At $3,900, Could This 1999 Olds Aurora Be An Awe Inspiring Sight?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

A famous Simpson’s episode had Principal Skinner passing off a kitchen fire as the Aurora Borealis, to humorous effect. No such chicanery is necessary with today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Olds Aurora, though its price might still prove delightfully devilish.

Do kids actually play ‘Cops and Robbers?’ Did kids ever do so? I know that when I was a little snot-nose, I never did. Nor did I ever play ‘Cowboys and Indians’ either. Perhaps, like candlestick phones and aspic for dinner, each of these exercises in preadolescent amusement is but a memory of a generation long in the past.


I think that for many of us, the only aspect of law enforcement that arouses any interest is their cars. That’s because cops get to drive tougher rides than the rest of us generally do. On occasion, cars like last Friday’s (Joe Friday’s?) 2011 Ford Crown Vic P71 hit the market and then we do get to consider playing.

Old Ford cop cars are considered to be nearly indestructible, good for the long haul, and a middle finger in the face of the sedan’s untimely demise. You want boot, we’ve got boot ’til the cows come home.

That rep, and a reasonable $3,975 price, carried Friday’s former Virginia State Trooper ride to a laudable 76-percent Nice Price win. You might not play ‘Cops and Robbers’ in it, but you could go get donuts which is the next best thing.


You know what was never the ‘next’ anything? That’s right, GM’s former near-luxury brand, Oldsmobile. It wasn’t for lack of trying. In fact, GM attempted to resuscitate the declining brand on multiple occasions over the course of almost 30 years. Sadly, it was ll to no avail. The company eventually gave up on the marque in 2004, thus killing what was at the time the oldest surviving automotive brand in America.

And oh how far had that company fallen at the time of its demise. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s the Cutlass Supreme, Oldsmobile’s mid-sized offering, was the best selling car in America. Richard Petty drove a Cutlass to victory in the 1979 Daytona 500, adding that venerated event to the car’s list of notable firsts.


Still, it wasn’t enough. Or maybe, it was all just a blaze of glory in which the brand could spectacularly finish. For whatever reason, Olds became moribund, its position in GM’s panoply of brands proved less obvious. Eventually the company was forced to turn on its most avid supporters as means to drive sales by advertising their models under the insulting tagline ‘Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile.’ For all the dads out there, I’d like to say eff-you GM for that one.


One of Oldsmobile’s hail mary passes in their attempt to stave off obsolescence was the Aurora. The car shared much of its G-body underpinnings with the Buick Riviera but offered a tour de force four door body instead of the Buick’s somewhat lumpish coupe.


This 1999 Aurora 4.0 is representative of that first amazingly styled and kitted car, and comes in remarkably nice shape. It also seems lightly used with just a modest 108,000 miles on the clock. The Gold Metallic paint seems to be in perfectly serviceable shape, even on the pointy plastic prow and multi-tier back end.

Speaking of asses, that of the first generation Aurora is quite possibly one of the best in the biz. An enormous tail light and reflector panel caps the back end, while ahead of that lies a complex curve rear window that still marvels to this day.


If you like the C5 Corvette then you’ll likely love the door handles here, which were shared between the cars. Those open four modest portals to an interior that’s covered in tan leather, swoopy plastics, and an overall style that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a contemporary Lexus or Infiniti product. Everything appears to be in amazingly decent condition here, and it even comes with the original CD/cassette stereo for that final unifying touch.


Powering the Aurora is a Cadillac-derived DOHC 32-valve V8. That ‘Northstar Light’ 4.0 gave it up to the tune of 250 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. Mated to that, and driving the front wheels, is an electronically controlled 4T80-E four-speed automatic, operated via one of the biggest shift levers imaginable. At just under two tons, that kind of output won’t make the Aurora a spectacularly quick car, but it will be enough to hold its own in regular traffic.


The dealer selling this Aurora says it’s no stranger on the lot. They bought it from the original owner, and then back from the second title holder once they were done with it as well. The car is described as having been well maintained over the course of those two stewards, and comes with a clean title, a safety inspection, and an accident free history. Also, the dealer includes an image of a huge American flag in their ad so you know they’re down with the patriotism if that’s an important aspect of your purchasing consideration.


More likely you’re going to be all about the price. In that case, the asking for this Olds is $3,900, and that if you’re up on your Aurora stats you’ll know that to be on the high side for these cars. Yep, pretty much nobody gives a shit about Oldsmobiles built any later that 1975 these days. Hell, half of you probably forgot these cars ever even existed.

You should update those memory banks though, since the Aurora is an interesting car that’s actually quite engaging on the road and offers a driving experience that’s pretty unique. Could however, it be worth $3,900?


You decide!


Portland, OR Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.