Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera

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Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
1996 Oldsmobile Ciera.jpg
ManufacturerGeneral Motors
Also called
  • Oldsmobile Ciera (1996)
  • Oldsmobile Cutlass (Ciera) Cruiser
  • Cutlass by General Motors (Mexico)
ProductionSeptember 1981–August 1996
Model years
  • 1982–1996 (Ciera)
  • 1984–1996 (Cruiser)
Body and chassis
Body style
LayoutTransverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
4- speed manual (1984 only)
Wheelbase104.9 in (2,664 mm)
Length190.3 in (4,834 mm)
Width69.5 in (1,765 mm)
Height54.1 in (1,374 mm)
SuccessorOldsmobile Cutlass (U.S. only)

The Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera is a mid-size car that was manufactured and marketed from the 1982 through 1996 model years by the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors. It shared the front-wheel drive A platform with the Buick Century, Pontiac 6000 and Chevrolet Celebrity. Available body styles included a 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan, and the 4-door Cutlass (Ciera) Cruiser station wagon.[1]


Cutlass Ciera side emblem. This emblem was used on several Oldsmobile models from the mid-1970s to early 1990s as part of their "International" theme, which sought to compare Oldsmobile sophistication to that of global and domestic competitors. (From left to right, the flags are of the United States, Canada, Belgium, Finland, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, Denmark, Ireland, and the then West Germany; this side emblem was originally used with the Cutlass Salon during the mid-1970s when it was a competitor to the Pontiac Grand Am)

The Cutlass Ciera and its A-Body platform twins, featured MacPherson strut front suspension, body-color urethane bumpers, flush-mounted glass, front-wheel drive, and on many models, fuel injection.

The Cutlass Ciera shared the Cutlass nameplate with the smaller Cutlass Calais and the upscale Cutlass Supreme. Oldsmobile had previously used the Celebrity brand in the 1960s, but GM chose to give that name to Chevrolet.[2] With the Ciera, Oldsmobile established Cutlass as sub-brand for its line of mainstream sedans and coupes.

Initially, the Cutlass Ciera and its platform mates were marketed as premium mid-sized cars, above the X-Body, from which they were derived, and the N-Body Calais, which would follow for 1985.

The Ciera and Cruiser replaced the rear-wheel drive G-Body Cutlass models, but strong sales kept the higher trim Cutlass Supreme in production until the 1988 model year when it was replaced by the W-Body models. As such, these front-wheel drive sedans carried the A-Body designation, previously reserved for their rear-wheel drive showroom companions. In order to keep both lines in production, General Motors rechristened the rear-wheel drive mid-sized platform as the G-Body beginning with the 1982 model year. When the W-Body intermediates were introduced for 1988, Oldsmobile "decontented" its Cutlass Ciera by reducing the number of options and configurations available to the public. During the model years that followed, luxury and performance options such as FE3 suspension, Auto Calculator, bucket seats, leather seating areas, sunroofs, and full instrumentation were gradually eliminated. After 1990, special editions of the Cutlass Ciera were dropped from the American market and by the end of 1991, the coupe was discontinued. Although reduced to two trim levels and two body styles, sedan, and wagon, for 1996's final run of Oldsmobile Cieras they were still the brand's best selling line.


1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Brougham sedan

Production began September 28, 1981, at Doraville Assembly in Georgia for the 1982 model year.[3] In 1984, the Cutlass Cruiser station wagon model moved to the Cutlass Ciera's platform; previously, the nameplate used the rear wheel drive G-body.[4] The Cutlass Ciera came in three trim levels: the base, LS, and Brougham.

The standard engine was a 2.5 L four-cylinder Tech IV (Pontiac Iron Duke) engine. All models also included standard bench seats and cloth interior. Available on all models were a 3.0 L Buick V6 engine, or a 4.3 L Oldsmobile Diesel V6 engine. Brougham trim added a plush interior with vinyl accents, leatherette interior door pulls, additional chrome trim, and a reading lamp. The base coupe and sedan were initially dropped after 1982 due to poor sales, leaving LS and Brougham trim as the only available from 1983 to 1985, excluding special editions. During the model year, production ended at the Fremont GM Assembly Plant when that facility closed.

The 1983 model year added a new ES trim package for the coupe and sedan models. This would be the last year for the standard 13-inch wheels. During the spring of 1983, a special edition Holiday Coupe was added to the option list as part of the Oldsmobile Road Show sales promotion.

