By on October 11, 2012

The Oldsmobile 98 was available for most of the 20th century, and the average swank level remained quite high throughout. Of course, there was a certain element of Simu-Swank™ as Oldsmobile’s core buyer demographic became older and the Malaise Era ground on. We’ve seen a few Ninety-Eight Regency Junkyard Finds, including this ’84 Regency and this ’94 Regency Elite, and today we’re going to look at a plush mid-70s Regency with Whorehouse Red interior and 210-horsepower 455-cubic-inch engine.
I went to high school in the early 1980s, and at that time this car was the most punk-rock vehicle you could own. Fill the rear package shelf with red-paint-splattered doll heads, slap some Exploited stickers on the bumper, and you were ready to go.
Let’s check out some of the luxury features, such as this classy door-pull bracket.
No comment.
Back then, Oldsmobile drivers smoked all the time. Actually, just about everybody smoked all the time, and they smoked in places like elevators, supermarkets, offices, and hospitals. Because you didn’t want to have to reach for a lighter to fire up your next Pall Mall, the Ninety-Eight Regency had a lighter-equipped ashtray in each corner of the passenger compartment.
I think I’m going to go back and buy these cool strap/interior-light setups for my van.
Even though my experience with Detroit-made junkyard clocks tells me that this clock stopped forever at 5:42 AM on April 19th, 1977, I’m going to bring a battery pack to the yard and test this one. If it works (ha, ha!) I’ll add it to my car-clock collection.
Not only is there fake woodgrain on the dash, there’s fake woodgrain on the knobs!
They don’t make ‘em like this anymore, which is probably a good thing. However, in spite of its faux-classiness and single-digit fuel economy, the Malaise Era Ninety-Eight was seriously comfortable for long highway drives. It was very quiet and had that floaty isolation from road harshness that octogenarians of a previous age came to expect as their right.

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87 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1975 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency Luxury Coupe...”


  • avatar
    Zackman

    455 cu. in. Oldsmobile? I think I just heard Principal_Dan’s head explode!

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Once upon a time we built honest to god American cars and we were proud… Torque was king and it was easy to drive coast to coast and not loose your mind from the droning of tires and the buzziness of a high reving 4 cyl.

      I guess we do still build vehicles like this, they just go by the name “Escalade” and “Navigator”.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “…they just go by the name “Escalade” and “Navigator”.”

        Sad but true…

      • 0 avatar
        GoTerpsGo

        Disclaimer: I own a 2010 Honda Fit.

        Recently I had to rent a ’12 Chevy Suburban for a family vacation. Your description is very apt for this vehicle: loads of torque, very easy to drive, and very quiet at speed on the highway because the RPM hovered below 1K. When you did mash the pedal the V8 rumble sounded nice.

        I have no issue with body on frame SUVs taking the place of these boats on wheels; they’re simply better designed and built vehicles nowadays – even for the domestics.

      • 0 avatar
        chrishs2000

        I own an AP1 S2000. At 80MPH, it’s kissing 4500RPM. I refuse to drive that car on the highway, the buzzing drives me insane.

        Absolutely nothing wrong with V8 powered luxo-barges. Would love to own one as my third car.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      We had the Rocket 455 in a big orange 1970s Oldsmobile station wagon when I was a little kid. It was a monster.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I got my driver’s license in 1975 and I remember these cars very well. The kids with money all got the Cutlass or Regal, man I was wishing I had one too! And yeah, here in NC (tobacco capital of the world) everybody smoked. Me? never cared for “tobacco” but I did fire up occasionily, but I didn’t inhale!

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I need one of these for a weekend ride. Think of all the ironic hipster points I’d score.

  • avatar
    Pastor Glenn

    Believe it or not, this engine churned out only 190 horsepower from 455 cubic inches, and it wasn’t a 2-barrel carburetor choking it down – it had a Rochester Quadrajet 4-barrel carburetor.

    The Eldorados were the only Oldsmobile 455′s with 215hp that year. So says my 1975 Motor’s manual as well as my Encyclopedia of American Cars.

    “Choked down” is the appropriate term here. The next year was the last year of the big-block 455 Olds engine; after that an (overbored, somewhat problematical) small block 403 was introduced to replace it.

