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An Oldsmobile Achieva is one of the most exclusive cars we’ve owned? | Articles

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I have such a soft spot for the SCX. 

This story is actually the first time I had ever heard of the SCX, so color me interested.

In reply to Colin Wood :

190HP 7800rpm 2.3 in 1991. GM was making high hp high revving chain driven DOHC engines better than honda…. fight me. 

bobzilla said:

GM was making high hp high revving chain driven DOHC engines better than honda…. fight me. 

I won’t. I don’t think GM really got credit for what a good motor it was at the time.

Love me some Quad4, I still have a set of each, H.O. and W41 cams in my shop just in case.

bobzilla said:

In reply to Colin Wood :

190HP 7800rpm 2.3 in 1991. GM was making high hp high revving chain driven DOHC engines better than honda…. fight me. 

Seeing as Honda wasn’t making chain driven engines…

I do love me some quad4.

My mother had a base achieva as a G car for a few weeks and holy hell was that a disappointing turd. I was just about to start driving so I rolled it around the neighborhood a few times. Yikes. It wasn’t until years later and understanding transmissions more that I realized that thing was very berkeleyed up.

The Quad 4 was a great engine.  The cars that it came in were significantly less so.

Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

bobzilla said:

In reply to Colin Wood :

190HP 7800rpm 2.3 in 1991. GM was making high hp high revving chain driven DOHC engines better than honda…. fight me. 

Seeing as Honda wasn’t making chain driven engines…

I do love me some quad4.

Nor many dohc engines at all. 

EDIT: in 1991 Honda was struggling to make 150hp from their 2.0L DOHC B20. It wouldn’t be until the mid 90’s that honda was making the same power but less torque with the B18C5

 

JG was driving this car when we met. 🙂 


Tom1200


Tom1200


UberDork


4/11/23 11:08 a.m.

I really liked these; a co-worker had one with some level of goodies on it (couldn’t tell you what model / trim level).

I remember a racer named Lou Ryba who ran one of these in a pro series.

As for the quad 4; the yellow sports racer in this picture is powered by a quad 4.

APEowner said:

The Quad 4 was a great engine.

Although not a particularly smooth one, IIRC?  2.3L 4-banger without balance shafts.

 

I had a 1992 Achieva SCX W41, it was a fun car. Rev limiter was factory set to 7200, which I found a few times as it was still pulling hard at that point. Surprised quite a few people with that car, as only the SCX on the side gave any hint to what it was.

GTZ Beretta rocks my socks.  A kid in high school had one, it was awesome looking and real fast for the time.

GM definitely doesn’t get enough credit for their late 80s early 90s stuff.

Just off the top of my head…

  • Turbo Trans Am
  • Syclone
  • Typhoon
  • 454SS
  • Impala SS
  • Northstar
  • Quad 4 HO
  • GTZ and GTU Beretta
  • Lumina Z34 and “Euro 3.4” 4 doors
  • Turbo Grand Prix
  • 3.4 Quad Cam Grand Prix
  • Fiero GT

And most of the above could be had with a manual transmission too!

Peabody said:

bobzilla said:

GM was making high hp high revving chain driven DOHC engines better than honda…. fight me. 

I won’t. I don’t think GM really got credit for what a good motor it was at the time.

Love me some Quad4, I still have a set of each, H.O. and W41 cams in my shop just in case.

I would not call it a good motor unless you were a fan of NVH and head gasket issues.  Powerful, yes.  When the HO was introduced, it made the same power as a BMW M3, from the same displacement.

GM fixed the head gasket issues with the 2.4 and its roughly twice as long head bolts, and they fixed the NVH with the Ecotec (which IMO is a third generation Quad 4) with its much better engine mounting and an aluminum timing case instead of what was effectively a sheetmetal speaker on the Q4.

So, where is that Achieva now?  Or, when is the last time anyone saw one?  

In reply to Danny Shields (Forum Supporter) :

I actually saw one on the road last fall. I don’t remember where though. It was like a time capsule

Pete. (l33t FS) said:

Peabody said:

bobzilla said:

GM was making high hp high revving chain driven DOHC engines better than honda…. fight me. 

I won’t. I don’t think GM really got credit for what a good motor it was at the time.

Love me some Quad4, I still have a set of each, H.O. and W41 cams in my shop just in case.

I would not call it a good motor unless you were a fan of NVH and head gasket issues.  Powerful, yes.  When the HO was introduced, it made the same power as a BMW M3, from the same displacement.

