The 1954 Oldsmobile Cutlass Concept took its name from the military Chance-Vought Cutlass, a Navy fighter plane. The aviation theme was prevalent throughout the Cutlass concept.
1954 Olds Cutlass Concept
The "grandfather" to the F-85 and Cutlass was initially seen in an Oldsmobile experimental sports coupe designed in 1954. It rode on a 110 in wheelbase, and had a fastback roofline, with a stock V8 engine. The 1954 Oldsmobile Cutlass Concept took its name from the military Chance-Vought Cutlass, a Navy fighter plane. The aviation theme was prevalent throughout the Cutlass concept. Its platform was to be very similar to the F-85, which would not go into production for several more years.
General Motors had started work on its first compact cars in 1956, beginning with plans for what would become the Chevrolet Corvair. The following year, a second series of somewhat larger cars was planned for Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac, that were termed "senior compacts." They would share the same body shell and lightweight engine. Oldsmobile designer Irvin Rybicki began work on the Olds model (F-85) in 1957. It went on sale in 1960 as a 1961 model.
As you will read below, the Cutlass was introduced in 1961 ½ as a sportier, higher-end model F-85. With this release, Cutlass would become one of the industry’s longest-running and most successful names. Later, the Cutlass Supreme would reign as the best-selling American car for much of the 1970s and early 1980s.
At its peak in 1977- Oldsmobile Cutlass was the most popular car in America, and Olds managed to sell over 632,000 cars in a year (632,742 Cutlass models to be exact!). That is more Cutlass cars than the production of the best selling model in America for 2015 - beating it by 203,387!
1961 - 1963 Models (F-85 & F-85 Cutlass)
The 1961 Oldsmobile F-85 shared a new Y-body platform, (on a 112-inch wheelbase and unibody construction) with the Buick Special and Pontiac Tempest. It was Oldsmobile's smallest, cheapest model – some two feet shorter and about $450 cheaper than the next-smallest Olds. It was marketed as an upscale compact car, with a 155 HP alum. V8 engine.
As far as research by outrightolds.com shows, Cutlass was introduced in 1961 ½. The F-85 Cutlass was initially a pillared deluxe coupe version of the F-85. The F-85 Cutlass introduced a 185 HP alum. V-8 (named Rockette) in 1961 ½. The F-85 Cutlass also featured upgraded exterior trim. Inside, it featured a richly detailed two-tone vinyl-trimmed interior, with front bucket seats standard. Cutlass was essentially a better-equipped version of the Oldsmobile F-85.
1962 Cutlass Convertible
A Cutlass convertible debuted for 1962, while the otherwise little-changed Cutlass Coupe became a true two-door hardtop. Mid-year, Jetfire was introduced based on the Cutlass Coupe, it was the industry's first turbo-charged V-8. The engine developed 215 hp.
1962 Jetfire Console
Oldsmobile stylists revamped the F-85/Cutlass line for 1963. Four inches of added length and a new slab-sided appearance made the cars seem larger. The restyled '63's were still essentially first-generation models underneath. GM dropped its small aluminum V-8 program at the end 1963.
The early Cutlass models were amazingly roomy small cars and their lightweight V-8 provided impressive performance. Although historically significant, the 1962-63 Jetfires can be technically challenging.
1964 - 1967 Models (F-85 & F-85 Cutlass)
A longer 115-inch wheelbase and attractive new styling helped the completely redesigned 1964 F85/Cutlass become Oldsmobile's best-selling line. Cutlass models included a convertible, two-door coupe and two-door hardtop.
The standard Cutlass V-8 during 1964-67 was a 330-cid cast-iron design. The first 4-4-2 performance package, available on Cutlass and two-door F-85 models, was released mid-1964. It included a 4-barrel carburetor, 4-speed transmission and dual exhausts.
1965 saw a facelift for the Cutlass line, while the 4-4-2 package gained an exclusive 400 cid V-8—available with manual or automatic transmission.
In 1966 we see Oldsmobile advertising the Cutlass as its own model, instead of a sub-model of the F-85.
Cutlass offerings for 1966-67 shared their round wheelhouses with most contemporary full-size Oldsmobiles. The 1966 Cutlass line included a new and luxurious Supreme four-door hardtop. A full Supreme series followed for 1967, available with I-6 (Cutlass only) or V-8 power. Special engine options, including a tri-carbed 400 for 1966, and 1967’s 4-bbl. W-30, ensured the Cutlass 4-4-2 lived up to its "Civilized Supercar" reputation.
