When General Motors created the first-ever front-wheel-drive Chevrolet, the 1980 Citation, the stage seemed set for sales domination of the new decade with an import-crushing compact that looked and drove like a proper slab of genuine Detroit Iron. Alongside the Citation came three other models on the same X Platform: the Buick Skylark, Pontiac Phoenix and Oldsmobile Omega. All four sold well at first, but well-publicized quality problems and recalls took their toll, and the final model year for the X-Body Omega was 1984. Here's one of those cars, found in a Northern California boneyard recently.
The Omega name had been used on the Oldsmobile-badged sibling of the Chevrolet Nova for the 1973 through 1979 model years. Since the Citation replaced the Nova, it made sense to keep the Omega name alive on the Oldsmobized Citation. The same thing happened with the Nova-sibling Phoenix and Skylark names.
Other than the prestige of the Oldsmobile name, there wasn't much difference between this car and its cheaper Chevrolet and Pontiac twins.
The cheapest 1984 Omega was the base two-door, which listed at $7,625 (about $23,031 in 2023 dollars). This car is the top-of-the-range Brougham Sedan, which had an MSRP of $8,095 ($24,451 after inflation). Meanwhile, a new 1984 Chevy Citation four-door cost $7,037 ($21,255 now).
The Omega, like its siblings, could be purchased with an optional 2.8-liter V6 engine. This one has the base engine, however: an Iron Duke 2.5-liter pushrod straight-four and its 92 horsepower. The Duke (known as the Tech IV when equipped with fuel injection, as is the case here) held together well but was a hilariously outdated rough-runner.
This one is noteworthy because it's a replacement crate motor swapped in long after the car was out of warranty. Since the sticker on the valve cover reads "Goodwrench" instead of the earlier "Mr. Goodwrench," we know that this engine was sold after 1997. GM ditched the entire Goodwrench brand for good in 2010.
The column shifter is gone, but this car was built with the three-speed automatic transmission. That added $425 to the bottom line ($1,284 in today's money).
This car also has air conditioning ($730, or $2,205 today) and the AM/FM/cassette four-speaker audio system you see here added a staggering $469 ($1,417 in 2023 bucks) to the out-the-door price. Features we take for granted in the cars of the 2020s were brutally expensive during the 1980s.
I think that La Virgen de Guadalupe would not be terribly impressed with a completely stock '84 Omega, Goodwrench crate Iron Duke or no. Let's hope the former owner of this car now has at least a '54 Plymouth Savoy.
At every angle, the
Chevrolet Oldsmobile styling heritage shows through.
Why settle for a featureless white box, when you could have an Olds Omega?
Truly, the Reliable Men of Olds™ understood The Future™.
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