NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

GM Secrets: Things you learned later about products

34 posts in this topic

I will start this thread. It is called secrets or things you found out about GM cars or products after they came to market.

1. Oldsmobile designers did go to GM and ask to put the next Aurora on the sigma platform. GM said no, and Oldsmobile's fate had been decided by then.

2. The Oldsmobile people knew they were in trouble in 1987 with their image, and they went to GM asking to change Oldsmobile then, and GM said things were fine because Oldsmobile was still selling 700,000 cars a year. It did not happen until years later when it was too late.

3. The Second generation Aurora was supposed to be the Anthem a successor to Eighty Eight and LSS, and it became the Aurora.

4. The 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix was supposed to come out in 1993, but did not due to money constraints at GM at the time.

5. Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Chevrolet all wanted the Opel Omega, and fought for it, but Cadillac got the car. and it became Cadillac Catera.

7. Cadillac was supposed to get the first Riviera, and Buick got it. It was supposed to be Cadillac LaSalle.

8. Oldsmobile was supposed to get the Cadillac 4.9 liter V8 when Cadillac had switched over to Northstar in the early 1990's, and it was going to become the Oldsmobile 4.9 liter V8. It was supposed to make Ninety Eight different from Eighty Eight. It did not happen.

9. The Eldorado and Toronado and Riviera were all common with each other since the 1960's except for one thing.. The Riviera was rear wheel drive until 1979. They were more common with each other than you think.

10. The E Bodies of the 1979-1985 were not uni body, but frame on body.

11. The Oldsmobile Aurora was not originally Aurora. The names in the running were: Allure and Millennia.

12. Originally, Oldsmobile was not supposed to get the U Body van the Silhouette. They did not want to feel left out, so GM gave it to them.

13. There was a V8 version of the Quad four called the Quad 8. It had 300 horsepower.

14. There was an attempt to drop the Pontiac line in the 1950's. It was the turn around in the 1960's that saved it. There was an attempt to drop the Oldsmobile line in 1992.

15. The 1971 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight was influenced by the Cadillacs of that era. They design proposals were for Cadillac originally, but Cadillac went in a different direction. They used them for Oldsmobile.

16. The 1971 Toronado influenced the look of the 1973 Cutlass.

17. The new front wheel drive C Bodies were supposed to be come out in the fall of 1983 as the new front wheel drive 1984 C Bodies, they were delayed, and did not come to market until the spring of 1984 as 1985 models. This is why the 1983 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight and Buick Park Avenue ran into 1984 model year that were not changed. Because GM knew the success of those cars, that is why the Delta 88 Royale Brougham LS and Buick Le Sabre Collectors Edition was created. They both used the interiors from the previous Ninety Eight and Park Avenue.

18. The Bonneville had been downsized in 1982 to the G Body platform. It was mid sized. That car was previously the Pontiac LeMans. The Parisienne never stopped production in Canada. The American Pontiac dealers needed a full sized car. They brought the Parisienne from Canada and the added the 1980-1981 Bonneville sheet metal for 1985-1986. That car was a big seller even when it stopped. Pontiac wanted back in the full sized game. So they got in the H Body program late. This is why it came out a year later in 1987 after LeSabre and Eighty Eight. Pontiac was going through it's small car phase as a small car company in the early 1980's. Its cars also had numbers for names.

Sound familiar? They are doing it again now...

19. GM swore that they would cut duplication across the lines. They lied. They were still doing it in Canada. The Pontiac Pursuit was a Cobalt clone. The American dealers wanted a car like that. GM told them no at first. They gave in. It became the G5 here and in Canada. This practice never stopped in Canada. The Chevrolet Corsica was the Pontiac Tempest in Canada.

17. The Firebird was originally called Banshee. Anytime they did a concept to display the styling direction for Firebird, the concept carried the name Banshee. A banshee is a screaming cat, not a screaming chicken, but you get the idea of how Firebird Trans Am was born.

18. The Bonneville SSE was born on a napkin. Some GM people were at dinner or at a race, and some sketched out on that napkin the idea for Bonneville SSE. SSE stands for Sensuous Sport Express.

20. The front wheel drive Fleetwood was a around in 1993 when the other car the Cadillac Brougham became Fleetwood again. It was called Sixty Special and was a apart of the Deville line.

21. Buick did look at getting the 1997 Holden VT Commodore to replace the Buick Regal. It did not happen. The concept car XP whatever it was was looking at that idea. Years later, the Holden Commodore finally makes it here. As the Pontiac G8.