1968 - 1972 Models
Oldsmobile fully redesigned the 1968 Cutlass. Models were built on two wheelbases—112 inches for 2-door “Cutlass S” styles and 116 inches for Cutlass/Cutlass Supreme 4-doors.
For 1969 Cutlass designers developed a frontal appearance that would, with annual variation, mark the popular Cutlass through 1972.
Revamped body panels and new rooflines followed in 1970.
1970 Cutlass W-31
While most 1968-72 Cutlass buyers chose the V-8 series’ standard 350-cid engine, a very limited number selected the inline six, offered through 1971.
During 1968-71, the 4-4-2 was a separate performance series. Oldsmobile spurred interest in Cutlass performance with niche offerings such as the 1970-71 SX, powered by a 455 V-8, and the 1970 Rallye, with a 325-hp 350 V8 under the hood.
In 1972, the 4-4-2 became a Cutlass handling/appearance package, available with any offered V-8.
1973 - 1977 Models
Available engines for the Cutlass series in 1973 included the standard 350-cid “Rocket V-8” at 180 hp, and the more powerful 250-hp 455-cid big block. Buyers had a choice of three-speed or four-speed manual transmissions, but few were ever sold this way. Expect to find almost all Cutlass models of this era with a standard three-speed turbo-hydramatic automatic transmission.
The most desirable variant of Cutlass during this period is the 1973 Hurst package. This was added to a Cutlass S with a 455-cid big block. The W46 package was another option that netted the buyer a shorter rear axle ratio, drag racing torque converter, and the Turbo-Hydramatic 400 automatic transmission, along with sway bars and better springs, but at a loss of the air conditioning. The L77 code delivered a four-speed manual transmission and a power boost to 270 hp for the 455 big block.
By 1974, the automatic was standard equipment. The 1974 Hurst/Olds power dropped to 230 hp, and 75% of the Hurst/Olds built that year received the basic 350 at 180 hp.
The 1975 model year was the last for the Hurst/Olds in this era, and those cars received 350- or 455-cid engines breathing through a catalytic converter and a single exhaust. These cars also carried the first T-top roofs for Olds.
The three-speed manual reappeared in 1975, but were hard to find. Engine options became more complicated in later years. Beginning in 1975, a 250-cid inline six-cylinder engine sourced from Chevrolet became the base standard for Cutlass through 1976, with a 260-cid V-8 or the venerable 350 as upgrade options.
For 1976, the base Cutlass was dropped, with the Cutlass S now serving as the basic intermediate Olds. The Salon model was offered again, along with the Cutlass Supreme and a new Cutlass Supreme Brougham at the top of the luxury heap. The Brougham editions featured crushed velour upholstery.
The base engine was changed to the Buick 231-cid V-6 for 1977. The 455-cid big block was an option through 1976, but for 1977 the big engine was reduced to 403 cid.
Cutlass models in this era (73-77) were known as “Colonnade” bodies because of their fixed rear side windows. The Cutlass came as two-door coupes and four-door sedans. The Cutlass S was available only as a two-door. Roof and greenhouse designs varied by trim level and body style, but all models featured a fixed rear side window. The 1975 model year saw the addition of the Cutlass Supreme Cruiser – a station wagon available in five- or seven-passenger variants.
1978 - 1981 Models
Following the 1977 Cutlass, which was one of America’s best-selling models, in 1978 Oldsmobile downsized the mid-sized Cutlass due to increasing pressures to make more fuel efficient cars. This new Cutlass shared the same smaller A-body platform as the Chevrolet Malibu and the Pontiac Grand Prix. Available as either a two-door “aeroback” fastback coupe or a notchback coupe (both of which rode on a 112-inch wheelbase), or a four-door station wagon or aeroback fastback sedan (both of which used a 116-inch wheelbase). The 4-4-2 name also persisted, albeit as an option on the nothbacks.
1978 Cutlass 442
Although 1 foot shorter for 1978, Cutlass’s interior felt as roomy as the year before. This was done by means of clever packaging. The coved rear door sides (which meant fixed rear door glass on four-door cars) added elbow room, and the engine bay was redrawn to fit only V-6 and V-8 engines (not the longer inline sixes that prior A-bodies had been designed to use). Ironically, the car was now nearly the same size as the Cutlass had been when it was introduced in 1961.