    The interesting fact is that the 1975 Chevrolet big-block 454 only belted out 215hp, as well; the Buick manufactured big-block 455 (no relation to the Olds engine at all) wheezed out 205hp, and the (again totally separate mid-block) Pontiac 455 gasped out 200hp with an early 1950′s level of very low 7.6 to 1 compression ratio…. quite a come-down from Super Duty V8′s of only a few years before.

    Ford engineering was no better. Their big-block 460 wheezed out 218hp.

    Chrysler didn’t even publicize HP in 1975, at least in the Motor’s manual. (Too embarrassed?)

    AMC, yes little American Motors Corporation, on the other hand was still churning out their own reliable and powerful small-block 401 V8′s which belted out 235hp (down from 255 in 1974, due to the addition of catalysts restricting the single exhaust, instead of free dual exhausts). These engine were optional in Jeep Wagoneers, Cherokees and pickups, and were also used in AMC Matador police vehicles. Civilians weren’t interested in them, apparently.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      I noticed the Holley 2 Bbl too, with a manual choke no less. Odd switch to make on an engine of that size. perhaps a misguided attempt to improve fuel mileage.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        And it looks like somebody already snagged the 2 to 4bbl adapter plate while leaving the carb in place – something just doesn’t seem right about that.

        And you’re right – with the small primaries of the stock quadrajet, they get very good fuel economy at light throttle settings. The low compression and smog-grind cam are responsible for the horrible fuel economy on this one.

      • 0 avatar
        Felis Concolor

        Replacing a QJet with a Holley is wrong, and doubly so if one’s goal is fuel economy. If you can’t discipline your right foot to keep out of it, at least disconnect the secondary linkage or block the upper air doors from opening.

      • 0 avatar
        67dodgeman

        Is it possible that the 2 BBL developed more air velocity going into the manifold than the 4 BBL, thus helping torque with the smog heads and single exhaust? Seems to me the 2 BBL on big blocks had some slight advantage on low RPM application.

    • 0 avatar
      Juniper

      True, but it still had 350 ft lbs of torque at 2400 RPM Enough to get that barge moving from the stop light. My 76 Motors has Chrysler HP??

    • 0 avatar

      With all the torque, these cars weren’t as slow as the horsepower numbers suggest. The fuel economy was jaw-droppingly bad, though.

      • 0 avatar
        rpol35

        That’s a good point Murilee. I worked in the mechanical shop of a Chevrolet dealership in ’73 & ’74 and I can tell you that a Caprice Sedan powered by a 235 net HP 454 C.I. engine moved out well. Torque was absolutely no problem, they just started to wheeze a bit in the flat out, long haul acceleration run.

      • 0 avatar
        acuraandy

        ‘With all the torque, these cars weren’t as slow as the horsepower numbers suggest. The fuel economy was jaw-droppingly bad, though.’

        Indeed, even my 1989 Gran Fury squad with 318 ‘lean burn’ could only muster 15mpg (I believe it had a 904 Torqueflite (MoparMan, verify?) and hwy gears (I think 3.21). And that was WITH a fresh carburetor.

        Still miss that car.

    • 0 avatar

      These engines had crap HP numbers because they couldn’t make torque much above 4000rpm.

      Horsepower is just torque X RPM.
      (times some constants)

      300ft-lb at 4000 rpm is 228hp, but the same torque at 5500rpm is 314hp.

      Starting from idle and stomping on the gas, they weren’t _that_ much worse than their stonking predecessors until you got to RPM ranges that typical ’70s Olds buyers only hit if they accidentally left it in 1st.

    • 0 avatar
      Moparman426W

      Pastor, I have the 75 Chrysler factory power ratings, but I don’t have time to dig them out at this moment. I don’t quite remember the rating for the 440, but I know it was something like 215-220.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Hey !

    Grampa died and no one told me =8-) .

    As much as I love my tiny little Imports , there’s something about American Luxo-Barges that I miss , they’ll never be made again .

    Sharp eyes will note this is merely a tarted up Chevy Caprice ‘A’ Body , GM’s usual Badge Engineering at work making Roger millions and the company a bad name =8-( .

