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Oldsmobile Aurora: Acceleration

aurora5000aurora5000 Posts: 168
edited July 2 in Oldsmobile
It seems under half-throttle the car takes off in the 3500-4000 range and really pulls hard.

Anybody else notice this? Kinda like the back 2 barrels of a 4bbl. carb. system.


  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    Well, I was going to Target around lunchtime to pick up a few things today. I was on my way there, driving briskly, when I noticed a charcoal gray IS300 weaving around traffic behind me. He got around everyone and rolled up to the left of me at a red light. We were both in the front row. It was a short light so I had to work fast. I clicked the shifter down into 2nd and flicked the traction control off. I looked over at him but he was busy watching the light. He was a young (late 20's) guy with spikey hair so I figured he was gonna go for it. The light changed and I lit them up and looked over at him. He was looking at me with this shocked/surprised look on his face as I blew past him and left him in the dust. He was probably planning on just driving briskly to pass the "Old"smobile next to him. I guess if he'd looked over at me he'd have figured out I wasn't about to let that happen easily.

    Then, on the way home from Target I was stopped at a longer red. A youngish (30's) chick in a Boxster convertible with the top down pulled up on the left. I looked over as I was shifting into 2nd to see if she was gonna go. She had a rather arrogant look like she thought I was checking out her cool machine (I hate Boxsters... what a ween car. If you want a Porsche, buy a 911.) Anyway, being as it was a chick, I didn't want her to feel intimidated or anything so I didn't look at her too long and I didn't say anything. I did however left-foot brake and gas it up to about 1500 rpm. She kept rolling up a little as she watched the light. Once it changed I dropped the hammer and peeled out ahead of her. She had this astonished look on her face like her world just collapsed as this big Olds barrelled past her and her upper-class sports car. The IS300's guy's look was great, but this chick's look was classic. Anyway, it seemed like she had gotten on it pretty briskly but as I rolled past her she backed off. It made me think of Jerry Seinfeld saying "I refuse to race", as if she wouldn't be able to handle it if she did get on it and couldn't catch up. I got hung up at the next light and she eventually caught up and was making a left turn. She had the left-turn arrow before she got there, so she punched it a bit as she passed me to give me a little Boxster growl.

    I swear I love my Aurora. It is like a stealth bomber. No one even sees it until the tires are barking and the exhaust is snapping a stern lecture at them as it passes. I can't wait to get the Corsa's... I actually haven't had anyone car try their hardest to race me yet (the Sunfire was planning to punch it anyway). I usually look over at people when I want to try it. That's all it ever took with the Corvette. People were always looking back. I'd just flash a little smile and look back at the light and it was on. With the Aurora, people don't even look over, and when they do it seems to be because they are wondering why I'm looking. I guess I'll need to start rolling the window down and saying "Hey, let's race". I really have no desire to start doing that, though. I guess they just don't think that big Olds next to them is going to try anything. Even people in comparable cars who obviously spent extra money because of the "performance" cachet that comes with their car. People in Bimmers, Audi's, Mercs, and even LS's. They just don't pay attention until I light them up or they catch the growl of the race-bred V8. If we happen to catch the next light together, they act spooked. They don't look over and pretend like they aren't paying attention. I guess by then I've shown my hand and they don't want their pricey car getting spanked.

    As far as the Aurora being slow in the lower speeds, I really don't think it is. Obviously it would be quicker if it were lighter, but it does pretty well I think. About two weeks ago my wife and I were driving back from a trip to Monticello (Jefferson's home, pictured on the nickel). We had just stopped to fill up with as much gas as we could squeeze in the tank ($1.33 a gallon for premium!) and had started back on our way home. A young (late teens early 20's) kid in a new Sunfire GT was working through traffic and was working his way up on us. I was in the middle lane when the light turned red and he got over into the left lane, which was going to end shortly after the light. This guy was definitely trying to take us before his lane ended. I nodded to my wife and switched off the traction control. The road was at an upward slant for the intersection, thus giving an advantage to the lighter car. Anyway, the light changed and I feathered the throttle a little to keep the wheels from spinning and the Sunfire stomped it. He didn't stand a chance, though. He slowly started to fade back to the rear doors as we worked up to about 40-45mph. The Aurora was belting out a beautiful tune, really sounding smooth and muscular compared to the Dremel sound coming out of the Sunfire. By 40-45 mph, he had to get on the brakes and fall in behind the Aurora. Even to 40 mph with a really full tank and two occupants the Aurora managed to hold it's own against a substantially lighter car. I was proud of the car. I probably could have really disgraced the guy if I'd left-footed the brake and didn't feather the gas. He probably wouldn't have even needed to brake to get in behind me.
  • hammen2hammen2 Posts: 1,313
    RJS, I guess I'm not the only one who enjoys the Stoplight Olympics. It's amazing the number of folks who pull into the right lane (where there's only one through lane) and think they're going to get past my Aurora. Mine's an Autobahn black/black with chrome wheels, so it hardly looks like an old person's car (I once had a rental white/gold trim Deville DTS in San Jose - 18 miles on it - and, at virtually every intersection, people tried to go around me. Heh heh heh).