GM fixed the head gasket issues with the 2.4 and its roughly twice as long head bolts, and they fixed the NVH with the Ecotec (which IMO is a third generation Quad 4) with its much better engine mounting and an aluminum timing case instead of what was effectively a sheetmetal speaker on the Q4.

It’s all relative.  By today’s standards the Quad 4 wasn’t all the great.  However, it was pretty impressive compared to the other offerings of the time.  Particularly GM’s other offerings.  I never found the NVH objectionable, at least when compared to all the other things I hated about the cars the engine came in and while there was clearly enough of an issue with the head gaskets for GM to have a recall I only changed a handful of them and I was doing engine and transmission repair at a Buick, Olds and Pontiac dealership when they came out.  They generally lasted 90k miles and by that time the rest of the car was scrap and it was probably on its third or fouth steering rack and its second transmission.

Nor did I find the NVH objectionable and never blew a single head gasket.

I didn’t find them particularly harsh, or vibratory, but that noise…  especially in a higher performance application, it definitely sounded the part. I still think for the time, and if you were into performance, it was a good engine.

 

Danny Shields (Forum Supporter) said:

So, where is that Achieva now?  Or, when is the last time anyone saw one?  

I see one most mornings.  No idea what time warp it fell from, it looks really clean.

Pete. (l33t FS) said:

GM fixed the head gasket issues with the 2.4 and its roughly twice as long head bolts…

Well, that begs the question, how hard is it to put the early HO head on the late block? Sounds like a combo that might not suck.

My friend had a base model in college. We called it the “Under-achieva”.

Danny Shields (Forum Supporter) said:

So, where is that Achieva now?  Or, when is the last time anyone saw one?  

Last we heard of it when we sent it back to Olds was it was heading to a team in South America running the Brazilian equivalent of the Firehawk series. So it’s probably been destroyed several times over at this point.


mtn


mtn


MegaDork


4/12/23 11:58 a.m.

David S. Wallens said:

JG was driving this car when we met. 🙂 

Tell us more about your first date, we want to hear about it!

Regardless of what think about the car, it is cool that GM was offering factory upgrades designed for grassroots motorsports. When is the last time you heard of a so-called trunk kit? The Neon ACR? If I worked at Honda or VW or Hyundai, I’d be slipping crash bolts and bigger sway bars and suff out the back door on an RPO or COPO or whatever. 

I love these things and other Quad 4 Olds/GM products of the time. I remember being a kid and going with my older cousin to buy an Achieva 4-door with the Quad 4 and a 5-speed manual brand new, and they had a video running on a loop in the showroom of Quad 4 and Indy stuff racing around, including the Olds Aerotech concept car. Definitely left an impression on me!They were really cool cars at the time, and still are.

I nearly scooped a Quad 442 last year that showed up to the local junkyard complete, except someone removed the sunroof glass and left it off, which got the whole interior drenched with standing water after a rain storm. sad

mtn said:

David S. Wallens said:

JG was driving this car when we met. 🙂 

Tell us more about your first date, we want to hear about it!

It was a dark and stormy night….

Actually, JG, did we first meet at the Runoffs or was it at the Divisional/Tour/whatever at Lakewood? 

David S. Wallens said:

Actually, JG, did we first meet at the Runoffs or was it at the Divisional/Tour/whatever at Lakewood? 

Pretty sure it was that Lakewood event, which may have just been a local. I was on my way home from, I think, the Harrisburg Pro Solo and the ATL event was the following weekend.

I’ll admit that the NVH was the first thing I noticed about the Quad 4 Achieva when we left the dealer on the one my folks got when I was 13. It was the S maybe? So you could get I think 4 engines, the 160HP/180TQ Quad 4, the 180HP/160TQ Quad 4, the W41 (they had a picture of one racing in the brochure) and a V6 — a 3.1 probably.

I feel like back in the day a PROM swap could get you a 7800rpm redline and another 10hp but my memory may be failing me. 

codrus (Forum Supporter) said:

APEowner said:

The Quad 4 was a great engine.

Although not a particularly smooth one, IIRC?  2.3L 4-banger without balance shafts.

 

Balance shafts are for closers. 

bobzilla said:

In reply to Colin Wood :

190HP 7800rpm 2.3 in 1991. GM was making high hp high revving chain driven DOHC engines better than honda…. fight me. 

Nope.  

Now if someone at GM could have said “make this the engine in the base model also”.

