1988 Olds Touring Sedan, I Miss You

01 Road Warrior

1988 Olds Touring Sedan


This was my road warrior for a number of years, a 1988 Olds Touring Sedan. It was the most expensive Olds 98 available that year going out the door for a cool $25,000. I think that the only option available was a sunroof, which my car didn’t have, which is ironic since the Touring Sedans were finished by ASC (American Sunroof Corp).

I bought this car from my father after the 1978 Uber Rabbit decided to rust itself to death.

A quick call to my father determined that, yes, his ‘88 Olds TS was available (all of my father’s cars were for sale, always), in fact I bought three used 98s from him. When I bought this car from him it had 64,000 miles on it (103,000 km). Cost me $5000.


Olds TS7

Nice Touche.


I always thought that the Olds had a cute ass end. The car was commodious-huge trunk and a back seat with enough room that my 6’4” and 6’6” sons never complained about having to ride back there. Yes Tom, I debadged it.


Olds TS3

Momo, I love you!.


The interior on the Touring Sedan was different from run-of-the mill 98s. Leather interior with buckets up front, full analog gauge package, real burled walnut fascia. The Bose stereo was great.

The steering wheel is a 13” Jackie Stewart Momo which was just smaller enough from the 15” stock unit to endow the steering with great feel. My older son liked it so much that he had me install a similar Momo in his Olds 98.

The TS was a good handling car, but not necessarily a good riding car. The rear end was too stiff which was a bummer on bumpy corners.


Olds TS Engine

Olds (Buick) 3.8 V6. Great Engine.


Sorry for the text here. I prepared this photo for a Touring Sedan website over ten years ago. The Buick 3.8 V6 was a great engine, but I did have to change out the timing chain at 144,000 miles. The timing chain and gears were fine, it was the chain tensioner that had given up the ghost. Cheap little part, but critical. When I had the timing chain cover off, and could look into the block innards, I was surprised to see absolutely no varnish or deposits on the block. Looked like a brand new casting. Thank you Mobil 1.

The 3.8 V6 was not quick, but was a great long distance cruiser. At 83 mph it was a very composed at 2200 rpm. Once, with an (obviously) strong tail wind, I recorded 31.5 mpg between Salt Lake City and Laramie, Wyoming. I’ll take that any day. My Subaru Impreza can’t touch that figure, tail wind or not.

The Olds was also a great snow car. I pulled Sheridan Hill, a 6% grade just east of Laramie with six inches of snow on the ground and an inch coming down every hour. Not by choice. White knuckle, but I made it. Love them Yokohamas.


Olds TS5

El Oucho.


The galvanized steel body panels did their job-no corrosion. But GM hadn’t yet figured out how to maximize paint adhesion on galvanized panels, and given the sandy environs out in the western US and the high speeds commonly run, paint loss was a problem. And I generally had to replace my windshield every two years, or else I couldn’t see where I was going in the morning or evening. When I worked in Denver, the radio stations routinely reported “slowdowns” in rush hour traffic due to “glare”. I, as many Denver residents who commuted east in the mornings, and west in the evenings, had problems with pitted windshields.

Bad news, good news. Windshields were crap after two years, but in Salt Lake, which suffered the same problems as Denver, a new windshield was only $94 installed. Didn’t even bother to inform my insurer.

My father sold me his 1994 Cadillac STS with 65,000 miles on it in 1999 while I was on a job in Baltimore. At that point I gave him back the ‘88 Olds TS with 177,000 miles on it. Not a good trade.