    I push in the "power" button (my wife knows that's the cue), take off the traction control, and left-foot brake. When the light changes, I push down on the pedal, but don't mash it, and watch the shocked look on the other driver's face in my rear-view mirror as I pull away :-).

    In Milwaukee there's Highway 100 in Greenfield/West Allis, which is the local cruising strip. I don't make it a point to go there on Friday/Saturday nights, but, if my wife and I are out, I certainly don't hold back (and haven't lost yet :-). As an aside, my wife is a former Detroit street racer (she drove 'cudas and Camaros up and down Woodward), and she now drives a white Grand Prix GTP sedan (the special edition one with the hood vents, the black roof fencing, and the special spoiler and wheels). I guess we were made for each other :-)


    P.S. She and I are both dying to take one of the new CTSes out for a spin (but I'm trying to hold off until the new 3.6L V6 comes out, or the CTSi, or the new Monaro GTO)
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    RJS/Hammen2 - I love those stories. Great. Rjs, actually from what I've read, that IS 300 is about the same as the new 4.0 to 60. If you get the jump and a good launch, forget it for the IS. I guess the same could be said for other cars that are supposed to be quicker.

    RJS - yeah, the 4.0's launch pretty decent, but they really shine for the passing power. These 4-something transaxle cars jump off the line and get to 30 in a hurry, but I think some fade a bit from there. You are so right about how hard it is to pass or be passes once you have the momentum and are already past somebody. Even a much faster car has to work hard just to make up the lost ground. If you get the jump off the line or while passing, it can be pretty demoralizing for the other guy unless he's in something really fast.

    The Corsa with the K&N filter will certainly go a long way at the Olympics.
  • blk97aurorablk97aurora Posts: 573
    rjs, hammen2,

    My '97 gets the same lack of respect that you have observed. My most satisfying encounter to date was with a BMW 528. I saw it coming up behind me, weaving in and out of traffic, then we were both stopped by a traffic light; I was in the right lane, the 528 in the left. This set-up is virtually the same as rjs's IS300 story. I knew from the way he was driving that he would punch it as the light turned green, so I was ready. We launched and I was 1/2 to 3/4 car length ahead and held it up to about 60 mph when I had to back off to make my planned right turn (much too fast for conditions, anyway). He backed off too, then floored it again as he passed me. There was no point to that, except to show his frustration.
  • musclecar97musclecar97 Posts: 111
    Unfortunatly I got all of you guys' tips AFTER I got back today. Nevertheless, I feel pretty good about the results. Again this is with the Garnes Airbox modifications and a K&N filter, new AC Delco plug wires and new platnium bosch plugs. I ran 92 octane, quater of a tank of gas, sparetire and jack out, and NO DONUTS! The altitude of the track is 500 feet above sea level, the humidity wasn't very high that day and it was 76 degrees out. I'm really dragging this out, huh?

    Okay, here we go right from the slip: 15.837 @ 87.99mph. Reaction time was a good .523. If the humidity had been higher and the weather cooler and my tires had a bit more rubber (old tires which were replaced two days after the run), I think a 15.3 may be possible. The other two runs I did in higher heat with slightly slower reaction times were: 16.043@87.29mph and 16.089 @ 89.19mph. Really the tires didn't spin too much but every little bit helps.
  • musclecar97musclecar97 Posts: 111
    I was surprised that the 15.8 time was better than the best runs of the following cars there that day: 64 Chevy 2 with a 327, 71 stock Monte Carlo with a 350 (the car only had 23,000miles on it), '68 chevy pickup with a built up 350, and a 66 Buick Skylark GS with a 401v8 that produces 445lbs of torque. The Buick had problems getting traction, as he didn't have posi, the same with the pickup, the Monte Carlo was close, but we took it everytime. The best run was beating a Plymouth GTX by a hair (the GTX cutout for a second off the line, then caming flying up behind me and passed me just after the finish line. The whole thing was a major blast and if I had more $ I'd go for the port & polish and bigger TB. Once my muffler's go, I may try straight pipes from the catback that or glass packs, I just don't think going with the full exhaust mods will add that much over just dumping the stock mufflers.
  • shucknetshucknet Posts: 98
    Is your car an autobahn or regular?
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    That's not a bad time. A friend of mine had an 89 Z28 with the 350 motor. It ran about 15.7-15.8 too. It had about 100,000+ miles, but it's a decent time. Why do you think you can shave an extra half-second? That's a pretty big chunk of time. What were the problems that when corrected will yield such a drop?

