Oldsmobile 98

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Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight
1969 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight-1.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer General Motors
Also called Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser 98
Oldsmobile Futuramic 98
Oldsmobile Starfire 98
Oldsmobile Classic 98
Production 1940–1996
Body and chassis
Class Full-size
Chronology
Predecessor Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser 90
Successor Oldsmobile Aurora
Oldsmobile Regency/LSS (United States Only)

The Oldsmobile 98 (originally Series 90; a.k.a. Ninety-Eight) was a full-size automobile and the flagship model of the Oldsmobile division of General Motors. The name first appeared in 1941 and was used again after American consumer automobile production resumed post-World War II. It was, as it would remain, the top-of-the-line model, with lesser Oldsmobiles having lower numbers such as the A-body 66 and 68, and the B-body 76 and 78. The Series 60 was retired in 1949, the same year the Oldsmobile 78 was replaced by the 88. The Oldsmobile 76 was retired after 1950. This left the two remaining number-names to carry on into the 1990s as the bread and butter of the full-size Oldsmobile lineup until the Oldsmobile Regency replaced the 98 in 1997.

Occasionally additional nomenclature was used with the name, such as L/S and Holiday, and the 98 Regency badge would become increasingly common in the later years of the model. The 98 shared its General Motors C-body platform with Buick and Cadillac.

As it was the top-line Oldsmobile, the series had the most technologically advanced items available, such as the Hydramatic automatic transmission, the Autronic Eye, an automatic headlight dimmer, and Twilight Sentinel (a feature that automatically turned the headlights on and off via a timer, as controlled by the driver), and the highest-grade interior and exterior trim.

First generation (1941)[edit]

First generation
1941 Oldsmobile 96 Club Coupe (3626405833).jpg
Overview
Model years 1941
Assembly South Gate, California, USA
Lansing, Michigan, United States
Linden, New Jersey, United States
Designer Harley Earl
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door sedan
2-door convertible
4-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Cadillac Series 62
Buick Roadmaster
Buick Super
Pontiac Custom Torpedo
Powertrain
Engine 257 cu in (4.2 L) Oldsmobile I8
Transmission 3-speed synchromesh manual
4-speed Hydramatic automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 125.0 in (3,175 mm)[1]
Length 213.0 in (5,410 mm)
Curb weight 3,500–4,000 lb (1,600–1,800 kg)

Naming standards were in flux at Oldsmobile during the late 1930s and 1940s. From 1932 through 1938 Oldsmobile had two series: "F" and "L". Series F came with a straight-6 engine and Series L came with a larger body and a straight-8 engine. Series F was renamed Series 60 in 1939 and Series L was replaced with the Series 70 and 80, with the Series 70 and 80 being powered by the straight-6 and the straight-8 respectively. The Series 60 used the GM A-body and the Series 70 and 80 used the B-body. In 1940 the even larger C-body was introduced to Oldsmobile and it alone was powered by the straight-8. In order to differentiate it from the previous year's Series 80 it was named Series 90 (there was no Series 80 that year). The series were also given names for the first time that year with the Series 60, 70, and 90 being called the Special, Dynamic, and Custom Cruiser respectively. In 1941 both engines were offered on each series so to differentiate between the two the second digit was used to denote the number of cylinders, so the Custom Cruiser 90 was replaced with the Custom Cruiser 96 and 98. In 1942 Oldsmobile dropped the six cylinder Series 90 model leaving only the Custom Cruiser 98.

The new C-body that the 1940 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser 90 shared with Cadillac Series 62, Buick Roadmaster and Super, and the Pontiac Torpedo featured cutting-edge "torpedo" styling. Shoulder and hip room was over 5 in (127 mm) wider, running boards were eliminated, and the exterior was streamlined and 2–3 in (51–76 mm) lower. When combined with a column mounted shift lever the cars offered true six passenger comfort. These changes had clearly been influenced by the Cadillac Sixty Special. The 90 rode on a wheelbase of 124.0 in (3,150 mm). A total of 43,658 90s were sold in four body styles. The rarest was the 4-door convertible with only 50 being sold.

In 1941 the wheelbase was increased to 125.0 in (3,175 mm). A deluxe equipment package was now offered. The top-of-the line Oldsmobile was available in three body styles on the 96 and in four body styles on the 98. Rarest of these was the 4-door convertible which was exclusive to the 98. Only 119 were sold in 1941 and this would be the only time this body style was ever offered on the 98. The other three body styles were a convertible coupe, a club coupe and a 4-door sedan. This was also the only year in Oldsmobile history that a 96, a 90 series car with a six-cylinder engine, was available. Hydramatic automatic transmission was a popular option. A total of 24,726 98s and 6,677 96s were sold in 1941.

