Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera

The Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera is a mid-size car that was manufactured and marketed for model years 1982-1996 by the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors. It shared the front-wheel drive A platform with the similar Buick Century, Pontiac 6000 and Chevrolet Celebrity; both Oldsmobile and Chevrolet considered using the Celebrity name, which had originally been used on the Eighty Eight model in the 1960s.[1] Available body styles included a 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan, and the Cutlass (Ciera) Cruiser station wagon. Based on the GM X-Body, this platform served as the basis for the GM U-Body vans.

Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
1996 Oldsmobile Ciera.jpg
ManufacturerGeneral Motors
Also calledOldsmobile Ciera
Oldsmobile Cutlass (Ciera) Cruiser
Chevrolet Cutlass (Mexico)
ProductionSeptember 28, 1981 – August 30, 1996
Model years1982–1996 (Ciera) 1984-1996 (Cruiser)
AssemblyOklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
Framingham, Massachusetts, United States
Doraville, Georgia, United States
Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec, Canada
Fremont, California, United States
Ramos Arizpe, Mexico
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupe 1982-1991
4-door sedan 1982-1996
5-door station wagon 1984-1996
LayoutTransverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
RelatedBuick Century
Chevrolet Celebrity
Pontiac 6000
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 1980s was a time of great transition for General Motors. CEO Roger B. Smith invested heavily in computerization, front wheel drive and advanced assembly processes. One of the first products to reach the marketplace under this program was the GM A-Body. The Cutlass Ciera, like its A-Body platform mates, benefited from GM's Computer Command Control system, 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 larger Cutlass Supreme, often creating confusion among the buying public as all three were available concurrently during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Initially, the Cutlass Ciera and its platform mates were premium mid sized offerings, holding a higher market position than the X-Body, from which they were derived, and the N-Body Calais, which would follow for 1985. Upon its discontinuation in 1996, the Ciera line was still Oldsmobile's best selling product.

The Cutlass Ciera and Cruiser were intended as replacements for the venerable 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 all new GM 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 eliminated. After 1990, special editions were dropped from the American market and by the end of 1991, the coupe was discontinued. Although slimmed down to just two trim levels and two body styles, sedan and wagon, the 1996 final run of Oldsmobile Cieras were still Oldsmobile's best selling product line.

Special editionsEdit

The car enjoyed many factory specialty models including the Holiday coupe, GT, ES, XC, and International models – the latter of which had a stock body kit.

Holiday Coupe

1985 Cutlass Ciera Holiday coupe (RPO WJ5) in Pastel Beige with Saddle top and interior.

From 1984 to 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 pin stripes. The Holiday Coupe package required tinted glass and could not be ordered with standard pin stripes. It was discontinued part way through the 1986 model year, when Oldsmobile introduced the updated coupe roof line. 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 1983-1985. These vehicles feature unique wheel covers, blacked out trim, F41 performance suspension, black sidewall tires, center console with bucket seats and a sport steering wheel.

GT The GT (RPO W45) was first offered as an option on the 1985 Ciera coupe.[2] It featured blacked out trim, V6 engine, 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 sedan. Following the 1987 model year, it was replaced by the International Series.

XC The XC was introduced as part of Oldsmobile's 90th Anniversary celebrations (XC being Roman Numeral or 90). 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.

International Series From 1988 to 1990, the International Series was the top performance trim available on the Ciera. It featured the 3.8 liter V6 for 1988 and the 3.3 liter 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 and unique ornamentation.[3]


1982–1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera sedan

Production began September 28, 1981 at Doraville Assembly in Georgia for the 1982 model year.[4] 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. The Cutlass Ciera came in two trim levels: the base and Brougham /ˈbrəm/.

The base models came with a 2.5 L four-cylinder Tech IV (Pontiac Iron Duke) engine, bench seats, and cloth interior. The Brougham was available with an Iron Duke, a 2.8 L V6 engine, a 3.8 L Buick V6 engine, or a 4.3 L Oldsmobile Diesel V6 engine; plush interior with vinyl accents, leather handlebars on the interior door panels, additional chrome trim and power windows. The diesel engine proved unreliable just as rapidly dropping gas prices in the mid-1980s minimized its importance.

For 1985, the Cutlass Ciera received its first facelift with 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-liter diesel was dropped due to poor sales.

For 1986, the Cutlass Ciera's grille had expanded ventilation sections than the similar 1985 model. The coupe received a new, more rounded roofline that was not initially shared with the other GM A-body models, but later migrated to the Buick Century coupe. These models are easily identifiable by their sweeping roofline and updated VIN identification, which replaced the "27" coupe designation used form 1982 until March 1986 with "37". 1986 also saw the addition of the 2.8 liter V6 in place of the previously offered Buick 3.0 liter V6 in the American market. The 2.8 liter 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.

