1997 Oldsmobile Aurora

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Key specs

Base trim shown

  • Body style not available

  • Combined mpg not available

  • Seating not available

  • Length not available, Height not available

  • Drivetrain not available


1 trim

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

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1997 Oldsmobile Aurora review: Our expert's take


There are show cars and showboats on today’s automotive scene, but not a lot of cars that show as well as go.

One that does is Oldsmobile’s 1997 Aurora Pace Car, the official car for today’s Indianapolis 500.

The eye-catching sedan with its gleaming diamond metallic finish, gold-and-black accents and Indy 500 logo looks like it is going fast just standing still.

Somewhat like what you see is what you get, the Aurora at the Speedway is the same as the Aurora Official Pace Car support vehicles on the streets of Indianapolis. These are the same as the 1997 Aurora sedans found in Oldsmobile dealers’ showrooms.

The only difference is the installation of strobe lighting and other safety equipment needed to conduct the pacing operations of the race.

It wasn’t necessary to modify the 4.0-liter (244-cubic-inch), race-oriented V-8 engine from its stock configuration. The aluminum V-8 has four overhead cams and four valves per cylinder, the same design configuration as the Aurora’s in this year’s starting field.

That makes the ’97 Aurora sort of a smoking gun sedan, with a rated top speed conservative stated by Oldsmobile as 135 miles per hour.

While driving the Aurora, I had the distinct impression that there were a few more miles per hour available on the top end than those claimed by the Oldsmobile Division.

Mash on the throttle and the four-cam V-8 answers the call right now. The acceleration sits you right back in the luxury driver’s seat, with 0-60 mph coming up in the mid-7-second range, thanks to the 250-horsepower stirring under the hood.

The Aurora is luxury all the way, with top-level interior trim, a full complement of comfort and convenience accessories and a smooth, quiet mode of operation.

Thanks to upper and lower body sections that are a series of flowing curves, the sedan slips through the air with a low co-efficient of drag and the absence of wind noise when going fast.

At interstate speeds, normal conversation was possible, unencumbered by air rushing over the body at considerable velocity.

This minimum drag also contributes to decent fuel mileage from a moderately large, powerful engine. Fuel consumption ratings are 17 miles per gallon city cycle and 26 mpg on the highway.

As you might expect, all these good things come with a price.

The Aurora I drove had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $35,735. Add to options consisting of an electric sliding glass roof with sunshade ($995), 6-inch chrome wheels ($900), driver/passenger heated seats ($295) and $665 for the destination charge and you’re looking at a bottom line that reads $38,590.

That’s not cheap, but you are getting a lot of automobile for the money.

The interior finish is in graphite gray leather set off with burl walnut wood trim. It’s a rich-looking combination. From there, the standard accessories just take off.

As a five-passenger sedan, the two front bucket seats are divided by a center console. Driver and passenger sit in sort of a cockpit environment, with all operating controls conveniently grouped around the driver.

The full-gauge instrumentation is right in front of the driver for a quick read. About the only thing I would like to change is the design of the ignition switch.

If it would stand out a bit more from the steering post and have a night light, it would be easier to insert the key.

Everything about the Aurora is meant to be user-friendly. There is an overhead door handle to help the front-seat passenger exit. For the driver there is a tilt-down right rear view mirror for backing assistance. And an interesting touch is an electric compass in the rear-view mirror.

The suspension engineers did their homework with this front-drive sedan, as they have achieved a sports-oriented luxury sedan without sacrificing the ride. The car is steady as a rock in high speed turns. Yet when you go over uneven pavement, all you experience is a rumble from the tires.

Oldsmobile has come up with a p remier autom obile to pace America’s premier auto race. About the only thing I’m wondering is whether pace car driver Johnny Rutherford is going to want to just keep going with his Aurora when they drop the green flag.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 5.0
  • Interior design 5.0
  • Performance 4.6
  • Value for the money 4.6
  • Exterior styling 5.0
  • Reliability 5.0

Most recent consumer reviews


Great Car

Bought my 1997 Oldsmobile Aurora new in early 1997. It is always covered and garage kept when not in use. As of the date of this review it has just over 41,000 miles. The exterior has a great aerodynamic design and I think it still has the look that can compete with the designs of todays vehicles. The only thing I wish was available for the exterior is fog or aux. lamps. The interior was very well designed and is very comfortable on long trips. The audio and climate control systems were well thought out and work flawlessly (at least mind does). The seats with their leather skins and heat system make nice on those cold driving days and nights. On one vacation, and staying near the posted speed limit I obtained an average of 28.3 miles per gallon, combined highway/city . Needless to say I was very surprised with the mpg I got on a 4.0L V-8 engine. It also has very good acceleration and smooth performance. The transmission shifts smoothly even under high acceleration. With that said, I could not tell the difference in the "normal" or "performance" modes on the transmission shift column. I do like the where the battery is located, under the rear seat. My first battery lasted 13 years before I had to replace it. This is most likely because it is not near a high heat area such as the engine compartment. The only negative for me is that you need to used the higher priced Premium gasoline. Although it is not a supercar, I and wish it had more HP, I do love my Aurora and would not sell it for any money. As a matter of fact I would like to buy another 1997 if I could find one in as good of condition as mine! (mine is in mint, but not show room condition)


This is a great car

The only thing that I see is that it's a very high dollar car when you need to fix it. But if you can buy them right as I did you can dump some money in it.


Excellent value Excellent Options

An Excellent car, each penny is worth it Nice body, Full option, leather seats,Link system,power everything, Sunroof . all of that and still an Excellent Price. I would recommend this car

See all 3 consumer reviews

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