Former Show Car: Olds Achieva Convertible

A few years ago, GM hit the skids and the American taxpayer bailed them out. For right or for wrong, some folks say it was essential to do. GM made some sacrifices of their own, which included unloading parts of the museum collection. The seller of this ’92 Olds Achieva convertible here on ClassicCars.com claims this is one such car, and he has the paperwork to prove it. 

In the past, demonstrators and prototypes have either been scrapped or donated to vocational school programs that ensure the cars would never return to the road. I always thought this was the case, so there are some immediate questions in my mind about its ability to be registered. The car is for sale in Rhode Island, your author’s current residence, where it’s laughably easy to register oddball vehicles. Take caution if you live in an area with a strict DMV.

Though it may not look like it from the engine bay, the seller claims it is essentially as-new with only 320 original miles. That would also back up the museum claims, but given what I interpret to be dust lacing the engine compartment, I’d want a full evaluation of the cooling system and other components before firing this one up. Fortunately, it does sport the venerable Quad 4 mill, which has been known to make some pleasing noises under load.

In my honest opinion, it’s far from the prettiest convertible ever built, so it’s not as if you’re investing in a Ghia-designed show car. Coupled with the fact that the Achieva was never a particularly desirable car to begin with, you’re left with this piece of automobilia that is more of a conversation piece than collectible. But for a GM fanatic, or a collector of one-off specials, this Achieva may tick all the right boxes. Does it work for you?

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Quite a conundrum! Having driven a few of these (in conventional tin-top form) when they were new, I’m not a big fan, and the convertible conversion doesn’t exactly change my view.

    In addition, a one-off convertible, even from a major manufacturer, is questionable: did they engineer/install addition chassis reinforcement, or just slice off the lid so it would look nice? You’d really have to give this a close inspection before buying. I have seen — and driven — more than one “factory prototype” with plenty of rough edges, and flaws that would require much time and money to correct. On the other hand, they might have had ASC or a similar firm do the conversion, which should make potential buyers feel better.

    Assuming, that is, that the new owner would want to drive it. Can’t see much “collector value” in this, either. But that could be just me.

    Don’t see a lot of difficulty registering it: presumably, the powertrain is stock, and therefore emissions-compliant. And, as a product of the “old” GM, they would be unlikely to be liable for anything that might go wrong with it.

    It’s a curiosity, and someone will want it. Not me.

  2. G.P. Member

    Yea, G.M. hit the skids and got a bail out from the tax payers and to thank everybody, they decided to build a 12 billion dollar auto/truck plant in China. YOUR WELCOME G.M.

    • RickG

      Every manufacturer has factories in Asia and South America to build cars to sell on those continents. But look at Chrysler. Practically given to an Italian company so rebadged Fiats can be sold here with Chrysler model names.

  3. Rock On Member

    Everyone I know used to call these underachievers!

  4. chris

    In 1992 I was shopping for my very first new car. The Achieva was very high on my list and in SC trim. I really, really wanted one of these and after spending a day driving a dealer demo from Delaware Olds on Gov. Printz Blvd., my senses steered me to buy a Mitsu Eclipse instead. A much better long-term choice for sure. It seemed Achieva’s, despite a really attractive interior and even a V6 option, just weren’t anything more than simply rental car fleet material. Too bad. Nowadays, during that rare occasion I see an Achieva on the road, I stare longingly at what might have been but glad it didn’t. I will still do an occasional Craigslist search for Achieva’s without much luck. It seems these just didn’t stick around very long.

    As for this car, I can’t imagine anyone being so smitten to pay the asking price of $16K especially for a car that requires quite a bit of maintenance work to even get running again. And really, these cars ain’t no beauty queen worthy of display status or being a show piece.

