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1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale & 1976 Oldsmobile 98 Regency: A Comparison


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Now that I look at this, the Olds 88 in coupe form did have a strange roofline, putting such a big rear window in the sail panel and with thin pillars adjacent to the backlite.  I'm sure they could have come up with something different and less clunky.  The coupe treatment of the bigger 98 worked much better.  However, of all the big coupes from that year, the Pontiac Bonneville and Grand Ville, outfitted with Pontiac alloy rally wheels, won in the looks department.

It's amazing what rectangular headlamps did for these cars.  Amazing.  It really allowed them to clean up the lines around the grilles.  If I recall, the strip speedometer prevailed, but, for some of these cars, gauges were available in small "boxes" inserted below it on the dash (or maybe that was the next-gen, when the downsize came).

The 98 of this era was one of a kind, again helped by rectangular headlamps in this year.  The sort of finned rear lamps that ended at the bumper, instead of continuing on below the bumper line, made it easier on the eyes than the equivalent Cadillac.  And I'd much prefer an Olds 455 V8 under the hood to Cadillac's absurd 500 c.i. V8.  (Realistically, the Olds 350 V8 could have lugged the 98 around, seeing it was the base engine in the 88 series.) Not only that, the 98 was quite a bit better looking in its lines than the equivalent Buick - Electra/225/Park Avenue - where the rear bumper and busy horizontal light fascia weren't that appealing.  Based on my high school French classes, I later nicknamed the 98 of this era "la cathedrale roulante" because of its rear taillamps.

 

 

 

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This was the "looker" among the full-size BOP GMs of those years.

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Pontiac shows its panache, even in full-size boulevardier form, with its lines and the rally wheels.  (They could have thinned out those whitewalls.)  I think this car has it over both the Ninety Eight and Electra-225-Park Avenue coupes of the same year or two.  I get excited when I saw one in great condition on the road.  I remember seeing one set up like his - a beautiful metallic forest green one with the light green landau roof and light green interior - in Yosemite National Park one cool November day when sightseeing with my parents.

I don't see a hood ornament.  It turns out the upline Bonneville Brougham had one since it was now taking the place of the Grand Ville nameplate.

1976-pontiac-bonneville-brougham

Also, look at this.  Pontiac was again working wonders in the dashboard department.  They eschewed the strip gauge for their full-sizes and went with round IP clusters.  On the left, you see a clock, but it's also surrounded by 4 small optional gauges (fuel, temperature, oil pressure, and voltage) - more than what the others in the BOP group were doing.  

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3 hours ago, Robert Hall said:

I've always liked those mid 70s B- and C-body fullsizers, esp. the Buicks.

Love the Electras of '75-76.

1976BuickElectra09.jpg

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Interesting.  This rear treatment truly belongs to that division.

Generally speaking, there have been some thematic elements over the years in rear taillamps ... Cadillac and Olds tended to go vertical while Buick, Pontiac, and Chevrolet tended to go horizontal.  Of course, there were some exceptions.  Ditto with up front - Cadillac, Buick, and Chevrolet tended to feature a "one piece" grille, while Olds and Pontiac tended to split their grilles symmetrically (again, with some exceptions).

As for the Electra, they did a lot of nameplate modifications with it.  I believe a Park Avenue package showed up slightly before the ones above, only to reappear much later.

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I knew there was something stupid I forgot to mention.

On the 88 Royale, there is NO air conditioning.  They got it a fancy cloth interior, electric gizmos, and wire wheel covers, but NO air.  You can see this on the dash in Video 1 at 1:00.

And you can see it even better in Video 2 at 16:15.  There's a big 455 sitting there and, as they pan around, every spark plug is accessible ... good for your teen to learn how to change spark plugs.  They also pan over to the 98's engine bay, which looks sort of normal with its air conditioning compressor.

Back in the day, cars could be ordered about a million different ways if you did the statistical permutations!

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