OUTRAGEOUS Detroit metal, black and silver and shiny, you make me wanna dance at Dee-Jay's and cruise down Motown's Woodward Avenue.
Yo, 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera GeeeTeee!
So many American cars apologize for being American. Not you.
You're home-grown music, soul, pop, country, rock, rhythm and blues. And when your big 3.8-liter, V-6 engine runs -- va-va-vroom! -- you're jazz, too.
Some people say you're not as "tight" as the Germans. That's true. You're not supposed to be. Tight cars take curves. You were made to hang a little loose and boogie with them. It's a matter of taste, not quality.
Not everybody will like you. Your burgundy leather, vinyl and suede interior, accented with chrome brightwork, will seem crude to those who never appreciated U.S. auto art deco.
But the people who grew up doin' the boulevards on Friday nights, who spent summertime at drive-in movies, who drove your cousin Chevy to the levee to kiss in the evening air, hey, they'll know who you are. And they'll love you for it.
Outstanding complaint: Some front-wheel-drive General Motors cars make clinking noises when the brakes are applied, as was the case in the Ciera GT. The clinking in the test model "probably" comes from front disc-brake calipers in need of adjustment, according to one GM mechanic who was consulted on the matter.
Outstanding praise: The engine. So smooth, so responsive, so good to hear and feel. The engineers who made this one must have been musicians. Va-va-vroom, va-va-vroom! Mercy! It's like having the front seat at your favorite concert. But you're the one calling the tunes. Just push the pedal and get tickled by those pleasant vibrations. That big, gasoline, fuel-injected V-6 turns over with such harmony, precision and power, you know you're going somewhere.
Ride, acceleration, handling: Oldsmobile put its FE3 suspension, the most performance-oriented of its three suspension systems, in the Ciera GT test model. Suspension systems consist of springs and shock absorbers, stabilizer bars and control arms that allow the up-and-down movement of wheels over bumps and potholes.
The FE3 rides harder than the cushy soft suspensions used in most American cars. But it's not nearly as brutal as the suspensions in German and in some American sports models. The result is a firm but pleasant ride, and excellent handling at legal highway speeds and at slightly higher speeds used in passing.
Acceleration? Hee, hee. Va-va-vroom!
Head-turning-quotient: An excellent blend of U.S. hot rod and American classic.
Sound system: Electronic AM/FM stereo cassette and radio, with seek/scan ability and graphic equalizer, by GM/Delco. Consistently excellent. GM/Delco simply offers the best value for the dollar in this category.
Mileage: About 23 to the gallon (15.7-gallon tank), combined city-highway, running driver only and with air conditioner on most of the time.
Price-as-tested: $13,819, including $336 for the audio package.