In '78, a Buick-supplied V-6 was now standard instead of an Oldsmobile produced V-8, which resulted in a weight savings and improved mileage while producing similar overall performance to the previous year. (Olds 260- and 350-cid V-8s were optional, as was a Chevy 305-cid V-8.)
For 1979, Oldsmobile’s heavily touted Diesel V-8 (at either 260 or 350 cid) was optional. Enthusiasts were excited by the Hurst/Olds W-30 package, which included a Hurst dual gate shifter, special gold-over-white paint, unique alloy wheels trimmed with gold paint, and an Olds 350-cid V-8 equipped with a four-barrel carburetor. Of the 2,499 built, 537 also added a T-top.
For 1980, the “aeroback” four-door sedan was replaced by a more conventional sedan, and the 4-4-2 package carried over, adopting many parts of the prior W-30 package from the year before.
For 1981, the “aeroback” coupe was dropped, as was the 4-4-2.
This era Oldsmobile Cutlass is a surprisingly nice car to drive. Handling, steering feel, and general driving characteristics are better than most would expect, and the overall feel is quite solid. Rust is always a problem, but production numbers were high enough that plenty of cars from warmer climates remain.
1982 - 1987 Models (Cutlass Supreme) - Click for Cutlass Ciera
The 1982 model year was an important one for the Oldsmobile Cutlass series. The nameplate was split into two distinct lines, with the newly created Cutlass Ciera (Series 3A) line receiving a smaller front-wheel-drive chassis. The larger Cutlass Supreme (Series 3G) line retained the traditional rear-wheel-drive intermediate size design.
1982 Cutlass Ciera (left) and Cutlass Supreme (right)
Engine options in the early years of this era started with the base 231-cid V-6 at 110 hp, but buyers could opt for the 260-cid V-8 in gasoline at 100 hp. The engine lineup also included GM’s diesels – a 4.3-liter V-6 at 85 hp or 5.7-liter V-8 at 105 hp. A 5.0-liter gasoline V-8 option at 140 hp was available on Cruiser wagons and occasionally seen on other Cutlass models. Transmission options included three- or four-speed automatics, while a five-speed manual transmission was available on diesel-equipped cars.
As the 1980s progressed, the 260-cid V-8 was dropped in favor of the 5.0-liter V-8 on all models. The diesels remained available through 1985.
In 1983, Oldsmobile brought out a 15th anniversary Hurst/Olds coupe, with a specially-tuned 5.0-liter V-8 at 180 hp, plus a host of desirable options including a tachometer, a specially tuned automatic transmission, dual exhaust, and a sticker package.
1983 15th Anniversary Hurst/Olds
The same package was offered again in 1984.
In 1985, the Hurst/Olds package was dropped, but replaced with a revived 442 package, in this incarnation featuring essentially the same modifications – high output 5.0-liter V-8, exhaust, sportier features, and a sticker package. This option was carried through the 1987 model year.
During this era, enthusiasts tend to seek out the performance oriented 1983 and 1984 Hurst/Olds revivals, as well as the 1985 to 1987 442 revivals, mainly because these cars stand as the last chapter in Oldsmobile’s rear-wheel-drive muscle car story.
1988 - 1997 Models (Cutlass Supreme) - Click for Cutlass Ciera
The Cutlass line was changed greatly in 1988 as this was the final year for the rear-wheel drive Cutlass Supreme. For 1988, G-body coupes continued production as "Cutlass Supreme Classic" and 27,678 were built. The new front-wheel W-body Cutlass line was introduced also in coupe form, during 1988, in mid year of the production run.
1988 Cutlass Supreme 'Classic' - 27000+ were built
This was an entirely new car for Olds. The biggest change was to a front engine and front wheel drive format, following the rest of the automobile industry into the modern era for the sake of fuel economy and ease of production. This new model shared its 107.5 inch wheelbase with the Buick Regal, Chevrolet Lumina and Pontiac Grand Prix.
1988 Cutlass Supreme SL (W-Body)
The W-body platform from GM underpinned mid-size cars with front-wheel drive. The platform, originally code named GM10, began in 1982 under Chairman Roger B. Smith and debuted in 1988 with the Pontiac Grand Prix, the Buick Regal, and the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme coupes. Engineering work was done by Chevrolet-Pontiac-Canada (CPC) group, also known as the small car division.
