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Last Oldsmobile rolls off line

It's the end of the road for the oldest automotive brand name in the United States.

Alero: The last Oldsmobile.

The last Oldsmobile rolled off the line after 10 a.m. ET Thursday at the Lansing Car Assembly plant, which has produced the venerable vehicles for nearly a century. (Photo gallery: From December 2000, Oldsmobile through the years)

Employees watched as the last Alero rolled off the assembly line. The last car will feature the signatures of the plant employees on the inside of the hood and be displayed at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing for about four months, said Rebecca Harris, a spokeswoman for General Motors (GM).

Oldsmobile, the brand that pioneered chrome-plated trim and gave drivers the Eighty Eight series, the front-wheel-drive Toronado and the Cutlass, was named for its founder, Ransom E. Olds, who started the Olds Motor Vehicle Co. in Lansing in 1897.

It became part of GM in 1908. Of the 35.2 million Oldsmobiles built during the nameplate's existence, more than 14 million were built in Lansing.

GM announced in December 2000 it would end production of the struggling Oldsmobile line with the 2004 model year. The Alero is the only vehicle remaining in the brand's once diverse lineup.

For more than a century, Oldsmobile meant steady jobs and decent paychecks in the state's capital city. The GM workers who have made Oldsmobiles over the years still will build Pontiacs, Cadillacs and Chevrolets, including the Cadillac CTS luxury sedan and the retro SSR roadster.

But for those who gathered Thursday at the R.E. Olds Museum to see the last Oldsmobile Alero being moved to the museum and to catch a sneak preview of a "Thanks for the Memories" exhibit that opens Monday to the public, it was a sad day.

Oldsmobile is the oldest U.S. automotive brand name, behind only the Daimler name worldwide. Oldsmobile's presence in Lansing has been fading since GM reorganized in the mid-1980s, and decreased even more when its main office was moved to Detroit in 1998.

But affection and nostalgia linger, and Oldsmobile pride is as much a part of Lansing as the Capitol dome that rises within sight of what used to be Oldsmobile's headquarters on the south edge of downtown.

Sons — and daughters — followed their parents and grandparents into the plants.

"It's truly a situation where there's an Oldsmobile family," said GM spokeswoman Kim Carpenter.

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Hey, I can understand...... It's not a FORD, so why worry about it? :D I guess it just makes my 1985 Olds Regency 98, with 27,000 original miles on it worth much more money!!! ;) Any interested parties????
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