The cars we loved.
What floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee, yet does all of this in total personal luxury? If you answered a Monte Carlo, you’d be close. The Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme was the most successful of all GM’s A-body intermediates. It could be outfitted with huge torque monster V8 in 442 guise or optioned out as a luxurious coupe. There were even stripped down cars in an attempt to match every budget.
Towards the end of the first muscle car era, insurance companies were getting wise to manufactures tricks for sneaking performance into otherwise homely looking intermediates. The event of the gentleman’s car saw all of the big three trying to stuff performance in some form of two door coupe with grownup appeal. While other companies were developing small displacement V8, Oldsmobile decided to stuff 455-cu. in. V8 into it’s Cutlass Supreme SX.
By not giving the cars special VIN numbers as with the 442, the pumped up SX looked like just another float boat Cutlass. Because the SX was a all out luxury car in many respects, it offered a grown up appearance (but could be optioned with hood scoups in such). For the most part the SX only hinted to its performance potential when looking at the dual chrome tipped exhaust ports built into it’s chrome bumper (just like the 442).
While the SX was available for the 1970 and ’71 model years only, there were many engine options and a shifting collection of standard mills available. Many cars were fitted with Oldsmobile’s L33 455. That big bore engine made 320 hp. An optional W-32 made even more at 365 hp. The most powerful engine would only have 320 hp by 1971 and all of them were available with the Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission – in all its three forward speed glory.
The cars featured other niceties like Strato bucket seats, power everything and wood-grain trim in the interior. In my opinion the SX was the most attractive of the Cutlass Supreme variants of this era because they were not adorned with the juvenile stripes and hood scopes of the more flamboyant muscle car. Particularly attractive was the convertible, of which more than 1,000 were made compared to the hardtops 8,000+.
Like other cars from the era with performance potential, the SX will likely appreciate in value. Once overshadowed by the 444, the SX is starting to get its spotlight in the eyes of collectors. Due to there being no special VIN numbers for these cars they are likely to be clones, after all it takes much more work to make a convincing 442 when the SX looks almost like the run of the mill Cutlass Supreme. With the SX, I guess there is no such thing as run of the mill because you could have your cake and drive it too. Insurance man be dammed.