The platform cost $7 billion to develop and was to replace all midsize cars produced by Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Buick. The plan was huge, calling for seven plants that would each assemble 250,000 of the cars, or 21% of the total U.S. car market. By 1989, the year before the last of the original GM10's were launched, GM was reportedly losing $2000 on each of the cars it produced.
Early versions of the W platform used a transversely installed, fiberglass mono-leaf spring combined with struts in the rear (inspired by the Chevrolet Corvette). The "generation 1.5" W-body models had updated rear suspensions that used coil springs instead of the transverse leaf spring design.
As part of introducing the all-new front wheel drive Cutlass Supreme, Oldsmobile secured their place to be the car that introduced an industry first, the heads-up display. Oldsmobile produced 250 1988 Indy Pace Car replicas, 50 of which were converted into convertibles modified by Cars and Concepts of Michigan. The HUDs were installed into the 50 custom convertibles. These custom convertibles were the first cars released to the public with a heads-up display.
1988 Oldsmobile HUD
The story goes that the 50 convertibles were bought back by Oldsmobile (and unsold ones recalled), however a few customers decided to refuse GM's buy back offer. The issues were leaks, cowl shake, and overall poor workmanship (due to insufficient bracing). Most of the returned convertibles were given to tech schools for the bodyshop programs. Some had no more than 500 miles on them. It was also reported that the recall was related to them never being barrier tested, which had GM legal concerned.
An Oldsmobile mechanic reported one at his dealership was returned due to the body being bent. He reported 2 people were needed to latch the top, as the windshield was 3 inches higher on the drivers side. As bad as the fit and finish was, the convertibles drew a lot of excitement on the showroom floor.
By latest reports on forums, there are said to be 6 existing, 5 with salvage titles, and one with a clean original title.
1988 - 1991 Cutlass Supreme
The 1988 and 1989 Cutlass Supreme models were only available as 2-door coupes. This Cutlass Supreme body style also proved to be a winner for NASCAR competition, and it visited the victory circle 13 times between 1989 and 1992, when Olds ended its racing program. A rare Muncie 5-speed manual transmission option was paired first with the 2.8-litre 60° V6 in 1988 and 1989. In addition to the 2.8-litre engine, a 3.1-litre 60° V6 became available in 1989.
A 4-door sedan and a production convertible were added in 1990. Models included base (later called S), SL, and the sporty International Series. Throughout its run, the convertible was considered a separate trim level.
1990 Cutlass Supreme 4 door
The 1990 Cutlass Convertible was the first year since 1972 that Oldsmobile built a Cutlass convertible. It was also the last convertible Olds made in 1995. The Supreme came with a power top, which was more than a Cadillac Allanté or ragtop Corvette could claim. These and other engineering details reflected the expertise of noted convertible converter C&C Inc., of Brighton, Michigan.
Brochures said it was "the first Oldsmobile that can go from zero to wide-open in 12 seconds." Deliveries, however, took considerably longer, as C&C didn't begin production until April, mainly in the interest of highest possible workmanship. As a result, fewer than 500 of the 1990 convertibles were built.
In 1990 for Cutlass Supreme, a revised Getrag 5-speed manual transmission option was available for the high-output Quad-4 I4 and the DOHC 3.4-litre 60° V6 (which became available mid-1991) in 1991 and 1992.
The Quad-4 was last produced for the 1991 model year. General Motors’ new 3.4-liter dual-cam V6 was standard on the International Series and optional on all but the convertible. When mated with GM’s new 4-speed overdrive transmission it provided 200 horsepower, jumping to 210 when paired with a 5-speed gearbox. The 5-speed was no longer available with the 4-cylinder Quad 4 for '91.
1991 Cutlass Supreme Convertible
1992 - 1997 Cutlass Supreme
For 1992, front- and rear-ends were restyled. Coupes and convertibles gained distinctive "mini-quad" headlamps shared with the Pontiac Grand Prix Coupe, and the new design made available a rear spoiler that integrated smoothly into the taillights. For the sedans, twin aerodynamic slots replaced conventional grilled panels, while the lower body recieved a new ribbed fascia. A 140-horsepower 3.1-liter V6 was the new standard engine for both the S and the convertible, while the 3.4-liter was now standard on the International Series. A 3-speed automatic was standard on the S; a 4-speed automatic was optional on the S, but standard on the convertible. Antilock brakes were optional on all but the I-Series where they were standard.
