Curbside Outtake: 1980 Olds Delta 88 Royale – The Ever-Vanishing B Beater, With Pontiac 265 V8?

GM B-Bodies used to be the top dog of Beaterville. Our biggest Goodwill store is across the street from Home Depot, so I could always count on one or two or three over there in the parking lot. Not anymore. So when I spotted one recently, I drove across the street to document it. Who know how much longer its heart will still be beating, especially if it has that obscure Pontiac 265 V8 under the hood.

I think this is a 1980 based on the grille, since it drew a blank on a license plate check. Close enough. It was someone’s pride and joy, once upon a time. Which is now over forty years ago. So we’ll give this survivor a bit of grace for just making it this far.

Too bad about the license plate checker drawing a blank, as it would have told me what’s under the hood. keeping track of the ever-changing palette of engines in these B-Bodies ever since the Chevy V8 showed up in 1977 is a bit challenging. So I cracked open my Standard Encyclopedia of American Cars and…what? It says that in addition to the 231 V6 (via Buick) the other standard engine (except in wagons) was a 265 CID V8 with 120 hp. Really? The infamous and almost-forgotten Pontiac 265.

It was used in the Olds 88 only in 1980. You might ask why all of this shuffling around of engines, from one year to the next. Here’s the explanation, left by a former GM worker Larry Coyle in the comment section of that post on the 265:

Hi Paul, I worked at the plant that made the 265 & 301 along with the 2.5 4cyl. long and short block. Worked in quality control. At that time GM divisions were battling each other for the corporate engines business. Pontiac was trying to be the corporate engine builder with the 265 for Cadillac. I remember going to meetings about how we could build the 301 for less. The inferior 305 Chevy was almost $200.00 less to build. We were asked to lower our standard.. (We didn’t) and the rest is history. I hope this gives a little insight.

It does give some insight, in terms of the divisions being asked to bid on supplying engines to the various divisions. A curious way to run a business. But that would all end soon enough.

This is a Royale, meaning the higher of the two trim levels of the Delta 88.

And that means plusher upholstery.  Which also gets stained a bit more easily…

And it wouldn’t be a genuine Eugene CC without at least one door card missing.

Actually, it’s not in all that bad of shape. I’d say it’s got another ten years or so left in it, at the rate it’s aging. Depending on your tolerance level, that is.