If you have any, please feel free to add them.

Edited by NINETY EIGHT REGENCY
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22. The Saturn Sky was originally called "Signal" in early stages of development.

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The original plans for the 1970 Monte Carlo included a 4-door sedan and a convertible (coupe edition, of course). AND....the prototype was named "Concours".

...among a few others, of course.

I really enjoyed reading your list, Ninety Eight!

Cort:33swm."Mr Monte Carlo.Mr Road Trip".pig valve.pacemaker

WRMNshowcase.lego.HO.model.MCs.RT.CHD = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort

"The truth is discovered" ... Squeeze ... 'Tempted'

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Correction here, seeing how I was previously a "Pontiac Enthusiast":

17. The Firebird was originally called Banshee. Anytime they did a concept to display the styling direction for Firebird, the concept carried the name Banshee. A banshee is a screaming cat, not a screaming chicken, but you get the idea of how Firebird Trans Am was born.

One of several definitions of "banshee" include the following: ban·shee, /ˈbænʃi, bænˈʃi/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ban-shee, ban-shee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation

–noun (in Irish folklore) a spirit in the form of a wailing woman who appears to or is heard by members of a family as a sign that one of them is about to die.

The Firebird was going to be called "Banshee" until the name was fully researched. Once GM realized that "death" was associated with Banshee, the name was nixed. However, at least four "Banshee" Firebird/Trans Am concepts have been shown, the last in 1989.

Now to add to your informative list:

22. The 1955 GMC L'Universelle Motorama "Dream Truck" was going to be put into production. A lot of research was done on it and there was a lot of interest from the consumers (and especially the commercial market). Taxi, family hauler, delivery van, and ambulance/fire rescue were the versions targeted for this vehicle. For whatever reason, the L'Universelle was delayed and eventually made it as the 1960s Covair Greenbriar van.

So this GMC concept:

Posted Image

Became this Chevy production vehicle:

Posted Image

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That same LaSalle concept (eventual 63 Riviera) was passed on by Cadillac If Buick did the same, and the car eventually trickled down to Pontiac, it was to become a Grand Prix, bringing the feel of the 69 GP amd 64 GTO MUCH earlier.

Vega was designed to take a smallblock Chevy V-8. Almost happened, but for the Corvette team complaining.

Beretta was meant to be the Camaro replacement (note the look of the taillight strip, and the nose profile).

What stayed the ax for Pontiac in the late 50s was the repurposing from stodgy cheapie luxury to the performance brand we know of today.

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There's more to the Aurora legend than that.

I've heard one story of a stillborn Superdivision comprised of Saturn-Oldsmobile-Aurora. Saturn would cover entry-level cars as the actual Saturn did; Oldsmobile would retail intermediate to fullsize sedans as it traditionally did; Aurora would have three vehicle - An intermediate AWD V6 sedan that became the Cadillac Aurora, a fullsize front-wheel drive V8 sedan styled after the 1989 Tube Car that became the actual Aurora, and a fullsize rear-wheel drive V8 sedan as the flagship. This was intended to fight Toyota/Lexus and obviously never car to fruition as intended.

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>>"7. Cadillac was supposed to get the first Riviera, and Buick got it. It was supposed to be Cadillac LaSalle."<<

>>"That same LaSalle concept (eventual 63 Riviera) was passed on by Cadillac If Buick did the same, and the car eventually trickled down to Pontiac, it was to become a Grand Prix, bringing the feel of the 69 GP amd 64 GTO MUCH earlier."<<

Concept was labeled 'LaSalle' and was pitched to Cadillac, but CMCD was far too busy with ever-upwards demand and passed. Car was openly offered to the remaining divisions. Buick & Olds both responded, but Buick's presentation 'blew away' Olds'.

Pontiac had been working on a 'Grand Prix'-esque concept since '59, with the '62 roofline on a '59 body, at that point called the Ventura. In this era, all 5 car divisions could have passed on the LaSalle concept and it would've been dead; it would not have been forced on Pontiac. Nothing stylistically in common between the '64 GTO and the '69 GP.

>>"9. The Eldorado and Toronado and Riviera were all common with each other since the 1960's except for one thing.. The Riviera was rear wheel drive until 1979. They were more common with each other than you think."<<

No, they are far more different with each other than you think. With the '60s E & T; zero sheetmetal, zero interior and zero engine sharing. Some substructure, some suspension & the transaxle were what was shared. That's a strict minority of parts. Riv was COMPLETELY different until it joined the other 2 in '79.

