1989 Oldsmobile Calais S 2.3L Quad 4 from North America


Fun, fast, well handling, reliable sleeper with so much to offer


The paint started peeling off soon after purchase (inherent issue with GM vehicles at the time).

The drivers seat 6 way manual adjuster broke twice (replaced under warranty both times). I finally fabricated a heavy duty fix for it so it would hold my big butt! (I am 6'2" 250lbs)

I blew a head gasket at 40,000 miles. Oldsmobile fixed it for me under warranty.

General Comments:

This car was the funnest, most exhilarating bang for your buck I have ever owned! It cost less than $15,000 new, out accelerated Mustang 5.0's, was stylish, and handled extremely well with the FE3 suspension package that it had. Of the cars I have owned in my 40 years of life, this is the one I miss the most!

The Muncie/Getrag 5 speed manual was a bit notchy, but I added a Teflon additive that took care of that. It shifted smooth as butter after I added it.

I did a few modifications to the engine, including an intake mod, higher flow exhaust, and computer chip. The 150 horsepower engine was putting a little over 200 hp to the ground when I was done. 0-60 times in my car were 5.8 seconds, and the quarter mile went by at a personal best of 13.2 seconds at 104 mph!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th August, 2010

13th Aug 2010, 21:52

- If you had somehow dropped a 455 with a TH-400 into that car, those claims would be reasonable. But with the 4 cylinder that was standard in that car? PLEASE!!! COME ON, NOW!!!

20th Oct 2010, 09:27

Have you ever driven one of these cars? Obviously not. Those times are actually attainable. These cars were fast and handled extremely well. There is nothing out of the realm of possibility here.

1989 Oldsmobile Calais SE 2.3 Quad 4 from North America


A sleeper powerhouse with good gas mileage


Has "short" somewhere and causes battery to drain. I removed the Interior Lights fuse and the problem stopped - but no interior lights.

Head gasket failed at about 66,000 miles. heads resurfaced plus upper end job fixed the problem. Changed timing belt as well.

Resettable odometer stuck at 55,000 miles.

Speedometer sometimes stops working. Thump on dash brings it up again. Must have electronic sensor.

Cassette has failed on radio.

Paint is peeling. Supposedly typical of GM products in the mid to late 80's.

Low door sill will cause driver/passenger to bump head.

Right dash speaker fades in and out.

Fairly small trunk.

General Comments:

Great gas mileage and great power.

Good handling. Feels like a mid-size, but handles like a compact with a strong V6.

Is comfortable for long trips.

Seats up to 5 medium sized adults.

Vehicle feels solid - not that "tin can" feel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th August, 2002

1989 Oldsmobile Calais 2.3 from North America


One of GM's better idea's


1) Driver side window will not roll down

2) Starter went bad

3) A/C went out

4) Transmission leaks

5) valve cover gasket leaks

6) headliner falling

7) belts squeal all the time

8) Cassette player quit working.

General Comments:

This car was bought dirt cheap it was sitting in someone back yard when I saw it. It has low mileage and the body and interior looked new. The car rides like a dream, the acceleration from the 4 cylinder engine is excellent. However this car is very hard to work on, I've had mechanics call this thing a nightmare. The engine rattles like a time bomb the valves click and clack it will drive anyone insane.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 24th May, 2002

1989 Oldsmobile Calais SE 2.3 Quad 4 from North America


A badly designed rip-off


Starter went three times.

Alternator went bad at 80,000 miles.

The car eats drive belts.

Motor mounts went at 79,00 miles.

Head gasket blew at 90,000 miles and costs $1300 to replace.

General Comments:

When the car is running right the performance for the Quad 4 engine is outstanding and the fuel economy was great. It just rarely ran correctly.

Something was always going bad. The list above is a partial one.

Back seat is only suitable for small children.

Electronic systems in the car have tons of "bugs".

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 14th April, 2002