By on August 23, 2013

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Running the show here at TTAC has a few privileges. One of them is that on a relatively slow news day I can take the site over to put up pictures of General Motors “box” B/C-body cars from the Seventies and Eighties. These shots were found by The Brougham Society’s Kevin Campbell and they showcase one of my favorite Boxes. With its cliff-face front end and stately finlets, the ’77 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight positively exudes natural dignity. To a generation that had no trouble remembering the dismal interiors of the Model T, the C-47, and the Navy LCVP, the all-green velour salon must have been cheering and impressive in equal measure.

At the age of eleven or so, your humble author was driven around quite a bit in a blue ’77 Regency; my father’s business partner had one. Some time in 1982, both of the old men (age of my father in 1982: 36. Age of your author today: 41) went to the Lincoln dealer and joined the Church of The Panther by purchasing a pair of blue Town Car Signatures. I missed the Ninety-Eight. I thought it was better-looking and had a nicer dashboard. Little did I know that GM would cut the legs out from under the full-sized car before I made it into my teens.

Oh well. What’s past is prologue, but these magnificently proportioned sedans will never return.

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229 Comments on “Editor’s Choice...”


  • avatar
    Slave2anMG

    My dad had a ’76 Grand Marquis at that time – seemed even older and more barge like than the trim and sharp B/C bodies.

    And what’s especially depressing here is seeing an ‘antique’ plate on cars that I could have driven when they were NEW. Bloody hell.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      The plates caught my eye for a different reason.

      Florida is a one-plate state and this car’s owner has put an expired Antique plate on the front. Who knows why. Maybe he wants the car to look like it is from a two-plate state. Or maybe he wants everyone to know it’s an antique (under Florida DHSMV regulations).

  • avatar
    cmus

    I just can’t resist:

    Suckers to tha side, I know you hate my 98

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Even though the closest thing I own at the moment would only qualify as a Landau, I am really going to have to make it to some Broughm-centric events as I too have an appreciation for cars from this era.

  • avatar
    lmike51b

    All that brougham, but no RH mirror. Still a nice looking car.

    • 0 avatar
      greaseyknight

      Probably some sort of base model then, its legal to, you only have to have 2 mirrors to be legal. I had a truck without the RH mirror, and boy was it a pain to change lanes when the rear window was blocked.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      My 92 Cavalier also was missing the RH mirror, apparently at one time it was part of an options package. This may have been a GM thing I can’t recall Ford or Chrysler product of the period ever missing a RH mirror.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        One time I had an early Escort (’81-’82) without a factory installed RH mirror. Back then it was considered a sporting or luxury item to have that RH mirror. The same kind of thinking led to higher trim level cars having separate lock and ignition keys.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          GM didn’t manage to NOT make separate keys for most of its cars until the late 90s.

          As to that puke green monstrosity in the pictures, it makes me want to hurl. Those days are LONG gone, thank GOD. No accounting for taste or lack there of.

          Jack is the only guy I read who would prefer some clapped out (maybe he got clap in?) Mercury over his Dad’s 7-series.

          • 0 avatar
            MK

            Dang I’m agreeing with you……yeah that $hit was hideous in the late 70s and even worse today.

            As a kid I remember thinking “why are these seats like my aunts living room chairs” and “why did they call it a 98″? And now its even more WTF?!

            I will say that’s a very nicely preserved example of mediocrity, well done Florida gentleman! Well done.

            ( and JB is just tryin to establish his TTAC cred, cut a brotha some slak)

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            Ford used to supply two keys, but the trunk key (oval head) was separate from the door/ignition key (square head). I think, though, that for a couple of years they changed that — the oval key opened doors and trunk, and the square key was only for the ignition. I believe it had something to do with preventing thieves from fabricating ignition keys from door locks or something crazy like that. They switched back by using a subset of the ignition pins to open the door, iirc.

            The ’96+ Taurus switched to a single key for everything, largely because the folding rear seats didn’t lock. My grandfather was livid about it when he bought one.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @dtriment, Yeah Ford did switch back and forth between having the round key do doors, trunk, glove box and hood(if equipped with locks). If it was a hatch or truck then it might be the glove box and hood if equipped with locks.

            Currently the doors, trunk and glove box share the same lock and the ignition is different but one key opens them both. How they do that is they use a 7 tumbler key and each only use 4 of those tumblers, so the middle one is shared. If you go to Ford and get an ign lock cyl there will be a number of options depending on the existing lock’s middle cut and only 4 of the positions will be cut. You then cut the final 3 positions to match the door lock and no all the locks will open with the same key.

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          @dtremit, interesting fact about Ford keys, at least back then. While the keys were cut on both sides and were omnidirectional, the lock only used one side at a time. If you were a multi-Ford household but didn’t want to carry around all those keys, you could get one key cut for two different cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I have done that, then file a little notch on one side so you know which way to insert the key for which car. Nowadays you can do that on almost all cars as they still only use one set of tumblers.

      • 0 avatar
        sfvarholy

        Very common for GM and Ford up until the early 1990’s to make the RH mirror an option. Base models only got a manual mirror, then upgrades included a remote LH mirror and remote RH mirror. Sometimes there was an upgrade to remote sport mirrors.

        Once they realized the labor involved in making a plethora of variations cost more than simply putting a mirror on the car, that option went away for the consumer market. You still see that in commercial pickups and vans.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          The square chrome remote LH mirror was the “step-up,” followed by a matching non-remote RH mirror, then topped by the LH/RH body-colored “sport” mirrors, at least on the intermediates (A/G-bodies) and lower. (Maybe after 1984, both mirrors were included on most of the line, and the chrome RH remote may have been an option on the Regals.)

          As for keys, was ’77 or ’78 the year GM went to square-headed key for the ignition, round-headed key for everything else? (On my Mom’s 1971 Cutlass, the square-headed key unlocked the doors and ignition, while the round-headed key was only for the trunk.)

      • 0 avatar
        Boxer2500

        I’ve driven a ’93 Honda Civic CX (fun little car!) with no passenger side mirror. There was a trim piece installed where the mirror would be mounted so it must have left the factory that way. I was a little bit surprised but then again an engine and fully enclosed body were about the only standard features on the Civic in those days. With the excellent outward visibility on those old Hondas, it was barely missed.

    • 0 avatar
      Slave2anMG

      35 years ago RH mirrors were very much the exception, not the rule. My ’77 280Z had a right hand mirror and it was quite unusual at the time…

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        I’d never seen an Olds 98 without the right-side mirror and I’m 48 yrs old and saw plenty of these back in the day. But, it wasn’t too long ago that it was not unusual to see a Mercedes Benz or BMW (plus other imports) without RH mirrors. Personally, the few times in my life where I’ve driven a car without one I’ve hated it, it’s felt like being half blind. I’m a big believer of mirrors.

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        Only if you bought domestic junk…

    • 0 avatar
      RideTheCliche

      My ’95 Civic was sans-RH mirror as well. And floor mats. And radio. Don’t give a damn, I still miss the hell out of that car.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Yep, in the U.S., on the 4th-Gen CX and VX (IIRC), and the Sedan DX, the RH mirror was optional. There were no cable remote controls–the LX and above Sedans, and the EX and Si Coupe and Hatch had power body-colored mirrors (except for the LX Sedan, which had them in black (and which had the “high-end” option in ’94 and ’95 of ABS)), and right now, as I type this, this admitted Honda “fanboi” and former ’94 Civic EX Sedan owner–Torino Red Pearl FTW!!!–doesn’t recall if an “LX”-grade Coupe was offered, and I’m too lazy to look it up!

  • avatar
    snakebit

    Boy, more velour in that interior than at the Mustang Ranch, though not red. Say what you will, it does look comfy in there, which was probably Oldmobile’s intention.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      *sigh* … blue velour.

      Somebody else drive.. it’s nap time.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      It’s not the velour, it’s the comfort of those seats! That was one thing GM full sized cars had, seats you could drive cross-country in them without needing to be put in traction afterward. Buick was the last, with the 2005 Park Avenue split-bench, but now you need to get the 15-way power seat for anything more than a grocery run, and forget the spacious-for-cowboy-boots foot wells you see here, they’ve been destroyed by ever-bigger consoles. I really think the sales of trucks and early SUVs were punched up by people looking for foot space, comfortable bench seats and column shifters.

      • 0 avatar
        old5.0

        Agreed. Those seats were almost as comfortable as your own bed. I wish I had appreciated these machines more in their heyday. Hindsight, and all that.

      • 0 avatar
        Boxer2500

        I suppose no two butts are alike, but I have always been mystified when I see people rave about the comfort of these shapeless pillowtop seats. I’m 28 with the spine of a 65 year-old thanks to multiple injuries. Having gone on plenty of road trips in my grandpa’s various Broughams over the years, I have found that overstuffed seats feel great for the first hour, then the lack of support takes its toll and my back starts to hurt. By the end of the day I’m limping. Maintaining an upright driving position is also more difficult. The wide open console-less footwells common with bench seats, on the other hand, are wonderful.

        Give me firmer seats with good lumbar support (as found in most Swedish and German cars and lots of newer American cars) and I can go all day long and feel perfectly fine.

        Maybe I just have unusual anatomy. I don’t go for overly soft living room furniture either. My parents owned mostly Volvos, VWs, and BMWs as I was growing up so my cheeks probably formed to the shape of the firmer seats.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Exactly this. Those couch seats feel GREAT in the showroom. Then two hours into a road trip you want to detour to see a chiropractor. Those hard Europeans seats have all day comfort with proper support. Peugeot did manage to make soft seats that had great support though. Magic carpets, those cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            I’ve driven cross-country several times, San Diego to Boston and back, in a Chevy Impala, a Mercury Montego, and a Buick Regal, all with seats like that, and had no back problems. I DID use, for lumbar support, a throw pillow with tassels that my sister gave me, embroidered with “Good Luck”, and I occasionally used an 18″ square, 3″ thick foam cushion covered in luxurious herculon, but the latter only to combat “damp Bottom” driving through Oklahoma and Texas in August, when the AC went out in the Impala.

