: The Brilliance of '80s-early '90s GM



I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-03-06, 11:32 PM
People don't give '80s-early '90s GM enough credit.

They had a lot of very interesting things going on, a lot of very neat engines sitting inside of a lot of high tech, sporty, european styled highly competitive cars that have been largely forgotten by the masses..

Here's what strikes me the most:

1979-85 Buick Riviera S/T Type
1984-87 Buick Grand National/ Regal T-Type
1985-90 Electra T-Type
1992+ Park Avenue Ultra
79-85 Eldorado (esp. Biarritz!)
89-91 STS
1992-93 DeVille Touring Sedan
1979-85 Toronado (especially sportier XSC and Caliente models)
Any Oldsmobile "International Series" model.
1983-87 442/ Hurst Olds
Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais 442 Package (or any Calais with the HO Quad 4)
1990-92 Olds Toronado Trofeo
1987-93 Olds Ninety Eight Touring Sedan
1993-99 Olds LSS
1989-91 Pontiac Grand AM SE with the 2.0 Turbo or HO Quad Four
1983-89 Pontiac 6000 STE
1989-91 Pontiac Grand Prix with 3.1 Turbo
1988-99 Bonneville SSE/SSEi

creeker
10-03-06, 11:40 PM
I used to have a 1990 olds regency touring sedan,great car,surprising what that 3.8 liter motor could do,not to big and not to small, I still kinda look for another one.super easy for d.i.y's too.apparently the bucket seats were designed or linked to the lear jet?.

Night Wolf
10-04-06, 12:43 AM
This was the era when GM made really good cars, they simply lasted. Cars from the mid-late 90's and newer do not.... alot more problems, mostly do in part to everything getting transfered overseas, the quality of Chinese steel is not as good as the quality of American steel..... my '79 DeVille, '89 Olds and '93 DeVille were all from this era.... more parts made stateside..... my fathers '99 Grand Prix for example has been problem after problem over the last 4 years or so. Alot of new GM cars have recurring issues.... tho GM now offers the 100k mile powertrain warrantee.

Jesda
10-04-06, 01:11 AM
This is the darkest part of GM's history. Cars that rusted in the showroom and looked like shoeboxes with wheels.

[I am soooooo getting flamed!]

hardrockcamaro@mac.c
10-04-06, 04:15 AM
I love the 80s cars.

And I think the Camaro is a very overlooked car.
Can you even begin to imagine how futuristic it looked when it was launched in 83?
I think it *looks* expensive even today.
Plus, it was highly praised for actually handling, pulling .92g on the skid pad. In the year of launch it actually out handled the Corvette!

By the time mine was built (88) they had started to galvansie a lot of panels so rust isn't too much of a problem unless it's bene neglected. In fact, I have no rust at all on mine.
However, their paint process wasn't so good back then...

Plus GM properly went to fuel injection giving us more efficient and cleaner V8's that mean we still had the chance of having v8's. They were very nearly killed off in the 80s.

HITMONEY
10-04-06, 05:01 AM
Pontiac Grand AM SE with the 2.0 Turbo or HO Quad Four



1988-99 Bonneville SSE/SSEi


I had both of them, well the Grand AM had a big 6 cylinder... they both were very fast for what they were... torque steer on both of them was a bitch though.

Over all, good cars..but I remember many a trip to the dealer for lots of fit and finish items. Nothing mechanical to speak of, but everything else on the car would break. Power windows, side mirror motors.. lots of those... glove boxes that wouldn't stay closed... stuff like that.

The Grand AM was totaled.. head on crash. I pulled the fender out of the wheel, left the hood at the scene and drove it home....sideways albeit.

The SSEi got traded for my first caddy... a 93 Eldo.

Adam
10-04-06, 09:37 AM
This was the era when GM made really good cars, they simply lasted.

haha, have you not been to a junkyard lately? thats all i see in junkyards. the only thing i think that came from the 80s that was any good was you, me, Cadillacs, and Caprices... :) oh yeah and Town Cars.

90Brougham350
10-04-06, 09:40 AM
It's a good list. There's a lot of smaller-number production vehicles in there, specialty or enhanced models, which shows GM still had a few brains somewhere in the company. I guess Roger Smith wasn't able to completely f*** up the company.

dp102288
10-04-06, 09:54 AM
All I can say is that in 1989 Buick and GM built the most reliable car I have ever known. My dad's 89 Buick Regal Coupe. 2.8L V6, 4 speed auto, and starts up first time everytime, even today. That thing is like a tank. we don't even take care of it.

its like the roasterie commercial, "set it and forget it!"

