MAY 29, 2012: TIME CAPSULE–HOW THE GENERAL SOLD A ONE AND A HALF TON BRICK IN 1973

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Few people dream about their fantasy 1973 Oldsmobile Omega, now-or even back in 1973.

 

2700 bucks put you behind the wheel of one of the most forgettable cars that ever wore the legendary Olds label in 1973.

 

The ad said it was built like a one and a half ton brick in ’73, but we are not sure how that became a selling point for the Omega.

 

Cars and bricks were never a great combination in the same sentence no matter what the point of the equation.

 

The 1973 Omega had an imaginative list of standard features for 2700 big ones. It had whitewall tires straight from the factory in ’73. Those who are too young to even care about whitewall tires will likely not see the sex appeal found in a set of whitewall tires, but they were a mark of class and style in the bygone era of cars.

 

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Olds fortified their built-like-a-brick philosophy in the Omega when they bragged that their compact had a 500 lb weight advantage on their Detroit rivals. One would have to wonder whether a car with 500 extra pounds under its belt was a great selling point in the early stages of the oil embargo with its infamous gas shortages and price hikes.

 

The Omega had a 111 inch wheel base that probably was a selling point in ‘73 because the longer wheel base probably smoothed out the ride in this compact.

 

Wet look vinyl trim on the upholstery was also a selling point for the Omega although wet-looking upholstery trim is a reach in the highlight department. It also had a less specific deluxe interior, but the no-extra cost carpet was probably a component of that deluxe angle, as well as the vinyl-grip steering wheel.

 

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The Oldsmobile Omega was powered by a mighty 250 cubic inch six-cylinder and that may well have been its biggest selling point in 1973. The sudden slap at the gas pumps meant that smaller engines had less of a drinking problem for their owners.

 

The actual heart of the matter is that muscle had taken a very sudden oil embargo exit in Detroit and it had been replaced by economy in ’73. That is probably the only reason why the Omega was probably a popular choice for many new car buyers in 1973-even though Olds inexplicably used the term ‘brick’ in their advertisement.

 

Bricks with decent gas mileage were pretty popular back in ’73 and that was the real point of this Omega ad from 39 years ago.

 

Jim Sutherland

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