On Amigo Avenue, the street where I lived, our corner lot at Gilmore Street offered plenty of curbside parking for any of the cars our family owned and any car I would take home from a rental car lot. As with many days in the Valley, when the sun was setting in the west came this shimmering white light across the mulberry trees that would give any of those vehicles a shimmery gleam to our property. In the early years, Mom’s Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Luxury sedan would catch that sheen when she arrived home. On most days, that meant things were OK in the world – even when they were not.
Over two years ago, the last Oldsmobile rolled down the assembly line of the old Lansing plant. It was a burgundy Alero sedan, perhaps a shell of the most famous Oldsmobiles built down the same line. The medium-sized sports sedan represented a marque that once stood for automobiles that were bold and powerful. It was the brand that gave you the Rocket V8 and the Hydra-Matic transmission; among many of the innovations Oldsmobile gave the world.
An Oldsmobile symbolized what was good about cars built in the good ol’ USA. They were cars that sported affordable luxury graced with touches that appealed to everyone. In the good ol’ days, you can tell the difference between driving a Chevrolet Bel Air and an Oldsmobile 88. You can also sense a special air when you revved up that 455 cubic inch V8 underneath that Cutlass 442 when hunting for Mustangs, Road Runners and Chevelles.