Downtown, the Loop, Chicago, Illinois.
Friday, August 24, 2012.
Looks good to me.
I’ve always been a huge fan of the front end design of the facelifted 1980 models. I think overall though, I prefer the Delta 88’s styling to this Ninety-Eight. The fender skirts just don’t do it for me.
These always hit me the exact other way – the sloping nose made the car look like a big doorstop. The squarer 98 with the fender skirts always made the design less odd to me, and the bulbous 88 was the one of these B/C bodies that I just couldn’t take. I’m probably in the minority here.
I remember when I saw the restyled 1980 GM full-size cars for the first time. It was in a new-car issue of one of the magazines, and the Oldsmobiles, in particular, were a real surprise. My car-conscious friend just said, “That will take some getting used to,” and I couldn’t disagree. The Ninety-Eight looked very strange.
These Delta 88s and Ninety-Eights proved to be surprisingly popular, particularly after the 1981 model year. I believe that the full-size Oldsmobiles were among the first full-size cars to really recover from the doldrums of the severe 1980-81 recession.
I feel the same way. The 98’s were the best looking of the bunch, while the 88’s I cared for the least. I have always liked the closed rear wheel look (whether skirted or not) on large cars (yes, even the ’91 – ’92 Caprice), but of course there are plenty of exceptions to that rule.
I had an ’80 98 for about a year in the early nineties. Even though it was well broken in (over 150,000 miles) it was a very enjoyable ride for me. With the 350 it performed much better that the ’86 Custom Cruiser 307 that replaced it.
Another great shot, Joseph.
I like these. The fender skirts and distinct rear fender tops remind me of their super-sized predecessors.
I always figured Milton as more of a Corolla driver…
Peter was the one with a Corolla. Milton rode the bus!
When I worked in an office, I made sure to have a red stapler that Swingline was making at the time, due to the popularity of the show. It had a prominent place on my desk and, to this day, I hope other, low-level office workers have them as a small sign of rebellion.
In fact, Milton reminded me as sort of a latter-day version of Winston Smith from Orwell’s 1984.
I see your point, Chris, and also, Milton would also likely have his hands at ten-and-four. But the resemblance is uncanny, IMO.
Awesome pic, as always Dennis. Are you an official CC stalker. Lol
It’s crazy to think a grand luxo barge like this 1980-84 98 Regency, became a wussified FWD dolled up Chevy Celebrity in 1985.
Funny, how GM can expect the same amount of money, for a lot less car.
Mike Judge said Milton was a real person, and so was the stapler dialogue… You just can’t make that shit up!
Always have and always will love this body style. My Mom had a close friend named Janice that owned a 1981 98 Regency, white, white top, tan leather, every option made. I always wanted that car, and when she sold it I was crushed. One day, many years later, I was visiting at a friend’s house. Somehow we got on the topic of older cars and he told me a neighbor was selling a nice 1980 or so Buick or Oldsmobile. He was keeping it safe under a blue tarp. I went over to his house to investigate, and when the gentleman came outside and unveiled the mystery car under the tarp sure enough it was Janice’s 98 Regency! I mentioned her to him and he confirmed it was indeed her old car! It had seen two owners after her. It was looking a little tired, but still as luxurious as ever. The brakes were in bad shape, the exhaust needed to be replaced, one of the lifters was tapping loudly and the engine wouldn’t stay running, and the sunroof had a minor leak. Granted it was now 16 years old, but I wanted that car more than ever. My mechanic went to see it with me to assess the cost of getting it running again. Sadly, it needed so much work it would have cost a ton to get it back into running shape. He eventually sold it to a local scrapyard that sadly used it for parts.
When I saw the picture of the featured car, instantly the memories of Janice’s Regency came back to me. When I think of an Oldsmobile 98, to me hers was “the one”.
I have always preferred this style to the ’77/78/79 version. It’s much more formal and very elegant looking.
