• Oct 1, 2010


Of all the people longing to drive the Oldsmobile Aerotech back in the 1980s, you'd expect that the cars designer would have taken it for a few spins. Despite having his first sketch for the project turn in to the record-setting aerodynamic research vehicle, Ed Welburn's closest contact with the Aerotech was during long wind tunnel sessions.
Having risen through the ranks during his nearly-40 year career at General Motors, Welburn is now oversees GM's worldwide design staff, and his memory was recently jogged by seeing photos of the Aerotech posted in a design studio. Being the chief has its privileges, so Welburn's desire to drive his creation turned into a trip to the Milford proving grounds, where a 1992 version of the Aerotech was waiting.

A Chevrolet Corvette set the pace at a sedate 60-something miles per hour, despite the Aerotech's V8 sourced from the Oldsmobile Aurora. While he may have only just gotten to drive the Aerotech, the car has had a significant effect on Welburn since he first penned it. The aerodynamic attention to detail he learned on the Aerotech has informed all his work since then. The Chevrolet Volt owes a lot to the Aerotech, because Welburn had the patience and discipline to work out the design for better airflow, as well as bring engineering and design together for a harmonious relationship, another seldom-seen skill among car designers. While the Oldsmobile brand has been shuttered, the Aerotech stands as a significant achievement, and the various speed and endurance records the car set have yet to be broken.

[Source: Detroit Free Press | Image: Karrmann via CC 2.0]


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  • 22 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Aurora V8? The Aerotech used a Turbo Quad 4...
        • 4 Years Ago
        The "Shortstar" is the 3.5L V6 version that came in the Intrigue, not the 4.0L V8 in the Aurora.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Olds Aurora engine was a 4.0l version of the Northstar. The 4.0 also was known by its nickname, the "Shortstar". I'm glad that Ed finally got to take it for a lap at Milford, but it's too bad that he couldn't hammer it. I imagine they wouldn't let him because he, and the car, are both too valuable to GM.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Exactly, the Aerotech was designed to show how "aewsome" the Quad 4 motor was. I believe the Aerotech set a land speed record at Bonneville over 200 mph for the fastest 4 cylinder car. I could be wrong on that but I know the Aerotech had the Quad 4.

        The Aurora had a revised Northstar engine from Cadillac.
        • 4 Years Ago
        oh, nevermind... I see there was a later model with an Aurora V8...

        I prefer the Turbo Quad4 version, myself...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday. See Hudson, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Thunderbird, Crown Vic, Plymouth, etc.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'da flogged it. No way would I have run 60mph being the dude who designed it, and who I was now. Hey, what would they have done to him anyway? Mash the pedel chicken!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wish there was a kit car of the Aerotech...and going to Lansing for the Homecoming show for quite a few years in a row with a group of Alero owners, it was awesome to check the Aerotech mock ups, and pics, and engine in the Museum.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Cool car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Can anyone who understands aerodynamics well explain why the rear wheel gap is so huge? The wheel well is not only well above the wheel compared to the front, but also sticks further out so the wheel looks sunk in. How is this better than a flush fitment so commonly seen on Bonneville cars?
        • 4 Years Ago
        the wheels and tires you see in this pic are probably only roll around tires, since the rear tires would be alot taller.
      • 4 Years Ago
      ^ don't feed the trolls, he's obviously looking to get attention.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They must have had many different bodies for this car because thats not the one that was in all their marketting material back in the day, if I remember correctly.

      Either way, its cool to be able to actually use/drive one of your own creations.
        • 4 Years Ago
        There were at least 3. Originally also it debuted the Quad-4.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Says the guy who does not know how to spell.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This car always reminded me of the characters from the cartoon Snorks.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I miss Oldsmobile
        • 4 Years Ago
        My parents owned a '95 until late '08 when they sold it. Loved that car, awesome mileage for a v8. I miss it at times.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Me too. Almost bought a low-mileage (38K) 1995 Aurora last year, but the owner's family decided at the last minute that they couldn't bear to part with "Grandad's car" :-(

        "Grandad's car" had a K&N air intake system and a set of Pirelli P-Zeros, among other enhancements.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I will try this again, AOL did not send me a email to ok this letter, which happens Quiet often. I am still mad at Goverment Motors (G.M.) for killing off the Olds. They should have killed off the G.M.C truck. Why have two Trucks, after all the GMC is just a Chevy With Different trim, and maybe some different items, If it weren't for GMC Chevy would outsell Ford. ( no disrespect to Ford) Olds is/was an American Icon. G.M. is dummer than a box of ROCKS.
        • 4 Years Ago
        KEVIN, You must br one of the idiots working for G.M.Have a good day anyway.
        • 4 Years Ago
        GMC is still around for 1 reason: $$$$$

        It's pretty easy to take a Silverado, slap a new grill on it and add a few hundred bucks to the price tag. If people weren't buying them, GM would shutter GMC
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