Curbside Classic Capsule: 1972 Oldsmobile 98 Coupe – A Cheaper Coupe DeVille

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(first posted 5/13/2015)  Oldsmobile and Cadillac had had a certain affinity over the decades. Their new 1949 V8 engines were really quite similar, as were the C-Body cars that they first appeared in. And there’s been other cases where the two seem to have shared a bit more than average for GM sister divisions, such as the Hydramatic and FWD.  Buick preferred to go its own way whenever possible.

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You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d just stumbled into a Coupe De Ville from some distance, as the there’s obviously quite a bit of similarity in their C-Body, right down to some details like the little fins and the rear fender skirts. Of course, a closer look reveals the Olds-specific blistered wheel openings and a slight upkick in the rear side window line.

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Olds’ decision to bring back fins in 1971 was a surprise.

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Well, Olds was using a very Continental-esque bladed rear fender up to that point (1970 above), which were not exactly considered fins, but there’s no way not to call what sat on the top of the all-new ’71’s rear fender anything other than a fin.

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The high-set front headlights are also a throw-back, and rather evoke Cadillacs from the 1959-1964 era. Well, this 98 was clearly targeting buyers looking for a lot of Cadillac cues with a lower price. The base 98 coupe started at $4748, vs. the Cadillac Calais at $5771.  And the 98 Luxury Coupe started at $5009, vs $6168 for the De Ville. Equipment levels may have been somewhat different, but that $4748 for the 98 base coupe adjusts to some $26k in today’s dollars. A lot of car, in terms of inches, pounds and cubic inches for the buck.

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This appears to be the Luxury Coupe, due to its higher-trim interior, which looks to be perforated ‘Morocceen’ (vinyl).  Cloth was available too.

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And of course, in 1972 Olds offered the limited edition Regency, which really competed with the Cadillac. Its interior appointments pushed up into Fleetwood territory, which undoubtedly was one of the reasons Cadillac came out with the famous Fleetwood Talisman.

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If I had to guess, this car was repainted and most likely had a vinylroofectomy, as they inevitably trap moisture and cause rust around the back window and at the C Pillar.  Lemon meringue pie that was left in the oven too long; but still tasty.