My mother had a fully-loaded ’83 Regency Brougham in burgundy with same interior. I thought it was odd that “astroroofs” and leather seating weren’t more popular with these.
Full-size Oldsmobiles were bought by people like my parents, who wanted something a cut above a Ford or Chevrolet, but could definitely not afford a Cadillac or a Lincoln.
Moving up from a Delta 88 to a Ninety-Eight would have been a stretch for my parents in the early 1980s. Buying a loaded Ninety-Eight with an “astroroof” and leather would have been a “bridge too far” for them.
Plus, buyers didn’t automatically equate leather upholstery with the “ultimate” in luxury during that era. Certainly not enough to pay extra for it.
Not sure about the popularity of leather in other areas of the country, but in Rhode Island, leather was very popular in the 98 Regency models. Even with the limited selection of colors to choose from, I often saw a lot of these cars with leather. Only the Regency Broughams that I saw tended to have cloth more often than leather. Not to mention, Cadillacs were offered with a ton of different shades of leather to choose from, and they were extremely popular with leather here. In fact, if I saw a Cadillac with cloth interior it was an extreme rarity! (Never mind the plaids offered in the 70’s – as rare as could be here!) To me, the thought of a Cadillac with cloth was a “stripped” model.
Geeber, I’m not sure I agree with your statement about the leather interior. Nearly all of the luxury cars I experienced growing up in the 70’s and 80’s had genuine leather in them. And I am talking about the many Cadillacs, Lincolns and even Mom’s ’79 Riviera – all had genuine leather interior.
In fact, here’s a recollecton of them:
Grandfather’s gold 1974 Coupe deVille – leather
green 1978 Coupe deVille – leather
gray 1987 Oldsmobile Regency – leather
Uncle’s Cedar Firemist 1979 Sedan deVIlle – leather
blue 1986 Fleetwood Brougham – leather
gray 1990 Fleetwood Brougham – leather
Aunt’s 1974 Gold Luxury Mark IV – leather
burgundy 1977 Lincoln Town Coupe – leather
claret 1980 Cadillac Eldorado – leather
Sister’s blue 1977 Seville – leather
brown 1982 Eldorado – leather
Mom’s grey 1979 Buick Riviera – leather
Friend of family Janice’s white 1978 Oldsmobile Regency – leather
white 1981 Oldsmobile Regency – leather
And the only American luxury car form the 70’s/80’s that I encountered with cloth interior was my Grandmother’s beige 1987 FWD Fleetwood d’Elegance. I thought that car was so rare with cloth interior, as you can see I never had experienced cloth in these types of cars before.
And the strangest thing in my family was that my Mom, Aunt and Uncle – all siblings – all at the same time owned a special-ordered GM car with a factory Astroroof. My Mom’s ’79 Riviera had one, my Uncle’s Cedar Firemist ’79 Sedan deVille had one, and my Aunt’s 1980 Eldorado had one. The odds of that happening were no doubt VERY RARE!
Here in Canada cloth seats were very common in many 70-80s Cadillacs, Lincolns, Rivieras, 98s and Electras. This is in part because Canadians have always been more frugal even when buying luxury cars. The other reason I think is because of our cold winters. There is nothing luxurious about parking your behind on leather when it’s -20 outside. Even nowadays with heated seats that first few minutes of sitting on frozen leather just isn’t much fun,
Growing up during that era in a working class/entry level professional neighborhood in the Houston burbs I wasn’t exposed to a whole lot of luxury cars. The ones I did see seemed to be evenly split between cloth or leather. No doubt the summer heat in Houston had a lot to do with that.
The one I remember most was the neighbor behind us who special ordered a ’78 Coupe deVille d’Elegance with every option – except leather. Thickest burgundy pillow velour I’ve ever seen. Not quite Talisman plush but pretty close. Hardly a stripper!