90Brougham350
10-04-06, 11:49 AM
The problem I run into with "reliable" cars is my dad. He's owned two LS400's now, and he hasn't put a penny into either, except for the usual brakes / tires, and even those seem to last longer than they should! He's got an unreasonable expectation now of how well a car should run, so he thinks my Brougham is a piece of shit because the tranny went and it needs a few smaller repairs. How do you convince someone like this he's just had excellent luck two times in a row? Or maybe my Caddy is a pile and should have been built as well as a Lexus.......

Night Wolf
10-04-06, 11:58 AM
haha, have you not been to a junkyard lately? thats all i see in junkyards. the only thing i think that came from the 80s that was any good was you, me, Cadillacs, and Caprices... :) oh yeah and Town Cars.

There are alot of them around, thats why.

Keep in mind, these cars are now 20 years old.... thats quite some time for a dialy driver.

I remember getting parts for my Olds... unless it had 200k miles on it, it was wrecked.... the Isuzu's are the same way.

I still see late 80's Caviliers and Sunbirds driving around, and here in FL they are rust free....

Adam
10-04-06, 01:33 PM
There are alot of them around, thats why.

Keep in mind, these cars are now 20 years old.... thats quite some time for a dialy driver.

I remember getting parts for my Olds... unless it had 200k miles on it, it was wrecked.... the Isuzu's are the same way.

I still see late 80's Caviliers and Sunbirds driving around, and here in FL they are rust free....

must be a Florida thing cause i hardly see them. seriously, about all i from that era are Chevy's that are beat to hell, and Caddies in the same boat. very rare do i see one in ok condition (or in good condition for that matter). the rest i see rotting in a junkyard. i dont know what the problems are though, they might run great and only needed some tranny work or something. like my 89 has 160k some miles (still, she doesnt get driven much) and she is still going. i really dontk now how much longer she will last though. she's getting weak and the engine started knocking. dont know why though, maintance is kept up on her and she is run atleast 2 times a week. premium gas is used also... heater went out of it last weekend. got up to go to work and no heat. i am taking it to the Cadillac dealership in the next two weeks and we'll see.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-04-06, 08:31 PM
I forgot how much I love the 79-85 E-Bodies (Riviera, Eldorado, Toronado).

A very loyal, very wealthy customer brought his beautifiul red/white 57k mile '85 Eldorado Coupe into work yesterday for some brake work, and when he came to pick it up today, I got to pull it up front for him. It's surprising what a difference 7 years can make, that thing is much more "Cadillacy" than my '92 deVille. It's got softer, more comfortable seats, more chrome, lighter steering, floatier suspension (even with the optional Touring Suspension this one had). Even the note for a key left in the car is different, in the '92 it beeps, in the '85, it chimed. How cool is that?! I felt like a mob boss in Las Vegas in the mid '80s, just like DeNiro's charachter in "Casino" (except mine didn't go boom when I turned the key!) The HT4100 has such a cool sound to it, very smooth and very powerful sounding, and it's got great throttle responce. The hood seems so long on those cars, but it can't be that much longer than the hood on my '92.. The E-Bodies really seem to fit me very well, I just love how I feel behind the wheel. I need to get one sometime..

Slywun
10-04-06, 10:35 PM
I guess I'm the sole Iroc Z fan still alive, and the GNX....or the ZR-1 Quad Cam Lotus/GM engine...ahhh....oopps I need to get a tissue (brb).....

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-04-06, 11:06 PM
Never said anything against the GNX. I love the Grand Nationals and anything with that Turbo 3.8! Anyone have any experience with that motor?

c5 rv
10-05-06, 08:10 AM
I think the C4 Corvette also belongs on that list. It certainly was state-of-the-art for its time. I also like the Suburbans and full size Blazers from that timeframe.

Unfortunately, aside from the noteworthy cars we've mentioned from that time, the rest of the GM cars were truly unremarkable. I had a number of X-body and A-body company cars that were very boring. The Ford and Chrysler offerings were even worse. Those were the dark times when I bought a number of imports.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-05-06, 09:26 AM
Not all A Body cars were bad. There was a time when you could get a Cutlass Ciera with the international series package, which was a sportier model with a floor shifter, full center console and full instrumentation. For a while you could get a Buick Century with all of that same stuff. A coworker of mine has the bosses old '86 Celebrity, with the Iron Duke, and it's got over 250k on it now and it still drives like it did when he got it.

