Ever since I spotted that ’64 Cutlass a few weeks ago, I’ve been haunted (or taunted) by a flock of early-’60s Oldsmobiles. I can’t help but think that some automotive God is beckoning me to come home–and any day now, I might succumb to my longing for some Lansing goodies.
The latest incident involved this 1963 Ninety-Eight Six-Window Hardtop. For a few years now, there have been a few You Tube videos of a similar if more decrepit ’63 Ninety Eight storming across random farmlands: There’s the lump of the”cold lamp” 394. The doe-eyed stateliness. The crisp fenders. And the knowledge that post-1964 Oldsmobiles would start to have more in common with their General Motors relatives. Oddities like the Roto-Hydramatic would become cost-inefficient foibles of the past.
The only Oldsmobile I ever purchased was a Generic Motors H-Body; that said, I feel like something of a fraud. I’ve never run my hand through an illogical shift quadrant, nor have I twisted my wrists with the overboosted power steering of the cars that made Oldsmobile great. Then there’s the 220-plus inches of length (where will I park it?), and the drum brakes at every corner (how will I stop that?). And let’s not forget the prodigious fuel consumption.
The rationalization of living with and feeding such a beast, even as a second car, becomes very daunting. Maybe I’ll find a smaller and slightly more efficient Dynamic Eighty-Eight? A compromise Cutlass? Granted, the value of run-of-the-mill Oldsmobile sedans lags among most GM classics. Still, I shouldn’t feel like it’s now or never. Plus, there’s profound guilt surrounding “cheating”on my steady stream of Mercedes sedans over the past five years.
The bridge between dreams and reality, over the river of longing and loyalty, is a hard one to cross. You’d think I’m agonizing about choosing a spouse or a dog at the pound, not over a vehicle–but sometimes, the magic of metal and motor can be so entrancing.