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Thread: Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser

  1. #1
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    Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser

    (As requested)

    Oldsmobile used the Custom Cruiser name on their large rear-wheel drive station wagons from 1971 to 1992. The Custom Cruiser wagon used the same platforms as the Buick, Chevrolet and Pontiac full-size wagons. It was also the first time Oldsmobile built full-size station wagons since 1964.

    First generation (1971–1976)

    The first generation Custom Cruiser first appeared in 1971 based on the C platform. The station wagon could seat up to 8 forward-facing people. Until 1976, the station wagons featured a 'Clamshell' design where the rear power-operated glass slid up into the roof as the tailgate (manually or with power assist), dropped below the load floor. The power tailgate, the first in station wagon history, ultimately supplanted the manual tailgate, which required marked effort to lift from storage. The Clamshell system — heavy, complex, expensive, & space consuming — remained un-adopted by any other manufacturer. Though reliable, subsequent generations reverted to the doorgate style for its full-size wagons as the rear-facing 3rd seats left no room for a tailgate to retract into the body. Oldsmobile's 455 in³ (7.4 L) V8 engine was standard.

    Second generation (1977–1990)

    The second generation Custom Cruiser appeared in 1977 based upon the B platform. The second generation was smaller and lighter than the previous generation, and still able to seat up to 8 people. The electrically operated tailgate was replaced by a conventional two-way tailgate.

    The new 1977 Custom Cruisers came with a standard 350 in³ (5.7 L) V8. Oldsmobile's 403 in³ (6.6 L) V8 was optional through 1979. In 1978, the 350 in³ diesel V8 became available; it would remain an option through 1985, after which it was discontinued. 1980 saw the introduction of the 307 in³ V8, becoming standard equipment. The gasoline 350 would remain as an option through 1980, but was dropped thereafter.

    The Custom Cruiser was slightly restyled in 1980 with a lower front fascia. The doors and window mechanisms were also redesigned to be lighter. On the sides, the woodgrained panels no longer followed the curves of the wheel wells, but were positioned higher on the body sides to give a straighter, sleeker look; however, not all Custom Cruisers were equipped with woodgrained panels. 1980 saw the last restyling of the second generation Custom Cruisers.

    Minor mechanical changes were made between 1980 and 1990. The new E4ME electronic carburetor which used GM's CCC (Computer Command Control) system was introduced in 1980 for models sold in California. In 1981, all Custom Cruisers used the E4ME with the CCC system, although Canadian emission cars continued to use the mechanical M4ME carburetor until 1986. Also new in 1981 was GM's new Turbo Hydramatic 200-4R automatic transmission with overdrive. This transmission was equipped with a lock-up torque converter and a 0.67:1 overdrive ratio. With the new transmission, the Custom Cruiser could be equipped with a numerically higher rear axle ratio for better performance, while offering improved fuel economy with the overdrive range. 1985 saw major changes to the 5.0 L (307 CID) V8 engine's cylinder head design. Introduced were new "swirl port" heads, which improved driveability and low-end torque. These new heads also featured very small intake ports, which reduced the higher RPM power and performance significantly. Along with the new heads, roller lifters replaced flat lifters. The 1989 Custom Cruiser was the last edition to have front shoulder belts mounted in the B-pillars; 1990 introduced door-mounted "passive" shoulder belts.

    The second generation continued on until 1990, having become a stand-alone model by that point—the 88 and 98, very similar to the Custom Cruiser until after 1984, were downsized in 1985 and 1986 and became entirely different cars. In 1990, the second generation's last year, a historic event occurred—the Oldsmobile 'Rocket' V8, having been a unique Olds-designed engine around in some form or other since the 1949 model year, was dropped. From then on, Oldsmobile never again had an engine unique to the division.

    Third generation (1991–1992)

    The Custom Cruiser was completely redesigned for 1991, and included a second-row sunroof as a nod to the Vista Cruiser. When it was introduced, it was the only front engine, rear drive vehicle, body on frame Oldsmobile offered at the time, as the Oldsmobile 88 and Oldsmobile 98 had been changed to front wheel drive, the 98 for 1985 and the 88 for 1986. The Olds 307 was replaced by a 5.0 L, (305 in³) Chevrolet V8 engine. This engine was equipped with throttle body fuel injection and was rated at 170 hp (127 kW) The new Chevrolet engine offered an increase in performance as well as improved fuel economy. Also new for 1991 the Turbo-Hydramatic 200-4R was replaced by the 700R4 (4L60).

    Sales did improve over the 1990 model year, with some 7,663 Custom Cruisers sold for the 1991 model run. Sales slipped to just over 4,300 in 1992, however, and Oldsmobile discontinued production. The 1992 model year offered a 5.7 L (350 in³) Chevrolet V8. This engine was also equipped with throttle body fuel injection and was rated at 180 hp (134 kW), and 300 lb·ft (410 N·m) of torque compared to the standard 305's 170 hp (127 kW) and 255 lb·ft (346 N·m) of torque.

    After the discontinuing of the Custom Cruiser's siblings, the Chevrolet Caprice and Buick Roadmaster in 1996, along with the Cadillac Fleetwood, the GM factory in Arlington, Texas was converted for use building the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and later, the Cadillac Escalade.

    Source: wikipedia.org
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    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
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  2. #2
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    Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser #2
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    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
    Visca Catalunya!

  3. #3
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    Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser #3
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    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
    Visca Catalunya!

  4. #4
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    I have to admit that I really like the american station wagons of the 70's/80's for unknown reasons. If they only would have come with some sensible engine choices...
    FIXIE EVOLVED INTO SMALL MOTORBIKE! Now driving a Simson KR51 <3

    Dream ride: red 1971 Opel Commodore GS/E

  5. #5
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    Thanks, Ferrer!
    The vista roof (which it shared with the Roadmaster) and the unique front fascia make this the coolest of the last generation B Body wagons.

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