    I’d not have those FUGLY seats in a bar but notice they’re still in good shape and *very* comfy indeed .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      Those seats are pulled all the way forward. Either gramps and granny were both short, or someone was looking for change under the seat while the car still had a battery in it.

      • 0 avatar
        Lt.BrunoStachel

        Another step in “The Junkyard SOP Manual”. Just like my comments about missing oil caps and ruined tranny pans from the Datsun 810 wagon. The very last step is the removal of the battery. But the very first step is to search the car top to bottom for contraband. Most of the time the cops beat you to the hand guns and weapons and the tow truck drivers beat you to the weed and crack pipes. But to make this treasure hunt easier and faster you push the front seat all the way forward. Most cars have a lift out rear seat cushion but it’s a PITA if some OG has the seat laying all the way back in Gangsta Mode. That is why you leave the battery in on a power seat equipped car or truck.

        Hmmm? I like the ring to that! “The Junkyard SOP Manual”.

  • avatar
    vwgolf420

    My grandfather had a 1976 model– beige on beige with beige vinyl roof. It was identical in so many respects to this car aside from color. The grille and headlights were different too. It had the 455 and he removed the catalytic converter, as he worked for a small oil distributor that could get him leaded gasoline easily. He towed fishing boat with it so it ate a few transmissions.Man, all that blind on the interior brings back fond memories… I do remember that the electric trunk release was a small round yellow button in the glove box.

  • avatar

    It might be a bit crap looking but that interior has certainly held up well over the years. Certainly does look well over 30 years old.

    • 0 avatar
      schmitt trigger

      My same thoughts, Dave.
      As a matter of fact, most of the time the “blemishes” one would find in the upholstery on these cars were caused by cigarrete burns.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        Unless it was driven by my older sister, then the blemishes would be from roach coals getting blown onto the seat due to the open windows… this lesson from “How to destroy your parents ’76 Cutlass Supreme Without Even Trying”; I tell you, weed caused the decline and the death of that very nice car…

  • avatar

    When I was in school, these were what the bachelor teachers drove.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    It is downright senseless that this car has been junked. I’ve seen four-year-old cars in worse shape.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I have to agree. I realize pictures don’t tell the whole story but looking at these pics I’m left wondering what the Hell is wrong with this car – beyond the fact that it gets 8 MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      sportsuburbangt

      That carb is part of the reason. This 455 should have a Quadrajet, not that Holley 2bbl on the adapter. It probably had a driveability issue. There is a wire holding the choke open and the dist cap is gone. Still a weak excuse for this one to go down like this. It is very clean in and out.
      Shame

    • 0 avatar

      The vinyl top has been scraped off and primer applied, which suggests a rusty/Bondo-filled roof. The Colorado sun is hell on vinyl tops, and GM cars tended to rust around the rear windows even in dry climates.

  • avatar
    vent-L-8

    Looks as though she was in the midst of a restoration from the body work.

  • avatar
    jlight

    I have an uncle who use to let me drive is 98 before I had a drivers license back in the seventies. Same uncle today lets my no license 16year old son drive is white Escalade! Things dont change so much!

  • avatar
    jco

    “You see, children.. there was a time when the seats in our cars were actual couches. They were like lounges.”

    “but you didn’t even have TVs in your headrests?”

    *grumbles about missing the point*

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    I also attended high-school on the early/mid Eighties. I think every school parking lot had one Anarchist Cruiser. Usually painted flat black. At Fletcher it was a Matador with Barbie heads surrounding a GI Joe holding a Russian flag. Also had the mandatory Black Flag and Dead Kennedys stickers.

  • avatar
    Robert

    I just seen an 88 Royale park next to me when I was at the redbox yesterday. It was pretty beat I tried seeing some in beautiful condition with a quick google image search but no luck. Interesting comparison of the stripped 88 and a well optioned 98. This is in a lot better condition as well. I guess 5-7 mpg made this guy just give up.
    The parcel shelf was the thing that stuck with me most. It was well over three feet from the top of the rear bench to the bottom of the rear windshield. Between that and the decklid I would guess this would pass the 4 x 8 sheet of plywood test.

