1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera LS 2.8 V6 from North America

Summary:

Well made, well finished and very reliable

Faults:

Nothing went wrong with this car, during the 5 years we owned it.

General Comments:

We bought the car new in 1983. It was a 4-door with the base LS interior, and had few options: V6 engine, air conditioning, firm handling suspension and console with floor shift.

Even being a base model it was quite luxurious, quiet and comfortable. The car had excellent quality paint and interior materials. There were no flaws in fit, finish or assembly. Perfectly made. Fuel economy was excellent, and it was very roomy, given its compact size. On several occasions, 4 adults went on extended road trips, and we never felt cramped or overloaded.

Handling was good with nice steering feel, good road-holding, decent brakes and a well-controlled ride, with minimal sway and bouncing. The firm handling suspension makes a HUGE improvement over the very soft and mushy base suspension that I've seen on other Cieras. It's the most worthwhile option these cars have.

The V6 engine was smooth, but was not particularly powerful. Normal driving was fine, and it keeps up with the fastest of normal traffic. But it does not encourage sporty performance driving simply because there's no excess power.

We only had the 3 speed automatic, no overdrive, but it was smooth and reliable, and always produced flawless gear changes. We did not miss the overdrive.

It was extremely reliable. Nothing went wrong in 60,000 km. Everything worked as it should. We didn't even need to change the brakes or the battery, not even a light bulb or belt, although we replaced the tires shortly before selling it.

The car had the base -model tires, 13 inch rims with small 185/80-series tires. They made the handling feel a bit mushy. A wider, lower profile tire improved the handling.

Overall this was an excellent car, with decent all-around function and tremendous reliability. It was well made and well finished, and the only car I've ever had that was perfectly reliable in every way.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th October, 2018

25th Oct 2018, 18:26

Nice review, the 2.8 was a better performer in later years when it switched to multi port fuel injection.

26th Oct 2018, 02:56

That is an old car. Any rust?

27th Oct 2018, 06:21

Cars really don’t get rust unless you drive through a bunch of salt which is used to de-ice roads and don’t wash it off your vehicle or you go off roading through wet terrain. I’ve owned about 12 vehicles and never had rust issues.

27th Oct 2018, 13:00

If you had read the review more closely, you would have noted that the reviewer sold or traded the car 30 years ago, just five years after buying it.

1983 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme wagon 307 from UK and Ireland

Summary:

More than any other car I have owned, this is the one I most wish I had kept

Faults:

Rusted brake lines replaced (cost £9).

Radio failed.

Alternator failed.

Apart from that, nothing at all has gone wrong with the car. I have replaced worn tyres and brakes, and replaced the windshield, which was cracked when I bought the car.

General Comments:

I bought the car for £150 as spares for another G Body car, but kept it, as it turned out to be in better shape.

I liked the bench front seat and found it comfortable, although I would have liked a tilt steering column, as I found the steering wheel a bit too high. I had no complaints from rear seat passengers either.

The dashboard was very plain, a speedometer and fuel gauge, and warning lights for everything else. I would have liked at least a temperature gauge.

The lack of gauges and not quite perfect steering position aside, I have nothing but praise for the car.

The lazy V8 gave effortless and swift, rather than rapid performance, and the transmission was very smooth.

It was a great tow car, pulling a caravan with consummate ease; hills or strong winds seemed to have little effect.

Fuel consumption was a very reasonable 22mpg. A caravan behind it reduced that to more like 15mpg. The best I got was 30 mpg on a long slow cruise on main roads and motorways, where the car was very much at home.

It had surprisingly good handling for its size; it got too uncomfortable to throw round bends long before it ran out of grip.

The ride was very comfortable, unladen or fully loaded.

It would swallow enormous amounts of luggage with the back seat up. With it down, I could put things in that wouldn't fit in most British vans.

Maintenance was easy, cheap, and simple. Spare parts are surprisingly easy and cheap to obtain, and there is plenty of room under the hood to work on the engine.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th November, 2011

21st Nov 2011, 11:29

These were wonderful cars, and it is so interesting to hear they made it to the UK, and were even reasonably cheap to maintain there, so far from home.

One question - did this 307 Cutlass have the 'overdrive' transmission - that is the 4-spd auto - or the 3-spd auto?

14th Mar 2012, 12:16

Mine had the 350c transmission, 3 speed with a lockup converter.

16th Mar 2012, 13:10

21st Nov 2011, 11:29 here, thanks for the reply about the transmission. I've never owned a Cutlass, but owned two Delta 88s with the 307; one had the TH-200 3-speed automatic, and the other the TH-200-R4, the 4-speed version. Both were just OK, and I think your TH-350 is a much stronger, more durable transmission.