For 1984, the line added a new Cruiser wagon, replacing the former G-Body Cutlass Cruiser. A 3.8 L Buick V6 became available and the Holiday Coupe package returned to the options list for its first full year[5] as did a 4-speed manual transmission for diesel models. This transmission was dropped in the fall of 1983 from the option list.

For 1985, the Cutlass Ciera received its first facelift with a revised grille, headlamps, taillights, and interiors. The GT coupe was added as a companion to the ES sedan. In spring 1985 the Oldsmobile designed 4.3 L diesel was dropped due to poor sales. Canadian models added the 2.8 L 2bbl V6 to this year.

For 1986, the Cutlass Ciera's grille had expanded ventilation sections than the similar 1985 model. The coupe received a revised roofline that was not initially shared with the other GM A-body models, but later migrated to the Buick Century coupe. These models are identifiable by their revised roofline and updated VIN identification, which replaced the "27" coupe designation used from 1982 until March 1986 with "37". 1986 also saw the addition of the 2.8 L V6 in place of the previously offered Buick 3.0 L V6 in the American market. The 2.8 L engine had previously been offered in Canadian Ciera's with the 2-barrel carburetor. In compliance with federal regulations, the 1986 Ciera was the first to have a high mount brake light as standard equipment. The Cutlass Ciera nameplate appeared on the rear fiberglass panel, just below the trunk lid.

For 1987, the Cutlass Ciera was facelifted again with a new grille, updated steering wheel had the Oldsmobile logo moved from the right to the very center, and the 2.8 L LE2 V6 engine was dropped in favor of the more powerful LB6 unit. In addition, Brougham and GT models received composite headlamps as standard equipment. The 2.5 L Iron Duke 4 cylinder received minor updates, including a serpentine belt, which replaced the previous engine belt set up, for a boost of 6 horsepower, to 98. Ciera's tail lamps were slightly revised, adding ribs to their lower quarter.

For 1988, sedan models could now have GM's power Astroroof (RPO CF5)

For 1988, the base Cutlass Ciera received composite headlamps, the new International Series models were introduced, and this would be the last year for the Brougham, which was rechristened the Brougham SL on coupe models. The International Series included the emblem with the flags of various countries in a circular pattern on the front header panel and b pillars with the name "International Series" written across a black and chrome globe in the center. The International Series was available in coupe and sedan body styles. This model came equipped with a standard Buick 3.8 L V6 engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, sporty exhaust system, front bucket seats, and power windows. Composite headlamps were made standard on all Cutlass Ciera models. Sedan models could have the new power sliding sunroof for the first time.[6]


Years Engine Power Torque
1982–1986 2.5 L (151 cu in) Tech IV I4 92 hp (69 kW) 135 lb⋅ft (183 N⋅m)
1987–1988 98 hp (73 kW) 135 lb⋅ft (183 N⋅m)
1986* 2.8 L (173 cu in) LE2 V6 112 hp (84 kW) 145 lb⋅ft (197 N⋅m)
1987-1988 2.8 L (173 cu in) LB6 V6 125 hp (93 kW) 160 lb⋅ft (220 N⋅m)
1982–1985 3.0 L (181 cu in) LK9 V6 110 hp (82 kW) 145 lb⋅ft (197 N⋅m)
1982–1985 4.3 L (262 cu in) Oldsmobile diesel V6 85 hp (63 kW) 165 lb⋅ft (224 N⋅m)
1984–1985 3.8 L (231 cu in) LG2 V6 125 hp (93 kW) 195 lb⋅ft (264 N⋅m)
1986–1988 150 hp (112 kW) 200 lb⋅ft (270 N⋅m)
  • Note the 2.8 L V6 was offered in Canadian market Cutlass Ciera and Cruiser models for the 1985 model year.

Trim levels and Special Edition availability[edit]

A pair of Cutlass Cruiser wagons, one with simulated woodgrain trim
  • base: 1982 and 1986-1988
  • Brougham: 1982–1988
  • Holiday Coupe: 1984–1986 (dropped mid-1986 when the updated roof line appeared)
  • ES: 1984–1986
  • LS: 1982–1985
  • GT: 1985–1987
  • S: 1986-1987
  • "XC Special Edition": 1988
  • SL: 1986–1988
  • International Series: 1988


1989–1996 Cutlass Cruiser wagon

The Cutlass Ciera was updated for 1989, with the sedan receiving a modern roofline (similar to the coupe), and revised body side moldings, and deletion of hood ornaments. Rear seat shoulder belts were added. Both coupe and sedan models received updated rear-end treatments. The older Buick 3.8 L V6 was dropped in favor of GM's new 3300 V6 engine. The Brougham trim level was eliminated, replaced by an upper-level SL trim. A new XC station wagon also joined the option sheet this year.[7]

For 1990, the front seat belts were moved from the B-pillars to the doors. This would also be the last year for the 'International Series' and 'XC'.