In 1993 the 3.4-liter V6 was available as an option for the convertible, but the engine no longer came with a 5-speed manual.
Oldsmobile added a driver-side airbag and made antilock brakes standard on all 1994 versions of that year’s Cutlass Supreme. In addition, the new base engine was a more powerful version of GM’s 3.1-liter V6.
Cutlass Supremes entered 1995 with a condensed lineup and fewer options. Also making news were changes to the cabin, plus a redesigned instrument panel with a new passenger-side airbag. The new dashboard featured circular analog gauges and fewer control buttons. Sedan and coupe models were offered only as SL models, but can be upgraded with either Series I or Series II option packages. All models have standard antilock brakes.
The last Cutlass Supreme convertible was completed in February 1995 despite the Cutlass Supreme W-body being manufactured for 2 more years. The reason for this was that when coupe production was sent to Fairfax, Kansas around March 1, 1995, Cars and Concepts (then doing the conversion from coupe to convertible for Olds) did not have a facility near the Fairfax plant as they had when production was in Doraville.
For 1996, both 2-door and 4-door Cutlass Supremes returned with four price levels: Series I, II, III, and IV. The 3.1-liter V6 was standard on all price levels, with the 3.4-liter V6 serving as an optional engine for Series III and IV Cutlass models. Changes to the dual-overhead-cam engine resulted in 215 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque.
Given that 1997 was the final year for Cutlass Supreme, Oldsmobile instituted very few changes. The only major move was the elimination of the previously optional 3.4-liter dual-cam V6, leaving the 3.1-liter V6 as the only available engine.
1997 - 1999 Models
The Oldsmobile Cutlass name (without the Supreme addition) was revived in 1997 as a slightly upscale version of the mechanically identical Chevrolet Malibu. The Cutlass did have a few minor differences. This generation of Cutlass was intended as a placeholder model to fill the gap left by the discontinuation of the Ciera in 1996, before the all-new Alero arrived in 1999.
Visually, it had a split grille front fascia like other Oldsmobiles of the time, and all red rear tail lamps. For budgetary reasons the Cutlass designers had to retain the same airbag door and glovebox found in the ’97 Malibu, but they were able to spend money designing a different instrument panel look. A large, centrally located analog speedometer was flanked by a tachometer on the left and fuel and coolant-temperature gauges on the right.
Top: 97-99 Olds Cutlass Dash vs Bottom: Chev Malibu
For 1997, the V6 engine was the only engine offered. The 3100 V6 engine equipped to the Cutlass was one of GM's most produced engines. Option-wise, it offered leather seats, chrome wheels and more standard equipment on its base models; like a split-folding rear seat and power locks. The base model 1997 Cutlass was $17,850, while the 1997 Cutlass Supreme was $19,500 (same for both coupe and sedan versions).
For 1998, one of the few new features were depowered airbags.
The 1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass proceeded as a somewhat redundant vehicle in Oldsmobile's lineup, with the Intrigue released the previous year. Still accepted as a solid vehicle with a reputation, GL and GLS trim levels were offered with the 1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Complementing the up to nine exterior colors which includes Bronze Mist Metallic and Black Onyx, the 1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass 15 inch wheels, fog lamps and automatic headlights are standard fare for the exterior of all models.
Inside, creature comforts of the 1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass includes cruise control, power door locks, air conditioning and a cassette player on the GL trim. On Cutlass GLS models, additions were leather seating as well as power windows. A power moonroof and CD player was optional interior equipment.
Powering the 1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass sedan was a 3.1 liter V-6 engine attached to a 4-speed automatic transmission. Netting 150 horsepower and 185 pounds-feet of torque, the 1999 Cutlass sedan's V-6 engine fuel economy was quite good. Gas mileage in the 1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass sedan was estimated at 20 miles per gallon city and 29 miles per gallon highway.
The 1999 model was the last Oldsmobile to wear the Cutlass name. The last Cutlass was made on July 2nd 1999. Its replacement was the 1999 Oldsmobile Alero.
1999 Cutlass GLS - Actual photo of last Cutlass
Year to Year Changes
1961 Oldsmobile F-85 Cutlass:
The all new F-85 is the smallest model in the Oldsmobile lineup. Available as a coupe, sedan and wagon. The Cutlass is introduced mid-season as a bucket seat, pillered coupe.