  • avatar

    Whoa…high school flashbacks. My good friend had one of these, though it was adorned in white leather interior. We smoked so much pot in that car…

  • avatar
    jfbramfeld

    I had this exact car, including the interior. We had two young kids and by 1984 the 1974 Chrysler Imperial I had bought from my father was worn out. I bought the 98 from a friend of his for about $2,000. I have no idea what the mileage was. It had only two problems: a button missing from the upholstery and worn out and broken vinyl on the inside of the front doors. A seamstress replaced the button in about 30 seconds and I found the exact seat fabric in a sewing store and replaced the worn out vinyl with the same red velour as the seats. Those seats may look tacky now, but they were rugged, vomit proof and comfortable.

    It was as big as and better than the minivans which hadn’t been invented yet.

    It was the first car I had with electronic ignition. It failed intermittently, so for months I was periodically stalled for no apparent reason. Once, the car died just outside of an extremely decrepit hamlet in Indiana called Headley. A family, including a dwarf named “Smurfy”, stopped to help us.

    While the husband insisted on pouring sandy gasoline down my carbureter, his wife was telling my wife that he did that a lot and occassionally the car would “blow.” Eventually, the car started, presumably because the electronic ignition module cooled down from gasoline being spilled all over it, and we drove on.

    Great car.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Confession time…Didn’t make much difference if you were hourly,trade or salary, everybody had a stash of ignition modules.

      I’m sure the Chrysler guys all a had a stash of those little white things that were screwed to the firewall. Ceramic resister? does that sound right?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Ballast resistor.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Right!

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        I had two spares, always. As soon as the first one was used, I started looking for a second one. I never ever blew a ballast resistor though. My friends who drove mopars all did, but I didn’t. I had a spare one in my glove box that ended up breaking from bouncing around for 4 years. When I got a deal on a “blue box” ignition module, that was the end of problems with them, too. I had the same two spares for the last couple of years, and sold them to a friend of mine when I finally said goodbye and good riddance to my ’77 Power Wagon.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    A Quadrajet Olds 455 even in 1975-76 tune of 190 HP was very easy to tweak back up to 215-220 HP. They were held back by the emission loving spark delay system which cut back on total timing advance and the carburetor secondaries are set to barely open in these years to further aid emissions. About 15 minutes of re-pluming a few vacuum lines and tweaking the secondaries to open both quicker and further made a dramatic difference in power on these big inch motors. Also the Olds motors like there base timing a little higher than the sticker says. The bead pellet catalytic was also very restrictive as I found out numerous times on my 70′s and 80′s GM V8 equipped cars.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Yes, but with the super-low compression ratio, there is only so much power to be squeezed out. I had both a 1969 472 Cadillac (10:1 compression ratio) and a 1971 429 Ford (10:1 or more, depending upon which book you look in) and wow did that make a difference! You had to use high-octane fuel though to get all of the power out.

      I tried to tune up several 1970s low-compression engines and there was a world of difference. My 1975 Pontiac 400 had 7.6:1 compression, and it roared with the secondaries open, but it didn’t quicken the acceleration any, unless you were watching the fuel gauge needle!

      And my grandpa’s 1973 Chevrolet C20 pickup with a 4bbl 454 could NOT even break a tire loose, even when in perfect tune, and that’s with a truck’s lower rear end gears as well!

      • 0 avatar
        Moparman426W

        Some of these posts crack me up. While the lower compression of the 70′s engines was somewhat responsible for the reduced power it only played a small part. The main reason they were less powerful was the factory state of tune they were delivered in. As a rule of thumb power goes up or down by 7 percent with a raise or drop in compression ratio by one full point, with all else remaining equal within an engine.
        People that actually knew what they were doing could get pretty good power from low compression smog engines. The June 1973 issue of Hot Rod magazine is a good example. They tested a super duty trans am, which had an 8.4 compression ratio, and stock it ran 13.54 @104MPH. They changed the secondary metering rods in the carb, uncorked the exhaust and installed a set of M&H racemaster 10 inch wide tires and got a 13.15 @107MPH time out of it.
        I know the super duty was a high performance engine and had the best heads ever slapped on a pontiac engine, but it was still equipped with low compression pistons. A set of headers alone would have put it into the 12′s.