    Was it you that posted earlier the 7.3 second 0-60 from the G-Tech? If so, this might be a sign that those accelerometers can be shaky. It isn't that they aren't good, but more that it's very difficult to find a completely level piece of ground anywhere. That's probably why they match times on the track, but can be a bit optimistic off the track. Anyway, thanks for posting your run! You might send it over to Bruce at so he can put it up. There aren't any Aurora times up there yet, but he welcomes them. Hopefully I can join you with some times. I'd like to hit the track this Friday. We'll see, though.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    Very cool. That does sound like a blast. I read your post and wished I was in the seat.

    I think those times are great considering the tires. My personal experience on the tires is this: I had the original 235/60/16 MXV4's with about 6/32 (maybe 5/32)tread left on the fronts. New is 10/32 legally worn out is 2/32. So, my fronts were half gone/half alive. Since I put the new aurora 17's on, my new tires are 235/55/17 MXV4's. The difference is HUGE. They really grab. The old ones spun and jumped around when I nailed it. Some of the difference is the slightly wider tire and .5 inch wider rim too I guess. I have no idea of how much of a difference they would make, but it could be a lot. I say that only because the old tires would be slipping and you really noticed the pause before things started to grab and move. I can't say enough about what a difference the new tires have made.

    From what I've read, it sounds like getting the perfect launch is an art form, and judging by the wide variety of acceleration times for any car from different magazines, I'd say that's a big factor in addition to atmospheric conditions.

    Also - any comments please - would a new tire be softer than one that say 3 or 4 years old? I've wondered if older tires harden a bit and have less traction.

    Again - very cool and thanks for sharing. And BTW, is yours a 3.71 autobahn?
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    The guy with the G-tech is BLK97aurora. His is a 3.48. I think he was getting from 7.3 to 7.9 to 60 with a lot in the 7.6 to 7.8 range.

    Different car. I think he had the K&N and maybe had opened up the box a little.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    BTW - I found a TB for 175 and am mailing it to RSM today. Total cost is 425. I guess you could get by for as little as 250 if you just send your original TB in. Based on 800's results, it sure seems to be doing something significant, hence my decision to try it. Also, it really doesn't seem to tough. 800 has talked me through it and after looking at a TB off the car it's even more clear.

    Exhaust - you should consider the Corsa system. It's all straight through - no baffling. I don't know how you can get less restrictive than that. It's wide open all the way all the time. We will be visiting and maybe additional systems can be made. Supposedly, opening up the exhaust is the biggest (simple)performance improvement you can make - especially on something bottled up like an Aurora.

    800 - I have written in my notes from talking to RSM some time back that the TB is 82mm. Hey, the TB I got came with a tag that even includes the VIN number from the donor car. It was a 97. Pretty cool. There is a note on it saying it was still attached to the intake manifold too.
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    My mistake. They both have 97 in their name... :) So then does Musclecar have an autobahn? I remeber the G-Tech guy (Black97) didn't. I seem to recall that Musclecar does, but hey, obviously my memory isn't great.

    The TB with the VIN is the one from RSM or the one from the junkyard?

    As far as dynoing, have you thougth about just hitting the track? It's probably more fun and it's about 1/5 or less of the price. I guess it depends on whether you want to say "It added 20 horsepower" or if you want to say "It shaved half a second". Both are pretty impressive.
  • musclecar97musclecar97 Posts: 111
    Thanks for everyone's support, I was as excited to let you guys know how things went as I was to make the runs ...well not quite that excited.
    Mine is an autobahn with 79,000miles on it. The tires were terrible and the new ones I've put on since the run make a huge difference in ride and traction. I got Toyo tires which are just H rated, (130mph) and had the forced road balance. All the vibration and steering wheel shudder is gone. I can't believe how sensitive this car is to tire balance.
    I was only guessing on the 1/2second improvement, I really have no idea, but I understand that humidity does play a big factor. As for the runs I had traction off, the shift selector in 3rd, and the AC off. I left foot braked and took her to 1500rpms before dropping the hammer. The stall converter seems to be at 1700rpms. I wish I had the new tires on and left the shift selector in 2nd, though it did seem to shift at redline each time (not that I was paying much attention to the tach). I've got the old Car and Driver article which has the Classic's best run and I'll check and see what it was. I'm convinced the new Aurora's would post faster times as the car is lighter being built on the Bonneville and LeSabre platform.
  • mike98cmike98c Posts: 293
    It's not just age that hardens tires. Successive heating and cooling cycles cause the rubber compounds to harden and lose some of their traction. Tread depth is not a reliable indication of the condition of the rubber.
  • musclecar97musclecar97 Posts: 111
    C&D in April of 94 got 15.7@89mph, I was hoping the airbox mods would improve on that, though they may have gotten a hot pre-production model. I was very happy to break 16.
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    The new Aurora isn't built on a Bonneville/LeSabre platform. They moved to a version of the Aurora platform. They actually have a cheaper version of it, and they are not called G-bodies. They are H-bodies, so the platform is different enough. They moved up, the Aurora didn't move down... Why'd you have to badmouth the new car?