        • 0 avatar
          snakebit

          I wouldn’t say that you have unusual anatomy, I’d say that you along with a few others have latched onto the advantage of driving some European and a few Japanese cars whose manufacturers don’t cut corners when it comes to driver seating. Maybe 20 or 25 years, it was known that doctors would recommend Volvo seating for patients with back problems who couldn’t use conventional American car bench seating without discomfort. My last two cars have been 3 Series coupes with ‘sport’ seating. The best seating I’ve experienced came from the cloth or leather front seats of the Merkur XR4Ti, totally manual recline(Recaro) and height adjustment, with only motorized adjustment used for lumbar support.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Nice shot under the hood but what is it? Olds 307, Olds 350, Olds 403?

    God I’d love one with the 403. Grandma had a 1979 Ninety Eight with the 403 and she used leave all non-muscle car challengers in the dust with that thing. (She was only 50 when she bought it brand new.)

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @PrincipleDan- Wikipedia says 350 was standard. I recall a lot of 98s had the 403, though. The carline had long had Olds biggest engines as the standard. The 403 cars also have a bigger diameter wheel bolt circle, as the 98 traditionally had, compared to 88 or Cutlass.

      We hosted the 1977 regional dealer announcement show in Detroit. The ’76 98 had been the longest car GM made, so I was amazed to learn the ’77 98 Coupe weighed the same, to the pound, as the Cutlass Supreme Coupe! It really was a nicer car in many ways, excluding power. And the 98 was hot. We sold 139,423 of them. And more than a Million more of other models on top of that!
      In 1977, our biggest problem was not being able to build them fast enough!

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I still subscribe to the maxim: “Torque Rules.”

        And the 403 was one of the small block kings of that maxim.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          No replacement for displacement!

          Well, there is supercharging, but you can still do that on top of bigger displacement!

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            “No replacement for displacement!”

            Can I have an AAAAAAA-FV!KIN!-MEN??????!!!!

            My 2013 Accord V6 Sedan slushbox will SMOKE any “Eco-bust” Fusion that tries to tussle! And the 6MT found on the V6 Accord Coupe will kick MY baby’s a$$!

            I’m having fun now, before CAFE forces us all into Trabants (with four-cycle engines, thereby reducing the emissions output)!

            Saw what coulda been my summer dream driver (weekends, car shows, and whatnot)–a 1987-ish Olds Cutlass Sedan today, with a “For Sale” sign on it. Made a mental note to look at it later. If I could, I’d love a near-mint Sedan, fully-loaded, all options, 307, 4-speed overdrive, Brougham, just for a weekend/show driver, as stated. My first car was a used-up, first-year hooptie of a 1978 Cutlass Salon “aeroback” Coupe. Complete with an inch of cigarette ash on all floor surfaces on the inside from the chain-smoking aunt from whom I inherited the car shortly before her passing, along with windows that required EIGHT ROLLS of paper-towels to clean to my impossible standards!! (Unfortunately, her husband, who passed away around the same time as she, had a 1980 Delta 88 Royale that was nearly perfect, but had already been sold, or my Dad, after seeing that Cutlass, would have purchased that Delta for me without a second thought, and I would have paid him back after college, WITH INSANE INTEREST, though he probably wouldn’t have taken a cent! (The ‘rents bought me my first tank of gas and paid the first insurance premium, and after that I was on my own–good lesson at age 17! :-) ) As with many GM models, by the last year of production, these cars were damn near bulletproof, and perfect!

            Sadly, later on today, saw same said vehicle, out and about in town, with rust on the front bumper, and with a loud exhaust–heaven knows what else may be amiss!

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      Chevy 350?

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @Mark MacInnis- it is definitely an Olds V8. It is impossible to distinguish a 307 from a 350 from a 403 (or a 260 or 330, for that matter)externally. They are all the same other externally, with different bore diameters.

        The 260 had the distinction of being the smallest bore V8 in America, while the 403 had the largest. The 403 bore was actually too big in that it took too long for the flame front to propagate all the way across the combustion chamber. The cylinder heads really could have benefitted from twin spark plugs.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Nope the oil filler pipe at the front of the engine indicates it is a genuine Olds Rocket engine.

    • 0 avatar
      Neb

      Is that a structural brace in the engine bay? Is that stock?

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @Neb- The braces are stock, intended to reduce front sheet metal shake. This is a BOF vehicle, remember.

        The engine compartment appears completely stock except for the upper radiator hose.

        This car reminds me that it always seems to be the green cars last forever. I hate green on a car.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          Paint booth sludge green. For some reason, all the paint booths I’ve spent time in have this color of green for the mixed sludge. I always thought it had some correlation to why green last so long – but it can’t be a dark green, at least my ex wife’s J-body with Forrest green peeled away in the southern sun. May have been a GM bad formula.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Those houses back there are preeeety nice. I guess that would of been the natural habitat when new: around rich white people.

    Now, it’d more likely be seen in front of a run-down apartment block, with a puddle of oil around it and grass clippings stuck to the hood.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Broughams: The stinkingest, lousiest cars that Detroit ever produced. Fat, fake luxury, cheaply built, handled like crap, lousy on gas.

    I’d rather own a Lada. At least it was an honest car.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Nah, these were disposable road pillows for more pragmatic career-climbers and business owners who didn’t need the Cadillac badge.

      Gas was around 60-cents/gallon in ’77, “handling” meant something hourlies in the storeroom did and build quality wasn’t a factor when you turned over every couple of years.

      I have a much older bro-in-law who is now a jr. billionaire. He was building his business back then and drove Oldsmobiles throughout the ’70s. I can’t tell you how swaddling and luxurious these felt to a bumpkin child like me.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Here, here. They rattled like the slapped together billboards of GM customer contempt that they were, and the suck-you-into-a-cheap-velour-swamp pillow seats were *horrible*. Not to mention the ever-sad looking afterthought ‘gages’, lousy control layout, the cheap feel of every surface in the car, with panel gaps and mis-alignments even the Russians could see from space.

      Like lots of other things, I’ve found after questioning the ones nostalgic for bowl-pluggers like these never really had much (if any) actual experience suffering through, err, living with them. Cars like these are why my family gave up completely on domestics by the late 70s.

      Looks are highly subjective, if someone likes a ‘look’ you can’t argue it. But, I have no idea why some low quality chrome bits, clumsily applied to a very generic 2 box body is attractive. It just looked like the down-market version of the incredibly cheap-looking Caddies of the same era.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        For earthlings they were dreeeamy.
        I rode in them lots.

        First stereo I ever heard in a car, too *hyuk*

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Yep, these cars were aspirational at the time, even more-so than the available imports that traded in the same ballpark. Compared to something much newer, of course they seem low quality. In perspective to what else was available, they were nice rides.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            That’s why Olds became only the third brand in history to sell over 1M a year, sold more vehicles per outlet than any other brand in those years. And we got more money for ‘em, too!

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Most people just didn’t know any better. If all you had ever experienced was an even cheaper and nastier Chevy, then this Buick would seem pretty nice.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @krhodes- Kind of presumptuous and judgmental. What were you doing in 1977? Any idea what any other 1977 cars were actually like?

            People chose to pay more to buy Oldsmobiles because the cars were better, not because the buyers were stupid.

            I am not at all fond of the colors of this Oldsmobile and btw, it is not a Buick.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Well doctor olds, I’d bet that just like me, in 1977 krhodes1 was past the age of reason and knew what pathetic junk that steaming pile of GM horrors was.

            I lived in the a place in the MW populated with a bunch aerospace engineer types. Guess how many still bought GM by the mid 70s? 0, zip, zilch, none, nobody. (OK there were some Opel Manta Rallyes) Domestics like IHs and Wagoneers were to drag the boat and/or horses, not something to drive if you had any choice.

            Regardless of how those rose-colored glasses sit, the only folks who *wanted* an Olds (or any other horrid GM car) were just folks who didn’t know any better. The irrefutable proof is the state of Oldsmobile (and GM) today.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @porschespeed- Oldsmobile sold a million a year for ten more years, through the 1986 model year. Hugely successful, hugely profitable, whether you liked the cars or not.

            The Division’s business success of the ’70’s and early ’80’s, the period under discussion, was irrefutable and unparalleled. Cutlass sold so well, you would have to add Camry and Accord together to even come close.

            The response of the market to GM’s CAFE compliant new line up destroyed the company. We lost more sales of E/K cars than all the European imports combined with the ’86 model year. The way I see it, Congress banned Oldsmobile with the CAFE law.

            No doubt, I prefer higher performance vehicles than Olds was offering, recall the Olds General Service Manager trying to entice me to join his staff with the carrot of a company car. He asked me what I would like to drive- Rather imprudently, I told him a Corvette or Camaro! He thought the Toronado was an alternative. I didn’t, but they were nice rides anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @dr olds

            I was 8 in 77. At that point my parents had already stopped buying these pieces of crap, and were buying European cars. My more traditional Grandparents bought their first import in 79, then made the mistake of buying an 85 Olds 98 that was such a steaming pile they never bought a domestic car again. Though they did buy two Ford minivans that were even worse. Now they buy Toyota. Stop blaming cafe for GMs ineptness. The imports operated under the very same regulatory regime and ate GMs lunch. Crap is crap. While I don’t care for Toyota and Honda, they did show people that far better cars were possible at reasonable prices.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            The advertising tagline for these through the late ’70s and early ’80s was “luxury and logic.” “Let logic prevail.” My Dad remarked that a 98 was a “thinking man’s Cadillac.” (I would argue that, even as a lad of around ten or so in 1980, I still had the Sloanian thing figured out, so in my feeble mind, the Buicks still trumped everything in the GM line but the Caddies.)

            IIRC, with the interchangeable interior bits these cars and their lesser brethren (88, Electra), the 98 (along with the Buick Park Avenue) was the first model to get the downsizing treatment in ’84 or ’85, so Olds simply slapped the 98’s interior into the Delta 88 for a year to keep the “true” full-sizer in play until the downsized 88, Electra and Bonneville B-bodies were ready. (Don’t recall if Buick did the same for the ’84/5 Electra.)

