You would know I am fond of classic Oldsmobile products. After all, I owned a 1984 Cutlass Supreme Brougham, which is featured in the header for this site. However, I have only recently begun to really research modern Oldsmobile products. Most of us see the Alero as a mediocre car from old GM. The truth, however, lies a but farther below the surface.
You would be forgiven if you thought that the Alero was based off of the Cavalier’s J-body, or maybe the fifth generation Malibu’s P-90 platform. It is actually based off of the fifth generation Grand Am’s N-body platform. That means that you got independent suspension at all four corners, and your choice of a 3.4 liter V6 or a four-cylinder engine, the latter of which came with an optional Getrag five speed manual gearbox. It was a surprisingly good package. Plenty of midrange power, a slick manual gearbox, taut handling, an attractive body, and loads of standard equipment such as air conditioning and a six speaker stereo. Critics loved it, and it instantly became the most popular Oldsmobile car available. In fact, it was supposed to be a key figure in the renaissance of Oldsmobile as a brand. In fact, it did almost save Oldsmobile. The key word there is almost.