The sight of this big, beautiful Olds being piloted by this gentleman last summer stopped me dead in my tracks. In resplendent, factory Dark Green Metallic and riding on classy Super-Stock III wheels, this clean ’79 Delta 88 Royale coupe rolled across the Saginaw Street Bridge downtown over the Flint River with authority and presence. This is exactly the kind of car I would have seen on the streets of my hometown in the mid-1980s, being driven by a General Motors pensioner who had worked hard on the line, didn’t have to do it anymore, and had wanted to enjoy retirement in a much classier chariot than he (or she) had driven to the shop and back for many years. The GM Employee Discount had also helped many workers realize their dreams of owning cars positioned further up the Sloanian ladder at substantially discounted prices.
So many things about this car are uncommon or just plain obsolete these days, whereas they were once so common: being an Oldsmobile, in a reasonably popular two-door bodystyle, V8 power, rear-wheel-drive, bench seats, and an exterior and interior color combination as bold and unmistakable as the subject car’s beautiful shade(s) of green. This is one brougham (though not an actual “Royale Brougham”) that I feel benefits aesthetically from the absence of a vinyl roof treatment. I’d like to think this one was powered by Olds’ own biggie, 185-hp 403 Rocket-V8, then in its last model year – mated with GM’s 3-speed TurboHydramatic automatic transmission. From the page above featured in the same-year, ’79 brochure, it’s apparent that the interior of these cars was a very pleasant, commodious, and luxurious place to enjoy spending time behind the wheel. The gentleman in our fine, featured B-body Olds seemed to be doing just that.
Downtown Flint, Michigan.
Saturday, August 15, 2015.