>>"14. There was an attempt to drop the Pontiac line in the 1950's. It was the turn around in the 1960's that saved it. "<<

There was NO attempt, there was only some consideration. Pontiac turned itself around the first year of the turnaround attempt: 1957. '58 was an off year for everyone, but '59 was the lift-off for PMD's success of the '60s.

>>"22. The 1955 GMC L'Universelle Motorama "Dream Truck" was going to be put into production. A lot of research was done on it and there was a lot of interest from the consumers (and especially the commercial market). Taxi, family hauler, delivery van, and ambulance/fire rescue were the versions targeted for this vehicle. For whatever reason, the L'Universelle was delayed and eventually made it as the 1960s Covair Greenbriar van.

"<<

IIRC, cost was the primary reason the L'Universalle was not green-lighted. But I cannot agree that the mid-engined L'U "made it" as the rear-engined Greenbriar. The van shape is about it for similarities.

Edited by balthazar
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['63 Riviera had] Nothing stylistically in common between the '64 GTO and the '69 GP.

Not what I was implying. I meant that it would have been an intermediate-size car with serious personal luxury (like GP) and performance to match (somewhat like GTO)

>>"9. The Eldorado and Toronado and Riviera were all common with each other since the 1960's except for one thing.. The Riviera was rear wheel drive until 1979. They were more common with each other than you think."<<

No, they are far more different with each other than you think. With the '60s E & T; zero sheetmetal, zero interior and zero engine sharing. Some substructure, some suspension & the transaxle were what was shared. That's a strict minority of parts. Riv was COMPLETELY different until it joined the other 2 in '79.

They were definitely clearly three completely different cars. So why were they all considered E-bodies pre-'79?
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>>"Not what I was implying. I meant that it would have been an intermediate-size car with serious personal luxury (like GP) and performance to match (somewhat like GTO)"<<

Well, since the GP already had performance like the GTO (GTO got the GP-spec 389 engine in '64 but never got the GP's 421 or SD mills), seems like pretty much the same thing (LaS vs. GP). LaSalle hardtop sure looks --if anything-- longer than the '63 Riv/GP- I seriously doubt it was ever intended as an intermediate, esp being initially pitched to Cadillac, who never had any intermediates anytime close to this era.

Or am I still misreading you?

>>"They were definitely clearly three completely different cars. So why were they all considered E-bodies pre-'79?"<<

Great question, one I have never been able to ucover the reasoning behind. I am left with: it was the type of vehicle here: personal lux, and not a hardware sharing situation. In other words, it was organizational, not physical.

BTW- the Riviera was a B-body, without question from '71-'73, if not all the way thru the '78. Other sources I have on hand claim the E-Body designation didn't show up in production until '79, that the E & T were also "based on B-Bodies" prior to that, but that does not jive with my recollected readings elsewhere.

It's very frustrating: I know buried soewhere in dusty binders @ GM Archives, all this is detailed, but 'out here' in the enthusiast pasture, we are left with guesses. I wish GM would call me and pay me a fat salary to go organize, digitize and publicize all these past details and trample all the guesswork flat once & for all.

Edited by balthazar
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I thought I read somewhere that the Riv/Toro/Eldo did share some understructure. When I look at the A-pillar/windshield/cowl area of the three, they all look very similar. I understand that the lower firewall can't be the same due to the flat floor of the FWD twins, though. Edited by ocnblu
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Obviously, #10 will go down (at least for many enthusiasts on this board) as one of the biggest DUHS in GM history. I wonder if anyone in Detroit took the Acura Legend seriously when it debuted? Perhaps the terrible timing of the Saturn launch and Oldsmobile's 'success' while Toyota and Honda quietly launched their luxury divisions caught everyone in the RenCen sleeping. Sort of like Pearl Harbor, eh? The signs were all there, but that darned Japanese politeness sends out such confusing signals.

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There's more to the Aurora legend than that.

I've heard one story of a stillborn Superdivision comprised of Saturn-Oldsmobile-Aurora. Saturn would cover entry-level cars as the actual Saturn did; Oldsmobile would retail intermediate to fullsize sedans as it traditionally did; Aurora would have three vehicle - An intermediate AWD V6 sedan that became the Cadillac Aurora, a fullsize front-wheel drive V8 sedan styled after the 1989 Tube Car that became the actual Aurora, and a fullsize rear-wheel drive V8 sedan as the flagship. This was intended to fight Toyota/Lexus and obviously never car to fruition as intended.

