1984 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Brougham: Boxy Nostalgia
I have a weird history with square-shaped General Motors products from the late-1970s to the early 1980s. It started with a 1977 Chevrolet Impala wagon, dark blue on blue vinyl. Shortly thereafter, there was a 1979 Chevrolet Malibu wagon, maroon on maroon vinyl. Later we had a 1981 beige on beige cloth Malibu Classic sedan. Looking at any of them, you’d be forgiven for thinking, “Damn, that’s a lot of malaise-era [color] on [color].
They were all company cars from my Dad’s places of employment. For the younger set of our audience, companies used to lease cars for some of their employees, generally either salespeople or – like Dad – successful mid- to senior-level executives.
The final and perhaps most memorable of the GM lease boxes was the 1983 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale. It was not malaise monochrome, but rather resplendent in Light Sable Brown over Dark Sable Brown velour. My memory sadly does not recall whether or not it was a full Brougham, but I can tell you it absolutely did not have a vinyl roof. Remote-control passenger-side mirror, electric clock, power everything, FM radio, and a 307-cubic-inch V8 pushing the proud hood ornament toward the horizon.
We only had it for about a year before Dad changed jobs and we moved back to Connecticut, but boy was that a ride. Silently quick and smooth, even my Mom would egregiously speed through the farm roads around Greenwood, Indiana.
That brings us to today’s 1984 Delta 88 Royale Brougham, offered at $14,500 in my old occasional stomping grounds of Narragansett, Rhode Island.
Funny side note: My old buddy Kurt, whose family had a house in Narragansett, was a big Oldsmobile guy. His first car was a white 1976 Delta 88 sedan, and later he rocked a gold 1989 Cutlass Ciera coupe (V6, console-shift automatic, convex lattice-style wheels, FE3 suspension). I’ve spent a fair amount of time in that ol’ fishing town, and also absolutely hammering on that Cutlass.
Over fourteen-large for this old Olds seems crazy until you look at the condition and take a peek under the hood. Let’s touch on the latter first.
The smooth but decidedly boat-anchory 140-horsepower V8 has been jettisoned for a 6.0-liter Chevy LS motor. The ad isn’t specific about which LS motor it is. However, some rudimentary Googling says this is probably a mid- to late-aughts LS2 commonly found in various Corvette, Cadillac CTS-V, and Saab 9-7X Aero models, good for damn near 400 horsepower and 400 torques.
Minus a bit of messiness under said hood – but still likely cleaner than the hose soup from the factory – condition seems glorious. Great colors, good chrome, clean and apparently stain-free velour and plastic interior, and those wonderful wire wheel hubcaps. The body looks as straight as any 70s/80s GM B-body, which is fine. The rear bumper filler panels look broken, but that’s pretty common. You could also make the argument the driver’s side front fender has had a bit of work. I don’t hate the vinyl roof, but I’m partial to steel. Speaking of steel, and being in Rhode Island, you’d want to double-check the bones underneath.
The seller states everything works except the cruise control, which sounds to me includes the cool quasi-digital flippy clock. There is no reason for 80s GM air conditioning to not blow ice cold, and this system apparently does. Looks like it has a RetroSound Long Beach stereo as well.
I absolutely love this Delta 88, and may or may not have done a quick search for 1983-style tail lights. I also freely admit this car is more than a bit of a nostalgia play, so that “love” may actually be admiration that it still exists, and in this condition.
Am I that stupid at $14,500? Clearly not. But I sure do hope someone is.
I, too, am guilty of harboring a not-so-hidden affection for 80s boxes. My first car was a 1986 Celebrity Classic — complete with the vinyl roof, wire hubcaps, and velour seating for six. Now, the day someone LS-swaps one of those…
As you probably know, we are huge fans of the 80s GM A-body.
My dad had almost the exact same one, except dark blue on dark blue. It was fancy, first car with power windows in our family, the sewn in pillow seat backs for extra comfort.