Disclosure, I am an Oldsmobile man and I hold a grudge against General Motors for what they did to Oldsmobile. But leaving that aside for the moment, I must also admit I am a fan of the Oldsmobile Cutlass.
The Oldsmobile Cutlass was introduced in 1961 as the top trim level in the compact Oldsmobile F-85 line. The Cutlass would become one of the best brands of Oldsmobile, surviving for five model generations, before being replaced by the Oldsmobile Intrigue. The Cutlass would later reappear in the late 1990′s for a brief model run. The Cutlass brand became so popular, that Oldsmobile would use it as sub-marque and label many different models as part of the Cutlass family. These sub-Cutlass models were the Cutlass Calais, Cutlass Ciera, Cutlass Cruiser and the Cutlass Supreme.
1961-1963 Oldsmobile Cutlass (First Generation)
As the top of the line F-85 model, the 1961-1963 Cutlass was a unibody compact car. It was part of General Motors line of “Senior Compacts” which included the Buick Special and Pontiac Tempest. These cars would share the same body shell and lightweight engine.
1964-1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass (Second Generation)
The first generation compact F-85 and the Cutlass were a sales disappointment. And with the popularity of the new intermediate Ford Fairlane, Oldsmobile increased the size of the F-85 and therefore the Cutlass for 1964. The new intermediates grew to 115 inch wheelbase and an overall length to 203 inches, with conventional body-on-frame chassis and with a perimeter frame. For the first time the Cutlass Supreme appeared as a separate model in 1966. More on the 1964-1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass.
1968-1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass (Third Generation)
The Oldsmobile intermediates underwent a major restyle in 1968, along with their A-body cousins. The 1968 offerings included the base F-85, the Cutlass S, the Cutlass Supreme, the performance 442 and other limited edition sport models. The cars were revised to allow more individual styling between corporate cousins.
1973-1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass (Fourth Generation)
The fourth generation Cutlass line was redesigned using General Motor’s new “Colonnade” A-body platform. The model lineup consisted of the base Cutlass, Cutlass “S”, Cutlass Supreme, Cutlass Salon, Vista Cruiser station wagon, and the 442 appearance package on the Cutlass “S” colonnade coupe. The new Cutlass Salon was an upscale Euro-style luxury/sports sedan similar in concept to the Pontiac Grand Am of the era.
1978-1981 Oldsmobile Cutlass (Fifth Generation)
The fifth generation of the Oldsmobile Cutlass was its golden age. The 1978 Cutlass was downsized to a new version of GM’s A-body with a shorter, 108-inch wheelbase. Technically, this model of the Cutlass ended in 1981. However, the A-body Cutlass of 1981 became the G-body Cutlass Supreme of 1982. The 1982 G-body Cutlass Supreme would carry on until 1988. The 1978-1988 A/G-body Cutlass Supreme would prove to be one of the best selling models at General Motors.
With the discontinuation of the standard Cutlass S in 1982. Oldsmobile fielded a new front-wheel drive A-body replacement, the Cutlass Ciera as a junior model to the G-body Cutlass Supreme. Oldsmobile would also market the compact Calais/Cutlass Calais from 1985-1991.
1997-1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass (Sixth Generation)
The Cutlass reappeared in 1997 as an upscale version of the N-body Chevrolet Malibu. It replaced the Oldsmobile Ciera and was a place holder until the Oldsmobile Alero arrived in 1999. With the final model Cutlass Supreme ending production in 1997, the N-body Cutlass would be the last model by Oldsmobile to wear the Cutlass name.
We will now pause for a moment of silence in honor of both the departed Cutlass and Oldsmobile brands.