Out of all the GM vehicles from the 70’s I knew someone was going to mention a Fleetwood d’Elegance. That vehicle is the exception to the rule with cloth interior, especially because that was a luxurious expensive extra cost package and obviously they were not “strippers”. I’m referring to the average Coupe/Sedan deVille or Eldorado that I would see in the 70’s, 99% of the time it would always have leather interior. If they had cloth, they usually were a car with very few options if any at all.
How could you make a generalized statement like that… A car without leather had little to no options. So if you’re car had leather it was better? Hogwash.
I’ve owned three 70’s Cadillacs, only one with leather. My first car, a 73 Coupe De Ville had leather seats and loaded. My 76 Coupe De Ville had red velour seats( more like corduroy) and guess what? Fully loaded.
My 75 Sedan De Ville had tan velour and was fully loaded.
In Massachusetts, where I’m at… No one preferred leather seats in the 70’s- mid 80’s. At least, that’s what I conclude with the used luxury models around here. Most of us don’t like the feel of cold, clammy seats in the winter or getting scorched, burned legs in the summer from leather seats.
Most of the personal luxury cars around here had cloth or velour, most GMs and Fords had velour… Chrysler promoted leather, so I’ve seen more with leather.
My 75 Lincoln Town Coupe had leather, but with Lincolns around here, it was like a 50/50 split.
Now, of course, we’re talking about 70s/80s models.
Just because a luxury car doesn’t have leather seats, doesn’t make it any less of a luxury car.
Tom, I usually look to you for my Brougham insights, but I had to call you on this one, buddy. 😉
Hi Sarcasmo, I think everyone is missing the point of what I was trying to say. Sorry for the confusion. By no means is a car with velour any less of a luxury car. Not at all! What I am saying is that nearly all of the luxury cars I had encountered in the 70’s/80’s all had leather interior, as I listed in my previous post. If I saw a Cadillac DEVILLE with cloth, for some odd reason it was usually a car that did not have many options, at least here in RI. The dealers around here ordered nearly all of them with leather. An exception would of course be a Fleetwood Brougham or any Cadillac with the d’Elegance package. Those usually were totally loaded, regardless if they had cloth or leather. Ironically, one of my best friends that I grew up with is also a total Broughamaholic like me. We used to frequent the used car lots and the Caddy dealers all the time. He mentioned to me not too long ago how surprised he was to see so many of the 77-79 deVilles with cloth on eBay and the internet sites. I guess cloth/velour was a lot more popular on the deVilles in other parts of the country. And the ones I have seen online have been loaded, too.
And then we have the other GM offerings, like the 98 Regencys and Buick Limiteds/Park Avenues. Those were definitely more common with cloth, and you would see them equipped mostly loaded with options too.
So I hope this clears up the misunderstanding. I love velour interior! There is nothing like the loose pillow look velour seats of a true Brougham!I am a Brougham man through and through! Long live the Brougham!!!!
Thanks, for the clarification, Tom… Like you said, I guess the abundance of more leather interiors comes with the territory.
While, more leather interiors may be more prevalent in California, versus more velour interiors, in say New Mexico, etc. That’s true.
Okay, knowing you, Tom, I don’t think you’d pass up, a nice 1979 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham, just because it had the velour interior. Lol
You’re right, Sarcasmo, that 2-toned Bonny coupe is one of my absolute favorite cars of the 70’s!
Cadillacs and Lincolns were considered a definite cut above Ninety-Eights in the 1970s and early 1980s. It wouldn’t surprise me that Cadillacs and Lincolns were equipped with leather upholstery during those years.
Silent, beautiful riding cars. Way to go!
Saw one in a mall parking lot recently, great looking car. Much nicer than any 80s Town Car.