Heck, a friend of mine has a '93 Century Custom.. He paid like $300 for it and it's been a very reliable and pretty comfortable car, heck of a steal too! We call it the poor man's Cadillac!

noahsdad
10-05-06, 11:05 AM
Right on the money Chad. Thanks for including my Trofeos and Touring Sedans on the list. Everyone talks about the 80s being GM's darkest decade, but that's just crap. Anyone seen an '88 Camry lately? They had front suspensions that collapsed on the showroom floor.
The reason you see so many 80s GM products in the junkyard is that junkyards only keep what makes money on parts - and the reason they make money on parts is because there are so many of them still on the road.
Just saw an '87 Grand National at a Rest Area on my current road trip - that thing was friggin gorgeous!

brougham
10-05-06, 01:44 PM
There's nothing brilliant about those cars. Don't forget that there was Taurus SHOs and Intrepid ESs too. All car companies make things like that. I wouldn't even say they were made all that good or lasted too long either. There are lots of them in junk yards becuase they rusted out or dead they can't make much money selling parts for them because you hardly even see them driving around anymore.

Lord Cadillac
10-05-06, 04:15 PM
The early 90s should definitely include the Northstar Caddy's...

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-05-06, 08:10 PM
There's nothing brilliant about those cars. Don't forget that there was Taurus SHOs and Intrepid ESs too. All car companies make things like that. I wouldn't even say they were made all that good or lasted too long either. There are lots of them in junk yards becuase they rusted out or dead they can't make much money selling parts for them because you hardly even see them driving around anymore.

Are you always so negative?

There are lots of them in junkyards because lots of them were made. They get a lot of miles and people decide not to spend any more money on them when a major repair is needed and thats how they wind up there. Or they get in accidents.


The early 90s should definitely include the Northstar Caddy's...


Yep, definetly forgot about that one.

Jesda
10-05-06, 08:26 PM
The A-body's biggest problem was the crap interior and the paint. Otherwise, the drivetrain was rock solid and the ride was nice.

They make great winter beaters these days. It seems like when the snow falls, everyone whips out their Cutlass Cieras.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-05-06, 08:32 PM
The interior on my buddies' '93 Century is in pretty good shape, pretty comfy cloth seats too. Like I said before, it's the poor man's Cadillac! He does have some rust on the rockers and around the wheel wells too if i'm not mistaken. His grandparents also have a '96 Ciera as a winter beater..nice car too, not as nice inside as the Century...it seems cheaper, but it's a solid car, that 2.2 OHV I-4 in there is a dog though...a total and utter dog.

Night Wolf
10-06-06, 01:15 AM
The A-body's biggest problem was the crap interior and the paint. Otherwise, the drivetrain was rock solid and the ride was nice.

They make great winter beaters these days. It seems like when the snow falls, everyone whips out their Cutlass Cieras.

I was never fond of the interior of any of the FWD A-bodys..... tho they lasted...

and yeah, in NY it seemed as tho everyone had a Cutlass Ciera or 2 in the garage, for the winter.... if you couldn't afford a new Excursion 4x4.

gdwriter
10-06-06, 02:07 AM
Chad, Noahsdad, and anybody else who likes the early 80s GM E-bodies should check out the November issue of Hemmings Muscle Machines. There's an article about a semi-modified '84 Buick Riviera T-Type with a 300-hp intercooled 3.8 turbo.

It's been de-chromed and given the blackout treatment so it looks like the Grand National's big brother. It still has the whorehouse red velour interior that makes it look like Belle Watling's waiting room, though.
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Benzilla
10-06-06, 02:10 AM
I forgot how much I love the 79-85 E-Bodies (Riviera, Eldorado, Toronado).

A very loyal, very wealthy customer brought his beautifiul red/white 57k mile '85 Eldorado Coupe into work yesterday for some brake work, and when he came to pick it up today, I got to pull it up front for him. It's surprising what a difference 7 years can make, that thing is much more "Cadillacy" than my '92 deVille. It's got softer, more comfortable seats, more chrome, lighter steering, floatier suspension (even with the optional Touring Suspension this one had). Even the note for a key left in the car is different, in the '92 it beeps, in the '85, it chimed. How cool is that?! I felt like a mob boss in Las Vegas in the mid '80s, just like DeNiro's charachter in "Casino" (except mine didn't go boom when I turned the key!) The HT4100 has such a cool sound to it, very smooth and very powerful sounding, and it's got great throttle responce. The hood seems so long on those cars, but it can't be that much longer than the hood on my '92.. The E-Bodies really seem to fit me very well, I just love how I feel behind the wheel. I need to get one sometime..

