Although closely related to its J-body siblings, the Oldsmobile Firenza was badge engineered with distinctively Oldsmobile front and rear end styling found on larger Oldsmobiles of the time. 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.
The Firenza was launched with a 2.0-liter OHV inline four-cylinder engine as the sole powerplant, but an overhead-cam 1.8-liter engine was added during the model year. Oldsmobile did not utilize the turbo on these engines, Buick did offer the turbo.
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, on the GT package.
The GT was only available on the S Coupe (hatchback), unlike Chevy Z24, Buick Skyhawk T-Type, Pontiac Sunbird GT could be had as either hatchbacks or 2 door sedan (notch-backs).
GT's first were introduced in 1983, 65 were built; red with silver lower panel accent color, sold as "Brass Hat" promotional cars for dealerships, most were equipped with the "new" 1.8 liter overhead cam motor, with either a 3 speed automatic or 5 speed manual transmission. FE3 suspension was included in the package with a rear stabilizer bar, heavier struts all the way around, with a wider tire offering on the polycast wheels as standard for the GT package. 1984; red/silver carried over plus white with silver lower body color was added. 2312 - GT's were produced, less than 20% were white. Engines either were the 2.0 liter (4 speed manual or 3 speed auto)or the 1.8 liter (5 speed manual or 3 speed auto).
The GT for 1985 - 498 built; body colors were changed to either black or gray with silver trim (not as pronounced as with the 1983-84's.) A fiberglass hood with a pronounced center bulge was included, the 2.6 liter V6 was offered with only the 4 speed manual or the 3 speed auto, the wheels were changed to aluminum from the previous polycast wheel, this was to be the same for 1986 GT.
1986 - 1032 built; and was the only year the GT was its own separate trim level, and the body color red became available again with silver accent. 1987 GT - 783 built; went back to an option on the hatchback and was the last year offered, essentially same as 1986, but added the availability of the heavier 5 speed manual transmission than was previous on the 1.8 liter offering 3 years previous, along with a 3 speed auto.
Interesting note; The "GT" was used on the Calais and Ciera in 1987, replacing the "ES" (EuroSport) designation the previous two years, 1984-1985. 1988 the designation became "International Series", replacing GT.
The Firenza ES (EuroSport) sedan 1984 (maybe 1985?). Not much is known of this offering, it had blacked out headlight bezels and blacked out trim on the tail lights, the interior upholstery used the same two color gray combo and red piping as with all the GT's. This was offered as a 4 door GT idea, with the same polycast wheels, heavier suspension, used on the 1983 and 1984 GT hatchbacks. They were only offered in a dark silver body color.
1988 Oldsmobile Firenza sedan
For the Firenza's last model year, 1988, it received a new open grille, aerodynamic composite headlamps, and tail lights, styled after those of the Cutlass Ciera. Also for the Firenza's final year, the hatchback 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. Sales of the Firenza were also hampered by Oldsmobile management who fought hard not to have to sell the J-body cars but had to, in order to keep the division’s EPA average fuel economy ratings up to meet General Motors’ corporate standards. Thus Oldsmobile did not promote this car very well, instead choosing to put more marketing effort toward the Cutlass Calias.
Also to blame was competition from the Firenza’s rebadged J-body siblings. Sales of the Cavalier and Sunbird annually dwarfed the Firenza, 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. The last Firenza rolled off the assembly line on July 8, 1988.