1986 OLDSMOBILE Cutlass Supreme- Carol Briggs Print
Written by Double Dragon
Tuesday, 08 December 2015 18:20

1986 OLDSMOBILE Cutlass Supreme- Carol Briggs


Writing copyright D. S. Brown. Photography copyright Milford Auto Sales, Hopedale, Massachusetts

For many collectors of the beautiful General Motors 'A body' cars the 1968-1972 body is the pinnacle of the design. The 1973s were bigger and bulkier and saddled with five mile per hour bumpers. Many viewed the downsize of the A body in 1978 as a return to the former feel of the intermediate theme.

86 oldsmobile cutlass supreme mrs briggs f

In 1973 General Motors intended to expand the intermediates slightly to help full size car buyers adjust to the transition down to the intermediate platform. Buyers were already defecting from the full size cars to intermediates of their own accord. GM figured they could cushion the 'size shock' a bit with the new 'Colonnade body style' used on A bodies which provided more of a 'big car' feel and look. The Colonnade body style lasted from 1973 to 1977 and proved to be too large for the changing tastes of consumers as oil prices skyrocketed.

The 'Colonnade' body style used the same 1968-72 set of two wheelbases: 112" for a two door and 116" for a four door version. The new 1973 'A bodies' were wider and looked huge and bloated compared to the lines of the earlier cars. The Chevrolet Chevelle, Pontiac LeMans and Buick Century (formerly the Skylark) didn't adapt quite as well to the Colonnade body as the Cutlass did.

86 oldsmobile cutlass supreme briggs p ft

Oldsmobile managed to come out a sales winner due to the traditional Cutlass cues fitting more readily into the new Colonnade body style. Granted, the 1973 Cutlass didn't have the taut racer looks of the prior Cutlass, but the new Cutlass did seem to be an evolution of the earlier car. The Cutlass Supreme went on to become the top selling domestic car in 1976 when designers mastered the Colonnade body style by redoing the front end with a squared off grille and headlight design.

That squared off grille and front end re appeared on the downsized 1978 Cutlass establishing a strong connection between the best selling large old Cutlass and the smaller modern version. All of the 1978 GM 'A body' intermediates were downsized to a 108 inch wheelbase and each of the divisions came out with excellent looking cars. The Cutlass and Cutlass Salon are actually designated as 'G bodies' but continue the trajectory first established back in early 1960s.

86 oldsmobile cutlass supreme briggs rear

Cutlass lost some of their sales advantage when all divisions created beautiful new A bodies. Cutlass had also suffered a hit due to GM's 'keep the assembly line rolling' policy of dropping Chevy 350 engines into Cutlass bodies when the highly regarded Oldsmobile Rocket 350 engine was in short supply. Despite these inroads into Cutlass popularity the Cutlass Supreme was still a strong seller.

These relatively small new 1978 A body cars had big 5 MPH bumpers, but the bumpers were better integrated into the design. The new A bodies were smaller than the established 'intermediate' concept, but interior dimensions were maintained. Round 'muscular' former lines were gone replaced by squarer and more modern shapes. Enough tradition was incorporated into the 1978 redesign to make them seem familiar. The downsized 'A bodies' are not as highly regarded as the amazing 'A bodies' of 1968-72 but still have a fond spot for many car collectors.

86 oldsmobile cutlass supreme briggs int

The new 1978 downsized body style recreated some of the body proportions that made the 1968-72 A bodies such beautiful pieces of sculpture. When contrasted to utilitarian imports the long hood/ short deck A body in no way resembles the compromise designs of small boxy front wheel drive import cars with their huge greenhouse in relation to the body. While FWD imports featured discordant lines that jarred the viewer the A body cars retained form before function; looking like true domestic cars.

Similar to the past General Motors cars, the new intermediates were inefficient designs when compared to an ugly front wheel drive import that returned fantastic MPG figures. Carrying on the tradition of their predecessors, these new GM intermediates managed to preserve a sense of the old heritage in a downsized vehicle that was somewhat more gas efficient. These were good looking compromises that merged the new MPG world with old 1960s feel.

86 oldsmobile cutlass supreme briggs d seat

With a return to the original balance of the car designs, the smaller intermediates were embraced by car magazines and public alike. Hot rodders loved the downsized 'A body' and 'G body', providing further proof that this design had recaptured the classic elements. An Oldsmobile buyer was provided with all the re assuring features he had become accustomed to. It made the transition into a smaller platform easier to handle for the typical older security- minded buyer of an Oldsmobile.

