Theme : Aerodynamics – 1995 Oldsmobile Aurora

In 1995 Oldsmobile presented their Aurora, a car that was originally intended as a two-door coupe to replace the Toronado.

1995 Oldsmobile Aurora
1995 Oldsmobile Aurora

The origins of the Aurora go back to a 1989 concept car known as the Tube Car, one of Oldsmobile’s numerous designs inspired by aerodynamics. Much of the feeling of the Tube car is retained though the very straight sills are far from an aerodynamic ideal. The role of the Aurora was to help alter customers’ perceptions of the brand as being staid and rather dull and to distinguish it from the upper middle class styling that Buick had made its own. Despite the aerodynamic appearance, the Aurora’s cD was only 0.32, by some margin worse than Audi’s less obviously rounded 100 of 1982 which had a cD of 0.30. 

1989 Oldsmobile Tube Car
1989 Oldsmobile Tube Car: note the Kamm tail and recessed sills. The c-pillar looks weak though.
1987 Oldsmobile Aerotech II sketch.
1987 Oldsmobile Aerotech II sketch.

Oldsmobile had a well-developed practice of producing quite futuristic and aerodynamic concept cars under the Aerotech name. In 1987, they showed the Aerotech II which could be viewed as a shooting brake or a kind of very spacey MPV with a clear monovolume shape. The contrast between this and the sorts of vehicles Olds sold is notable.

1987 Oldsmobile Aerotech II - note the covered rear wheels, cut-off tail and recessed sills.
1987 Oldsmobile Aerotech II – note the covered rear wheels, cut-off tail but the sills have lost the concave shape.

Going further back in time one can see similarities – driven by aerodynamic need – to the 1976 Pininfarina CNR-PF which notably has a single slope from windscreen to bonnet. It also features very deeply cut sills and a vestige of this can be seen on later vehicles, an effect usually obtained by adding plastic cladding around the wheel arches.

1976 Pininfarina aerodynamic concept car
1976 Pininfarina aerodynamic concept car
1978 Pininfarina CNR-PF
1978 Pininfarina CNR-PF

Oldsmobile is no longer with us as their attempts to muscle in on the market position occupied by Japenese imports failed. They did make some efforts though through their application of aerodynamics but were constrained in large part by the need to share body-shell architecture with Buick, Chevrolet and Pontiac. What is interesting is also the fact that this little excursion into the annals of car design shows that aerodynamic research was not solely conducted on the east side of the Atlantic.

For the record, here’s the Olds Aurora interior.

1995 Oldsmobil Aurora interior. It´s a bit iffy around the A-pillar but otherwise very appealingly sci-fi.
1995 Oldsmobile Aurora interior. It´s a bit iffy around the A-pillar but otherwise very appealingly sci-fi.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

2 thoughts on “Theme : Aerodynamics – 1995 Oldsmobile Aurora”

  1. I own 95 old Aurora it was per own . (purchased it in 2005) And was in very good condition w/ about just over 70 k. I love and still have is automobile. With just over 200k still runs like a time X watch…! Normal maintenance brakes, tires ,oil change and tuneup no major problem with the transmission or Rust . Very decent performance and gas mileage. Just love is automobile I’m going to repaint & repair worn drivers side seat and steel wheel . And hopefully enjoy for another 100,000 miles ! 🙂

    1. Hi Eric:
      Thanks for your comment and for taking a look. I am glad your Aurora is working out. In my view GM had several good sedans at that time where they were made as good as they looked. Olds, Buick and (to a lesser degree) Cadillac had managed to make cars with good finishes and with reliable engineering. I only ever saw one Aurora in the metal but I remember the interior stood out as well as the paint and exterior trim. Buick’s Park Avenue of the same time had a similar quality and ones I have seen in recent years still seem relatively and absolutely like quality cars.

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