The Oldsmobile Omega is a compact car that was manufactured and sold from 1973 through 1984 by Oldsmobile. The name omega was used to imply the last, the end, or the ultimate limit of a set, in contrast to alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet. There were three generations of Omegas, all being badge-engineeredChevrolet models, and each of the three using one of two GM X platform architectures:
The Omega was one of three X-body Chevrolet Nova clones. It and the Buick Apollo were introduced in 1973; the Pontiac Ventura had been introduced in 1971. Naturally it shared the Nova's body and many of its mechanicals, but it had its own unique nose and tail, and, being an Oldsmobile, it had a little fancier trim than the Nova. It even borrowed the Nova's dashboard, but Olds added woodgrain trim to it for a more upscale look.
The front grille sported Oldsmobile's trademark split "waterfall" grille design, round headlights set into square recesses, and parking lights directly below in the bumper. Body styles mirrored that of the Nova, including a 2-door coupe, 3-door hatchback, or a 4-door sedan.
Engine choices were the standard Chevy-built 4.1-litre (250 cid) I6 with a 3-speed manual transmission standard, with a 4-speed manual or a 2- or 3-speed automatic optional. The lone V8 was Oldsmobile's 5.7 L (350 cid) "Rocket" V8, which had a 4-speed manual as standard with the 3-speed automatic optional. V8 models with the fifth VIN digit being the letter "K" received a 4-barrel Rochester carburetor. All other V8 engines received the standard 2-barrel version. There were also 53 "Doctor Oldsmobile Omega" built in 1973. All were V8's built in Van Nuys, California and were sold at Century Oldsmobile in Van Nuys, California. This decal option was canceled in 1974.
There were few changes in 1974. There was a base model and the upper-level Brougham and the S option was added. The parking lights were relocated inboard below the grille instead of the headlights and there was a new rear bumper design which met the federal government's new 5-mph impact standards. The 2-speed Powerglide transmission was dropped.
This car was the top of the X-body line along with Buick's Apollo and Skylark, having more luxury trimming, more noise insulation, rear anti-roll bars, and other features not found on the Chevrolet Nova. There were four basic Oldsmobile X bodied cars, the F-85 (the base car), the Omega, Omega SX, and the Omega Brougham. During the 1975-76 model years, the top engine choice was a 350 cu. in. (5.7 Liter) V8 from GM's Buick division. During that time, the base engine was the 115 hp (86 kW) 250 cu. in. (4.1 Liter) inline-6 from Chevrolet, until 1977 when it was dropped in favor of the lighter 110 hp (82 kW) Buick 231 V6. It saw few changes through its life being limited mostly to the front end (with three different grille designs) and to the rear lights, changing the number of lenses through the years. The Oldsmobile 260 (4.3-liter) V8 was available as an option from 1975-79.
The X-bodies were all-new front-wheel drive cars for 1980. Engine choices were limited to Pontiac's Iron Dukeinline-four engine and the new corporate 2.8 L LE2V6 designed specifically for this platform. Transmissions were the 4 speed manual or the TH125 3-speed automatic.
Unlike the Chevrolet Citation, which the car was based upon, the Omega range consisted of only a 2-door coupe and 4-door sedan, with upright styling and a distinctive split grille.
Aside from the standard and Brougham models produced in all five years, sportier models were also built. These included the SX coupe (replaced by the ES in 1982), ES sedan, and pioneering urethane plastic-fendered 1981 SportOmega, which came with wild red-and-orange striping, white-over-gray paint, and a sloping front grille assembly shared with the SX and ES. Notably, the sportier models were available with both the L4 and V6 engines.
Beginning in 1982, the Chevrolet high-output (130 horsepower) 2.8L V6 became available on ES models. In 1983, the ES was only available in the sedan body style.
The X-body Omega, like its sister vehicles (the Chevrolet Citation, Pontiac Phoenix and Buick Skylark), proved fairly trouble-prone early on, necessitating an astounding number of government-mandated recalls for braking problems, fluid leaks and suspension issues. While Omega was the only one of the four X-cars to sell better in 1981 than in 1980 (147,918 versus 134,323), starting in 1982, production fell dramatically. Only 77,469 Omegas were built in '82, with 53,926 in 1983 and 52,986 in swan-song 1984.