Future classic: Oldsmobile Aurora

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Photo courtesy of General Motors
1995 Oldsmobile Aurora Four-Door Sedan DN546-U0184
Photo courtesy of General Motors

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles about cars that someday likely will be considered classics.

When Chuck Jordan returned from General Motors’ European offices to become the automaker’s vice president of design in the late 1980s, he realized that “all the sedans on the road were dull, drab and boring. There was no character, no excitement.”

Secretly, Jordan set one of GM’s advanced design studios to work on a sedan that had character and excitement.

The car was designed and a full-scale model was created.

But Jordan still had a problem: None of GM’s various car divisions had asked for such a car and didn’t seem very interested in the no-longer secret vehicle.

Undaunted, Jordan parked a full-scale model of the car in the hallway at GM’s headquarters, placing it so executives couldn’t avoid it as they walked past the car several times every day.

At last, the day arrived when the head of Oldsmobile asked if he could have the car. Well, not him personally but if he could have the design for his division, as its new flagship sedan.

1995 Oldsmobile Aurora Four-Door Sedan UNC1995-0039

And thus was born the 1995 Oldsmobile Aurora, which one author has called the last great full-size American car design.

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Nearly two decades later, that original Aurora, with its spaceship shape, grille-less nose and full-width tail lamp, still looks fresh and futuristic.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

1 COMMENT

  1. Love the article and couldn’t agree more. I have owned my 1995 Aurora since 1998. I decided to purchase an SUV in 2003 for much needed utility, but couldn’t let the Aurora go. It was the fastest, sleekest, smooth riding vehicle I’ve ever owned and was in pristine condition. The car remained in storage unti 2016 when I decided to pull it out and get it running. I replaced all tires, brakes, air conditioner, ignition switch, electronic mother board, high performance spark plugs and two batteries, etc. $6,000 later my Aurora is back to the vehicle I couldn’t part with in 2003. In fact it’s better. To say is is a joy to drive is a huge understatement. It is still the fastest and smoothest car I have ever owned. I heading to a Mecum Auction in Indy, but won’t be putting this beauty on the block. It’s black with black leather interior and looks almost sinister on the road. Watch out for the great one’s to rise in value.

    Joseph Andros

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