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          My Dad didn’t start optioning-up cars beyond A/C, remote driver’s mirrors, and rear-window defoggers (since his cars were company cars, from which there were a limited number of options available via the fleet sales). His 1980 Cutlass Sedan (equivalent of the two-door “aeroback” base Salon trim) was an example. The aeroback Cutlass Salon and Buick Century were made from 1978-1980 (correct, Supremebrougham)?

          Three years later, he upgraded to a Buick Regal Custom Sedan, and one of the upgrades was a plain-Jane mechanical-tune Delco AM/FM stereo. What a revelation! Arguably, those things sounded as good as anything short of a premium stereo in a vehicle today! (There’s even a hobbyist or two on the ‘Net who will recondition these units, as well as older Delcos, Philcos, and Chrysler units, for restoration projects or whatnot! The one who works with the GM units, however, has no love lost for the ETR units!)

          My Dad’s first non-company car, a 1986 Buick Century Limited Sedan, OTOH, started him on his habit of buying the top-of-the-line model with most options checked! That Delco ETR was cool–a basic unit with the cassette player! And CRUISE CONTROL and Tilt-Wheel, fercryin’outloud! When I sold that ’78 Olds to purchase another aunt’s 1984 Sunbird hatch (Light Briar Brown Metallic FTW!), it had a basic Delco ETR AM/FM stereo, air/cruise/Tilt! My Mom put it thus when observing my sh!t-eating grin–“it’s like he’s gone from a Chevy to a Cadillac!”

          Problems with that Century, plus having to replace a head-gasket on that Sunbird on a college student’s budget turned my Dad and I, and our family, into Honda owners, but the top-of-the-line buying trend continues for my Dad AND I! (My new Accord Touring has LED headlights and adaptive cruise-control, features that, at least for now, you need to step up to the top-line ACURA to get!)

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Have to add something about the optioning of these cars back in the day, too!

            The father of a young lady in my circle of friends back in high-school/college would always order his GM cars with the top-of-the-line trim, but NO OPTIONS beyond what came with it! (As stated in my comment above, my Dad would at least check most boxes, so that Century Limited had air/cruise/Tilt, the Delco double-DIN ETR basic cassette (no EQ) stereo, and delay wipers, power windows and locks, but with no remote-control RH mirror (which would have been body-colored, power, IIRC. To Dad’s credit, IIRC, this was the first time he had purchased a car off the lot, and that’s the way GM equipped cars back in the day. I don’t know if they did build occasional “one-off” cars with every option, along with a few “strippers,” for similar consumption in dealer allocations, or if those had to be ordered in every case. @DrOlds, maybe you could elaborate.)

            I remember her Dad’s Ciera Brougham as an example: no delay wipers, no power locks, crank windows (which cranked TOWARDS the passenger to lower, unlike most cars of the day; this may have started with the X-cars in 1980, and of course, that chassis was used as the basis for the FWD A-bodies); at least the car had the basic, if ubiquitous, Delco ETR cassette like my Dad’s Century, A/C and rear-window defogger.

            Of course, A/C, power windows/locks/steering/brakes, decent stereo with basic inputs (as CD players are fading out, much as tape decks have in my lifetime of 43 years), rear-window defoggers and the like are standard on even the most basic vehicles, along with ABS; enough airbags to permanently deafen passengers if, by some chance, every one were to deploy all at once; stability control and soon-to-be backup cameras (the latter four, of course, all gummint mandates! OTOH, her Mom got the loaded vehicles–I rode in her late-’80s Bonneville SE, a very nice mid-line, cloth-interiored car a few times, and THAT one had every item for that trim on a build sheet!

            Her parents still attend my church, and I asked her Dad one time several years ago about his car, since I figured he was going to try to grab one more Olds while he could! True to form, his last Oldsmobile was an 88 LS with nuttin’ but the basics! (Power locks, but crank windows, IIRC!) :-)

          • 0 avatar
            supremebrougham

            Correct!

      • 0 avatar
        Hank M.

        I have one as my daily driver and it’s still as solid as a rock. No rattles, still rides great and unbelievably comfortable.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          The fact remains that these cars were highly desired by real, new car buyers who bought more of them, far more than all the Europeans and Japanese, for another decade.

          Since you were not old enough to even drive a car then, it seems incredibly presumptuous to call all the people who bought them stupid.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Dr Olds.

            People were not stupid back then, they were just ignorant. In the sense that the Detroit 3 had the absolutely overwhelming majority of the market, especially in the middle of the country. People literally had not experienced anything better. Once they did, GM (and Ford, and Chrysler) was on a long road to bankruptcy.

            GM can make just as good a car as Toyota NOW, but it sure took them a long time to figure out how. Heck, with the ATS they are making almost as good a car as BMW, but they still haven’t quite gotten that last 1% of the details right.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @krhodes1,
          How times have changed Cadillac ,Lincoln and Oldsmobile have been supplanted by BMW, MB, Audi , Lexus etc in their home market.
          Oldsmobile being a victim of the GM bankruptcy.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            How can you square these facts with your notion that the US market is so protected? Nonsensical.

            As a matter of fact, General motors eliminated divisions, in their old structure, in 1984. The Oldsmobile Brand was dropped by GM choice in 2004 due to inadequate funds to fully develop and promote so many car brands. Autoweek described the Olds lineup at the end as doing any Euro brand proud, but it was too late. The bankruptcy resulted from the market collapse of late ’08 caused by external events, the credit freeze and financial crisis.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            GM would have been better served by taking the Saturns and selling them as Oldsmobiles in the same showrooms.

            I would be an Olds man today, if it weren’t for the dangerous engine hesitation of my Dad’s 1986 Buick Century (which, several years later, a family mechanic friend figured that a TSB might have helped), and for which GM reimbursed my Dad a paltry sum after several expensive dealer visits, along with my having to $pend $500 (in 1991 dollars) to replace a head gasket on a 1984 Pontiac Sunbird on my college-student’s budget, didn’t turn my entire family into a Honda family for life! (My family had nothing but Cutlasses and Buicks through the ’70s and ’80s, and I would have followed suit!) Despite Honda’s fall from what they once were, I’ve stuck with them for the past 19 years (a 1994 Civic and two Accords), and the new Accord is proof that they are gonna try their damndest to get back in the game–my six-month-old top-of-the-line Touring Sedan being exhibit “A!”

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            @doctor olds:

            More than Ford with the Mercury name, would there be any way for GM to segment itself two ways in the future, if they wished, : selling “GM”s and Cadillacs. Period. IOW, have “brands,” not divisions (except for aforesaid Caddy). Under such a scheme, then, could the “GM” dealer have a lineup such as:

            Chevy Corvette, Impala (full-size, a little less content), trucks, Camaro, Malibu (maybe with 4-banger only), Cruze
            Oldsmobile Cutlass (mid-size, take current Malibu, lengthen the wheelbase for more rear-seat room, dress it up a little, possible V6), 442 “halo” coupe with “retro” look on RWD Camaro chassis
            Pontiac GTO, Tempest/whatever four-door on same chassis
            Buick Electra/LaCrosse/LaSalle (mid-size, all the bells & whistles), Verano/other small-car, Park Avenue sedan & Riviera on the full-size, RWD chassis with the V8, and dripping with everything short of a Caddy; perhaps even a lower-volume bada$$-mobile: GNX! :-D
            GMC Trucks–loaded Chevy trucks.

            Sprinkle a few of the S/CUVs around that lineup (Traverse, Encore, bring back a TrailBlazer CUV, maybe keep the Buick large CUV), and I think you’d have it. Move Caddy further upmarket, and bring out an S-Klasse-embarrassing flagship sedan!

            Make quality and reliability first-priority! Use the usual Jap suspects as a benchmark, along with the Koreans if needed! Make sure the UAW is firmly on-board, and that they’re gonna have to sacrifice a little to make it work! Bling the Pontiacs, make the Chevy good, honest transportation, have Olds a nice dressed-up step-up, and have Buick be for those who don’t want to seem ostentatious! OK, let Caddy have bling, but let the customer add it as they choose at the dealer, at reasonable cost.

            Am I missing anything?

            If they’d do all of this within my remaining lifetime, I’d likely have a mid-size Olds Cutlass or Buick whatever in my garage, and drive it proudly.

            Keep going the way they’re going, and I’ll stick to Hondas (or Fiatsler if I’m ever “forced” to buy a “Big-Three” make, or if Honda, after seeming to have “hit bottom” of late, and who seems to be coming back slowly with stuff like the Accord, loses the plot once again)!

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @sgeffe- I don’t claim expertise in marketing, but think GM could do whatever makes sense to them. The decision a few years ago to put GM badges on everything was reversed, reportedly to boost the individual brands. The bankruptcy added the negative Gov Mtrs moniker to the corporate name.

            Auto Task Force demanded GM cancel the Pontiac brand, they claimed,because the costs to promote the brand, both in product differentiation, and in marketing could not be supported by the profit potential. I happen to disagree, thought the Buick-Pontiac-GMC Channel was an excellent combination of products. Was anxiously awaiting the Pontiac ATS brother that will never be.

            As much Is I’d love to see some Olds and Pontiac names out there again, I wouldn’t count on any from GM anytime soon. They are committed to doing whatever is necessary to strengthen the four brands left in NA. It seems to be working, though Buick needs something to spark it up a bit, imho. I miss Pontiac!

      • 0 avatar
        Sloomis

        I learned to drive on a close relative of this, a ’77 Olds Delta 88. It was a solid car that drove quite nicely (by my 16-year-old standards, at least) and was still running well when my parents sold it at 120k miles. Had the opportunity to drive a variety of other 70s era GM and Ford land yachts back then too. GM products might be crap by today’s standards but I remember them being miles ahead of the Ford equivalents in terms of build quality and handling.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        My same era Lincoln has an inset hood, flush to the fascia and quarter panels in which factory alignment lasted almost 30 years. The door gaps / alignments are dead nuts on. It has perfectly aligned ‘gutters’ along the ditch molding/weld seam that keep rain water from spilling on me when I open the door. Trim got all f*cked up by the mexicans that painted it, but prior to painting, not a damned gap.

        Take your biased comment, and replace it with my biased as hell comment. Then educate yourself about Wixom assembly plant.

        I’d rather float along than feel 100′ spaced reminders that government employees are f*cking idiots.

