant 12-15 MPG. For the TC it was 15.7-18 MPG.

To sum it up, MT found much compelling on both Supremes. Many Americans would soon agree; the age of the Supreme was about to start in full swing.


A More detailed look at the Turnpike Cruiser:

Automotive History: The 20 MPG 400 Cubic Inch 1967 Olds Cutlass Turnpike Cruiser

And more on the ’67 Cutlass:

CCCCC Part 3 (1966-1967): 1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme – America’s Love Supreme Starts Here