Back then . . . ‘80 Oldsmobile Omega Coupe

1980 Oldsmobile Omega Coupe with front-wheel drive. (Bud Wells photo)

1980 Oldsmobile Omega Coupe with front-wheel drive. (Bud Wells photo)

Thirty-five years ago this month, when the movement to front-wheel-drive cars was beginning to really roll in Colorado, I reviewed in Denver the 1980 Oldsmobile Omega Brougham Coupe. Here are some excerpts from that column:

Oldsmobile, builder of the longtime hot-selling Cutlass, has another hit on its hands. The model name, Omega, isn’t new, but the car is, and what a reception it has had in the showroom. Some persons are waiting several months to get their hands on these ’80 models, which were introduced in late April.

What’s so different about the new one? It’s got the good-handling front-wheel-drive setup, for one thing, and offers a choice of transverse-mounted 4-cylinder of V-6 engines which produce gas mileage figures out of reach of the older Omegas.

Driving of a V-6-powered Omega Brougham Coupe with automatic transmission on a straight highway run recorded impressive fuel mileage of 32.2 miles per gallon. However, mileage took a sizable drop to 20.3 when air conditioning was used on a half-highway, half-town test.

The automatic transmission shifted smoother with the V-6 than in similar cars (Buick Skylark, Pontiac Phoenix, Chevrolet Citation) tested earlier with 4-cylinder engines. The Olds V-6 engine, 2.8-liter (173 cubic inches) in size, produced good power. It develops 115 horsepower, with compression ratio of 8.5 to 1.

Base price of the Brougham Coupe is $5,014, which includes such standard items as an AM radio, rack-and-pinion steering, maintenance-free wheel bearings, radial tires and inside hood release. Optional equipment, in addition to the V-6 and automatic transmission, included air conditioning for $527, vinyl landau roof $167, power steering $153, power front disc brakes $71, whitewall tires $39, dual horn $8, power antenna $44, power side windows $123 and electric rear-window defroster $93. Total window-sticker price was $8,105.

The 2,560-pound auto is 750 pounds lighter than last year’s Omega and is 6 inches shorter in wheelbase. The smaller engines, lighter bumpers and new front and rear suspension systems added to the weight reduction.