1962 Oldsmobile F-85 Cutlass:
Jetfire is added mid season. It features the first production turbocharged V-8, a 215 cubic inch V-8 making 215 horsepower. Convertibles are added to the lineup and are available in Cutlass and base F-85 trim.
1963 Oldsmobile F-85 Cutlass:
Updated styling has more of a big car appearence that buyers desire. Jetfire will be discontinued at the end of the '63 model year. This is the last year for the original unibody design.
1964 Oldsmobile F-85 Cutlass:
All new larger car switches from unibody to full frame construction. Legendary 442 becomes available as a mid-season option.
1965 Oldsmobile F-85 Cutlass:
442 gets an extra 35 horsepower bringing the total up to 345. 25,003 442's are sold. The 442 becomes available with an automatic transmission for the first time.
1966 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
Introduction of the Cutlass Supreme as a 4-door hardtop. Advertising shows Cutlass as a separate model series.
1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
Full Cutlass Supreme series debuts. Cutlass is available with a "Action-line" inline 6 as a base engine.
1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
All new A-Body design.
1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
There is new styling front and rear. Parking lamps are now in the bumper, and a new grill now features two seperate grilles with a body color strip in the center. In the rear, taillamps are now more vertical.
1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
New styling front and rear. There is a new "notchback" body style for Cutlass Supreme coupes and convertibles as well as the 442.
1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
Styling is freshened front and rear. This will be the last year the 442 is offered as a seperate model.
1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
The 442 is now an option instead of a seperate model.
1973 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
All new styling. Coupes feature colonnade styling which de-emphisizes hardtops. Hurst/Olds is again available. Convertibles are no longer available.
1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
Front and rear fascias are freshened.
1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
Styling has been freshened front and rear. Parking lamps are now vertical rectangles and are imbedded in the grille. Tail lamps are new too. Fuel economy has improved modestly. Reversible seat cushions which can be swithced from cloth to vinyl are a new gimmic available on Supremes. There is an all new 260 cubic inch Olds "baby" V-8 available in some models.
1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
New styling features rectangular quad headlamps and dual grilles with a "waterfall" design which sweeps up and back. No wraparound side markers were used. Cutlass S is now available in the four door body style as well as the previously available fastback. Base Cutlass models are no longer offered. New "Hatch Roof" removable panels are available on Supreme Brougham, Supreme and Salon coupes. Luxurious Cutlass Supreme Brougham is an all new model, and features the personal luxury of the Toronado in a mid-size package.
1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
All models have a new grille, but front fascias remain the same as in '76. As before The Supreme/Brougham/Salon share a grill design with the S having a seperate one. Instrument panel has been lightly restyled. The clock moved to the right side, and rectangular air outlets replace the former round ones on the passenger side. The removable hatch roof was redesigned and now featured better latching. 3.8 V6 replaces the former inline six. Cutlass Supreme Brougham is now available as a four-door, joining the Brougham coupe that was introduced in 1976. All new downsized full size cars have approximately the same exterior dimensions as the mid-sized Cutlass. As a result, Oldsmobile considered not offering the four door for '77 as not to cannibalize the sales of its "family size" cars.
1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
All new model Cutlass is part of GM's second wave of downsizing. Cutlass Supreme coupes are now nearly a foot shorter than before yet feature more interior room. High and Low beams are now in one bulb unit instead of a seperate one for each. The Cutlass Salon Aeroback which is available as a two-door or four-door is unlike anything else on the road except the Buick Century which shares most sheetmetal.
1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
All models feature a new grill design. A diesel V-8 was available.
1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
Coupes feature a new grille and rectangular quad headlamps. Four doors still have two headlamps, and also have a new grille design. Slow selling Cutlass Salon Aeroback bodystyle has be pruned to just two-door models for '80. Sedans are now called Cutlass Supreme and feature conventional "notchback" rear styling.
1981 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
Coupes wear new front fenders, hood, grille and bumper as well as rear quarter panels, trunk and tail lamps. The changes are made for less fuel wasting drag. Sedans have a new grille.
1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme:
A 4.3 Diesel V6 is now available. Sedans now have rectangular quad headlamps like coupes. All rear wheel drive Cutlass' are now badged Supreme to differentiate them from the new front drive Cutlass Ciera. Oldsmobile originally planned to phase out the "outdated" rear wheel drive Cutlass by the end of the year, but people kept buying them. In fact they out sold the FWD Ciera 3 to 1 in '82.