Thank you!! This is the kind of stuff I am looking for here in this thread.

How is #10 a secret?

Please don't kill the mood here. We are all having fun discussing things here. Sadly, many assume a front wheel drive car is unibody.

I thought I read somewhere that the Riv/Toro/Eldo did share some understructure. When I look at the A-pillar/windshield/cowl area of the three, they all look very similar. I understand that the lower firewall can't be the same due to the flat floor of the FWD twins, though.

I did too!! I do not remember where. And and thanks to Balthazar for adding and clarifying. It is appreciated. Some of us have more knowledge than others here on some products. I remember the 1957 Bonneville was the beginning of the change. It was not until the 1960's things really took off.

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Yes: the '66-70 Eldo, Toro & Riv share the same windshield/ A-pillar/ cowl design, which would lead me to believe the E-Body designation there. But the 1st gen '63-65 Riv was completely different; what code was that? The '71-73 Riv was clearly a B-Body but what was the '74-78??

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That same LaSalle concept (eventual 63 Riviera) was passed on by Cadillac If Buick did the same, and the car eventually trickled down to Pontiac, it was to become a Grand Prix, bringing the feel of the 69 GP amd 64 GTO MUCH earlier.

Vega was designed to take a smallblock Chevy V-8. Almost happened, but for the Corvette team complaining.

Beretta was meant to be the Camaro replacement (note the look of the taillight strip, and the nose profile).

What stayed the ax for Pontiac in the late 50s was the repurposing from stodgy cheapie luxury to the performance brand we know of today.

I remember that!! The L-Body Beretta was supposed to replace Camaro. I can top that!! Here are more:

1. Because of the supposed gas crisis that did not happen, the N Bodies were originally supposed to replace:

Grand Prix, Cutlass and Regal. That is why Grand Am looked like a smaller Grand Prix in the early days, and the Calais looked like a Cutlass Supreme and then it became Cutlass Calais. The Skylark started out as Somerset Regal in the early years and they became Skylark.

2. GM had plans to switch Firebird and Camaro to front wheel drive on a platform that was called GM 80. I remember seeing the photos of the prototypes in Motor Trend magazine. I do not know if that platform was based on The E Bodies or not.

3. The A Bodies of 1982 were based on the X Body platform of 1979-1980. The A Bodies influenced the look of the C and H Bodies of 1985-1986. The C and H Bodies in turn influenced the look of the N Bodies.

4. The Bonneville (1987-1991) was the largest fullsized front wheel drive GM car. The Cadillacs were 195 inches long, then 196.5, the Park Avenue was 197 , the LeSabre was 196.2, The Ninety Eight was 196.4, and Eighty Eight was 196.1 inches long. The Bonneville was a 198.7 inches long. It had the smallest trunk at 15.25 cubic feet. The G Body rear drive Bonneville was 200 inches long. Dimensionally, Bonneville looked like it had not changed.

5. The E and N Body coupes were so close in appearance and size it was unreal. The Skylark was a 180 inches long, Riviera was a 187 inches long and had a similar instrumentation, and other parts to the cheaper Skylark. It had one thing the Skylark did not. A graphic control center. The Toronado was a 1987 inches long. The Eldorado was a 188 inches long. When GM was in trouble, they redesigned and up sized the E Bodies. Eldorado went to 190 inches with some visual tricks: the tail fins, the power dome grille, and Riviera went from 187 inches to 198.7 inches. It then at one time was the largest Buick in the line up outside the Estate Wagon. The Toronado took the biggest jump to 200 inches. It also was the only E Body to offer a bench seat since 1986. That is why in the 1986-1989 era, it was so hard to tell the difference between a cheap or expensive GM car. The Seville which was a K Body, looked like a N Body sedan. The 1990-1992 Toronado was dimensionally similar to a 1980's G body in terms of interior room, space and more.

6. When the W-Bodies came out because of this fuel crisis that did not exist, GM was looking at diesels for the W Bodies. They did offer 4 cylinders. They offered the Quad 4 on Cutlass Supreme and Grand Prix. Chevrolet did not offer it on the Lumina family, and Buick did not offer it either. For the longest time, Regal was the only one that offered the 3.8 liter V6.

7. The Lumina family were the largest W Bodies at 198.7 inches long. Then they were the largest again with the redesign in 1995 at 200 inches. Today, the Impala is the largest W Body.

