Traditionally, a cutlass is a short, heavy sword favored by pirates and other unsavory types. Agile, nimble and brutal, and able to be used in any situation, this resumes quite well the use that Oldsmobile put the name through! The first popular production car to bear the name was the 1961 Oldsmobile F-85 Cutlass, and while it was a bottom of the range model, it soon gravitated upwards to legendary muscle car status, particularly in the late 60s and very early 1970s. The turning point for the first generation of Cutlass was the introduction of a pillar-less coupe in 1961, followed by a convertible in 1962. As with most American cars of the time, the Cutlass was available with a dizzying array of options, seemingly designed to keep even the most astute buyer confused.
True to form, the Cutlass also featured an impressive array of available engines, ranging from a humble straight six, offering middling performance (at best) to a truly impressive 455 cubic inches (7.5-liters) V8, tuned by Hurst. The latest was only available towards the end of the run. With a mid-range 5.4-liter engine, the Cutlass could reach a top speed of 111 miles per hour, and perform a 0-60 acceleration in 9.4 seconds.
Even thought this generation of the Oldsmobile F-85 Cutlass stopped production in 1972, the name continued on, and was used almost continuously for decades, on all types of cars. Versatile, just like its sharp and pointy namesake!