The car cost $2300 and we knew there would be repairs needed.
The gas tank was replaced by some previous owner, it's either 12 or 14 gallons.
The fuel pump was also replaced by a previous owner. The new fuel pump hums extremely loud and had to be tuned up a bit. It isn't broken and hasn't broken in the several thousand miles I've put on the car, it's just loud.
There is a bit of rust on the doors and some on the under body.
The radio and speakers are bad, but not terrible considering how old the car is.
4 new tires, tuning up the AC, fixing the under body rust, tuning up the fuel pump, and replacing the wipers cost $600 total.
The car reeks of smoke and has an unusual amount of ashtrays.
In general, all repairs have all been extremely cheap.
Truly the AK-47 of cars. Cheap, rough, powerful -- a great buy! There were millions of these cars made. I live in Boston and must see at least 5 every day on my 13 mile commute. It's interesting how many variations there are: four door, two door, wagon, international series (complete with a fake convertible roof), various S, C, and SL levels of trim, and a huge array of colors (with funny names like: Medium Adriatic Blue Metallic, Light Antelope Metallic, Light Driftwood Metallic, Medium Mushroom Metallic, etc). All of the cars I see tend to be in good shape, but almost all have some rust.
They are extremely reliable cars and whatever repairs are needed will be cheap. But their low cost does not mean low performance. A friend of mine got a '95 Saab 900 for $2500 and had to put $3000 into it to keep it running. My car has required little work and is still faster than his. It has beat this Saab several times in flat out drag races. The Oldsmobile can pass cars on the highway with ease and has great acceleration after a red light (I've beaten Mercedes in a little drag race).
For being 10 years old, this car still runs fine. The problems are all minor. The seatbelts are attached to the door which is quite dated. The powerlocks are extremely annoying and confuse every passenger. The front speakers are completely blown out. There is no trunk release, you have to use the keys and even then the trunk lock can be touchy. The car has a poor turning radius for its size and you have break a good deal (down to about 30mph) before getting off the highway -- the suspension is quite loose (which makes for good highway driving, but bad turning).
Almost all of Ciera's made in the 90's have airbags (my only has a driver airbag though).
However, this car also has many great hidden features. The trunk is MASSIVE. It has a front bench seat (so it can legally fit 5 passengers). The car has wide array of idiot lights including one that tells you if you're slipping on ice/snow. And the heater is extremely powerful and heats up unusually quickly.
The gas mileage is between 20-25 mpg and the fuel gauge goes up when you accelerate and down when you break (considerably).
I'd say this is a pretty ideal car for anyone looking for a first car.