        Styling was minimalist and regal. I grew up watching these things fall apart and I still have a love for em.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Just realized looking at the pix of the front grille of this particular specimen that Ford aped this thing’s front-end to a “T” when producing the first “square-body” LTD Crown Vics!

    • 0 avatar
      Scribe39

      Gee, Syke, I do hope you will drop back in when you grow up and can participate in a knowledgeable discussion.

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        He’s one of the few that actually remember what lousy cars these things were.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          Of course in 1983 Porsche almost closed its doors due to its inability to ship a car once it reached the end of the assembly line. Too many defects, and all the rework they were performing in the factory was killing them financially. But we all know how reliable and bullet proof they were once shipped!…..LOL

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Riiiiight. The issues were the same as they have always been – trying to keep the 911 relevant and legal.

            14.5K 944s and 3K+ subsidized the sale of about 12K 911s.The 911s were the cars with reliability issues, not the real Porsches.

            Please go learn from Porsche insiders about the financial drain of the uber-beetle from actual Porsche employees – because I have.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            Sorry its obvious from your post that you don’t have a clue and in the future I can just brush over any of your ignorant comments. Try picking up a book sometime, that’s how the rest of us learn.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Good luck with that. I have the books, but they aren’t nearly as important as what really happens in the trenches.

            As you obviously never drove a new Porsche, nor knew anyone who did back then, your vision is a bit, umm, skewed.

            911s had massive issues. Watercooleds didn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        I’m the son of a Chevrolet dealer, and during the late 70’s, going into the 80’s these were my late father’s tastes in cars, finally cumulating in an ’86 Sedan de Ville.

        I’ve driven a lot of them, primarily Chevrolet and Buick, and as my tastes run to small, good handling, attractive and responsive automobiles; these to me are the nadir of everything the American auto industry could come up with.

        Let’s see: Start with late 1930’s layout and technology, add pillowy suspension unable to get around a curve at speed, toss in the NEW (post WW-II) technology of automatic transmissions and over-square V-8’s, and the cover liberally with every styling add-on you can think of that’ll give the impression of luxury to someone who’s never dealt with the real thing.

        My hatred of these cars is because they allowed the American car industry to ossify to the point that even the Koreans were eventually able to outdesign us. No need for expensive technological change. Just slap on some more chrome, another tacky vinyl roof, side windows that can’t be seen out of, and bordello-ize the interior. The idiots, er, customers won’t know any better.

        Sheer, utter, crap for Americans who’s entire sense of taste stopped at the tips of their tongues.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          Syke, chicken before the egg.

          GM and Ford had massive capital overhead they had to produce. Both companies had become finance arms with factories pumping out sheet metal to enable the financing divisions. Can you blame them for the model? Hell no – the 60’s and early 70’s taught them this model was king.

          As for taste? Your rose color glasses go back to a certain era where you were impressionable. Mine go back to this era. It’s human nature and I absolutely love my Continental from this period. People like you just make it more of a forbidden love which just drains my bank account even more.

          I need to stop drinking and posting or I’ll go back to the Fiesta review and tear it apart.

          • 0 avatar

            That’d be interesting to read. Due it tresmonos!

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Tresmonos- I wouldn’t put the finance operations in quite that role, but they did make a lot of money for the automakers until the financial crisis. GM’s reported sales dropped something like $50B/year when GMAC was sold.

            The reason they had to pump out the metal was because of labor costs, on top of the immense capital investments the industry requires.

            A UAW worker who came to work for one of the Detroit 3 could never be laid off permanently, and if laid off temporarily, would still receive 95% of his pay, or all of it, if he was in the Jobs bank. He could count on being paid and provided health coverage for himself and his family for the rest of his life after working only 30 years. These realities drove the “crank out the sheet metal and discount to move ‘em” behavior.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            So..If I choose to overpay my employees to produce substandard garbage that’s somehow a ‘mysterious flaw of the market’ eh?

            That’s why my grandfather liquidated his GM holdings back in the 80s. He could read the 10Ks and figured out that unfunded liabilities were a bit of problem.

            Don’t worry, GM BK V 2.0 is just around the corner…

        • 0 avatar

          Very good point Syke! The cars in America at that point were just so divergent as to how the cars were developing pretty much elsewhere. I’d love to understand better as why. I think that while they sold they were like blinders on the American industry. When the rest of the world caught up, they just left them in the dirt.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The US never had high fuel taxes, as was the case in much of the world. The cheap fuel encouraged larger engines.

            The US never had displacement taxes. So there was no need to keep engines small or motivation to increase output per liter — if you wanted to provide more power to an American car, it was easy enough to add cubic inches.

            Sloan’s branding model revolved around size and features. That morphed into a bigger-is-better ethic.

            Europeans and the Japanese had displacement taxes. The rules forced them to find more efficient ways to create power, since adding displacement would make cars too expensive.

            The Europeans started taxing fuel to death in the 20s, because they never had much oil. During the beginning of the auto age, the US was (relatively speaking) a major oil producer.

            The markets began to diverge in the 30s, when the Model A was a flop in Europe. It was essentially taxed out of existence in Europe due to its large, thirsty engine, while the car was quite a hit in the US. Ford learned from that experience that Europeans needed to have smaller cars with engines smaller than 2.0 liters, and that lesson wasn’t lost on GM.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            What happened was American consumers finally ‘caught up’ which is why GM is just a welfare jobs program.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Marcelo- Americans love big vehicles. They chose big cars as long as they were available. The US Congress essentially banned big cars with the advent of CAFE in 1975. Now buyers choose big trucks and SUVs half the time.

            IMO The basis for this was, and still is:
            – high incomes, very high compared to much of the world.
            -cheap fuel, particularly relative to income.
            -newer cities with less congestion, wider streets
            – an immense, well developed interstate highway system allowing population development in the suburbs.

            As a matter of fact, Toyota and Honda growth has been in ever larger vehicles. Civic today is bigger than Accord once was, for example. Americans have favored large-comfortable over small-fuel efficient by a huge margin. VW had to release a larger midsize car just for the NA market due to these factors.

            It is a joke to see young sprouts write about how stupid people were to demand these cars, quite ignorant of the relative state of the industry at the time, or otherwise in need of proving themselves better than others. American cars had higher quality and dependability than the Europeans then and now. We ran competitive vehicles over extended durability schedules and laid out the parts that failed on a table. We had to get much longer tables for the failures on European cars.
            The Europeans were complete failures in the 70’s. VW tried to build here, packed up and left. Their market share peaked at 5.6% in 1970, and fell below 2% by 1976 and they were, by far, the largest Euro import. We sold more Cutlass Coupes than all the European imports combined.
            VW is still struggling, 6 months market share down from 2.9% last year to 2.6% today. The don’t appear likely to ever regain that high water mark from 1970.

          • 0 avatar

            Hey doctor olds, I get and understand all that. What I’

          • 0 avatar

            Hey doctor olds, I get and understand all that. What I’m questioning is the styling. Whereas others were going with a more understated look, American cars insisted on the oh so upright and tall grills, chrome everywhere and backlights that looked straight out of the 60s. The oh so long hoods maybe were necessary to accommodate the large engines, but it seems like overkill. Specially considering the passenger compartment was just so small. Things like opera windows, landau roofs, mesh wire wheels, small metal hubcaps were all gone by the 70s the world over except America. I’m thinking that when imported makes started to be seen in greater numbers, all of these characteristics could not help but make buyers aware of how quaint or gaudy (depending on each man’s peculiar perspective) American cars looked.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Marcelo- The Market drove those gaudy options and the styles! Americans wanted big roomy cars, the larger and more ostentatious the better! Review PCH101’s succinct list for important factors.

            At one time, manufacturers didn’t even offer Vinyl tops, for example. Dealers used to install them after market. Carmakers decided to get in on the business. Similarly with sun roofs btw. Customers lapped them up.

            The fact is, we offered what people wanted to buy. There is no accounting for taste, but you should beware of looking at those old cars from a more modern viewpoint. They were very popular in the day. They didn’t need those long hoods for engine packaging, they were strictly for style.

            This 98 was the first wave of downsizing at GM. We were pleasantly surprised that they were HOT. We couldn’t build enough of them and hit a capacity constrained Olds sales volume of 1.1M units this model year.

            Further rounds of downsizing, the mid-80’s radical transition to FWD with new engine and transmission technologies was devastating. Customers didn’t like them as well,too small and conservatively styled, on top of which we had quality and dependability problems, growing pains of the new tech.

            A couple of factors drove the Japanese into prominence. Firstly, the ’73 Arab Oil embargo made people look at higher fuel efficiency vehicles, though the spike in sales was temporary, Americans went back to larger cars when they got over the fear.
            At the time,they built the highest quality cars in the world, without a question. People got to know them and their reputations built.
            Secondly, CAFE narrowed the spread in size between the Japanese imports and the domestics. More people started to choose the Japanese, and they started to build bigger vehicles. It took a long time for the US makers to reach the quality levels of the Japanese, and the rest, as they say, is history.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Whereas others were going with a more understated look, American cars insisted on the oh so upright and tall grills, chrome everywhere and backlights that looked straight out of the 60s.”

            In the US, conspicuous consumption is a social norm. In much of Europe, it’s considered to be in bad taste.

            In its heyday, General Motors had five main US brands (Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Cadillac) and dominated the market. That branding model created a need for differentiation, not just against the outside competitors but also by other brands within the family.

            Combine that with the “model year,” which called for annual styling changes, and you end up with rather blatant, obvious measures being taken to bring attention to new cars. There was little room for subtlety, and in any case, most consumers didn’t want to be subtle.

            That also helps to explain why the Beetle became the car of the hippy movement — cheap to operate, no annual styling changes, no flash. The exact opposite of most of what was coming out of Detroit.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Dr Olds, What’s funny is seeing old failures, trying to recast their purely fortuitous moment-in-the-sun as somehow the product of hard work and skill.

            Fortunately, most of the American public can eventually see past the smoke-n-mirrors that you like to deploy. Perhaps you really are delusional enough to believe that it was some “could never have been imagined force” that killed GM, and it’s crap wagons. That force? The knowledge that GM was junk, borne out by millions of real world suckers.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “old failures”

            :-D The irony!

