Oldsmobile's got a weird legacy. It was supposed to be sporty, sort of, and it was supposed to slot into a level somewhere above Pontiac, but somewhere below everything else. At the end of the day, it was clearly redundant. So I have no idea what the hell the tagline in this ad means.
"The Oldsmobile of small cars," it says. Of course, because it was a 1980s Oldsmobile, it was badge-engineered up the wazoo. Part of GM's fleet of "X-body" cars, it was largely the same as the Chevrolet Citation, the Buick Skylark, and the Pontiac Phoenix, which I can guarantee you completely forgot existed.
Seriously, if you get down in the comments and claim to have fond memories of a 1982 Pontiac Phoenix, you are just lying. I'm sorry, but that's the way it is.
But back to the Oldsmobile Omega. So, Oldsmobile was vaguely supposed to be a bit more sporty, and a bit more "upscale," I suppose, than its Citation and Phoenix brethren. It is, however, a little difficult as to see where that notion was coming from.
Oldsmobile made an almost-valiant effort towards the end of its life, and tried to save itself with cars like the Aurora. But the Omega shared exactly the same engines as the Citation and the Phoenix and the Skylark, those being the "Iron Duke" I4, an engine which in these cars could never quite get up to a resounding 100 horses, and a 2.8L V6.
The V6 made some – literally, just some – horsepower, but because it was the 1980s, and no one had figured out how to actually make an engine yet without killing Johnny Polarbear, you won't be impressed by it.
The X-body cars initially sold well, as they were domestic automobiles with front-wheel-drive, but then the public largely found themselves disgusted by the mere mention of their nameplates, mostly because of their horrendous quality.
And they weren't entirely exactly the same, as they featured different styling, and the Omega came in both two- and four-door flavors. Oh, and you could get "sporty" versions, like the SX and SportOmega, which featured some stripes, and plastic fenders.
The stripes were the "sporty" part, in case you were wondering.
So that leaves the question, of why the Oldsmobile Omega actually existed. Who was it for? Did anybody aspire to it? Was there a person, anywhere in the world, that said "this year, I'm going to by a Chevy Citation. But in a few years, when I make assistant deputy manager, I'm going to upgrade, and slide my butt into a sweet, sweet Oldsmobile Omega?"
No, nobody ever said that. Nobody has ever said that sentence, anywhere in the world before.
And that's what makes you wonder what the Omega was for. Yeah, people bought it, but it's not like it was strictly necessary.