In Cleveland's east side Jewish community in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the car of choice (if you couldn't afford a Cadillac) for the chosen people was an Oldsmobile.
And not just any Oldsmobile, but an Oldsmobile from Abe "A.D." Pelunis. (The A.D. stands for always dependable!")
My father owned two of them - a 1966 four door Delta 88 Holiday hardtop, and then a 1967 Delta 88 Hardtop four door. The story on the 1966 was dad bought and brought it home. Six weeks later it was stolen. When they found what was left of 1966 Delta, the 1967's had been delivered so he bought the same model in the same color. The car lasted forever. When Dad made the jump to a used 1969 Cadillac in 1970, the Olds went to my brother, then to the next brother. When it was last seen it was junked in Pheonix sometime in the 1970s.
In the 1970s, the midsize Olds Cutlass became synonymous with Bubbies living in University Heights. Thousands of Jewish grandmothers (and grandfathers) bought Cutlass sedans and coupes from Mr. Pelunis. The parking lot at May's on the Heights looked like an Oldsmobile lot on sale days. So were the temple lots.
And why were they so popular? They were dependable, affordable, and they were nicer than Chevrolet's or Ford's or Plymouths, but not as ostenatious as a Buick or Chrysler. And Oldsmobile said that you had arrived and could have nice things, but you didn't overpay.
From 1959 to 1968 Old's full-size cars had a forward edge as they tried to appeal to younger buyers. By 1969, they pretty much threw in the towel - the full size cars grew to resemble larger and more dour interpretations of what the aging client base wanted.
And to me, this is why the brand died. At some point everyone's grandmother or grandfather bought an Oldsmobile. Nice but not too showy. And when GM striped the car of dependability, what was the point of even owning one?
Oldsmobiles are not common like they used to be. Finding a good one is like finding a needle in a haystack.
I like a good challenge.