The changes for 1991 included a new instrument cluster with a trip odometer and an engine temperature gauge. 6 speaker sound systems were added as was a remote lock fob and improved body acoustics. This would be the last year for the coupe in the United States and Canada, but it would continue on in the Mexican market.

For 1992, the coupe was dropped, and the line-up included only sedans and station wagons in 'S' or 'SL' designations. The wagon now had some internal competition in the form of the new Oldsmobile Silhouette minivan (itself based on the Cutlass Ciera's A-platform), offering buyers a choice of the traditional station wagon or a multi-configurable minivan. Despite the all-new Olds Achieva and Delta 88 models for 1992, the Cutlass Ciera was still Oldsmobile's best-selling model line, with over 132,000 sedans and an additional 7,793 station wagons produced this year.

For 1993, the 2.5 L Tech IV engine was replaced by the 2.2 L "2200" OHV engine with a 3-speed automatic transmission.

In 1994, the 'SL' designation was dropped. The 'Cutlass Ciera S', available in sedan or station wagon form, featured a driver airbag as standard equipment, along with anti-lock brakes, adjustable steering column, electric rear-window defogger, automatic door locks, and delay wipers. The 3.1 L, Chevrolet V6 engine with a 4-speed automatic transmission replaced the prior year's 3300 Buick V6. This engine was standard on the Cruiser wagon and optional on the sedan. The 2200 I-4 received minor updates, resulting in a 10-horsepower increase.

For 1995, the 'SL' designation returned in place of the 'S'. The 1995 Cutlass Ciera SL featured a new shift interlock system that required stepping on the brake pedal before moving the gear shift out of the park position.

For 1996, the final model year, the 'Cutlass' nomenclature was dropped and the car was now known simply as the 'Ciera SL', which continued to be available in 'Series I' or 'Series II' equipment levels. The chrome "Oldsmobile" badge above the driver's headlight was deleted. During this time, Oldsmobile attempted to revamp itself as a European-styled upscale make with new products such as the Aurora, but the Cutlass Ciera's continued strong sales proved almost an embarrassment due to its dated design and perceived image as an "old man's car". On the other hand, because the tooling for the A-body platform had long since been monetized, GM was guaranteed a profit off each Cutlass Ciera and Buick Century sold. At the same time, GM was losing massive amounts of money on its other midsized platform, the W-platform. Production of the Ciera ended on August 30, 1996.[8] It was replaced in the U.S. by the N-body 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass, also built at the Oklahoma City assembly plant. As a result, the 1996 Cruiser wagon was the final Oldsmobile station wagon model produced. Sales of this Ciera replacement peaked at 53,438 in 1998 and it was discontinued in 1999.


Years Engine Power Torque
1989–1992 2.5 L (151 in³) Tech IV I4 110 hp (82 kW) 135 lb⋅ft (183 N⋅m)
1989 2.8 L (173 in³) LB6 V6 125 hp (93 kW) 160 lb⋅ft (217 N⋅m)
1989–1993 3.3 L (204 in³) Buick V6 160 hp (119 kW) 185 lb⋅ft (251 N⋅m)
1994–1996 3.1 L (191 in³) L82 V6 160 hp (119 kW) 185 lb⋅ft (251 N⋅m)
1993 2.2 L (134 in³) 2200 I4 110 hp (82 kW) 130 lb⋅ft (176 N⋅m)
1994–1996 2.2 L (134 in³) 2200 I4 120 hp (89 kW) 140 lb⋅ft (190 N⋅m)

Trim levels[edit]

The trim levels for the 1989–1995 Cutlass Ciera and 1996 Ciera are in order of price position.

    • base: 1989–1991
    • Special Edition: 1994
    • S: 1990–1994
    • SL: 1989–1994
    • SL Series I: 1995–1996
    • SL Series II: 1995–1996
    • International Series: 1989–1990
    • XC: 1989–1990

Special editions[edit]

There were factory specialty models of the Cutlass Ciera that included the Holiday Coupe, GT, ES, XC, and International Series models – the latter of which had a stock body kit.

