Foreshadowing Olds’ ambitious product

1989 Oldsmobile Tube Car conceptThe 1980s were a busy time for automotive concepts. Some flew low to the ground, nearly under the radar.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much on this vehicle, but thought I’d put up a quick post on it anyway since it’s such a neat-looking car with a peculiar name.

Svelte-looking but strangely christened
The concept car you see in this post is what Oldsmobile officially dubbed the Tube Car. I could find no reasons as to why and can only assume it has something to do with its somewhat tubular shape. (If anyone believes they know why, please feel free to comment.)

The concept shares many traits with its production offspring, the 1995 Oldsmobile Aurora. Thus, the concept is sometimes also displayed with “Aurora Concept” parenthetically printed below the Tube Car name.

The production car’s so-called Coke-bottle waist and flush-mounted, wrap-around glass appear familiar on the Tube Car, as they translated well from the concept. The headlight design would be swapped for a more conventional design (notice the concept’s louvers), but still share a strong resemblance.

1989 Oldsmobile Tube Car concept
1989 Oldsmobile Tube Car conceptThe rear of the concept foreshadows the production car about as much as the front. The wrap-around rear window would be mimicked and even the taillights hint at the production car’s full-width design.

The doors opened from the center of the car, outward. That means the front doors opened normally but the rears, having rear-mounted hinges, are what are pejoratively referred to as “suicide doors.” The name was garnered because of design/safety deficiencies from many decades ago that created a potentially suicidal situation should a rear door open during travel. Newer vehicles typically include safety measures to prevent such an occurrence, so the name, while effective at communicating a design trait, is rather misleading, even for a 1989 concept.

In any event, when the doors are opened, there is no B-pillar (which is the structural post typically found on cars aft the front passenger compartment opening).

Production version
1995 Oldsmobile AuroraTo the right is the production 1995 Oldsmobile Aurora. The front-wheel-drive sedan had a bit of performance to back up its unique looks; it could sprint to 60 MPH in 7.5 seconds.

1995 Oldsmobile AuroraMany of the Tube Car’s traits can be seen on both the front and back of the Aurora which had a base price of just over $31,000 when it debuted in early 1994 as a 1995 model.

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