Second generation (1942–1947)[edit]

Second generation
1947 Oldsmobile 98.jpg
Overview
Model years 1942–1947
Assembly South Gate, California, USA
Kansas City, Kansas, United States
Lansing, Michigan, United States
Linden, New Jersey, United States
Designer Harley Earl
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door sedan
2-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Cadillac Series 62
Buick Roadmaster
Buick Super
Powertrain
Engine 257 cu in (4.2 L) Oldsmobile I8
Transmission 3-speed synchromesh manual
4-speed Hydramatic automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 127.0 in (3,226 mm)
Length 216.0 in (5,486 mm)[2]
Curb weight 3,800–4,300 lb (1,700–2,000 kg)

In 1942 the Custom Cruiser 98 was once again the Oldsmobile entrant into the luxury market. Gone was the single year offering of the 96. All cars in this series were powered by the straight eight engine. Also gone in this shortened model year was the ultra rare 4-door convertible. An exclusive 127.0 in (3,226 mm) inch wheelbase was used in the series. A total of 6,659 98s were made before production was shut down due to the war.

Again in 1946 the Custom Cruiser 98 was the top of the Oldsmobile line. Three body styles were offered (a 4-door sedan, a 2-door Club coupe and a 2-door convertible) and all were eight cylinder powered. Technical features included electro hardened pistons, full pressure lubrication and automatic choke with fast idle mode. Standard equipment included front and rear bumper guards, vacuum booster pump, dual sun visors, cigarette lighter and plastic radiator ornament, wraparound bumpers, Deluxe instrument cluster clock, rear armrest, and foam rubber sheet cushions. Tire size was 7.00 (178) by 15 inches (381 millimetres). Available upholstery was either leather, broadcloth, or Bedford cord. 14,364 98s were sold in its first postwar year of production.

In 1947 the top of the line Custom Cruiser 98 again had three body styles. This was the last year for the 98 1942 prewar body. All 98s had the straight eight engine. Standard 98 equipment included safety glass, spare wheel and tire, dual horns, vacuum booster pump, cigarette lighter, and a solenoid starter system. Upholstery was either custom broadcloth or leather. Standard tire size was 7.00 (178) by 15 inches (381 millimetres). An electric clock was standard in 1947.[2] A record 37,140 98s were sold in 1947.

Third generation (1948–1953)[edit]

1952 Oldsmobile 98 convertible
Third generation
'49 Oldsmobile Futuramic 98 (Auto classique Laval '10).jpg
Overview
Model years 1948–1953
Assembly South Gate, California, USA
Wilmington, Delaware, USA
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Kansas City, Kansas, USA
Framingham, Massachusetts, USA
Lansing, Michigan, USA
Linden, New Jersey, USA
Designer Harley Earl
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door Club coupe
2-door Holiday hardtop
4-door sedan
4-door fastback Town Sedan
2-door convertible
2-door Fiesta convertible
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related
Powertrain
Engine 257 cu in (4.2 L) Oldsmobile I8
304 cu in (5.0 L) Rocket V8
Transmission 3-speed synchromesh manual
4-speed Hydramatic automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 1948–49: 125.0 in (3,175 mm)
1950–51: 122.0 in (3,099 mm)
1952–53: 124.0 in (3,150 mm)[3]
Length 1948–49: 213.0 in (5,410 mm)
1950: 209.0 in (5,309 mm)
1951: 208.0 in (5,283 mm)
1952: 213.0 in (5,410 mm)
1953: 215.0 in (5,461 mm)[2]
Width 1951: 80.0 in (2,032 mm)
1952: 76.0 in (1,930 mm)
1953: 77.0 in (1,956 mm)
Curb weight 3,700–4,700 lb (1,700–2,100 kg)
1953 Oldsmobile 98 convertible
Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta style "spinner" hubcap

For the first time since 1940 Oldsmobile offered totally different styling during a single model year. The top of the line 1948 Oldsmobile 98 drew heavily from the Futuramic styling concept that would be used on all 1949 Oldsmobiles. Standard equipment on 98s included a solenoid starter, fender skirts, E-Z-l rearview mirror, and foam rubber seat cushions. The 98s also included front and rear bumper guards, vacuum booster pump, plastic radiator ornament, dual horns, dual sun visors, and cigarette lighter. Deluxe equipment added front and rear floor mats, Deluxe steering wheel, wheel trim rings, rear seat armrests, and hydraulic window, seat and top controls on all convertibles. Upholstery was either broadcloth or leather. The standard tire size was 6.50 x 16. With the introduction of new postwar styling Custom Cruiser 98 was renamed the Futuramic 98. The Custom Cruiser name would be revived to denote full-size Oldsmobile station wagons in 1971. The new styling was apparently popular with a record 65,235 98s sold, exceeding the number of 90s sold in 1940 for the first time.

