Decades ago, owning an "Olds" was a sign of middle-class success. With its curved dash, automatic transmission, high-compression engine, and front-wheel drive, an Oldsmobile epitomized the latest advances and upward social mobility.
But that image faded in the face of high-quality competition and demand for higher gas mileage. After trying to reinvent the model, General Motors came out with somewhat a desperate-sounding ad slogan in 1988: "It's not your father's Oldsmobile." The final fade-out came this week when GM announced the end of its nearly century-old division.
Less likely to fade quickly are memories of weekend trips with grandparents in the Oldsmobile Ninety-Eights or other big American sedans.
And before relegating Oldsmobile to capitalism's junkyard, how about a couple of memorable lines from "In My Merry Oldsmobile," a tune penned when cars were still competing with horses: "Come away with my Lucile in my merry Oldsmobile: Down the road of life we'll fly automo-bubbling you and I."
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society