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The Oldsmobile Firenza was a compact car produced by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors 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 that the Vauxhall Cavalier mk 2 / Opel Ascona C.

Overview

The all-new Firenza was introduced in March 1982, as replacement for the departed rear-wheel drive Starfire. Initially available as a 3-door hatchback and 4-door sedan, the lineup was expanded to include a 4-door "Cruiser" wagon in 1983, and a 2-door notchback coupe in 1986. The name "Cruiser" was applied to all Oldsmobile station wagons at the time; this included the mid-size Cutlass Cruiser and full-size Custom Cruiser. The Firenza was positioned as Oldsmobile's entry-level compact car, priced below the sightly 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.

Although closely related to its J-body siblings, the Oldsmobile Firenza was differentiated by its distinctively Oldsmobile front and rear end styling. 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. 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. This styling was further enhanced for Firenza's last model year, 1988, when it received a new open grille, sealed-beam composite headlamps, and tail lights, styled after those of the Cutlass Ciera.

Firenza was launched with a 2.0-liter pushrod inline four-cylinder engine as the sole powerplant, but an overhead-cam 1.8-liter engine was added during the model year. 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, as well as a new GT package. The GT, with the V6 standard, became a separate trim level for 1986. For Firenza's final year, the hatchback coupe 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 bodystyles 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. The 1980s were no exception to this. Also to blame was competition from its rebadged J-body siblings. Sales of the Cavalier and Sunbird annually dwarfed Firenzas, as they better fit into Chevrolet and Pontiac's value-oriented brand portfolios. 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.

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