Oldsmobile Firenza

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Oldsmobile Firenza (Series 3J)[1]
Oldsmobile Firenza coupe 2.jpg
ManufacturerOldsmobile (General Motors)
Model years1982–1988
AssemblyLeeds, Missouri (Leeds Assembly)
Body and chassis
ClassCompact car
Body style2-door coupé
2-door hatchback
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
LayoutTransverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
RelatedCadillac Cimarron
Buick Skyhawk
Pontiac Sunbird
Chevrolet Cavalier
Engine1,841 cc (112.3 cu in) OHV L46 I4
1,841 cc (112.3 cu in) SOHC LH8 I4
1,991 cc (121.5 cu in) OHV LQ5 I4
1,991 cc (121.5 cu in) OHV LL8 I4
1,991 cc (121.5 cu in) SOHC LT2 I4
2,837 cc (173.1 cu in) LB6 V6
Transmission4-speed Muncie M17 manual
5-speed Getrag 282 manual
3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic 125 C automatic
Wheelbase101.2 in (2,570 mm)
Length169.9 in (4,315 mm) (hatchback)
171.9 in (4,366 mm) (sedan)
179 in (4,547 mm) (wagon)
Width65.0 in (1,651 mm)
Height52.3 in (1,328 mm) (hatchback)
53.8 in (1,367 mm) (sedan)
54.4 in (1,382 mm) (wagon)
PredecessorOldsmobile Starfire

The Oldsmobile Firenza was a compact car which was produced by Oldsmobile from 1982 to 1988. It was based on the front-wheel drive GM J platform, which was shared with the Buick Skyhawk, Cadillac Cimarron, Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunbird. It was not based on the European market Vauxhall Firenza, but on the same platform as the Vauxhall Cavalier Mk 2 / Opel Ascona C. The Firenza name was previously used as a performance package on the previous generation Oldsmobile Starfire hatchback.


The all-new Firenza was introduced in March 1982, as a replacement for the departed rear-wheel drive Starfire. Initially available as a two-door hatchback and four-door sedan, the lineup was expanded to include a 4-door "Cruiser" wagon in 1983, and a two-door notchback coupe in 1986.[1][2] The name "Cruiser" was applied to all Oldsmobile station wagons at the time; this included the mid-sized Cutlass Cruiser and full-size Custom Cruiser. The Firenza was positioned as Oldsmobile's entry-level compact car, priced below the slightly larger Omega and later Calais/Cutlass Calais. Despite this, the Firenza could be equipped with premium options such as power windows, power locks, and 14-inch alloy wheels.[3] The 1982 Firenza LX sedan was listed for $8,080 ($22,688 in 2021 dollars [4]).[1] It is named for the Italian translation of the city of Florence.

1983 Firenza Cruiser

Although closely related to its J-body siblings, the Oldsmobile Firenza was badge engineered with distinctively Oldsmobile front and rear-end styling found on larger Oldsmobiles of the time. The upper portion of the Firenza front end featured quad rectangular headlights separated by signal lights in recessed housings, with a sloped body-color panel between the recesses. The dashboard unit was shared only with the Buick Skyhawk and was a updated version used in the previous generation, H-body design.[1]

A horizontal-barred grille was mounted in the lower portion of the front fascia. The rear featured nearly square taillights with a slight wraparound at the outboard ends of the upper rear panel. The suspension was shared with the front-wheel-drive Omega and Cutlass Ciera, which consisted of MacPherson struts, lower control arms, coil springs and a stabilizer bar for the front, and a torsion-beam rear axle, along with coil springs and rear stabilizer bars.[1]

The Firenza was launched with a 2.0-liter OHV inline four-cylinder engine as the sole powerplant, but an overhead-cam 1.8-liter engine was added during the model year. Oldsmobile did not utilize turbo on these engines, while Buick and Pontiac offered a turbo. Wraparound amber turn signal lights were added immediately outboard of the headlights for 1984. In 1985, the 2.8 L LB6 V6 was added as an option with the GT package.[1]

1988 Firenza sedan

For the Firenza's last model year in 1988, it received a new open grille, aerodynamic composite headlamps, and tail lights, styled after those of the Cutlass Ciera.[3] Also for the Firenza's final year, the hatchback was dropped along with the V6, leaving just the four-cylinder notchback coupe, sedan, and wagon models. Also for 1988, all previous trim-level designations were dropped. All Firenza body styles came in a single unnamed base model that could be equipped with six various option packages.

The Firenza was never a strong seller for Oldsmobile. In keeping with its premium image, Oldsmobile always had better luck selling larger, better equipped cars, most notably its wide range of Cutlass models. Sales of the Firenza were also hampered by Oldsmobile management who fought hard not to have to sell the J-body cars but had to, in order to keep the division’s EPA average fuel economy ratings up to meet General Motors’ corporate standards and in compliance with Federal CAFE regulations. Thus, Oldsmobile did not promote this car very well, instead, choosing to put more marketing effort toward the Cutlass Calais.

