- First generation Oldsmobile Silhouette.

The History of Oldsmobile And Its (second) Last Dying Breath.

Hello people of the internet, I'm Nico and today I will be talking about Oldsmobile's history and .

7w ago
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For those of you who have never heard of Oldsmobile let me give you a quick introduction. They were a fairly prestigious car brand that produced cars like the "Cutlass", which was a muscle car with arguably the coolest name given to any machine and were mentioned briefly in the movie The Blues Brothers. Oldsmobile was also one of the longest lasting car brands ever having been founded in 1897 and staying in business until 2004 when they were shut down by General Motors. During the impressive 107 year run they produced over 35 million vehicles, mostly luxury and standard automobiles.

Oldsmobile headquarters in Lansing, Michigan. Currently being used by Cadillac.

Oldsmobile headquarters in Lansing, Michigan. Currently being used by Cadillac.

Being based in Michigan, as many American car firms were at the time, it started off quite well, being the top-selling car company in the USA for a few years and was bought shortly after by General Motors in 1908. At which point the founder Ransom E. Olds had already left due to a dispute he had with a sales manager who questioned his production techniques. Olds went on to create REO Motor Company, similarly to Henry Ford though with less success, but before he left he had already changed Automotive production forever. And speaking of Henry Ford, he wasn't actually the one who invented the assembly line, that was Ransom Olds, what he actually invented was the MOVING assembly line. This wasn't even Oldsmobile's first major contribution to the Automotive world that helped establish it as a pioneering, innovative manufacturer. The list you will find online is seemingly endless but I'll give you some of the highlights so you don't die of old age before you're done with this article.

1) Oldsmobile was the first to offer a Speedometer in a production car (the Oldsmobile Curved Dash).

2) They were the first to publicly promote their vehicles.

3) They were the first American car company to export a vehicle.

4) They were the first to have a windshield as standard.

5) They created the first Monoblock V8 engine

6) they created the first automatic choke

7) they created the first fully automatic transmission

8) created the first automatic headlight dimming system

9) they had the first production car with a turbocharged engine

10) they had the first production car with water injection

11) they had the first production car with a heads-up display

12) created an updated color touchscreen interface with built in cellular phone after creating the first touchscreen along with Cadillac.

Seeing that list makes you wonder what could have possibly gone wrong for Oldsmobile. The answer? Imports, such as Infiniti, Lexus and Acura who made their mark in the US following the increase in gas prices during the 1980s which cost the big, thirsty, American cars dearly. Sales were great for many years throughout the 70s and 80s but as competition stiffened, sales declined massively from over 1 million sales per year to just 400,000 sales per year by 1993. This decrease meant that many models started to get canceled right up until 2004 when they shut up shop. Even newly released cars such as the Bravada SUV, which was Oldsmobile's last new car, were discontinued shortly after being released. By 2000 Oldsmobile had just 5 models remaining and those did not last long. The Intrigue and Aroura V6 sedans were ended in June 2002, followed by the Aurora V8 sedan in March 2003. 2004 was the year of Oldsmobile's dying breath with the remaining 3 models being discontinued in quick succession. The Bravada SUV was ended in January, the Silhouette in March, and the Alero in April. The last 500 of which were given special Oldsmobile heritage emblems and markings which signified 'Final 500' and all had a Dark Cherry Metallic paint job that was not available for the standard car.

Final 500 edition of the Oldsmobile Silhouette.

Final 500 edition of the Oldsmobile Silhouette.

Now, since the second last model to be discontinued was the Silhouette, the last one being the Alero, I can finally switch gears and explain what Oldsmobile's second last dying breath means to me. For as long as I can remember, there has been an Oldsmobile in my life. My parents had a first generation Silhouette and we still have a second generation in the driveway which we still use to carry mountain bikes to local bike trails. I don't remember a whole lot of the first Silhouette with the exception of two or three things. It was green, it only had one sliding door in the back, and there were child seats built into the rear seats. I'm going to focus on those rear seats because even as a kid they fascinated me. It was something I had never seen before and yet it was so brilliant that I couldn't believe I hadn't seen it before. I actually had forgotten I had that memory until I watched Doug Demuro geeking out over the back seats in his review on the Silhouette but anyway, the point is I grew up with an Oldsmobile in my life, all be it the least interesting one.

My parent's Oldsmobile Silhouette. Not a final 500 edition Silhouette.

My parent's Oldsmobile Silhouette. Not a final 500 edition Silhouette.

Regardless of your opinion of it, I've had so many memories with that Minivan, from road trips to camp sites or cabins where my family would go climbing, to taking mountain bikes to some local trails, to my first time behind the wheel of a car, to my mom taking me to all my soccer practices and games. My entire childhood happened because of Oldsmobile, mainly the second generation Silhouette and partially the first generation Silhouette. While I can remember plenty about the second generation Silhouette, I wish I could remember more of the first generation Silhouette because I have evolved into a quirk loving nerd like Doug and it's frustrating to be missing the memories of such an odd vehicle. The only upside to not remembering much is that I now live in a bit of a fantasy world where I only remember the good things so thankfully I have no recollection of the A/C breaking one year, which in Alabama where summer is basically year round is completely intolerable. To sum up, the first generation Oldsmobile Silhouette is a bit like a deceased relative that you only knew as a kid to me. You don't have many memories but what do remember is pleasant. The second generation Oldsmobile Silhouette is a bit more like your grandparents, you love them dearly, you have many great memories together, but maybe you don't think enough about everything they did for you and you know it's only a matter of time before they are gone.

Sorry for the kind of sappy ending but that's just how it is for me. Anyway, thank you so much for making it this far. I honestly can't thank you enough. And with that being said good luck, Godspeed, and may the Force be with you in all your endeavors.

My source of info: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldsmobile (Don't judge, Wikipedia is often right.)

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