Monday, January 3, 2011

Oldsmobile Alero Concept, 1997

Oldsmobile Alero Concept, 1997

The Oldsmobile Alero was introduced in spring 1998 as a 1999 model to replace the Achieva and Cutlass. The Alero went into production on April 6, 1998. All Aleros were built in Lansing, Michigan. The Alero was Oldsmobile's last compact car as well as the last vehicle sold under the brand. Production ended on April 29, 2004.


The design of the Alero was originally previewed in 1997 with the Alero Alpha concept car, a futuristic V6-powered sport coupe that featured many design elements seen in the production Alero as well as some that were never meant for production.

The Alero was sold either as a 4-door sedan or as a 2-door coupé. It shared its chassis and many parts, including engines, with the Pontiac Grand Am. It was part of the GM N platform.

In 2003, the Alero's daytime running lights were changed from high-beam to low-beam.

The Alero was also sold in select European countries as the Chevrolet Alero, although only available as a sedan. The car still featured its Oldsmobile badges even though sold under the Chevrolet brand, since most European consumers would not recognize what the badge stood for. Chevrolet badges were added to the grille and rear fascia during the 2000 model year. The Toronado was sold similarly.

Alero production ended with a special Final 500 Edition. These last 500 Aleros featured custom graphics inspired by vintage Oldsmobile logos, dark cherry metallic paint, and a plate featuring the car's number out of 500.

The final Alero Final 500 Edition (#500 of 500) also happened to be the final Oldsmobile ever built, and was signed under its hood by the employees of the General Motors Lansing plant and then given to the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum.

A preview of the planned replacement for the Alero was seen in 2001 with the unveiling of the "O4" concept, designed by Bertone. The car was an open top 4-seater with European styling but some Oldsmobile traits, and powered by the latest Ecotec I4 engine. The name had multiple meanings, including "Oldsmobile 4-Seater" as well as implying the year 2004 as a planned date for production.

Unfortunately, the O4 concept was unveiled a few weeks after General Motors announced that they would be phasing out the Oldsmobile brand, meaning that production possibilities of the O4 would never see reality. Because of this, a second generation Alero was never built and the car was phased out in 2004.

Variant prototypes

General Motors commissioned the construction of Alero prototypes either for testing or to gather public opinion on possible future plans for the Alero. These variants:
  • Alero OSV - "Oldsmobile Speciality Vehicle", an experiment in an aftermarket parts brand for Oldsmobile. Featured a body kit, supercharged I4, custom interior, and special cherry red paint.
  • Alero OSV II - Another experimental vehicle, this time featuring an LX5 DOHC 3.5L V6 (used in the Oldsmobile Intrigue and Aurora and featured custom dark green paint.
  • Alero 442 - A set of show cars based on the Alero coupe fitted with a body kit similar in design to the Oldsmobile 442. Each Alero 442 show car had a unique color, including white with gold stripes and white with pink stripes.
  • Alero California - A custom built version of the Alero coupe featuring racing parts including a large rear wing, racing seats, sport tires, and custom graphics painted in brown and yellow.
  • Alero Convertible - An experiment in the possibility of creating an Alero with a convertible soft top to help broaden the appeal of the car to young buyers. The Oldsmobile O4 concept also hinted that the next generation Alero could have had a convertible model.
  • Alero Pace Car - Built by General Motors as part of their fleet of Oldsmobile safety cars for the Indy Racing League, featuring custom yellow and white checkered flag graphics.


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