    It's a good run Musclecar. You can try 2nd gear and some new tires, and possibly some bolt-ons if you're interested. So don't worry. You can also try having the oil on the low end of the dipstick (but not to "low"). I don't think I'd drain any oil, but I might keep a track date in the back of my mind each time I check/fill it.

    I second what Mike98 said. When I bought my Corvette it had tires from 89 on it. I bought it in 97! Anyway, they had less than 10,000 miles on them, and plenty of tread depth. They were squirrely as heck. They were a death sentence in rain. I'm a cheap dope and didn't change them until 2001. The tires were Goodyear VRs (gatorbacks) which have a notoriously short life. I put about 40,000 miles on them for a total of almost 50,000 miles on the tires. I swear, they had as much tread depth when I replaced them as they did when I bought the car. I think those tires would have lasted for eternity provided you could avoid wrecking the car in a turn.

    In a fairly common move, I replaced the tires, got cross-drilled rotors, stainless steel brake lines, and replaced all the weatherstripping only to sell it about 5 months later... I didn't know I'd sell it when I did all that, though. Needless to say, all that work and expense added nothing to the value of the car... ugh...
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    I was just reading back through your track impressions. You said if the humidity was higher it would be better. Wouldn't low humidity and low temperature be the best thing? What would high humidity help?

    P.S. Your "hot pre-production model" comment is going to land you in hot water! :)

    P.P.S. Really, email your times to the guy at I want to see some Aurora times showing up there!
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    Mike98c - thanks, but that's like saying old age doesn't kill you, it's getting up to many times to go to work. But thanks for the actual cause and effect there. I hear you about tread. It can look good and still the tires have assumed a new personality. Anyway, I noticed a huge difference all right with the new ones.

    Musclecar97 - The way I see it, you almost matched the magazine time with crummy tires. Pretty cool. I don't know how much weight you dropped from the car, and if that was a big factor. Try again with that new rubber. It's amazing too how much affect the later warmer temps had. There are so many variables.

    Humidity - I have also heard that humid air as opposed to dry air was better for performance. Don't know the science of it. But I've heard that too.
  • rjs - when I was at the track everyone kept saying if the humidity was higher the cars would run better, I had no idea why. The next day I was watching the NW National drags on ESPN2 and the announcer says "there's alot of moisture in the air today which will really help these cars breath and get better traction." I have no idea how the better traction or breathing works but thats what he said. I checked the caddy page and I don't want to post the slowest time up there with our Aurora, wait till Tyler does his runs and hopefully runs in the 14s so we have some bragging rights. I also noticed none of the times posted were from a track but rather using a G-tech. How accurate that maybe I don't know

    Garnes - Thanks for your supportful comments. Unfortunatly the track is 400 miles away and I won't be running again for a year. I was just really curious as to how the car would perform.

    Bonnevile/LaSabre comments- I wasn't bad mouthing the new Aurora, just commenting on its reduced weight. I'm convinced its faster than the classic. As far as looks go, I prefer the new model's nose and gauges over the classic, but those hips and shoulders on the classic made it THE CAR.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    800 - good deal. Call him in awhile to make sure he knows it's for real. 2 cars.
    I want it NOW!!! Did that sound like "I want an Oompa loompa now!!!
    Yeah, I'll have to check it out at GM Forums.

    Musclecar97 - you really are trying to light it up again with the new aurora vs. old aurora thing. Anyway, RJS was pretty diligent and got some decent curves on the new aurora from GM. Comparing them to the nice graphs provided in the classic brochure shows that the classic has a lot more torque almost throughout, and more HP too except the new 4.0 has some more HP at the top end of the curve before leveling at 250. However, the classic is 160+ pounds heavier. So, I think they are essentially the same.

    Hey you could look at your track results this way: With bad tires, +9 HP, and a little less weight, you crushed the times reported by some other magazines. 16.3 Motor Trend. 16.5 Road and Track.
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