8. The car magazines thought the spy photos of the 1988 Regal were prototypes for a updated and lengthened Riviera.

Feel free to add more.

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Please don't kill the mood here. We are all having fun discussing things here. Sadly, many assume a front wheel drive car is unibody.

Wasn't my intention..... I guess because I owned one <and hope to again soon> it just seemed like a major "duh" to me. All you have to do is look under the bumper.

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Wasn't my intention..... I guess because I owned one <and hope to again soon> it just seemed like a major "duh" to me. All you have to do is look under the bumper.

Agreed. I hope you own one soon too. I wanted the 1984-1985 Toronado with the digital gauges they had back then. Total fan of that car. I went with the 1991-1992 because of the gas mileage and the the steering wheel controls and and other features.

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I thought I read somewhere that the Riv/Toro/Eldo did share some understructure. When I look at the A-pillar/windshield/cowl area of the three, they all look very similar. I understand that the lower firewall can't be the same due to the flat floor of the FWD twins, though.

One thing I wondered about w/ E-bodies... the windshield shape of the '71-78 E- looked a lot like the '71-76 B- and C- bodies..did they share a cowl, A-pillars, firewall, perhaps?

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I have a couple:

GM began experimenting with a rear-mounted transaxle for the Corvette all the way back in 1957 with the Q Corvette concept. The styling of this concept eventally evolved into the 1963 Corvette.

The C5 was originally scheduled to be out for the 1993 model year in time for the 40th anniversary.

The well-liked Stingray-III concept from the early 90s had styling elements that utimately found their way onto..........the 1995 Cavalier.

Plans were in motion for a Beretta convertible. GM went so far as to offer an RPO code for it on order sheets before it was aborted during the early-90s implosion.

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I have a couple:

GM began experimenting with a rear-mounted transaxle for the Corvette all the way back in 1957 with the Q Corvette concept. The styling of this concept eventally evolved into the 1963 Corvette.

The C5 was originally scheduled to be out for the 1993 model year in time for the 40th anniversary.

The well-liked Stingray-III concept from the early 90s had styling elements that utimately found their way onto..........the 1995 Cavalier.

Plans were in motion for a Beretta convertible. GM went so far as to offer an RPO code for it on order sheets before it was aborted during the early-90s implosion.

Get out!! The 1995 Cavalier?? Let me go look at that catalog..

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Pontiac efforted, among other interesting stuff, their own version of the 79-87 El Camino, complete with arguably its best looking front end. No idea what stayed its release.

The Riviera of 74-78 was ALSO definitely B-car based. Literally shortened LeSabre coupes. 77-78 could fool you with the Eldorado greenhouse from the same period.

And to Balty, yeah, you were still misreading me. I wasn't saying that the 63 Riv was a bread-and-butter intermediate, but that the car had what it had while being the SIZE of an intermediate...it was no sports car, but it was much more athletic looking than the big ocean liner that would usually get the Riv's goodies.

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Pontiac efforted, among other interesting stuff, their own version of the 79-87 El Camino, complete with arguably its best looking front end. No idea what stayed its release.

The Riviera of 74-78 was ALSO definitely B-car based. Literally shortened LeSabre coupes. 77-78 could fool you with the Eldorado greenhouse from the same period.

And to Balty, yeah, you were still misreading me. I wasn't saying that the 63 Riv was a bread-and-butter intermediate, but that the car had what it had while being the SIZE of an intermediate...it was no sports car, but it was much more athletic looking than the big ocean liner that would usually get the Riv's goodies.

The GMC version may have killed that release. Wasn't it called GMC Callebaro or something like that? The Pontiac version had the Grand Am front end.

You know Pontiac almost made that Firebird wagon more than once. It never saw production. I know they had a concept for 1986.

The Bonneville SSE and 6000 STE shared parts. They had the same seats, steering wheels and other features. I think they canceled each other out with the Bonneville SSE living on. There was a Grand Prix STE too for a brief time.

Edited by NINETY EIGHT REGENCY
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Here's the Beretta 'vert mentioned earlier.

Posted Image

Looks so much like a third-gen Camaro 'vert, it scares the piss out of me.

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Chevy and GMC had to present their case for why they should receive the small, compact AWD sport truck that we know as "Syclone". Chevy's version, which was turned down, became the S10 Cameo truck ('89-'91), while GMC was awarded the vehicle and the rest is history.

Posted Image

(pictured with non-stock rims)

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