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Syke,
          US Luxury cars were cutting edge in the 1930’s. Even in the 1950’s till the early 1960’s they were impressive ,but it went rapidly downhill after that.

        • 0 avatar
          jimbob457

          The short answer to what went wrong in Detroit (and two bankruptcies out of three is pretty much the definition of something going wrong) is, imo, two words: shared monopoly.

          Then the shared monopoly went away, and the ‘big three’ just could not cope.

          I happened to be on a cruise with some recently retired GM middle management types in 1990. The talk turned to the car business. Nice enough folks, but smug, arrogant, insular and not too bright. Their attitude was appalling. Everything was AOK at GM. Any minor problems were the fault of the government or the car buying public. Blaming the customer? Get serious.

          In the world of competitive business, you are supposed to learn from your mistakes. In fact, you better, or you are going to soon be history. By 1990, GM had delivered the Corvair, the Vega, and the Citation. The Cavalier was their latest effort.

          Even worse, imo, was trying to blame the government. Don’t try to kid me on this one. I used to be a K street lobbyist. Giant, rich and powerful companies like GM rule the roost. Who do you think pays the salaries of lawyers who write the first draft of any and all legislation and regulations? If a giant corporation like GM ends up getting hamstrung, it has only itself to blame.

          Imo, trying to sugar coat history is a bad idea for the next generation. ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @jimbob457- On the money in your last sentence, but your notion of auto industry influence on government is flat wrong.

            There was a monopoly, the UAW. It is the direct and clear cause of the financial depletion of all US carmakers, Every one!

            Government policies have been extremely and uniquely damaging to US makers. That is not an excuse, it is a fact. I’ve laid out the facts many times.

            Denying these facts and presuming all three US auto companies were just poorly run is naïve, if not anti-American.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Love the overall look and feel of the Broughams my only change would be some of the interior color schemes.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    We bought our ’84 98 Brougham in 1991 off a used-car lot in Monterey.
    28K sticker, we drove it off the lot for $4600.

    I think it had 70K on it, and we said goodbye after 170K.

    Loads of room, a bit gutless (307), but it really wasn’t a horrible car. The only work it needed in that time was a timing chain set, AC compressor and a blend door actuator for the climate control. Other than that it was brakes and tires and an occasional set of plugs. The GM HEI system worked flawlessly, and oil consumption normal for the life of the car. We routinely got 20-21 on the highway, totally acceptable for such a land barge.

    Not too bad for 100K of hard use. What killed it was the emissions computer being unable to correctly control the Rochester 4BBL. It would’ve been too much money to keep it running in view of its value, so we gave it to charity for a 2000 dollar writeoff.

    We drank the Panther koolaid by getting a ’96 Vic to replace it. The Vic was faster, handled better, got a little better mileage, and broke more.

    All in all, the 98 was really more comfortable and more reliable than the Vic.

    At least I didn’t lose an intake manifold and have to rip the dash out twice to replace the heater core, and constantly chase O2 sensor and EGR problems. That Vic would be my last Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      @ 55_wrench – Interesting point on the HEI. I’ve long considered electronic fuel injection to be the defining leap forward in terms of reliability–and it probably is–but now that I think about it, my grandmother’s ’78 Caprice Classic had not a single issue in the ten years she owned it. I’m not sure which of the V8s it had; it definitely wasn’t a 6-cylinder. The Buick Estate owned by close friends also was dead-solid reliable. That too would’ve had a carburetor (on its Olds 307, if Wikipedia is correct).

      • 0 avatar
        55_wrench

        Featherston,

        Agreed, the GM HEI was one of the best things GM did in the late ’70s.

        I still have my dwell adjusting tool–(it’s an allen bit on a flex screwdriver handle)–

        Does anybody remember fishing that tool through the little window in the side of the distributor cap to set the dwell while the engine was running? and then killing the engine when you accidentally grounded the tool against the points?

        That’s what the HEI replaced.

        I don’t miss points AT ALL.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Interesting to note that while the Japanese were much quicker to jump on the EFI bandwagon than Detroit, the domestic stuff was mostly all electronic ignition by mid 70’s. Japan hung onto points for a number of years beyond that. Never could figure out why. Maybe Porshespeed knows. Clearly he is the expert here.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        HEO was a great thing. It was made standard at Olds in 1973. I remember buying 3-4 obsolete ’72 point style distributors for $5 each from Olds salvage sales which helps me peg it in time.

        The 1990 Olds 5.0L (307) was the last carbureted GM engine in North America, and I was the last 5.0L “validation engineer”, among other responsibilities. Engineering had discontinued any development on the engine in 1985, so there was not much work associated with the engine when I joined BOC Powertrain – Lansing In 1988. I did have a sweet Cadillac Brougham driver until the end as a side benefit.

        • 0 avatar
          porschespeed

          That you think there is anything “sweet” about any post 50s Bro-ham speaks volumes.

          How ’bout spending some time analyzing having a frakkin’ carb post mid-70s, let alone the early 80s? There’s a reason buggy whip makers are few and far between.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            When I lived in Europe in 1984, carburetors were still everywhere, even in new BMW dealerships, where the 315 was a strong seller. The B3 Audi 80 was introduced in 1986 and had 8 carbureted engines in its lineup. The Japanese used carburetors well into the ’80s too. The Ferrari 512BB became the 512BBi when it lost its carburetors for 1981.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            The Euros were driven by profit margin in the home market, because they had no emission regs at the time.

            Here in ‘Murrica, BMW, Porsche, and Benz were all injected by the mid 70s at latest. My 73 W116 450SEL was even D-Jet electronic…

            Sure, some of the early supercars used carbs, much of which was driven by margin for the small manufacturers like Lambo and Fezza (which while FIAT even then) wasn’t that well funded.

            You do know who sold Bosch the initial patents that are the basis of pretty much every EFI system on the road today?

  • avatar
    cwallace

    Ahh, yes. When we moved to Houston from the frozen north back in ’81 it was in a Cutlass Supreme, same green interior, mint green paint with a green landau top. Cream Puff, it was called, and it got the four us down here dragging an MG Midget behind it on a tow bar.

  • avatar
    IllumFiati

    My grandfather had a fully optioned 4 dr hardtop, two tone maroon 1984 Olds Delta 88 Royal Brougham – still the large Fisher body and a unique finned grill and moon type hubcaps. It had red velour seats that were fully electric, decent stereo, and a 307 V8(?) with no more than 150hp.

    My grandmother died and shortly thereafter my grandpa left the car running in the driveway for 4+ hours – my parents got the car and gave it to me when I was 17. I installed Eagle GTs, performance shocks, dual exhaust and flipped the air cleaner cover over (whoosh!). I was a local DJ and I would pack that car with my entire setup, with huge speakers hanging out the back, trunk open, ass dragging with a blue tarp thrashing in the wind. I loved that car.

    The paint was beautiful metallic wine red, had reasonable performance and it loved the highway and was fun at legal speeds in the corners.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Just FYI the 307 Quadrajet made 140 hp in regular guise. The HO model made 180 hp in 1980s 442s and Hurst-Oldsmobiles.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        I recall leaving work one day in an ’85-’86 442 company car, getting on it right away, planning to run away from a coworker who pulled out right behind me.
        He was driving the first year H body ’86 88 with pfi 3.8L. I think they were rated 125 HP. In that scenario, the V6 was a much better performer than the carbureted 180 HP 5.0L V8 G body. Now, if you’d let me have a high compression 350 in that G body!

        • 0 avatar
          old5.0

          A few years back, I watched a stone stock but beautifully preserved 84 Hurst/Olds make a few passes at the dragstrip. It was consistently in the 15.8-15.9 range at around 87 mph. Tragically slow by today’s standards, but not bad in the bigger picture, particularly for a relatively heavy mid-sizer with only 307 cubes. Let’s be honest, a 64 or 65 GTO with the base four barrel engine, Powerglide, and 3.31 gears wouldn’t do much (if any) better in the real world. And the Cutlass was infinitely more livable on a day-to-day basis.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            I’d love to promote the H/O, but the high compression 389CI GTO was much faster than a stock ’84 Hurst Olds. It is difficult to compare times from road tests because the tires were so much better in later years. The newer car was better in other ways though. That’s why Cutlass was America’s best selling car for so many years! As I keep writing, you’d have to add Camry and Accord together to get close to Cutlass sales volumes. Then came CAFE.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            They were all pathetically slow. 15.8 is about a whopping second faster than an Audi Coupe with a 5 cylinder, and less than half the displacement. Not to mention the Audi actually handles and brakes. Unlike that GM fecal-mobile.

            ‘Musclecars’ were flaccid junk that would be embarrassed by a contemporary CamCord.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        In a mid-’80s G-Body (Cutlass, Regal–or did the Regal only get turbos in something like a Limited vs. the GN or T-Type?), that 180hp would still trump the, what, 120hp of the 231 Buick V6.

        As has been stated elsewhere in ’80s GM discussions, that 6 wasn’t fast, and sounded coarse (though smooth), and as a newly-minted teenage driver who had his pick of a 1980 Cutlass Sedan or 1983 Regal Custom Sedan to borrow, both equipped with the same Buick 6 engine (though the Computer Command Control 2-bbl carb. in the Regal was a little better sorted, save for an occasional hesitation when cold), they had adequate power to get out of their own way, and kept me out of trouble! (IMHO, the Olds 260 V8 in my first car, a ’78 Olds Cutlass Salon I inherited in 1988, had worse performance than the 6, with the gas-sucking ability of a 455 Rocket! However, the lack of maintenance over that poor car’s life by the time it entered my hands may have played some part in that!)

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    ’77 being the first year of downsizing it also was the beginning of much less distinction between the full size GM luxury cars. A look at the interior of a Cadillac Fleetwood of the same year shows pretty much the same interior, but at thousands of dollars more…

    http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6017/5923434910_27cffc40e1_z.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      By this time the Delta 88 was little more than a badge engineered Caprice Classic and the 98 line was a badge engineered Sedan De Ville. We should have seen 2003 coming.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @Jimal- They were just as distinct from the other divisions as ever.