The following year the new styling was joined by a new engine, the now famous Rocket V8. In February 1949, several months into the model year, General Motors introduced three highly styled "hardtop convertible" coupes, the Oldsmobile 98 Holiday, the Cadillac Series 62 Coupe de Ville, and the Buick Roadmaster Riviera, the first hardtop coupes ever produced. The Holiday was exclusive to the 98 series that year. Available in four special Holiday colors, as well as four two-tone combinations, it was priced the same as the convertible, and was similarly equipped, with hydraulically operated windows and seat. Only 3,006 Holidays were sold in its first year compared to 20,049 Club coupes. Total sales reached 93,478 in 1949, setting yet another record.

The 1950 Oldsmobile 98 repeated its 1948 precedent of previewing some of next years styling cues for the 88. The 98 was restyled after only two years. It was the first totally slab sided Oldsmobile and the first sedan with wraparound rear windows. A 4-door 98 fastback appeared for one year only in 1950 and was called the Town Sedan, selling only 1,778 units. Standard equipment included bumper guards, dual horns, parking lamps, dome light, rubber floor mats, aluminum sill plates, foam rubber seat cushions, chrome interior trim, lined luggage compartment and counterbalanced trunk lid. Deluxe 98 equipment included rear seat armrest, Deluxe electric clock, Deluxe steering wheel and horn button, special door trim and stainless steel wheel trim rings. Upholstery choices spanned nylon fabric, striped broadcloth or leather. Standard tire size was 7.6 (193) by 15 inches (381 millimetres). In 1950, Oldsmobile stopped naming the 98 series and so from then through 1996, with the exception of 1957 when it was called the Starfire 98, and in 1961 when it was called the Classic 98, it was simply known as the Oldsmobile 98. Sales of the 98 Holiday nearly tripled to 8263, approaching the 11,989 sold of the Club coupe. Given the rapidly growing popularity of the 2-door Holiday hardtop, 1950 was the last year for the pillared Club coupe. Total sales set yet another record of 106,220.

The 98 topped the Oldsmobile line again for 1951. Three body styles available. The 4-door sedan and convertible came only with Deluxe equipment, while the Holiday hardtop was available with either Deluxe or Standard trim. The 98 standard equipment included bumper guards, cigarette lighter, dome light, rubber floor mats, stainless steel moldings, lined trunk, illuminated ashtray, foam rubber seat cushions and extra chrome moldings. Deluxe equipment was special rear door ornament, rear center armrests, Deluxe electric clock, Deluxe steering wheel with horn ring and special chrome trim. Upholstery choices were nylon cord, nylon cloth and leather. The pillared Club coupe was no longer offered. With the only choice in a closed 2-door 98 now being the hardtop, Holiday sales nearly doubled to 17,929 units.

In 1952 the 98 remained as the top of the line Oldsmobile. The series shared the higher output 160 HP Rocket V8 with the Super 88s. Standard equipment on the three body styles included bumper guards, gray rubber floor mats front and rear, electric clock, dual horns, aluminum door sill plates, chrome gravel guards, foam rubber seat cushions, turn signals, carpeting front and rear, stainless steel wheel trim rings, windshield washer, and Deluxe steering wheel with horn ring. Upholstery selection was broadcloth or six colors of leather. Standard tire size was 8.00 (203) by 15 inches (381 millimetres). For the first time power steering was an option. Another new option was the Autronic Eye, an automatic headlight dimmer, which in its initial year was shared only with Cadillac.

The standard equipment for 1953 included bumper guards, electric clock, lined trunk, dual horns, cigarette lighter, chrome moldings, twin interior sun visors, rear seat robe rails, special rear stainless steel trim, chrome window ventiplanes, windshield washer, and Deluxe steering wheel with horn ring. In 1953 a padded safety dash also became standard on the 98.[2][4] For the first time air conditioning was an option.

