Oldsmobile Silhouette

The Oldsmobile Silhouette manufacture by Oldsmobile automobile company. Read more to view more detail and video reviews. Please feel free to comments and give rating to help others


The Oldsmobile Silhouette and its siblings, the Pontiac Trans Sport (and later, the Pontiac Montana) and Chevrolet Lumina APV (and later, the Chevrolet Venture), were a trio of minivans that débuted in late 1989 as 1990 models. Upon the demise of the Oldsmobile division in 2004, it was replaced by the newly designed Buick Terraza the following year, in 2005.

The first generation Silhouette was prominently featured in the 1995 film Get Shorty where it was repeatedly referred to as “The Cadillac of minivans”. GM’s attempt of releasing their first FWD minivans in 1990 pursued the company to create one of the very-first luxury minivans, however, at the same time, Chrysler released the Town & Country minivan.

General Motors first attempt at producing a minivan to compete with the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager, the rear wheel drive, truck-based Chevrolet Astro and its twin, the GMC Safari failed to make a noticeable dent in Chrysler’s near monopoly of the minivan market in the 1980s, so this second attempt was made. The Oldsmobile Silhouette and its sibling models, while more successful than the Astro/Safari duo in terms of market share, had significant perceived flaws, primarily centered around its unconventional styling that ultimately limited its appeal and sales.

First shown to the public in 1986, the Pontiac Trans Sport concept car was extremely well received. It featured futuristic styling, individually removable bucket seats with built-in stereo speakers, a gull-wing rear passenger door and extensive use of glass including a glass-paneled roof as well as many other “dream car” features.

Based on the warm reception the concept vehicle received, the Pontiac Trans Sport was approved for production, but as is often the case, the styling and features showcased on the concept did not make the translation to the mass-produced edition.The gullwing door was deemed too expensive to produce and would probably have impacted overhead garage doors in suburban garages. The glass roof was too heavy and too expensive, so the resultant production vehicle made-do with high-gloss black painted panels for the roof to suggest the glass canopy the concept sported.

Chevrolet and Oldsmobile were also given production vehicles based on the Trans Sport in order to cover the widest possible range of potential customers. It was intended that the Lumina APV would be the value-priced version, The Trans Sport would net the more “sport & style” oriented buyers, and the Silhouette would be the minivan for the premium, luxury market.