        Oldsmobile was extremely successful in the 1977 model year and these cars were a deep ride at the time.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          They should have been successful, all the luxury of a Fleetwood for a lot less

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          I’m going to respectfully disagree on that one. You can clearly pick up the Caddy greenhouse in that 98. They did a much better job of differentiating between the Divisions in the 50’s.

          That Oldsmobile was successful at that time doesn’t disprove my comment. The Cutlass was the most popular car in America for several years fro the mid-70’s until it was supplanted by the Taurus.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree in the past the divisions did a better job of differentiating, and ultimately competing, with each other. But therein lies the folly of the Sloan system, a company cannot effectively spend resources developing independent product and ultimately compete against themselves. They seem to have realized this by the early 70s and thus the Xerox machine was used to clone corporate models up and down the brands sowing the seeds for their ultimate demise.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Jimal- No worries, it is all in the eye of the beholder. I have been able to clearly pickup the common greenhouses across car lines on earlier cars too, though I don’t have much memory of the ’50’s styles.

            I do remember my dad taking me to a shop where they cut the roof off from a 50’s Pontiac for him to use to repair the same year Chevrolet. I was less than 10 at the time and surprised that a Pontiac Roof would fit a Chevy. My dad explained then the idea of common body designators having a lot of common sheet metal. i.e. C cars were common, B cars common, and so on. In my analysis, those elements were just about as common in the 50’s and earlier, as they were in 1977.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            In 1959 GM dramatically changed the style of their cars, but it was this model year that got the light bulb above my head to shine bright on what GM, Ford and Chrysler were up to in the manufacturing of the different brands. Even though the bodies were fairly different, from Chevy to Cadillac they all had the exact same greenhouse

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @Lie2Me- I am pretty sure the greenhouses were different between B and C cars, though they may have had identical styling. It is before my time, in the sense I don’t know any other body designations from that era.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I was referring to “B” bodies, in 1959 “C” bodies were trucks

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            The Olds 98, Cadillac Deville and Buick Electra were C body cars in 1959.

            Chevrolet and Pontiac did not have C body cars, except, according to Wikipedia, some station wagons in ’71-’76 timeframe. I always thought they were B wagons.

            C is still the series designation for a 2wd Silverado/Sierra.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            From at least 1936 through 1958, GM used at least four different designations for various bodyshells/platforms including the A-body for Chevrolet, most Pontiacs, and the Oldsmobile Series F and Series 60, the B-body for the Pontiac Streamliner Torpedo and Streamliner, the Oldsmobile Series L, Series 70 and Series 88, the Buick Special and Century, the LaSalle Series 50 and the Cadillac Series 60, Series 61 and Series 63, and the C-body for the Pontiac Series 24/29 Torpedo, Oldsmobile 90, the Buick Roadmaster, Super and 1958 Limited, the LaSalle Series 52, and all remaining Cadillacs except for the Series 90, Series 85 and the Series 75 which were built on the D-body, along with all remaining Buick Limiteds.

            For the 1959 model year, the previous A and B bodies were built on the new B-body while the C and D were stretched Bs. The previous system went out the door as they were in hurry up mode to make a rebuttal to the Forward Look Mopars. So they developed them very quickly. Of the designs on board the Buick was the winner and all 4dr cars used the same front doors and greenhouses and the other brands had to make their designs fit so they could justify the cost of an all new design while writing off the 1958 tooling before they had planned and get them to market for the 1959 MY.

            When the 61’s came around the A didn’t return. So Chev and Pontiac got Bs, Olds and Buick got Bs and Cs and Caddy got the C and D which stayed until the end of the Boxes. The C designation was then moved to the FWD cars and the RWD Whale Chev, Olds and Buick were all Bs and the Caddy was still a D.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I had a lot of trouble with my “ABCs” in ’59, but it’s those greenhouses that gave them away

          • 0 avatar
            Dimwit

            The thing is that they were far more different than you might imagine. From the 50’s up into the late 60’s each division had their own frames and chassis. Radically different. So even if the greenhouse was the same, each marques model handled differently and had different safety issues.

            Even into the 80’s the models never really got it together. By then it wasn’t along nameplates but by drivetrain. Depending on what engine was put in there could be different pumps, racks, starters etc for a “V8″ car. It was ridiculous.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            @dr olds:

            I believe you’ve stated elsewhere on here that, while the platform-sharing may have been going on for a long time, it was when Roger Smith did the Chevy-Pontiac, Buick-Olds-Caddy nuttiness in the early ’80s that the plot was truly lost! Am I correct?

            (Still remember that it looked a little odd from 1983-1986, when my parents’ garage had two of the same basic car: an A-body 1980 Cutlass Sedan, and 1983 redesignated G-body Regal Custom Sedan, both with the 231 Buick V6. Park the cars parallel to each other so that only the left side was visible, debadge that side, remove the outside mirror and wheel covers, then snap b&w pix of each from twenty feet away, and you’d be hard-pressed to tell which car was which.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Yes, the Caddy roofline is there, as it was on the Buick Electra, as well!

            The platform-sharing got you identical dashboards in the “A-special” cars which were supposed to be higher-line models (with the exception of the Malibu/Monte Carlo circa 1978-1983), in addition to the B-, C-body similarities dating back to the ’70s, if not earlier, and which persisted until the end of the Buick LeSabre/Park Avenue in the early 2000s (when Olds only had the Aurora for the last two generations of it’s C, which was different from the 88’s last generation, coinciding with the 1st-Gen Aurora, IIRC)! (As I’ve stated elsewhere, IIRC, when GM downsized the C-bodies in 1985, they dropped the top-line interiors from the 98 Regency and Electra into special top-line Delta 88s and LeSabres!)

            To me, however, the worst use of platform sharing had to be the W-body Century and Regal! Both sedans, no coupes, EXACT SAME CAR except for engine choice (Century 3.1L V6, Regal 3800-series 6 including supercharged option), and different grilles and taillights!

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            @sgeffe- I would say, from an Olds centric perspective, that we had a cranking, money making machine, making cars customers were willing to pay more for because they were better and selling as many as we could make. We controlled much of our own destiny. One of our pluses was an integrated complex with all business functions and divisional manufacture of everything but transmissions in Lansing. We assembled 1/2 a million in Lansing and another 1/2M at GMAD plants. We had strong linkages among the staffs and had learned how to hear our customers and move to identify and correct field problems quickly. Everybody stumbles, what counts is how you get up and going again.

            In 1984, GM sliced and diced the entire organization. I and many other folks worked for years to re-develop systems and processes to be as good as, and now very much better than, those earlier days. But a lot was lost for way, way too long. Bob Stempel, at the time, the first Group VP of the BOC group, former Olds engineer and later GM Chairman came to Lansing to announce the reorg. He told us it would be like trying to tear down and completely rebuild your home, while continuing to live in it! Sadly, I am all to aware of many of the issues that hurt or reputation.

            GM’s reorg and churning didn’t really reach a reasonably stable point condition until the last few years before the financial crisis.
            Roger Smith was on the cover of Wards Auto World- Man of the Year or some such, and later was reviled. He said, I was not as good as the thought and I am not as bad as they think now. I can agree with that. The reorganization had to happen. I wish we had been able to execute it without going down the tubes.

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        When we were kids in the early 70s, we didn’t see 2003 coming because we had no idea how they’d stay in business till 1980 with a bunch of cars that all looked pretty much the same. The late 70s were even worse.

        An early 70s Cutlass, Monte, LeMans, and whatever the Buick was all looked like the same car with different front and rear clips. Yes, I know all the differences – but none of them made the cars look significantly unique.

        It’d be like Porsche taking the 924/944/951/924S and rebadging them to sell through 4 different outlets. Different cars? Technically. Obviously all pretty much the same? Yup.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          like Bertel’s VW kits?

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          I didn’t have that impression of GM when I was a kid. My father was a New Departure employee when I was born in Ohio in 1970. Before I could remember he left GM and started selling Snap-on Tools up on Cape Cod. He eventually returned to GM in the mid 80’s, but even during that break in service we were very much a GM family and GM was almost mythical in my single-digit year old mind. I would scribble out requests for catalogs and mail them to some address in Michigan and someone at GM would also oblige me and send me that year’s full line catalog, including all the European and Australian models.

          GM ultimately screwed my father over with his retirement health care. Even though I haven’t owned a GM vehicle in a good 15 years, I still have a soft spot for them.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            We are but the sum of our experiences (and genetic hardwiring)…

            I had the good fortune of living and being educated with highly technical folks who did cutting-edge work in science. And had the means to acquire stuff that we (and everybody else eventually) found to be “better”.

            I get the family attachment thing (they made dad a living), but the rest of us were more detached as consumers. We just wanted a good product – and GM (nor the other domestics) never provided that as far as we were concerned.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Why do you even concern yourself with plebeian rides?

            I remember the early days of gay activism on Midwest campuses; pretty much coincident with this land barge’s era.

            Small, egregiously flashy groups would float around campus chortling and catting at us barnyard straights in bookstores, student unions, libraries… pretty much any venue where they weren’t too badly outnumbered.

            They presumably had fun asserting their superiority and we had fun knowing it didn’t matter.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Like Kenmore said… I think, secure people, whether it be financial, intellectual or sexual, never feel the need to point out the differences

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Oh please, this is a little car site that I have a nostalgic feel for, where I occasionally waste some time venting my spleen against a rising tide of people who know nothing about cars while waiting for FEA programs to complete.

            I’d run down the logical fallacies of that argument, but you’d allege that to be ‘snobby’ as well. Especially as they’d be over your head.

            You can feel secure that McDonald’s makes an incredible burger, and that Olive Garden is delicious Italian food.

            The rest of us who actually want to learn and find the good stuff in life will be reveling at your deep insight.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “How does Old Faithful know when to do that, Daddy?”

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            You heard the one about the difference between a Porsche and a Porcupine?
            The pricks are on the outside of a porcupine.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Oh, I get it… Jalopnik ran you off didn’t they?

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Jalopnik? That’s pretty much the level that’s here these days.

            People who actually appreciate cars and know things are ridiculed “cuz yer dad’s 67 Mustang was bad-azz”. I just picked up a Kaw Mach IV – I know it has a spaghetti frame and crap brakes – but I have the testicular fortitude to acknowledge those facts. Reality. What a concept.

