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makfu

The Great Aurora Project

Am I Crazy?   41 members have voted

  1. 1. Have I lost all my common sense restoring a 99 Aurora?

    • Yep - Insane in the membrain
      10
    • Nope - Greatest idea EVAR
      31

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22 posts in this topic

I love the Aurora. As in the original, tube car, 1995-1999 Aurora. To my eyes, it is still the best piece of production sheetmetal to come out of General Motors in the 1990’s and is still singularly distinctive. I bought one in the early summer of 1994 and lived with it for 3 years. I loved the car, despite its flaws and have missed it ever since.

Recently, I decided to pick one up on E-Bay. Given that all the examples of first gen Aurora’s that were within reasonable distance were all high-mileage vehicles, I chose the one with the best body and interior, not sure of what to expect from a mechanical standpoint. Once I had the car, a 99 with 170,000 miles, I found that the head-gasket was shot on the still smooth, but obviously sick, 4.0l V8. Thus began the project.

With the help of the fine folks over at the online “Aurora Club of North America” (http://aurorah.proboards47.com/index.cgi) I have acquired a brand new L47 4.0L Shelby tweaked motor that is a plug’n’play replacement for the old motor. I will be replacing the entire cooling system, pan-dropping the trans and replacing the rear fuel pump. When all is said and done, this Aurora should be in good mechanical shape and from there I plan on getting the interior and exterior in back into equally good condition.

So am I totally crazy? Probably. Is it worth it to put more money into a car than it might ever be valued at? It is if it’s an Aurora.

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So am I totally crazy? Probably. Is it worth it to put more money into a car than it might ever be valued at? It is if it’s an Aurora.

Remember the general rule of classic car restorations - Buy and restore what you like, not what you think will give you the most money on resale. If the Aurora is a car you really like and want to keep for as long as possible, then by all means go ahead with your plans and perserve one while you can. Years from now you'll be a an auto show showing it off and people will say "I remember when my <neighbor/friend/relative/etc> had one." Since Olds is no longer in production, all years have to be preserved so that the name doesn't go away.

Crazy for spending the money? Maybe. But people have spent their hard-earned money on worst things than this type of a project! :lol:

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Not only are you giving more power to a great looking car, but your keeping the Oldsmobile legacy alive, I think its great.

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Power to ya!

So long as you realise you're burning money.

If you want to recoup at least half of your money

than buy a classic Olds, a '71 Cutlass or '68

Toronado will make great project cars and they

will be worth much more than a hot-rod Aurora.

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Sounds like a fun project.

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Power to ya!

So long as you realise you're burning money.

If you want to recoup at least half of your money

than buy a classic Olds, a '71 Cutlass or '68

Toronado will make great project cars and they

will be worth much more than a hot-rod Aurora.

Yeah, I am fairly aware that I am blowing wads of cash for the hell of it, the poll is just to validate how many other people here on C&G are also looped. As for those other cars, sure they are true classics (especially the original Toronado, which is one of my favorite cars of all time) but, frankly, they don't hold any emotional context for me. I had a lot of good times in my Aurora back in the day so that is part of the appeal of this project.

I should make it clear; I am not "hot-rodding" the Aurora. The Shelby modified Aurora V8 only makes about an extra 20HP (at higher revs) when paired with the stock PCM and exhaust. My reason for buying one of these motors is it's the best source for a shiny 0 mile engine that is a plug-in replacement.

Ultimately, this is really about saving a deserving old car from the crusher and having some fun with it.

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Remember the general rule of classic car restorations - Buy and restore what you like, not what you think will give you the most money on resale. If the Aurora is a car you really like and want to keep for as long as possible, then by all means go ahead with your plans and perserve one while you can. Years from now you'll be a an auto show showing it off and people will say "I remember when my <neighbor/friend/relative/etc> had one." Since Olds is no longer in production, all years have to be preserved so that the name doesn't go away.

Crazy for spending the money? Maybe. But people have spent their hard-earned money on worst things than this type of a project! :lol:

:yes:

Of course, I would have hunted down a pristine original and paid for the shipping rather than tackle a resto on this particular car. That said, more power to you for making it happen!

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:yes:

Of course, I would have hunted down a pristine original and paid for the shipping rather than tackle a resto on this particular car. That said, more power to you for making it happen!