  • avatar
    GoesLikeStink

    “Back then, Oldsmobile drivers smoked all the time. Actually, just about everybody smoked all the time, and they smoked in places like elevators, supermarkets, offices, and hospitals. Because you didn’t want to have to reach for a lighter to fire up your next Pall Mall, the Ninety-Eight Regency had a lighter-equipped ashtray in each corner of the passenger compartment.”

    I had a 76 Cadillac that had 7, one in each armrest one in the back of each front seat and one below the radio. I want to say that all of them had lighters too, except for the ones in the seatbacks. You know, for kids.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      I had an uncle that owned a late 1960′s stationwagon, unfortunately for the life of me I can’t remember what make it was. It had TWO ashtrays on the instrument panel, one for the driver and one for the passenger. Pretty wide ones, too. Crazy…

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    I got my license in 57 or 58 so I saw these come and then go. I haven’t missed this particular iteration except for the fact they were rwd. I did see the engine of one of these (or a buick, I forget) used quite well. When I was in Panama a chief drove down from from the states in a GMC pickup with a camper. It had a 455 that was either Buick or Olds. That is where the torque really paid off and the truck got as high mileage as with the pickup engine that preceded it.

    I would love to have one of these engines with good carburation and an OD transmission in a Van. It would probably outlast me.

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    Wouldn’t want to flick on a UV light on that interior!

  • avatar

    what do you think about an engine swap for this car? any ideas?

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    In high school, a friend and I put a performance camshaft and lifters in his ’76 455-powered Buick Electra 225. We left the engine in the car and just removed the radiator, water pump, and grill IIRC. Then we slid out the old cam and pushed in the new one. Unfortunately, we didn’t touch the twelve year old valve springs, and one failed in a way that cascaded into a rod incident.

    It was really fast while it ran though. I recall driving down the highway at my car’s 95 or-so mph top speed and seeing my friend flying up in my rear view mirror with the tires barely touching the ground and the suspension at full droop. The wind moved my Festiva around as he blasted past, the car looking like it was attempting to take flight thanks to what appeared to be excessive aerodynamic lift.

    He replaced the ratty ’76 with a pristine ’72 Electra 225 that remained stock but was also capable of reaching speeds that its designers didn’t seem to consider.

    It is a shame that this car will be shredded without achieving its potential in team demolition derby.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    What’s sad is, these cars used to be great “beaters” for young people. They were dirt cheap, simple to work on, and had a little bit of panache. You could find them under $1000 all day and keep them fed on junkyard parts for next to nothing.

    Now? A young person would financially be better off leasing a brand new car than feeding a car like this $4 gasoline ($5 will be here in about a year). An $800 car that you have to spend $400 a month in gas or instead a $150 lease payment that you have to spend $100 a month on gas and never have to make a repair. The math is simple.

    So the only fate left for cars like this is the junkyard. Collectors aren’t going to pony up real money to have these restored, and they’re too expensive to actually use as daily drivers if you drive more than a few miles a day.

    Take in the memories now, these kind of cars are going to be erased from existence in a short amount of time.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Sad but true. These large-and-in-charge automobiles, smog choked engines aside, represent the height of American power. In real terms, its been downhill ever since.

  • avatar
    scrappy17

    With the low compression engine, I bet these engines will be a hoot with a big enough turbocharger and upgraded internals, heck even a supercharger will be sweet

  • avatar
    Joss

    Remnant baby IKE pram. I would have gone Toronado rocket V8 & Brougham torque steer be dammed.

  • avatar
    Broo

    A friend had a 1976 Olds Delta 88 Royale. The front of this junkyard find reminded me of it. Six of us went to see a show in this vehicle. It had the 455 too, but even less HPs.