            The difference between a GM buyer and someone who thinks McDonald’s is a tasty burger, Crapper Barrel has an edible breakfast, and Olive Garden cooks authentic Italian food?

            None.

            So, enjoy that mediocrity Dr Olds. Sadly, you don’t know that magical thinking doesn’t last – which is why GM is a failed enterprise on a grand scale, and will be just another Chinese nameplate in under a decade, after the next BK.

    • 0 avatar
      sfvarholy

      The Fleetwood/DeVilles were wonderful cars to drive.

      My dad made partner in the CPA firm and ordered a 1984 DeVille custom built. No vinyl roof, Fleetwood wheelcovers (he despised the fake wire wheels).

      It was a very comfortable and fairly fast car to drive. Got to drive it to high school a number of times when Dad wanted my Citation X-11 and Mom was scared to let me drive the 1973 Monte 454.

      I never objected. Leather, FM, Automatic SC/ Power Everything and air suspension. Who would object?

      The downfall of the car was its HT4100/Auto combo. 4.1 liters put a huge strain on the transmission trying to bring such a heavy car up to speed. One GM-funded replacement tranny and Mom got her 1987 Cherokee that she wanted.

      I still cruise ebay auto porn looking at the Devilles of that era.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    Those always remind me of the pictures in a book I’m reading about the Kansas City Mob. All the shots of a body in the trunk are cars like that.

  • avatar
    beachbum1970

    This brings back some great memories growing up as a kid in the early 1980s. My family only owned small German cars (mostly Volkswagens and an Audi Fox) with sparse interiors and noisy, taut rides. What a treat it was to get a ride in my aunt’s Olds Ninety Eight. Same color inside and out as the one you have pictured here. Those overstuffed living room chairs. The floaty ride. Oh that green velour interior! And that padded dash? Even the glove box door was padded for crying out loud. Look at those ridiculously over stuffed doors too. Almost every inch was covered in velour, carpeting and padded vinyl. Talk about soft touch overload! Of course I later learned that the car had its share of mechanical problems. But so did my family’s Volkswagens. I don’t know why one car company can’t still build just ONE car like this today. A big, floaty, overstuffed rolling luxo-barge highway cruiser with acres of velour, a padded roof, opera lamps and wire wheel covers. I know I’d buy one.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    The first car I remember from my childhood was my dad’s ’79 Pontiac Bonneville Coupe with the Landau top. Blue with light blue velour interior. On long trips my 6 year old self would take naps on the rear window parcel shelf. Obviously, we were no so concerned with safety back then.

  • avatar
    mored

    My grandparents had one like this. They bought a new one every two years, come hell or high water. The old money in town drove these or Park Avenues, the new money drove Cadillacs. I remember aspiring in college to some day own a car like this. I also remember every time I would drive theirs, and then drive my Volkswagon or Honda and thinking that there must be something wrong with me because I liked how my car drove better.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    Hi Ubermensch,

    I had one of those. I got it when it was about 13 years old, it was optioned to the hilt with the 1/2 vinyl moonroof,remote trunk release, power seats, Cruise, tilt, AM / FM, buckets and floor shift with a console. The seller had removed the cats and the Olds 350 in it went like stink.

    Quite a bit if fun to drive once you got used to the size.

    Its downfall was rust in the A pillar caused by a blocked sunroof drain. Beyond that, I would have liked to have hung onto it.

  • avatar
    April

    They are not coming back for good reason.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The good reason is mostly BOF construction doesn’t work in a unibody assembly plant, and guv’mint regulations. The Town Car sold well until they stopped updating the platform, but a RWD unibody with a modern torquey EFI V8, six-speed auto and a decent suspension would sell, just not well enough for a quick ROI. A hybrid would sell even better, but still not enough to justify the investment required.

      Funny, though, the standard cab BOF Silverado is the same length, wheelbase and width of the 1965 Impala, but with a wider track. GM could probably build a BOF, RWD sedan on the same truck assembly line. Ford and Chrysler could probably do the same.

  • avatar
    ggbox69

    Favorite details:

    Mother of pearl-look inlays on the door panels.

    File-drawer sized glove box. A good place to keep your revolver prior to shooting Beaumont Livingston for ratting you out to the ATF.

  • avatar
    Pebble

    Hella cool, better than just about anything being sold new today, but not quite as good as the pre-downsizing models…gimme a 75 or 76 Olds barge for the win.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    LAND YACHT ! (says the guy who owns a 1980 Caddy Fleetwood S & S Hearse)

    I too hated these barges when they were new *but* they did just fine if you took any sort of care of them ~ there’s still plenty of them tooling ’round The Hood in So. Cal. .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Hank M.

    What a pleasant surprise to see my daily driver featured. Though mine is silver with a light blue interior. The 403 has been the best engine I’ve had so far, unbelievable torque, smooth and quiet, except for the exhaust system I updated with a cat removal and a magnaflow muffler.

    The interior has held up great with the exception of the headliner. This velour wears like iron.

    Been a great car that I can repair myself. And once the NE winters finally finish her off, I plan to get another. Thankfully they don’t have a great following so you can still find low mileage reasonably priced specimens on ebay and elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      What can be done to stop the sagging headliner that is part and parcel of an older GM’s patina?

      • 0 avatar

        The headliner on my 84 Cutlass fell down and the problem was that the foam backing had just gotten so old that it fell to pieces. I took out all the interior trim, pulled the liner down, careful not to stretch the cloth and used a plastic card to scrape all the foam out.

        Then I hit it all with the shop vac, used a spray adhesive to get the ceiling tacky and worked it all back with the plastic card – just the way you work on window film. Some of the cloth stretched, but I trimmed the edges and when the trim pieces went back on, only I could see the problem areas.

        As a DIY project it was pretty simple, but it was hard to get perfect. I wouldn’t do it on a restoration, but for a daily driver it’s probably OK.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Too much effort for my lazy butt–I guess I’d find an auto-trim shop, and write ‘em a check to do the same! :-)

        • 0 avatar
          porschespeed

          The problem was it was GM garbage built to a Chinese price point – this didn’t even happen to concurrent Fords and Mopars.

          Let alone Jap or Euro cars. After thousands of cars, the only headliner failures I’ve ever seen were GM. Not to mention fuel lines routed through the valley to save a few inches, causing engine fires by the thousands…

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Shhh give it a rest. You’ve done at least 12 comments on this article – everyone gets it. You despise old GM vehicles, and think current GM will fall to the Chinese within 10 years. Got it. Read.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Thanks for getting it. Therefore, you’ll be sure to point out all the articles in the future that say GM has a ‘fighting chance’. Yes?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Why would I point them out?

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            There could be a macro that substitutes the following text whenever it spots his username:

            “Everything you know, love and aspire to is cretin pus.

            Worship me and hurry before the few brain cells you own become tau tangles.”

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        sfvarholy

        You can’t. The problem is not limited to GM’s, Hondas/Toyotas anything of that era that used a foam core with glued fabric cover headliner is subject to it. The water-based adhesive eventually degrades and gives way. If you have water incursion or a lot of humidity in the cabin and live in a warm area, it’ll happen faster since “steam” will cause the fabric to release.

        The only fix is to do what Thomas Kruetzer did: remove the foam backer, clean it, then use spray-glue to reaffix the fabric.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          In my experience, its tough to just glue the fabric back on. it needs the foam backing. the best fix is to have a local trim shop install new foam backed fabric.

          If mechanically inclined, pull the hard backing part of the headliner and clean it. A stiff whisk broom works ok. I chose to have trim shop glue it on. They didn’t charge much more than the cost of the material, the whole job was $45, including labor and material. But that was 1990!

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Or you could just buy a car with a proper headliner that will last 40+ years installed from the factory.

            So sad, all the excuses…

  • avatar
    winston1156

    Oh how lovely. Cruising around in Ardie’s ’77 98 with purple velour. Picking up a six pack to split between friends. Then cranking up AC/DC on the aftermarket stereo on the way to high school. OOOOH I want one.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Yes please!

  • avatar
    tced2

    My grandfather had a ’77 Regency that was yellow vinyl roof/yellow paint with a brown leather interior. I believe it had the 403 engine.
    The most unique feature was the AM/FM/CB factory radio with power antenna.

  • avatar

    My dad was an Oldsmobile man, but he drew the line at 88. A 98 was just too close to a Cadillac, I think.

    There is something just as regal about the 88. It is very bit as luxurious as its bigger brother, but nowhere near as ostentatious. A car for the working class man who has finally made it. I’d own one myself if only they still made them.

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      @Thomas Kreutzer- My dad was an Olds product engineer, very analytical sort of guy, and CHEAP. He figured out the 98 with base equipment was the “best value” because the employee discount was greater on a base car than the options. That meant an 88, comparably equipped, cost almost as much, maybe even more than the 98. We had a new car every year, a lot of 98s until mom decided she wanted a Cutlass convertible, something more youthful!

      • 0 avatar
        juss-sum-guy

        In 1977 I was our local Oldsmobile dealership’s “Lotboy”. If I recall correctly, the ’77 Cutlass Supreme was the highest-selling car in the U.S. that model year – a VERY exciting time to work at an Olds dealership!

        The 98s that came through as “Triple Green” (that light green metallic finish / matching light green vinyl top / green interior) were exceptionally sharp-looking cars, as were the Triple Green Supremes.

        Wasn’t 1977 the model year that GM began using a certain new high-strength steel for bodies that caused full-sized models to be slab-sided? Something to do with a limit to how much stamping-die draw that could be achieved using that type of steel?

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          @juss-sum-guy- Cutlass was the number one selling car in America for a decade.

          As for the sheet metal:
          You may be confusing the comprehensive roll out of new sheet metal anti-corrosion measures, which started with the ’77 big cars. The only new material I recall was the panel between the rear glass and the deck lid, IIRC.

          Sheet metal thickness does influence how deep the metal can be drawn, but I think the styling was more driven by making the cars so much smaller. A 77 ’98 coupe weighed the same as the Cutlass coupe, which would not be “down-sized” until the ’78 model. It was often said, it is hard to tailor a midget.

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        And that explains your blind mindless devotion to buggy-whips.