1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme:
A new grill is the major change
1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme:
The Cutlass wagon was dropped. On Cutlass Supreme coupes, the vertical trim separating the tail lights into 2 strips is gone for a smoother look.
1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme:
A new grill is again one of the few changes to the car, yet is is still selling well. The Cutlass Salon has orange lenses on the front bumber park/turn lamps (instead of clear lens, orange bulb). Biggest news is probably the lack of changes.
1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme:
A new grill is the major styling change. A third brake light is added as mandated by the government.
1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme:
Coupes have a new front fascia, grille and composite headlamps. This will be the last year the 442 package is available. This will be the last year the sedan is offered on the rear drive, full frame setup.
1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme:
The G-body Cutlass Supreme coupe is renamed Cutlass Supreme Classic, meanwhile the all new W-body FWD Cutlass Supreme is introduced, also in coupe form. There is an Aero Coupe package available as an over-the-counter option for the 1988 G-body Cutlass. This was the first Hurst/Olds to ever carry a variety of color choices. After the kit was installed (either by self or dealer) the car was given an authentic certification by Hurst.
1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme:
Now in its first full model year, changes are limited to a new black grille instead of the chrome used the previous year.
1990 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme:
Oldsmobile adds a sedan, it shares virtually no exterior components with the two door. A convertible model is added mid-season. The Quad 4 engine becomes available mid-season, but is not available on the well equipped convertible launched at the same time. This is Oldsmobile's first convertible since '75 and the first Cutlass based convertible since 1972. The 1990 model is unique in being the only mid-sized convertible on the market.
1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme:
Cutlass Supreme's are virtually unchanged for 1991. General Motors’ new 3.4-liter dual-cam V6 was standard on the International Series and optional on all but the convertible.
1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme:
Coupes, Sedans and convertibles are freshened front and rear. All recieve new bumpers, taillamps, cladding and headlamps. As before none of the new parts are shared between the coupe and sedan. Quad 4 engine is dropped. Mini-Quad headlamps replace composite lamps on coupes.
1993 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme:
This will be the last year the International Series is available due to steadily declining sales since its introduction.
1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme:
New driver's side airbag and anti-lock brakes are standard. Bench seat models will have a new black shifter replacing the previous one which was color-keyed to individual interiors. Rear Defroster become standard.
1995 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme:
All new dash design featured smooth rounder contours and standard dual airbags. Seatbelts, now mounted to the B-pillar and floor rather than directly to the door, feature hieght adjustment on sedans. Sedans also meet 1997 side impact regulations. Oldsmobile's simplified pricing approach yields Series I and Series II trim. Both are well equipped and are badged as SL models. The convertible is in it's final year of production.
1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme:
Series III and series IV models are added to the line up. Aluminum Wheels, leather wrapped steering wheel and six-speaker dimensional sound system went from standard to optional on base Series I cars. The base 3.1-liter V-6 has been reworked to cut friction, emmisions and noise, but horsepower remains the same. This will be the last year for the 3.4 V-6 which has a higher compression ratio for a 5 horsepower gain. This will be the last year the divided bench front seat will be available on the coupe, it was available in all series I, II and III coupes and sedans.
1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass & Cutlass Supreme:
An all new Cutlass is introduced largely based off of the Chevrolet Malibu. The W-body based model was still named Cutlass Supreme and 1997 was its last year of production. Standard daytime running lamps were new. All Cutlass Supreme's were powered by the 3.1 V-6 as the 3.4 V-6 has been discontinued. Series IV trim level had been dropped leaving the series I, II and III. All Cutlass Supreme coupes had bucket seats and a rear aero wing as well as upgraded side impact protection to meet new government guidelines. Red had been discontinued as an interior color choice.
1998 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
Oldsmobile dropped the Cutlass Supreme, leaving only the one model with a Cutlass name. Cutlass stood at the entry-level end of the midsize class, while the new Olds Intrigue occupied the higher spot. A new GL replaced the previous base model, including a cassette player and a smoker’s kit (ashtray and lighter) as standard fare. The instrument panel’s background changed from gray to black, to produce more contrast.
1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass:
Emergence of the compact Alero and midsize Intrigue were making Cutlass redundant, so 1999 was its final season. Changes were limited to a newly optional Gold Package that featured gold-accented exterior trim.