86 oldsmobile cutlass supreme briggs d doorpanel

Vinyl tops and chrome trim and elaborately ornate interiors maintained the visual image. It seems hard to believe today, but in 1986 GM was still putting hood ornaments on their luxury- oriented cars. All these cues kept the continuity with the past alive. The new A body was about as small as a car could be and still carry a hood ornament with aplomb. The center chrome strip on the hood hankers back to the early Cutlass models.

86 oldsmobile cutlass supreme briggs pass int

For the loyal Olds buyer who traded in his Cutlass every few years, nothing was amiss with the downsized Cutlass. The interior was plush, the ride was smooth and the exterior was instantly identifiable as an Oldsmobile.

Mrs Carol A. Briggs ordered this Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme from Merrimack Street Garage Inc in Manchester, New Hampshire. See a story on this dealership filed in the DEALERSHIP section of this website under NEW HAMPSHIRE Dealers. Mrs Briggs' Cutlass was assembled in the Ste. Therese, Ontario, Canada final assembly plant.

86 oldsmobile cutlass supreme briggs build sheet

The build sheet lists the extensive standard equipment provided on the Cutlass Supreme which cost about $11,000.00. The base engine is a 3.8 L V6 with a 2 barrel carburetor coupled to an automatic transmission. Mrs Briggs wasn't interested in V6 power and specified the optional V8.

The Cutlass Supreme model also provided power steering and brakes with deluxe steering wheel as standard. Other nice details such as a reading lamp and dual outside rear view mirrors accompany the traditional Cutlass Supreme bench with fold down center arm rest. Carol opted for buckets instead of the bench. Supremes have bumper guards and impact strips, rocker panel moldings, wheel opening moldings, roof drip rail molding, hood center chrome strip and stand up hood ornament. Inside comfort is assured with AM/FM stereo, dome lamp, color- keyed seatbelts, deluxe wheel discs and steel belted radial tires.

86 oldsmobile cutlass supreme briggs window sticker

The Light Opal Blue Metallic Cutlass was shipped by truck into USA via the port of entry in Champlain, New York.

The VIN on this Cutlass Supreme 2G3GR47Y4G2338503 decodes as:

2= Canadian built

G= General Motors

3= Oldsmobile

GR= Cutlass Supreme

47= 2 Door notchback special

Y= 307- 4 barrel engine

4= Check digit

G= 1986 Model year

2= Ste. Therese, Ontario, Canada final assembly plant.

338503= Sequential number

As seen on the window sticker above Mrs Briggs specified many options, including the 5.0 Litre V8 engine with a 4 barrel carburetor. 5.0 L designates the 305 and other engines close to this size. In the case of this Cutlass the actual engine size is 307 cubic inches. The 307 is essentially the old 350 with the same old stroke but with a narrow bore which presents less surface area at piston top and hence improves emissions. The 307 was hooked up to an optional automatic transmission with overdrive as the 4th gear. The new overdrive transmissions aids gas mileage. The window sticker EPA mileage estimate is 18 City MPG and 25 Hwy MPG.

86 oldsmobile cutlass supreme briggs 305 V8

Mrs Briggs loaded her Cutlass Supreme with power windows, power door locks, soft ray tinted glass, Rallye Cluster with tachometer, gauges and trip odometer, Bucket seats with console, air conditioning, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, pulse wiper system, driver remote control rear view mirror, vinyl roof, firm ride and handling package, color keyed Super Stock mag wheels, H195/ 75R14 tires, 2.56:1 rear axle ratio,  lower body molding, and electric rear window defogger, front fender power antenna, convenience group including vanity visor mirror and chime tones. The stereo was upgraded to the optional unit with signal seeking and digital display with dual rear speakers. The options plus $414.00 destination swells the MSRP to $14,748.00.

86 oldsmobile cutlass supreme briggs protect o plate

Carol took delivery on May 28, 1986. The Protect-O-Plate can be seen to the right of the various booklets and documents that accompanied the car when new, including the original key knock outs. The warranty reveals that the Cutlass was delivered to Carol with 9 miles on the odometer. At the time she lived in Kingston, N H. This old city is slightly warmer than the New Hampshire average but still receives significant amounts of snow from November through April every year.

86 oldsmobile cutlass supreme briggs speedometer

This nice looking 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme traveled only 66,000 miles and suffered no abuse. The car appeared on the Milford Auto Sales lot in Hopedale, Massachusetts. The odometer reading of 66,000 miles is believed to be true by Milford. The Cutlass was listed for $5,500.00 on the HEMMINGS website in fall, 2015 as part of the inventory at Milford. An inspection didn't turn up any touch up paint work, and an interior that is virtually new with the rear seat never used.

86 oldsmobile cutlass supreme briggs space saver

The trunk has never had anything in it. The Cutlass was sold with original window sticker, owners packet, warranty info, key knockouts etc.

Last Updated ( Friday, 11 December 2015 09:37 )