I always liked the 1980 “aero” redesign on the big GM’ers (note, I also really liked their predecessors too). I thought this Olds was very handsome, and imagined that my mother would replace her ’79 Ninety-Eight with one of these. She did in fact go right to the Ninety-Eight in 1983 when looking for her next car. We took a test drive in a Ninety-Eight Regency Brougham (Olds was really starting to get into the ultra long names then). I thought the car was awesome, and very comfortable with pillowed leather seats in a rich, dark brown. But the seats were actually a big strike for Mom, as she never liked pillowed seats (said she felt like she was being “swallowed”) and steadfastly refused to get them on any car (her ’79 Ninety-Eight was an LS with vinyl seats). The other, bigger issue for her was actually the performance. Her ’79 had the 403 V8, and was quick for a big car. The loaded ’83 with the much smaller 5.0 V8 felt very sluggish. She wound up getting an Oldsmobile, but it was a Cutlass Supreme sedan, with vinyl seats (no pillow-tufted Supreme Brougham for her!!) with the same 5.0 V8 as in the Ninety-Eight. In the lighter Cutlass, it actually offered reasonable performance for the era, though it was no 403.
Great photo, I’d happily drive that Olds. But now I’m feeling sad about Janice’s car. Poor unlucky 98.
Jim, you are so right….it was so sad to see that car get junked. I know it could have been repaired to good running condition; it was a matter of how much money someone wanted to spend to do so. And the really sad part was that the interior and exterior still looked great and that car had every conceivable option – right down to rear seat reading lamps, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, power moonroof, cornering lamps, fiber optic lamp monitors, full gauges, leather interior and CB radio. I used to see that car in its heyday and remember how majestic it looked coming down the road. Knowing it was going to the junkyard was sad indeed.
I’ve always liked the 70s & 80s 98s & wished my parents bought one but my dad was a Lincoln man then. My aunt had a 77 98 Coupe that seemed fast but was no match for my moms Lincoln Mark with the 460 engine. She traded the 77 for an 83 98 4dr brougham, sweet comfy car with big pillow seats & ice cold a/c. She retired from teaching & bought a Geo Prizm LSi.
For some reason I prefer the 1980 restyle on the Ninety Eight sedan’s but I’ve thought the coupe’s looked better on the 1977-79 Ninety Eight’s, I only wished they’ve kept on making them with the 350 Rocket V8’s all throughout the 1977-84 run, also didn’t Samuel L. Jackson drive an early 80’s Oldsmobile Ninety Eight in the movie “Jackie Brown”?
The Buick LeSabre of this generation was more capable than one might assume.
The fender skirts on the big Oldsmobiles are a thing of beauty.
I always loved the look of the post 1980 cars, the 88 being my favourite by far. The 98 was a nice car, too, and many were sold as diesels. The problem was the engines would always blow long before the rest of the car was worn out, usually 5-7 years. We swapped in loads of 307’s into diesel 98’s and it was easy, as they were basically the same block and all the accessories swapped straight over.
We did only two as taxis. The extra weight of the C body overtaxed the chassis, as the brakes and front end are the same as the 400 lb lighter B body, and thus wore out at an even more alarming rate than in the B body.
I drove one for a couple of weeks when I was home from Asia on holiday. Dad had a maroon 98 with leather and sunroof, a full load. He’s got it for $1000 since it didn’t run, swapped in an LPG optimised 307 (higher compression, torque cam and altered ignition timing) and it ran very nicely around town. By this time, float was not nearly as bad at GM, and Dad had put new gas shocks on that one, too. It drove very nicely and cost peanuts to run.
Nice looking cars these. Always wanted to take an 80 Olds 350 and tie it to a 200R4 overdrive transmission in one of the 81-84 models to see how performance and mileage would compare to the 307 cars.
Thanks everyone, regarding the photo. My older brother had one of these in the mid-90’s and he let me drive it. I was in my early 20’s at the time and used to the size of my ’88 Mustang when I first drove “The Mothership”. I did something like a ten-point parking job at the local Barnes & Noble bookstore. Could have napped (comfortably) in the burgundy velour back seat. For a fifteen year old car at the time, it was an absolute creampuff – a $995 dealer’s special that was worth every dime of my brother’s money.
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