Also to blame was competition from the Firenza’s rebadged J-body siblings. Sales of the Cavalier and Sunbird annually dwarfed the Firenza, as they better fit into Chevrolet and Pontiac's value-oriented brand portfolios.[2] Due to this, the Firenza was not replaced in Oldsmobile's lineup, leaving the Cutlass Calais as the division's smallest car. The Cimarron was discontinued that year as well. Leeds Assembly, which built the Firenza, was closed. The Skyhawk lasted another year, while GM kept the first-generation Sunbird and Cavalier in production until 1994.

Trims & options[edit]

  • Sedan:
    • base • 1982–1988
    • LX • 1982–1987
  • Hatchback:
    • S • 1982–1987
    • SX • 1982–1985
    • GT • 1983-1987
  • Wagon:
    • Cruiser • 1983–1988
    • LX Cruiser • 1983–1985
  • Coupe:
    • base • 1986–1988
    • LC • 1986–1987


The Firenza GT was only available on the S Coupe hatchback,[5] unlike the Chevy Cavalier Z24, Buick Skyhawk T-Type, and Pontiac Sunbird GT, which could be had as either two-door hatchbacks, two-door and four-door sedans. Four door hatchbacks of the J-platform were offered in Europe.

GTs first were introduced in 1983, 65 were built; red with silver lower panel accent color, sold as "Brass Hat" promotional cars for dealerships, most were equipped with the "new" 1.8-liter overhead cam motor, with either a three-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission. FE3 suspension was included in the package with a rear-stabilizer bar, heavier struts all the way around, with a wider tire offering on the polycast wheels as standard for the GT package. 1984; red/silver carried over plus white with silver lower body color was added. 2312 GTs were produced, less than 20% were white. Engines either were the 2.0-liter (four-speed manual or three-speed auto) or the 1.8-liter (five-speed manual or three-speed auto).[1]

For 1985, 498 GTs were built, body colors were changed to either black or gray with silver trim (not as pronounced as with the 1983-84s.) A fiberglass hood with a pronounced center bulge was included, the 2.6-liter V6 was offered with only the four-speed manual or the three-speed auto, the wheels were changed to aluminum from the previous polycast wheel, this was to be the same for 1986 GT. 1986 was the only year the GT as its own separate trim level (with 1032 built), and the body color red became available again with silver accent. For 1987, the GT model (of 783 built), went back to an option on the hatchback and was the last year offered, essentially same as 1986, but added the availability of the heavier five-speed manual transmission than was previous on the 1.8-liter offering three years previous, along with three-speed auto. Interesting note; The "GT" was used on the Calais and Ciera in 1987, replacing the "ES" (EuroSport) designation the previous two years, 1984-1985.[1]

The Firenza ES (EuroSport) sedan was introduced in Canada for 1984, and the U.S. in 1985. Not much is known of this offering, it had blacked out headlight bezels and blacked out trim on the tail lights, the interior upholstery used the same two color gray combo and red piping as with all the GTs. This was offered as a four-door GT trim, with the same polycast wheels, heavier suspension, used on the 1983 and 1984 GT hatchbacks. They were only offered in a dark-silver body color.



Year Coupe Hatchback Sedan Wagon Total
1982 12,911 2,004 15,197 - 30,112
1983 7,975 7,067 16,345 12,432 43,819
1984 11,990 4,821 46,325 18,160 81,296
1985 5,684 1,997 27,929 8,727 44,337
1986 2,087 3,563 22,852 5,416 33,918
1987 1,170 1,174 14,985 2,860 20,189
1988 92 - 8,612 920 9624
1989 - - 28 - 28


  • 1982: 1.8 L L46 carbureted OHV I4
  • 1982–1986: 1.8 L LH8 TBI SOHC I4
  • 1983-1986: 2.0 L LQ5 TBI OHV I4
  • 1987–1988: 2.0 L LT2 TBI SOHC I4
  • 1987–1988: 2.0 L LL8 TBI OHV I4
  • 1985–1987: 2.8 L LB6 MPFI OHV V6


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Flammang, James M. (1999). Standard Catalog of American Cars 1976-1999 (3rd ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-755-0.
  2. ^ a b Auto Editors of Consumer Guide. 2006. Encyclopedia of American Cars (pp 642-43) . Lincolnwood, Il: Publications International.
  3. ^ a b Oldsmobile Factory Sales Brochure "1988 Oldsmobile Lineup, Vol. II"
  4. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  5. ^ 1983-1987 Oldsmobile Sales literature, Oldsmobile Dealer sales and ordering catalogs - albums
  6. ^ "Oldsmobile Firenza production numbers data". www.automobile-catalog.com. Retrieved 2022-04-07.

External links[edit]