Following the trend of the other large American car manufacturers, Oldsmobile announced a small car in 1973: the Omega. It was one of 3 X-body Chevrolet Nova clones - the others being the Buick Apollo released in 1973, and the Pontiac Ventura introduced in 1971. It shared the Nova's body and many of its mechanicals, but it had its own unique nose and tail, and, being an Oldsmobile, it had a little fancier trim than the Nova. It even borrowed the Nova's dashboard, but Olds added woodgrain trim to it for a more upscale look.
Four engines were available for the Omega, a 105 bhp, 3785 cc V6, a 110 bhp, 4261 cc V8, a 145 bhp, 4998 cc V8 and a 170 bhp unit of the same configuration. Two transmissions, a three-speed manual and a three-speed automatic, are available for the six- cylinder version, while the V8 can be acquired with only the Turbo-Hydramatic automatic. The Omega used an integral body/chassis unit, with an additional front sub-frame, and had independent front suspension by means of wishbones, coil springs, an anti-roll bar and telescopic dampers.
The rear suspension is by a rigid axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs and telescopic dampers .. Three body styles are available for the car: a two-door coupe, a three-door hatchback coupe and a four-door saloon. The front grille sported Oldsmobile's trademark split "waterfall" grille design, round headlights set into square recesses, and parking lights directly below in the bumper. Body styles mirrored that of the Nova, starting with a 2-door coupe, 3-door hatchback or a 4-door sedan.
Models were base and upper-level Brougham. Not many changes at all in 1974 other than the 2-speed Powerglide transmission being dumped, the parking lights being relocated inboard below the grille instead of the headlights and a new rear bumper design which met the federal government's new 5-mph impact standards. The six-cylinder model had a top speed of 96 mph, while the more powerful V8s could reach speeds of 106 mph and 112 mph tespectively. The six-cylinder uses a gallon of petrol for every 15.3 miles, and the V8s return approximately 14.5 miles a gallon. Many options of trim were available, as well as extras such as air-conditioning.
In 1975 Oldsmobile introduced an all-new Omega, it being the top of the X-body line along with Buick's Apollo and Skylark, boasting more luxury, more noise insulation, rear anti-roll bars, and other features not found on the Chev Nova. During the 1975 - 1976 model years, the top engine choice was a 350 cu. in. (5.7 Liter) V8 from GM's Buick division. During that time, the base engine was the 115 hp (86 kW) 250 cu. in. (4.1 Liter) inline-6 from Chevrolet, until 1977 when it was dropped in favor of the lighter 110 hp (82 kW) Buick 231 V6 . It saw few changes through its life being limited mostly to the front end (3 different grilles) and to the rear lights, changing the number of lenses through the years. The Oldsmobile 260 V8 (4.3 Liter) was available as an option from 1975 - 1979.
The Iron Duke Inline 4
The X-bodies were all-new front-wheel drive cars for 1980. Engine choices were now limited to Pontiac's Iron Duke inline-four engine and the new corporate 2.8 L LE2 V6 designed specifically for this platform. Unlike the Chevrolet Citation, which the car was based upon, the Omega range consisted of 2-door and 4-door notchback sedans, with upright styling and a distinctive split grille. Aside from the standard and Brougham models produced in all five years, sportier models were also built. These included the SX coupe (replaced by the ES in 1982), ES sedan, and pioneering plastic-fendered Sport-Omega, which came with wild red-and-orange striping, white-over-gray paint, and a sloping front grille assembly shared with the SX and ES.
In 1982 the Chevrolet high-output (130 horsepower) 2.8 liter V6 became available on ES models. The X-body Omega, like its sister vehicles (the Chevrolet Citation
, Pontiac Phoenix and Buick Skylark), proved fairly trouble-prone early on, necessitating an astounding number of government-mandated recalls for braking problems, fluid leaks and suspension issues, just to name a few. While Omega was the only one of the four X-cars to sell better in 1981 than in 1980 (147,918 versus 134,323), starting in 1982, production fell dramatically. Only 77,469 Omegas were built in 1982, with 53,926 in 1983 and 52,986 in swan-song 1984. For 1985, the Omega was replaced by the N-body Calais.
