The Cutlass Calais was introduced in 1978. It was on the new 108″ wheelbase A-body platform. This generation lasted though 1984 and while it was the same basic platform, it was known as a G-body at this point.
The notch-back front wheel drive Calais was introduced for the 1985 model year, replacing the X-body Omega. This platform was the new N-body, and was front wheel drive just like the Omega’s.
The initial two engines you could get were the Pontiac derived 2.5L Tech IV, and the Buick derived 3.0L V6. The Tech IV was offered through the car’s entire lifespan, but the 3.0 dropped off the option list after 1988. A 3.3L Buick V6 effectively replaced the 3.0, that same year. The new 2.3L Quad Four was unveiled in 1987 and came in many power levels through the years, ranging from 150hp-180hp. The Calais was chosen in 1985 to pace the Indy 500. Because of this, the Calais 500 was sold this year, which was the commemorative edition of the race, which included the required pace car livery. The entry level performer was the Calais GT, which added stiffer suspension, performance tires, side skirts, air dam, floor shifter, and gauges.
The Calais got a fresh look only one year into its reign, in 1986. Another notable trim level was the International Series. This package included air dams, side skirts, and seating that offered a higher level of support. Another sought-after trim level is the Calais GMO. The GMO name goes back to the 1976 Cutlass GMO which was a special trim package offered through Chicago area dealers. The Calais GMO was a limited edition intended to bring attention to the then new Quad Four in 1987. The top Calais would be the 1990-1991 Quad 442, which essentially was the modern reinvention of the Oldsmobile 442 moniker. This time, ‘442’, stood for ‘4 cylinders, 4 valves per cylinder, and twin overhead. camshafts. The Calais was sold in both 2 and 4 door models, and lasted through 1991. The Oldsmobile Achieva took over for 1992.