  • avatar
    340-4

    Oh, if I could only get a Whorehouse Red velour interior in a brand new car.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    An uncle of mine owned a 1976 98 4dr in silver with the same bordello red velour interior and grey vinyl roof. He was a long time Olds 98 buyer, every few years from the late-40′s on he would buy a new 98. Yet the 76 while decent and comfy ride was a bit more barge like than the previous models and had body integrity issues, typical of the era of GM Collonnade styling, bad trim which rotted around the rear windows and subpar paint he had repaired. In the late 80′s he moved upmarket to a Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      roger628

      Out of the frying pan into the fire.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Actually he was quite happy with the 88 Sedan DeVille he bought also in silver with the bordello red velour interior. For some reason the downsized C-Body 98 did not appeal to him but the similar Sedan DeVille did because of the 4.5 V8 and more upscale trim. Several years after reliable use by the time he reached age 98, get it 98, he and my aunt were in a retirement community and figured it’s time to give up driving. Some relative grabbed it and ending up having engine oil leak issues that were apparently common with the 4.5.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    This 98 was a “C” body vehicle along with Cadillac Sedan/Coupe Deville and Buick Electra 225. It has a wheelbase 3″ longer than the 88 “B” body, and whether coupe or sedan, the 98 was the longest car GM built at the time! It was slightly longer than both the Cadillac and Buick C bodies. IIRC the Olds B had a couple inches longer wheelbase than the Chevrolet or Pontiac.

    My second company car was a ’76 98 Coupe much like this car except dark blue with a white landau top. In July of ’76,three of us drove it round the clock across country. The “midnight shift” driver’s personal vehicle was a 4WD truck. He didn’t notice he had shifted into second instead of drive and drove half way across Kansas! It was quiet enough that he didn’t notice. We didn’t track the fuel economy, but didn’t make it nearly as far on that tank! The car performed OK, though was a mere shadow of the high compression V8s of a few years before. It was particularly sluggish nearing the top of Pikes Peak. Sure had a well isolated, smooth ride though.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Looks like an Estate Sale car that got sent to auction, and then Pik n Pull got it for the scrap. Wonder how many parts will get picked before shredder?

  • avatar
    troyohchatter

    This was one of the few cars in the 70′s available with optional airbags. Our guidance counselor owned a jet black 98 sedan that had this option. More info: http://www.oldsmobileforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=401

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      Very interesting, I didn’t realize airbags were available at all prior to the late 80′s.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        Oldsmobile was the lead GM division for MVSS (Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) compliance in that era and developed air bags in the ’70′s. There was a joke around Olds, the best selling of the GM C bodies,the only series that offered airbag. We should have sold the $8,000 airbag (a sum more than the retail price of the car at the time!) and thrown in the 98 car free! We would have been money ahead. Though very heavily subsidized, the few hundred dollar cost for the systems didn’t attract many buyers! We also told the regulators that air bags that do not “supplement” seat belts would kill people, which has in fact been the case over the years.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        This is a broad question Doc Olds, but why was it Oldsmobile was more or less left to die on the vine in the late 80s/early 90s? Both Pontiac and Buick were given new product and identity in the same time period, heck Buick even got kitchy models like Reatta and a redesigned Riviera, but Olds just got the finger. I never understood this and I assume it had a lot to do with the internal politics of GM at the time, figured you could shed light on this.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @28-cars-later: “…why was it Oldsmobile was more or less left to die on the vine in the late 80s/early 90s?”

        Oldsmobile died at the hands of the massive BOC/CPC reorganization, which sliced and diced the company and disconnected linkage between engineering staffs and the field that had evolved over many years of operation and led Olds to great success. I remember a sick feeling in 1984 when I learned that Lansing would cease being Oldsmobile, but was to become J/N and, later, L car city. The reorganization of the Car/Truck Divisions, Fisher Body, and GMAD(GM Assembly Division) into the BOC (Buick-Olds-Cadillac),CPC, (Chevrolet-Pontiac-Canada) and Truck Groups left Olds out of the loop. It was not first on the list of any of the groups. Olds bread and butter cars became, in fact, more of “tarted up” Chevies, Premium price without premium powertrains or features.

        Essentially, Chevrolet just swallowed up Pontiac, which ceased to exist other than as a marketing brand, while BOC was organized into 7 divisions- Flint Automotive, Lansing Automotive, DetroitAutomotive(shortly later merged with Cadillac) , BOC Powertrain, and the 3 marketing divisions. That gave Flint (Buick) control of the C/H cars, Detroit (Cadillac) control of the E/K cars, CPC control of Olds’ former bread and butter cars- A,B and G, while Lansing got J,L & N cars.

