For the people who haveheard of Achievas, they picture the geriatric four-door models with a 120-horsepower “Quad OHC” four cylinder coupled to a three-speed (or four-speed if you’re lucky) automatic, plastic wheel covers, and a foolishly ugly rear wheel opening shape. My explanation to these folks is usually, “not thatkind of Achieva - mine was a two-door, five-speed, 185-horsepower homologation of a showroom stock race car.”

Indeed, the SCX was an interesting car that GM in its current state would never build, even if Oldsmobile still existed. The Achieva SCX was produced only during the 1992 and 1993 model years, and in a hat-tip to the days when each GM division built its own engines, the SCX had a special version of the Oldsmobile-developed Quad 4 called the W41 that had a different cam profile, higher (7,000 RPM) redline, and lower restriction exhaust that produced an additional 10 horsepower over the “regular” high output Quad 4. Today, there is no such thing as a “Buick engine” (though the recently-departed 3800 V6 certainly is a Buick engine) or a “Chevy engine” (though the 60 degree V6 in the Impala and a few other cars, plus the Small Block V8 trace their roots back to the Chevrolet division of GM). The 2.3-liter W41 Quad 4, which had a red IDI (integrated direct ignition) cover that said, “W41 - Manufactured exclusively for Oldsmobile by General Motors” instead of the normal black anodized aluminum version of the regular H.O., produced 190 horsepower in the 1992 SCX and 185 horsepower in my 1993 SCX.

Oldsmobile had used the W41 engine in a special version of the previous-generation Cutlass Calais Quad 442 sold in 1990 and 1991 (I’m sure that fans of the original Olds 4-4-2s wanted to pull their hair out upon seeing a front wheel drive 1990 Cutlass Calais with their beloved name on the side, based on the way the GTO faithful reacted to a tamely-styled, yet still V8 rear wheel drive reincarnation of that famous nameplate a decade later). When the Calais bowed out in favor of the Achieva for the 1992 model year, the Achieva SCX took the mantle of the highest-performance Oldsmobile N-body car (actually, it was the highest performance Oldsmobile period in the 1990s).

Some of the exclusive features that set the Achieva SCX apart from the more pedestrian Achieva SC as well as its corporate cousins that shared the same platform were:

*quarter inch silver pinstripe at the top of the body cladding
*body color rocker panels (on the Achieva SC, they were painted flat black)
*electronic suspension adjustment (soft/sport/auto)
*+10 horsepower over the regular high output Quad 4
*5th gear was not an overdrive gear
*no upshift light
*rear track was 34 mm wider
*upgraded clutch
*14 inch five spoke wheels instead of the 16 inch wheels on the regular Achieva SC
*V-rated BF Goodrich tires P215/60VR14 tires (while the regular Achieva SC had P205/55R16 tires, because the 14 inchers were 215s and the 16 inchers were 205s, the car actually handled better with the smaller, wider tires)

Cars without air conditioning (of course, mine did have air conditioning) also had a few other performance features to facilita

This 1992 Oldsmobile Achieva IMSA GTU race car was part of the GM Heritage Museum collection. This handsome IMSA GTU race car is powered by an OLDS QUAD 16V DOHC engine with 5 speed rear mounted Hewland transaxle. Other features include: BF Goodrich slicks, dry sump oil system and oil cooler, HEWLAND REAR MOUNTED TRANSAXLE and WILWOOD alloy HUBS. Since this race car has been in storage in the GM Museum, it should be gone through mechanically before being used on a race track.

When I tell most people that I used to own a 1993 Oldsmobile Achieva SCX, I typically get one of two reactions. Either they have never heard of the car before, or they have heard of the car and think that I immediately lose all credibility as a gearhead for having owned a car as lousy as the Achieva.

On the lack of name recognition, I’ll attribute that to a combination of GM’s propensity to rename the next generation of a model rather than just, you know, improving it (the Cutlass Calais begat the Achieva, which begat the Alero, which was the last Oldsmobile ever produced), and the fact that on the whole, the Achieva was a forgettable car with a stupid name. My explanation to this group is usually something like, “it was the Oldsmobile version of the Pontiac Grand Am, but with a nicer interior and a Groucho Marx face.”


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