Well, that is easier said than done. :)

I looked at a number of e-bay and local cars, and, well, many of them were in pretty rough shape. I found one that was low mileage, but the exterior looked like it had been driven in Baghdad, all the others were between 130,000 and 220,000 miles. My favorite was a PA car that had a description of "Runs good, needs motor". Basically, most 1st gen Aurora's have been driven long, and in many cases, pretty hard. The ones that are in good shape are generally not the ones for sale at this point. That said, this particular car is actually in pretty damn good condition. It has one small dent just below the passenger side mirror and, of course, a few (though surprisingly few) door dings and paint chips. All in all though, this car must have spent a good chunk of the last 10 years in a garage, as the clear coat is still in excellent condition. The interior, outside of some normal wear and tear is also in remarkably good shape.

So, it will need some TLC, but by and large, we are not talking about a car with faded paint, splotchy clear coat or serious body problems.

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AWESOME!

First gen Auroras can be picked up for pretty cheap now. (I've thought about it myself) but most have had the wheels driven off of them.

I think this is a great idea! You should post some pics.

P.S. That Shelby motor sounds sweet! Is it pretty much a Shelby Series motor minus the supercharger? (Or were they turbo-ed when the car finally got produced?)

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makfu, I truly understand where you're coming from. If I had the cash, I'd like to pickup a 1991 GMC Syclone and restore it back to factory-spec condition, just because it was the one GMC truck I was most in love with from the time it debuted and that I test-drove, but never got to own. Would it be worth the money I spent? Probably not, although they are still selling for a pretty good amount today (especially for it being a 17 year old truck to boot!). But I'd have a truck that I totally love and have always dreamt of owning.
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Restoration is rarely 'worth the investment' in monetary terms...

But when you drive that car, and know that you shed the blood sweat and tears to bring it back to the top of it's game, that's a high that nothing will ever match IMO.

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I agree with GMTruckGuy. If it's what YOU like, then it's not silly or crazy to spend your time and money restoring it. I'm in the middle of restoring (to original) a 92 Olds Custom Cruiser. I'm sure I'll get some of the "you're crazy for wasting your money/time on that" from others. Do I care? Nope!

Good luck with your project!

Mike

Remember the general rule of classic car restorations - Buy and restore what you like, not what you think will give you the most money on resale. If the Aurora is a car you really like and want to keep for as long as possible, then by all means go ahead with your plans and perserve one while you can. Years from now you'll be a an auto show showing it off and people will say "I remember when my <neighbor/friend/relative/etc> had one." Since Olds is no longer in production, all years have to be preserved so that the name doesn't go away.

Crazy for spending the money? Maybe. But people have spent their hard-earned money on worst things than this type of a project! :lol:

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You're not crazy. I still admire the original Aurora as perhaps the best thing to come from Oldsmobile before the brand's demise.

Very few cars from the 1990s are as distinctive as a black or champagne Aurora, in my opinion.

But then, I admire certain breeds of the Cutlass Ciera, too, so I could be slightly insane. Either way, I'm glad you're doing what you love!

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Count me as another fan of the original Aurora who sez go for it! There's nothing like driving a pristine example of a favorite old classic. My baby is a '93 Grand Cherokee Limited in Hunter Green that I found by accident for sale by a guy whose wife drove it from house to market only, never taking it offroad. The beast looks as good as it did when it left the showroom floor, inside and out. I get more complements on that old Jeep than I do for the new cars I'm making payments for.

Edited by Jazzhead
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Count me as another fan of the original Aurora who sez go for it! There's nothing like driving a pristine example of a favorite old classic. My baby is a '93 Grand Cherokee Limited in Hunter Green that I found by accident for sale by a guy whose wife drove it from house to market only, never taking it offroad. The beast looks as good as it did when it left the showroom floor, inside and out. I get more complements on that old Jeep than I do for the new cars I'm making payments for.

You and I must have the same brainwaves...I love the '93 "Grand Wagoneer" with fake wood trim and all. Looks best in white or, as you mentioned, deep green.

Other '90s favorites of mine include the earliest Eagle Talons and Plymouth Lasers (turbo AWD, of course), the 93-97 Mazda MX-6 (another rolling sculpture), the Mazda Millenia (severely underrated car, but also somewhat underpowered in base form), 91-94 Ford Explorer (either the basic Sport two-door in primary colors or the loaded Limited in monochrome pearl white), the 92-95 Honda Civic hatchback, and probably five or six others I can't think of.

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By all means do it. They're getting rare.

Given the age of the car, I don't think it'll be as expensive as doing an ancient 1977 land yacht that costs $800.

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i say go for it!! i have a 99 aurora and i would tell anyone to fix one no matter what is wrong with it just because they are such amazing vehicles!!

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These Auroras are worth it.

Agreed.

Can't wait to see it! I love the Aurora/Riviera of the 90's. Brilliant, one-of-a-kind design. They should have named it the next Toronado--if only they weren't forced to woo Eurocar lovers.

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