        The Flint guys first priority was Buick, while Cadillac and Chevy, likewise looked first after their own historic brands. Lansing adopted the carlines it became responsible for,and Olds lost control of most of its product.

        It was a freewheeling time for the nameplates: Cadillac had Allante, Buick had Reatta, Olds actually played with an extended Fiero to be their “special” model. Top leadership thought there were already too many two seaters. A 4 seat stretched Fiero mule I saw was disastrously proportioned and thankfully never was approved. It’s tough to get front and rear seats into a mid- engine package!

        I worked in Oldsmobile Technical assistance as the BOC/CPC reorg was happening and I recall that it was very difficult to inspire the quality attitude and fast product resolution from the automotive divisions whose priorities did not include sales and customer satisfaction at the level Oldsmobile had operated.

        Olds had a good plan- the “Centennial Plan” that envisioned premium features to go with the premium price of Oldsmobile. The Aurora, and Intrique were great cars, but too late. I have heard through the grape vine that Ron Zarella (evil SOB!) had personal conflict with John Rock, Olds’ last great General Manager and was instrumental in putting the final nail in Olds’ coffin just as they were poised to rebound with a good product lineup. The Intrique was a great car, but Zarella’s AD budget did not include the divisional advertising Olds needed to rebuild awareness and volume.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Thanks for the insider insight Doc Olds. Pity things worked out the way they did.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    This feels like a Disco Stu ride.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    What a glorious beast…seems like a waste.

    I have to say, as a member of Generation Y, a lot of the bigger American cars of the 80′s and 90′s are gaining retro value (amongst the few of us who don’t drive Scions with fart pipes, molested Civics or Mustangs.)

    I guess we all remember them from when we were little and they’re cheap, in good shape (mostly from being old people owned) somewhat unique and with the passing of time they’ve become just old enough to be considered “retro”. Obviously they’re not as classic as this Olds 98, but my 93 Towncar with a similar whorehouse red interior got a thumbs up from every one of my peers. Everyone ranted and raved about it. My friend has a 92 Buick Riviera, and people in my age group seem to love it, its been called a “pimp car” on multiple occasions. I have a friend with a nice low mileage ’86 Olds Delta 88, and while that really wasn’t the finest year for that car (primitive 3.8 = lolheadgaskets) it certainly is in nice shape.

    I’m 20 now, but I know a few teens younger than me and a few kids older than me who actually value these 20 or 30 year old cars that might have been considered “un-hip” clunkers 5 years ago.

    Maybe there is hope for this generation of new drivers after all…

  • avatar
    zbnutcase

    And just think of how many X-cars could have been made out of this majestic beast…

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    Was that a 2bbl carb? On a BIG BLOCK Olds? I know it’s Malaise-era and all, but come on….

    Still want one though. :)

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    Yes, that is a Holley 2bbl. Could either be a 350 or 500CFM. Many people used the 500 model for racing on smaller displacement engines. This engine has a 4bbl manifold, someone obviously used and adapter to swap the holley on, but it’s gone now. I know buick actually offered a 2bbl carb on the 455 at some point during the 70′s, can’t remember whether or not olds did.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @Moparman426W- Oldsmobile never offered a 2 bbl on the 98 455,but there was a package called the “Turnpike Cruiser” with a 2bbl 455 in a Cutlass Supreme around 1970. I don’t recall any other 455 2bbl applications. By Around 1973, there were just two Olds V8′s- 350 4bbl and 455 4bbl. We actually made a cutaway display of a quadrajet to help dealers explain that the small primaries on the Qjet could actually allow better mileage than the 2bbl in response to fuel economy concerns aroused by the Arab oil embargo, IIRC.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    @acuraandy, if your gran fury was the civilian version then it came from the factory with the A999, which was a 904 with a lower first gear to help acceleration with the tall axle ratio. Fleet and police M bodies mainly got the 727. I have two M bodies, an 82 Diplomat which was a detective car and an 85 5th Ave. The dippy has the 727, a double roller timing chain and windage tray, as well as trans and power steering coolers.


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