1985 Cutlass Ciera Convertible conversion by Hess & Eisenhardt

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, slightly revised tail lamps and the 2.8 L LE2 V6 engine was dropped. In addition, Brougham models received composite headlamps as standard equipment. The 2.5 liter 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, 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 below the nameplate (see below for exemplar) and was available on coupe and sedan body styles. This model came equipped with a standard Buick 3.8 liter V6 engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, dual exhaust system, front bucket seats, and power windows. Composite headlamps were made standard on all Cutlass Ciera models.

Oldsmobile never produced a factory convertible of this A-Body model for public sale, but many dealers did make them available via aftermarket conversions. Between 1983 and 1986, 814 Cutlass Ciera convertibles were made by Hess & Eisenhardt/Car Craft.[5] These vehicles were Brougham coupes, modified with leather interior and chassis reinforcement to provide the needed structural rigidity that was lost by removing the roof.


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 2.5 L (151 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 liter V6 was offered in Canadian market Cutlass Ciera and Cruiser models for the 1985 model year.

Trim levelsEdit

A pair of 5-Door Cutlass Cruiser wagons, one featuring wood paneling.
  • base: 1982–1988
  • Brougham: 1982–1988
  • Holiday Coupe: 1984–1986 (dropped mid-1986 when the updated roof line appeared)
  • ES: 1984–1986
  • LS: 1984–1985
  • 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 liter V6 was dropped in favor of GM's new 3300 V6 engine.

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'.

The changes for 1991 included a new instrument cluster with a trip odometer and an engine temperature gauge.

For 1992, the coupe was dropped, and the line-up included only sedans and 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 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 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 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 liter, 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 park.

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). In addition, build quality and reliability of the cars was extremely good by this point.[dubious ] Production of the Ciera ended on August 30, 1996.[6] 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 levelsEdit

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

  • Sedan (1989–1996)
    • 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
  • Coupe (1989–1991)
    • base: 1989
    • S: 1990–1991
    • SL: 1989
    • International Series: 1989–1990
  • Cruiser Wagon (1989–1996)
    • base: 1989
    • Special Edition: 1994
    • S: 1990–1994
    • SL: 1989–1996


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.

In popular cultureEdit

The Cutlass Ciera appeared repeatedly in the first season (1993) of the TV series The X-Files, mostly as a rental vehicle driven by the main characters.[7][8][9][10] The Cutlass Ciera is also featured prominently in the 1996 film Fargo, which is partially set in an Oldsmobile dealership. Throughout the film, police are looking for a "tan Ciera", which is eventually found, leading them to their suspect.[11]

Noted ownerEdit

In April 2016, U.S. presidential candidate, and wife of former president Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton's old car was being offered for sale.[12] The car was a 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Brougham, blue in color, with few options (a blue velour interior, a radio with cassette player, and alloy wheels, plus roll-up windows), with an Arkansas registration and license plates an Arkansas title signed by Clinton, as well as a Bill Clinton for Governor sticker from 1990 on the back window. The car was moved to the White House in Washington, DC in 1993 when Bill Clinton became the President of the United States, where it mostly parked on the south grounds. In 2000, it was sold for $2,000 to a now-retired White House gardener named Mike Lawn. The car had approximately 33,000 miles on its odometer in 2016 when the owner was selling it.[13] It sold in April 2016 for $60,100 on eBay.[14]



  1. ^ Witzenburg, Gary (April 1984). "The Name Game". Motor Trend: 82.
  2. ^ http://blog.consumerguide.com/cheap-wheels-1986-90-oldsmobile-cutlass-ciera-gtinternational-series-coupe/
  3. ^ http://blog.consumerguide.com/cheap-wheels-1986-90-oldsmobile-cutlass-ciera-gtinternational-series-coupe/
  4. ^ Ward's Automotive Yearbook 1982. Ward's Communications. 1982.
  5. ^ https://www.hemmings.com/blog/article/everyday-cutlass-ciera/
  6. ^ Ward's Automotive Yearbook 1997. Ward's Communications. 1997. p. 105.
  7. ^ https://www.imcdb.org/v042039.html
  8. ^ https://www.imcdb.org/v042040.html
  9. ^ https://www.imcdb.org/v007148.html
  10. ^ https://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_42046-Oldsmobile-Cutlass-Ciera-1993.html
  11. ^ https://www.imcdb.org/v004816.html
  12. ^ "Former White House gardener selling Hillary Clinton's car". AP. April 11, 2016. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  13. ^ Arcement, Katherine (13 April 2016). "If you want to buy Hillary Clinton's old car, now's your chance". Washington Post. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  14. ^ Ben, Hooper (25 April 2016). "Ex-White House groundskeeper sells Hillary Clinton's car for $60k". UPI. Retrieved 1 December 2017.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera at Wikimedia Commons

  Media related to Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser at Wikimedia Commons

Outright Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Page http://www.outrightolds.com/index.php/olds-model-guide/oldsmobile-ciera