        ‘Analytical Dads’ knew that GM was absolute trash, especially by the late 70s.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I’ll bet you’re a hit at parties

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            If you did, you’d be right.

          • 0 avatar
            sfvarholy

            Everybody loves the tool that shows up at parties in his Porsche and then mentions the car every couple of sentences.

            “Well, I was driving my Porsche the other day –oh yes, you didn’t see it outside? — and while I was waiting for Roadside Assistance to tow it back to the dealer….”

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            sfvarholy, guess what? I don’t have to. That’s the province of 911 owners, not those who drive real clean-sheet Porsches. We aren’t driving a status symbol, we’re driving something that just works.

            We don’t have to talk about them (unless queried), and we certainly don’t have to wait for ‘roadside’ assistance’. I’ve had one tow in the last 250K miles on my 350K mile daily driver 928 for a dead fuel pump. That I knew I should have changed out 50K miles previous, but decided to let it run to the end.

          • 0 avatar
            sfvarholy

            Oh dear. I guess you stay at home and dance around in your tighty whities and a leather jacket to Bob Seger.

            So you bought one of the biggest pieces of crap Ferry Porsche ever built, just after the 914 and the 924/944.

            And YOU have the balls to make fun of everyone else?

            Troll somewhere else, Tom Cruise.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            http://i.imgur.com/rz0GUpu.gif

            A car that demands respect…

            *snicker*

  • avatar
    poxpopuli

    Learned to drive in my dad’s 78 Bonneville — Deep Black with a red vinyl interior and special “truck suspension”. That thing had a serious dearth of power but epic presence; from exactly a million miles away — while squinting — it looked like an American Bentley.

  • avatar
    bojac

    Thought I recognized that Olds.

    http://www.mjcclassiccars.com/1977-Oldsmobile-98-Regency-Sedan.shtml

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Nice! Thanks for finding that.

      “Delivered new to Edna Stone of Bristol, Tennessee on August 19, 1977, this car remained with Edna until her passing in 2000. Edith Allen, Edna’s neighbor, purchased the car from her estate. Edith is in her 90s and we just acquired this beauty from her and brought it to Florida.

      This Ninety-Eight has an excellent original paint in the original Medium Green Poly Metallic and original full vinyl top in matching green. The exterior is complimented by its gorgeous original green pillowback Regency velour interior. This Oldsmobile is equipped with the famous original 403 cubic inch engine with automatic transmission.”

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        I met a guy with a perfect Citation X-11.

        You wanna do a story on that ‘tard and his flaming turd?

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I’ve seen your car…

          http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/02/13/3ereqajy.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Were you to have been here over the last decade, you’d know that I think very little of uber-beetles.

            And while I’ve flipped a dozen Turbos or so, I’d never keep one for myself. Nor would I even take that one for free just to have it melted…

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Then you’re just socially stunted due to residual childhood trauma inflicted by an emotionally abusive Chevy

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Nah, I just know what is junk…

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            So, enlighten us. Since you know what junk is, what isn’t junk and why? Make a case for what you think the best car is. Don’t worry about talking over our heads, some of us even went to college, so I’m sure we can handle your analytic break down no matter how technical it is.

            I can’t wait

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            So, if you can’t tell the difference between a McD’s horrid 300-cows-incinerated-to-mid-well ‘burger’, and a fluffy patty of charbroiled-made-from-various-cuts-of-all-graded-well-beyond-“utility”-from-the-same-grass-fed-bovine-cooked-to-mid-rare without a tutorial…

            There is nothing I can teach you.

            You should have figured this out in gradeschool, all by your big-boy-pants self. I’m sorry, like ‘fat, drunk and stupid’, striving to be average is nothing to be proud of. Aspire to be something, try to learn, look for the best life has to offer. The source is unimportant – if GM made something worth owning, I would. Despite all their baggage.

            Waffle House may be a frakkin’ dump populated by drunks at 3AM, but they reliably properly cook up a very tasty selection of (cheap, non-exotic) breakfast foods. OTOH, Cracker Bbl will give you a piece of belt leather, soaked in salt, the size of a Morgan Dollar, and call it a “sausage patty”. And charge you like it’s real food.

            I was taught to look for what works, what’s the best, and enjoy life. Do as you wish, it means sweet FA to me – save for the fact I hope everyone expects (and receives) more than they currently get.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Did you write this with a straight face? I sure as hell can’t read it with one

      • 0 avatar
        Austin Greene

        I once saw a first gen Seville in this same green over green over green combination.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    I think the Olds was the least attractive of the GM full size sedans of that era. I had three of these- 77 and 79 Electras, and one 1980 Cadillac Sedan Deville. Sorry, all junk. I did love that iron 368 Caddy motor. That was a nice piece.

    This is a nice example though and takes me back to the late 70s early 80s when me and my sis would spin the faux chrome dials looking for some good radio stations. And freezing our asses off when the fan control tanked, which was all the time.. hahaha good old days?

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Hot damn! Your pictures brought back a flood of fond memories. I used to drive the Caddy version of this perfectly proportioned car. It did only one thing really well – cruise the interstate. But, my oh my, how well it did that.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    I have to say that Kevin is one of our greatest contributors at The Brougham Society, and cars like this prove it!

    We know that Broughams are not for everyone, but there is no denying that they were very much a part of the automotive landscape, and a lot of us still have a soft spot for them.

    If you haven’t checked us out and would like to, feel free. I have to approve all new members, but I will do it ASAP!

    -Richard

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    Oh yeah, in case you are wondering, we are on Facebook at The Brougham Society…

  • avatar
    Scribe39

    My ’84 (not a brougham) was plenty comfortable for an all-day drive. The puny 307 was not strong enough, but did give me 24.5 on the highway.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    You know you spend too much time on the internet looking at cars when you can see one picture and know who the seller is: Classics by Lash out of Lakeland, FL. My family had a 1978 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham de’Elegance, amazing how similar the GM cars were by this time.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Man, I miss those wide open foot wells, not the tunnel-like ones of today with those ever widening center consoles that seem to be making way for autonomous cars which will have even less floor space, ridiculous!

  • avatar
    Joss

    Methodist fedoras off to a creme puffed Chev! There’s a gaudy tackiness to this ninety-eight which the more handsome lined 75 Seville managed to escape. It reeks expansive, cheap chrome plush of the era. I can almost hear the spot welds cracking…

    Extinct, homogenous, old man’s car.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Nice car, that Seville, which the A-body sedans in 1980 (Cutlass, Century) and ’81 (Malibu Sport Sedan, ’82 Bonneville G) imitated perfectly! (Of course, by then, the Seville was the four-door, bustle-backed version of the Eldo! A classic in its own right! :-) Even had the Diesel Olds V8 standard the first couple of years! (After which, the HT4100 V6 went in there–BIG mistake! :-( )

  • avatar
    SIGCDR

    My FIL loaned me his gold 1974 4DR 98 with 455 Rocket Motor and velour seats so my wife and baby could go on vacation in the sweltering southeast in the mid 70’s. The big 98’s engine loafed all day running the interstates at 75 mph, no road noise, and super comfortable seats for all day comfort. He drove that car to nearly 200K interstate miles before giving it to one of his employees who was an ace mechanic. It is probably still running strong somewhere in the low country of SC. Hard to believe a New York born and Southern Cal raised female Gen X song writer would get the reason for the Olds 98 and so many on TTAC don’t get it.

    455 Rocket

    She had a 455 Rocket
    The biggest block alive
    I couldn’t hardly wait just to take my turn

    She was made for the straight aways
    She grew up hating Chevrolets
    She’s a Rocket, she was made to burn

    Kathy Mattea – Singer
    Writer – Gillian Howard Welch

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Whose junk pile piece of shhhhhhhhhh… Chevelle is this?
      Did you boys come here to race or just kiss?
      Betcha wana know what I got underneath my hood?

      I know she might sound like she’s missin’ but Buddy, she’ll teach you a lesson. Just a quarter mile and I’ll smoke you good.

      (Love that song.)

  • avatar
    Johannes Dutch

    Last week I visited a classic car show here. Lots of usual suspects
    (Mercedes, Volvo and English Prince-of-Darkness-Junk-O-Mobiles) but also several Americanas from the forties up to the eighties.

    There was a very nice Oldsmobile 88 Royale Brougham from the early eighties. All original, first paint, and with a dark brown interior. (Praise the Lord, no Bordello-Red)

    Given its overall condition it must have been a first or second owner’s car, someone who took very good care of it. I liked it, it had all the “right” dimensions. (unlike the 2nd gen Cadillac Seville for example)

    Very nice vehicle (or starting point) for a classic US car enthusiast. I would never use it as a daily driver. That is, not in my country with its maritime climate and salty roads in the winter months. You’ll have to keep it garage kept to enjoy it for a long time.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      In another post about the enthusiasm European enthusiasts have for big ol’ ‘Murrican iron of all stripes, I remember seeing a 1979 Olds Delta ’88 Holiday Coupe in either Stockholm, Sweden or Oslo, Norway on a trip there in 2005. Mint condition, with a “Touch this car, and I’ll [have \"relations\" with, rhyming with \"buck\"] your dog!” bumper sticker placed prominently in the windshield!

      • 0 avatar
        Johannes Dutch

        As a matter a fact, for the average Euro-owner of a classic US car that’s a very refined bumper sticker.

        Let’s say the US car enthusiast here doesn’t smoke a pipe, doesn’t wear red or yellow trousers and doesn’t have a light blue sweater wrapped around his neck at the car show.

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        Sad things happen at a distance. There’s idiots in ‘Murrica who think an Audi 50 is worth more than a G….

  • avatar
    tklockau

    Love it! We did one of those on CC a few months ago: http://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-american/curbside-classic-1978-oldsmobile-ninety-eight-regency-all-the-brougham-you-want-in-a-tidier-package/

    But I like the green one so much better!

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    My dad’s parents always bought 88s and had one of this vintage, the glove box specifically takes me back.

    My second car was an ’87 Ninety Eight Regency Brougham in that exact shade of green, I sold it with 205,000 on the clock when I graduated from college, and I always appreciated the sort of stately-ness of that car.

    Thanks so much for posting this!


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