1985 Cutlass Ciera Holiday coupe (RPO WJ5)

Holiday Coupe - From 1984 to March 1986, Oldsmobile offered a special edition Holiday Coupe package, option WJ5, on the Brougham coupe. This package included a unique landau vinyl roof (RPO C10), opera windows, special rooftop trim, and painted pinstripes. The Holiday Coupe package required tinted glass and could not be ordered with standard pinstripes. It was discontinued partway through the 1986 model year when Oldsmobile introduced the updated coupe roofline. All Holiday coupes were converted by the American Sunroof Company (ASC) outside of the factory. Oldsmobile would ship ASC Brougham coupes equipped with tinted glass to modify at their facility. These models have an ASC decal in the driver side door frame indicating the factory authorized conversion.

ES - The ES (RPO W48) sedan was available from 1983 to 1985. These vehicles feature unique wheel covers, blacked-out trim, F41 performance suspension, black sidewall tires, a center console with bucket seats, and a sport steering wheel. For 1985 only the ES sedan returned, as the coupe had been renamed GT.

GT - The GT (RPO W45) was first offered as an option on the 1985 Ciera coupe.[9] It featured blacked-out trim, V6 engine, a center console with bucket seats, fog lamps factory body kit, alloy wheels, and performance suspension. For 1986, it was expanded to the four-door sedan, replacing the ES. Following the 1987 model year, it was replaced by the International Series.

International Series - From 1988 to 1990, the International Series (RPO W45/W49) was the top performance trim available on the Ciera. It featured the 3.8 L V6 for 1988 and the 3.3 L V6 for 1989 and 1990. Available on coupe and sedan models, it featured a factory body kit, bucket seats with console, FE3 performance suspension, alloy wheels, full instrumentation, air conditioning, JA2 heavy-duty brakes, extra capacity cooling, and unique ornamentation.[9]

XC - The XC was introduced as part of Oldsmobile's 90th Anniversary celebrations (XC being Roman Numeral or 90) and remained on the option sheet from 1988 to 1990.[6] It was available on coupe and sedan models. Sharing much of its sporty appearance with the International Series, the XC is distinguished by orange body side stripes in place of the typical black and chrome trim. Unlike the similar-looking International Series, the XC package did not include a standard V6, 4-speed automatic, or other higher-end features. These had to be ordered in addition to the XC package.


1985 Cutlass Ciera Convertible conversion by Hess & Eisenhardt

Oldsmobile never officially produced a factory-built convertible of the Cutlass Ciera for public sale, but many dealers made them available via aftermarket conversions. Between 1983 and 1986, 814 Cutlass Ciera convertibles were made by Hess & Eisenhardt/Car Craft.[10] These vehicles were Brougham (1983 to mid-1986) and SL (mid-1986) coupes, modified with leather interior and chassis reinforcement to provide the needed structural rigidity that was lost by removing the roof.

International Sales[edit]

Throughout much of its history, the Cutlass Ciera was offered in several global markets. In Mexico, local production allowed for unique models under the name Chevrolet Cutlass. These models featured the coupe body style and International model until discontinuation in 1996. These vehicles were also offered with 5-speed manual transmissions.


The Cutlass Ciera consistently ranked among the highest-rated vehicles by J.D. Power and Associates; it was ranked the "Best in Price Class" on July 30, 1992, and the "Top-Ranked American-Made Car" on May 28, 1992. It was also named "Safe Car of the Year" by Prevention Magazine on March 6, 1992.[11]



  1. ^ "1984 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser 4 Door Station Wagon Prices, Values & Custom Cruiser 4 Door Station Wagon Price Specs". NADAguides. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  2. ^ Witzenburg, Gary (April 1984). "The Name Game". Motor Trend: 82.
  3. ^ Ward's Automotive Yearbook 1982. Ward's Communications. 1982.
  4. ^ "Everyday Cutlass Ciera". Hemmings Classic Car. October 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  5. ^ "1984". Cutlass Ciera Resource Center. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  6. ^ a b "1988". Cutlass Ciera Resource Center. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  7. ^ "1989". Cutlass Ciera Resource Center. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  8. ^ Ward's Automotive Yearbook 1997. Ward's Communications. 1997. p. 105.
  9. ^ a b "Cheap Wheels: 1986-90 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera GT/International Series Coupe". The Daily Drive - Consumer Guide. 3 October 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  10. ^ "Everyday Cutlass Ciera". Hemmings Classic Car. October 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  11. ^ Mills, Melody (7 March 1992). "Ciera Receives Safety Award". Oklahoman.com. Retrieved 24 October 2020.

External links[edit]

Media related to Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera at Wikimedia Commons Media related to Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser (A-body FWD) at Wikimedia Commons