Oldsmobile Omega Quick Specifications (1978):
Engine choices were the standard Chevy-built 4.1 liter (250 cid) L6 with a 3-speed manual transmission standard, with a 4-speed manual or a 2- or 3-speed automatic optional. The lone V8 option was Oldsmobile's 5.7 liter (350 cid) "Rocket" V8, which had a 4-speed manual as standard with the 3-speed automatic optional. V8 models with the eight VIN digit being the letter "K" received a 4-barrel rochester carburetor. All other V8 engines received the standard 2-barrel version. Front-mounted, water-Cooled V6 or V8. 96.5 mm (3.80 in) bore x 86.4 mm (3.40 in) stroke = 3785 cc (231 cu in) (six-cylinder version) or 88.8 mm (3.50 in) bore x 85.8 mm (3.38 in) stroke = 4261 cc (260 cu in) (V8) or 94.9 mm (3.74 in) bore x 85.8 mm (3.38 in) stroke = 4998 GC (260 cu in) (V8) or 94.9 mm (3.74 in) bore x 88.3 mm (3.48 in) stroke = 57 36cc (305 cu in) (V8). Maximum power (DIN) 105 bhp at 3400 rpm (V6) or 110 bhp at 3400 rpm (V8) or 145 bhp at 3800 rpm (V8) or 170 bhp at 3800 rpm (V8); maximum torque (DIN) 185 Ib ft at 2000 rpm (V6) or 205 Ib ft at 1800 rpm (V8) or 245 Ib ft at 2400 rpm (V8) or 275 Ib ft at 2000 rpm (V8). Cast iron cylinder block and heads. Compression ratios 8:1 (V6) or 7.5:1 (V8) or 8.5:1 (V8) or 8:1 (V8). 4 main bearings (V6) or 5 main bearings (V8s). 2 valves per cylinder operated, via push-rods and rockers, by a single camshaft at centre of Vee. 1 Rochester downdraught twin-barrel carburetor (V6 and two smaller V8s) 1 Rochester downdraught 4 barrel carburetor (170 bhp version).
Single-dry- plate clutch and three speed manual gearbox (V6), or torque converter and three speed automatic. Ratios for manual 1st 3.110, 2nd 1.840, 3rd 1, rev 3.200:1. Hypoid-bevel final drive 3.080. Ratios for automatic 1st 2.740, 2nd 1.570, 3rd 1, rev 2.070 (V6 and two . smaller V8s) 1st 2.520, 2nd 1.520, 3rd 1 ,rev 1.930:1. Hypoid-bevel final drive 2.560 (170 bhp version).
Front -independent by wishbones, coil springs, an anti-roll bar and telescopic dampers. Rear-non independent by a rigid axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs and telescopic dampers. Steering Recirculating ball, servo optional. Turns from lock to lock 5.65.
Drum all round. Servo assistance and front discs optional. Wheels 5 in x 14 in steel.
E78 x 14.
Dimensions and weight:
Wheelbase 111 in; track-front 59.10in, rear-58.80in; length 199.50in; width 72.80in; height 52.40in (coupes), or 53.80 in (saloon); ground clearance 4.90 in; dry weight (six-cylinder version) 34381b (hatchback coupe), 33341b (coupe), or 33821b (saloon). For V8s, add 221 Ib; turning circle between walls 41.2ft; fuel tank capacity 17.6 gals.
2-door coupe, 3-door hatchback coupe and 4-door saloon. All have 6 seats Integral with front sub-frame.
Maximum speed 96 mph (6-cylinder versions), or 112 mph (V8 versions). Fuel consumption 15.3 mpg (6-cylinder).or 14.5 mpg.