To me, those Eldorado's don't fit in the '80s category, they started making them in the late '70s, and they just feel a lot more "classic" than other cars built at the same time IMO. I've decided I'm trading in my '84 Cutlass Supreme for a '79-'81 silver Eldorado Biarritz, if I can find one that is.

hardrockcamaro@mac.c
10-06-06, 05:50 AM
A friend of mind has a Trofeo.
It's in excellent shape. Truly excellent.
Nothing in the interior is broken, the touch screen was slghtly iffy when he got it, but hey, that's a 15 year old CRT screen! Got a replacement for $60.

The body is great, thre is no rust anywehre.
The setas aren't worn, or the headliner. The paint is excellent.
The ride is super smooth (far smoother than my STS) and the engine is quiet.
The original cats finlly started to rattle a coulle of weeks ago. But the rest of the exhuast is still original and still in fine shape.

I think it was way ahead of its time.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-06-06, 06:20 PM
To me, those Eldorado's don't fit in the '80s category, they started making them in the late '70s, and they just feel a lot more "classic" than other cars built at the same time IMO. I've decided I'm trading in my '84 Cutlass Supreme for a '79-'81 silver Eldorado Biarritz, if I can find one that is.

The '79-'85 E Bodies are both '70s and '80s. They're not as large or bombastic as the '71-'78 E Bodies, but they're not as techy and out there as the '86-'91 E bodies...


Chad, Noahsdad, and anybody else who likes the early 80s GM E-bodies should check out the November issue of Hemmings Muscle Machines. There's an article about a semi-modified '84 Buick Riviera T-Type with a 300-hp intercooled 3.8 turbo.

It's been de-chromed and given the blackout treatment so it looks like the Grand National's big brother. It still has the whorehouse red velour interior that makes it look like Belle Watling's waiting room, though.

I <3 the T-Type Rivieras. They're so badass!

noahsdad
10-06-06, 09:18 PM
Speaking of badass...

http://www.fe3xolds.com/2145047_9_full.jpg


The "Darth Vader" FE3X Cutlass from 1985. One prototype was built by GM (the one pictured is a replica), and it resides in the RE Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing.

Oh my what could have been...

gary88
10-06-06, 09:48 PM
One of my friends has a GNX, it's really badass. Runs a 12 second quarter mile. That turbo 3.8 sounds amazing :D

brougham
10-06-06, 10:52 PM
Are you always so negative?

There are lots of them in junkyards because lots of them were made. They get a lot of miles and people decide not to spend any more money on them when a major repair is needed and thats how they wind up there. Or they get in accidents.




Yep, definetly forgot about that one.

Im not being negative. Im just pointing out the obvious. They're in junk yards because like I said they rusted out or they're dead. Oh and when you made that list you forgot the Chevy Celebrity Eurosport. Din't know why I thought of that but I did:ill:

dp102288
10-07-06, 11:21 AM
Speaking of badass...

http://www.fe3xolds.com/2145047_9_full.jpg


The "Darth Vader" FE3X Cutlass from 1985. One prototype was built by GM (the one pictured is a replica), and it resides in the RE Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing.

Oh my what could have been...

That is a car!!

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-07-06, 11:40 AM
Sweet Jesus!

hardrockcamaro@mac.c
10-07-06, 02:07 PM
I'd never headr of that unitl now.

Superb handling...

What it wants is the engine from the GNX up front...

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-20-06, 11:19 PM
Chad, Noahsdad, and anybody else who likes the early 80s GM E-bodies should check out the November issue of Hemmings Muscle Machines. There's an article about a semi-modified '84 Buick Riviera T-Type with a 300-hp intercooled 3.8 turbo.

It's been de-chromed and given the blackout treatment so it looks like the Grand National's big brother. It still has the whorehouse red velour interior that makes it look like Belle Watling's waiting room, though.


I read that article tonight, awesome car, but man those T-Types were slow stock! 0-60 in 9.7 and the 1/4 in the high 17's! I thought they'd be a lot better than that! More like 0-60 in the mid 8 second range and a 16 second 1/4 mile.