Noddaz said:

bobzilla said:

In reply to Colin Wood :

190HP 7800rpm 2.3 in 1991. GM was making high hp high revving chain driven DOHC engines better than honda…. fight me. 

Nope.  

Now if someone at GM could have said “make this the engine in the base model also”.

Or “now lets make a decent platform to put this in”. 

bobzilla said:

In reply to Colin Wood :

190HP 7800rpm 2.3 in 1991. GM was making high hp high revving chain driven DOHC engines better than honda…. fight me. 

TIL the Achieva SCX was 190hp and weighed only 2590lbs. In-line with Civic Si, Fiesta ST, Sentra SE-R Spec V, Ion Redline/Cobalt SS and others in that category. 

bobzilla said:

Noddaz said:

bobzilla said:

In reply to Colin Wood :

190HP 7800rpm 2.3 in 1991. GM was making high hp high revving chain driven DOHC engines better than honda…. fight me. 

Nope.  

Now if someone at GM could have said “make this the engine in the base model also”.

Or “now lets make a decent platform to put this in”. 

“So we can cancel it after a year of production and zero marketing effort”

 

Ironically the Twin Dual Cam got balance shafts and did become the base engine, and then got updated into/replaced by the Ecotec, which was GM’s Red Hot.

I’m glad to see these cars finally getting some recognition. Jay Leno did a piece on them recently.

I have had a red 1992 SCX stored in my garage since 2008 hoping it would eventually become a collectible. Are we finally getting to that point? I’m ready to sell it. My wife wants her garage back.


kanaric


kanaric


SuperDork


7/10/23 6:49 p.m.

IDK but cars like this have no nostalgic appeal to me lol. Like cool you have an almost 200hp engine that revs well, but you put it in cars like this that my 70 year old great uncle bought. It’s pretty easy to see why GM never really had a name in the sport compact scene that anyone I knew respected.

In high school I probably could have got this for ultra-cheap, but a 1g Eclipse/Talon wasn’t expensive then either. 

I looked it up and this and an Eagle Talon TSi like what my mom had was the same price when new and it looks like a space ship compared to this. I wonder what other cars I could have got for ~$16.5k back then? 

In reply to kanaric :

Back then, about $16k could buy you anything. I want to say that sticker on my SE-R was $12k or $14k. (Someone here can look it up.)

The Jay Leno piece on the 442 is great. That Quad4 sounds and looks great. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeCN13rOcwM

Growing up I always thought of N/W-bodies and K-cars as boring looking and terrible driving vehicles. Now looking back, I now appreciate the styling, at least they weren’t just jelly bean blobs rolling down the road like most newer vehicles. 

Whoever was gassing up the 3.4L LQ1 “x-engine” obviously never had to change a belt on one or do any kind of maintenance on that horribly packaged powerplant. 

 

DirtyBird222 said:

The Jay Leno piece on the 442 is great. That Quad4 sounds and looks great. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeCN13rOcwM

Growing up I always thought of N/W-bodies and K-cars as boring looking and terrible driving vehicles. Now looking back, I now appreciate the styling, at least they weren’t just jelly bean blobs rolling down the road like most newer vehicles. 

Whoever was gassing up the 3.4L LQ1 “x-engine” obviously never had to change a belt on one or do any kind of maintenance on that horribly packaged powerplant. 

 

You can literally do a belt on a 3.4 in five minutes.

gearheadmb said:

My friend had a base model in college. We called it the “Under-achieva”.

JG called his the “over-achieva”.

jstein77 said:

gearheadmb said:

My friend had a base model in college. We called it the “Under-achieva”.

JG called his the “over-achieva”.

Totally was. And from an era when 14s were the hot setup so you could get the “good” tires. 


Warlock


Warlock


New Reader


12/2/23 9:49 p.m.

bobzilla said:

 

EDIT: in 1991 Honda was struggling to make 150hp from their 2.0L DOHC B20. It wouldn’t be until the mid 90’s that honda was making the same power but less torque with the B18C5

 

Bah.  By mid-1991, Honda was making 190 hp from the DOHC H22A, which went into the 4th generation Preludes, built by the thousands.  Alas, those weren’t imported to the U.S. for another year (late 1992…MY93), so the Preludes that competed in World Challenge against the Achieva from ’92 to ’96 were basically production 160-hp non-VETC H23A-equipped cars that came to the U.S. in late 1991 (MY92)…also built in the thousands.  The win tally for four years of competition was about even…15 for the Achieva to 17 for the Prelude.



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