OSV: A Look Back At Oldsmobile's Forgotten Tuner Brand
Ask anyone auto enthusiast what their prevailing image of the Oldsmobile brand is, and the answer will likely be something like a Rocket 88 from the 1950s, a 442 from the late ‘60s or the extremely popular Cutlass of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
However, in its waning days of existence at the turn of the millennium, Oldsmobile made an unsuccessful but interesting attempt at capturing the enthusiast and emerging tuner market with a line of modified concept vehicles it dubbed "OSV."
Taking clear inspiration from Ford's SVT brand, OSV stood for "Oldsmobile Special Vehicle" and in the fall of 1999 at the SEMA Show it brought a trio of modified concepts designed to show what a possible performance brand could be.
Intrigue OSV Sedan
First among the trio was an OSV version of the Intrigue sedan. In the likely event that you don't remember the Intrigue, it used GM's W-Body platform which was also shared by cars like the Pontiac Grand Prix and Chevy Monte Carlo.
The OSV treatment included an Eaton supercharger fitted to the Intrigue's 3.5 liter DOHC V6, raising the car's output to 260 hp.
Other mechanical upgrades included a set of large Brembo brakes covered by 19" wheels, and the exterior featured aggressive new fascias and side skirts. Recaro seats were fitted inside and the whole body was painted in a candy apple red hue used on all three of the OSV concepts.
Alero OSV Coupe
The Alero coupe was one of the more popular Oldsmobile models introduced in the brand's final years, and the OSV version of the car shows the potential of a performance version that never was.
Cosmetically, its upgrades are nearly identical to the Intrigue OSV, but the smaller Alero OSV was powered by a supercharged version of its 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine that made 230 hp.
Silhouette OSV Minivan
Last but not least, there was the funkiest of the trio: the Silhouette OSV minivan. As with the other two, this family hauler got the same candy apple red paint, custom ground effects, big brakes and Recaro seats inside.
While the Intrigue and Alero OSV both had forced induction added to their engines, the Silhouette's V6 stayed naturally aspirated with simple exhaust and intake modifications. Even so, you have to love that brand like Oldsmobile even thought of showing off a souped-up minivan at SEMA.
As you likely know, the OSV project never evolve beyond the concept stage. By the end of the year 2000 GM announced its plan to close off the Oldsmobile brand, with the last Oldsmobile rolling off the assembly line in 2004.
Could a line of OSV production models have saved the brand? Almost certainly not, but even as it neared its final days, the OSV concepts once again that Oldsmobile could do a lot more than just boring, comfortable transportation.
Speaking of forgotten GM concept vehicles, check out this selection of wild Chevys from the 1980s.