OAM Chevalier Gen 2
1982 OAM Chevalier Gen 2 Poster
The 1970’s weren’t a good time for OAM. The 70’s fuel crises and the rising Japanese automotive industry led to poor sales figures. This and the catastrophic failures of the OAM Cavalry and the RoadCruiser showed that the industry was changing. With a new CEO, Audie Whittingmore, OAM had to act fast to change their image and rebrand themselves to keep with the times.
While the 70’s were a commercial trainwreck for OAM, they was a silver lining. Two cars stood out from the rest as a success, the OAM Traveller and Apache. What the two cars had in common with each other was that both were small, both equipped with smaller displacement engines and both were very affordable and easy to maintain. Their success was vital to keeping OAM running and most importantly, was vital in influencing the upcoming designs.
Using those cars design philosophy as a base, a new design team from Japan, led by Yuuichi Tomeo and new technology such as computers and wind tunnel testing, the next generation OAM cars were set to be sleek, aerodynamic and most importantly, fuel efficient.
What would come from this were two cars, both released in 1981, the OAM Chevalier Gen 2 and the OAM Phoenix.
Generation 2 Chevalier
1981 OAM Chevalier Gen 2 V8 in Laguna Green
Unlike the previous generation, the new “Gen 2” as it was known, was more of a family oriented car. While it retained key elements such as the independent rear double wishbone suspension, the Gen 2 was more sedate, designed with daily use in mind. However, this did not detract from the car’s capability of being sporty. While the 5L V8 was replaced with a 3.5L i6 in the standard model, the more sporty trims retained the V8 in the form of the 3.9L UAC Small Block, found in the Apache. This combined with the new aerodynamic styling and new electronic fuel injection, the Gen 2 was much faster and more manoeuvrable than its predecessor, whilst being larger and heavier.
Gen 2 Chevalier GTi
1985 OAM Chevalier Gen 2 GTi in Midnight Blue
In 1985, much like the Phoenix, the Gen 2 Chevalier received its a facelift in the form of the GTi series. The chassis was overhauled by ex-Erin engineers who were initial hired to improve the performance of the Phoenix, and were eventually hired by OAM to help design new cars.
First modification made to the Chevalier was the introduction of the new OAM designed “EG170DAT” i6 engine. The all aluminium construction, 4 valve DOHC turbocharged engine was originally developed to be fitted to the Phoenix GTi, was also fitted to the new 1985 Gen 2 GTi. This improved fuel economy and made the Gen 2 GTi as fast as the 1981 Gen 2 ‘Indiana’ with the 3.9L V8.
The next modification came in the form of remolding and redesigning the exterior to be more aerodynamically efficient. With new, more sophisticated computing and wind tunnel testing, the GTi was 20cm shorter and had much better aerodynamic efficiency compared to the 1981 models.
Comparison between 1981 Chevalier Gen 2 (Top) and 1985 Chevalier Gen 2 GTi (Bottom)
1981 Standard Model
Price: $17,680 (@ 30% Markup)
1981 “Indiana V8” Sport Model
Price: $19,370 (@ 30% Markup)
1981 “Monte Carlo” Premium Model
Price: $22,490 (@ 30% Markup)
1985 Standard GTi
Price: $19,890 (@ 30% Markup)
1985 “OverDrive” GTi
Price: $22,490 (@ 30% Markup)