  5. george

    I think the $16,000 sales price is a typo. It has an extra 0. Should be $1600. Deleting the 1 would be $6,000.00 which is a bit of a stretch. Obviously “Achieva” is a ridiculous as well as a fraudulent misnomer. The reason Chris can’t find any is that probably none of them lasted very long. GM cars of the ’80s and mid-80’s were a sacrilege. With all of the beautiful cars GM had made in the 30’s through the 60’s, it is unbelievable that Oldsmobile could even conceive letting this POS out on the roads. Some Car magazine journalist wrote that Cadillac should included a person letter of apology to the buyer included in the Cim-moron owner’s manual. They should have posted full page ads in the leading newspapers apologizing for (with few exceptions) all of the cars produced during the years of our years of discontent with their products, not only focused/addressed to the buyers for the junk they had each purchased, but also to everyone else who had to look at them.

  6. grant

    The problem with the world today is that everyone thinks they need an apology for their own bad decisions.

  7. Joe

    For once GM made a great, corporate executive decision. They deleted this car from the GM Museum and got a little money back to cover their debt. Probably took 500 International VPs 5 years to discuss and decide on this action. Progress!

  8. Kman

    I was coming up on rush hour traffic, I had just gotten to the point where I had to stop, there was an Olds Achieva behind me that stopped also, then this 4×4 s10 came barreling in, hit the Olds and the Olds hit me. The S10 was totaled, My van was totaled and the Achieva barely had any scratches and drove away. Say what you want about them but I would have no problems why my daughter driving one.

  9. Adam Wright

    This one is very similar to the Euro version of the Chevy Celebrity the other day, a great example of a lame car, an oddity but not a very valuable one. If you have this at a show and have to explain the car to everyone that walks by, it’s just not very cool.

  10. Woodie Man

    sad. just sad.

  11. redwagon

    i like the concept of a convertible, and if the provenance sticks, i like the idea of a one-off oldsmobile and i think the asking price of ~16k is not far off the mark for a one-off convertible that is street legal and basically brand new.

    but, and it is a big but, i just cannot get excited about the design. there is no side view and there is no front view but i cannot help but think that the best view is the rear 3/4 and it does nothing for me.

    in some respects we are looking at the very reason that olds is no longer in existence – designs that are largely forgettable. as were most of chevy’s, buick’s, pontiac’s, cadillac’s, saturn’s etc (and we have not even left gm to consider ford, chrysler, or any of the imports!)

    in general there are few cars i found inspiring from the late 80s through early 90s across any manufacturer.

    • CarNut from Winnipeg Member

      Best view to me would be in a little cube, but I think they shred them now.

  12. Moparmann Member

    @redwagon: Check out the link to the seller for the front and side views (still nothing great to look at!). :-)

  13. Glen Riddle

    The Achieva is just one of those cars that always seemed to looked depressed, at least to me.
    Perhaps it didn’t actually have Depression, but I’m pretty sure it was a carrier.

  14. Tim W

    Well said redwagon, I fear the cars from that era (late 80’s/early 90’s) may leave a void in the collector car market but I am a big early Olds fan

  15. Mark MacD

    The blandness of this car (and sadly, many of the GM variants of the same era) makes it completely unlovable to me. Designed either by a lazy and bored committee or an early DOS computer program that spit out a “generic car”. I can recall taking business trips in the early/mid 90’s and saw rental car lots stacked with plain Jane Achievas. Just nothing to love here.

  16. Adam T45 Staff

    I’ve looked and looked and looked at this car. I’ve been trying to work out the best angle to look at it, or the best way to look at it. After a lot of consideration I’ve finally worked it out: The best way to look at this is through the visor of a welding mask!

  17. Keith

    There is only one (in my opinion) Achieva that should be considered “collectible”: the SCX W41 model. Impossible to find (only 1150 made between 1992 and 1993), limited slip rear diff., AC delete, FE3 suspension, and actually did have some performance (all relative of course)….and they were the last “W” cars that Olds ever made. The standard Achievas were garbage….ask me how I know…..

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Rear diff? I thought these were all front wheel drive?

      • Keith

        It was a Torsen….a torque sensing differential that could be used in either front or rear wheel drive applications. Weird, I know. All Achievas were front wheel drive. To make things even weirder…the torsen was actually not installed from the factory, but was included with the car.

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