1953 Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta

A new body style for 1953 was the Fiesta convertible. The Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta was one of three specialty convertibles produced in 1953 by General Motors, the other two being the Buick Roadmaster Skylark and the Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado. The Fiesta featured a cut-down belt line, a wraparound windshield that was 3 (76) inches lower than the standard 98's windshield, and special "spinner" hubcaps, which became a trademark on later Oldsmobiles and popular in the Kustom aftermarket as well. It had virtually every Oldsmobile option offered except air conditioning as standard equipment. Mechanically, the Fiesta had a special version of the standard 98 engine with special manifolding and an increase in compression of 8.3:1 over the standard 8.1:1, that at 170 horsepower produced 5 more than the standard 98 engine. A four speed Hydramatic automatic transmission and a faster rear axle rato were designed to keep the 4459 pound shipping weight Fiesta (compared to the 4,123 pound shipping weight of a standard 98 convertible) within the acceptable range of expected Oldsmobile performance. At $5,715 (over $700 more than the Skylark) the Fiesta was nearly twice the $2963 price of a standard 98 convertible and consequently only 458 units were produced compared to 7,521 of the standard 98 convertibles. The Fiesta convertible would be gone the next year but its name would be resurrected in 1957 to denote Oldsmobile station wagons.

Fourth generation (1954–1956)[edit]

1955 Oldsmobile 98
Fourth generation
Oldsmobile 98 Convertible 1955.jpg
Overview
Model years 1954–1956
Assembly South Gate, California, USA
Wilmington, Delaware, USA
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Kansas City, Kansas, USA
Framingham, Massachusetts, USA
Lansing, Michigan, USA
Linden, New Jersey, USA
Arlington, Texas, USA
Designer Harley Earl
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door Holiday hardtop
4-door sedan
4-door Holiday hardtop
2-door Starfire convertible
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Cadillac Series 62
Buick Roadmaster
Buick Super
Powertrain
Engine 324 cu in (5.3 L) Rocket V8
Transmission 3-speed synchromesh manual
4-speed Hydramatic automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 126.0 in (3,200 mm)
Length 1954: 214.3 in (5,443 mm)[2]
1955: 212.0 in (5,385 mm)
1956: 212.3 in (5,392 mm)
Width 78.3 in (1,989 mm)
Height 60.5 in (1,537 mm)
Curb weight 4,000–4,400 lb (1,800–2,000 kg)
1955 Oldsmobile 98 interior
1956 Oldsmobile 98 Holiday sedan
1956 Oldsmobile 98 Holiday coupe

In 1954, Oldsmobiles were redesigned across the line. A three body style 98 series was atop the Oldsmobile line. This year Oldsmobile dubbed the convertibles Starfires after the previous year's Starfire dream car. A slightly higher horsepower 324 cu in (5.3 L) Rocket V8 was shared with the Super 88 series. Standard 98 equipment included bumper guards, rubber simulated carpets front and rear, electric clock, lined trunk, dual horns, cigarette lighter, aluminum door sill plates, turn signals, chrome rocker panel moldings, deck lid ornament, foam rubber seat cushions, padded dash,[2] parking brake light, courtesy light package, stainless steel wheel discs, windshield washer, and Deluxe steering wheel with horn ring. Upholstery choices were nylon and leather, in a variety of colors. Standard tire size was 8.00 (203) by 15 inches (381 millimetres).

In 1955 the Oldsmobile 98 again had a longer wheelbase than the 88. Standard equipment included turn signals, bumper guards, stainless steel molfings, dual horns, cigarette lighter, front and rear floor mats, inside rearview mirror, foam rubber seat cushions, stainless steel rocker panel moldings, front seatback robe cord, spun glass hood insulation, rear window ventiplanes, electric clock, stainless steel wheel discs, custom cushion lounge seats front and rear, hand brake light, courtesy light package, padded dash, Deluxe steering wheel with horn ring, and windshield washer. Upholstery choices were covert and pattern cloth, leather and pattern cloth, leather and nylon, and leather and dimple leather. Standard tire size was 7.70 (196) by 15 inches (381 millimetres). The optional air conditioning unit was moved to the engine bay instead of the trunk.[5] The turning diameter was 43 ft.[6] The Hydramatic automatic transmission gear selector had an S on it, which was used for better performance climbing hills.[7] At mid-year, Olds introduced the new pillarless four-door hardtop body, dubbed the Holiday sedan, in the 98 series. The 4-door Oldsmobile 98 Holiday, along with the 4-door 88 Holiday and the 4-door Buick Century Riviera and 4-door Special Riviera, were the first 4-door hardtops ever produced. Perhaps because of the popularity of the new 4-door hardtop body style total 98 sales set a new record of 118,626.

Again in 1956 the top of the line Oldsmobile 98 series had an exclusive 126.0 in (3,200 mm) wheelbase, 4.0 in (100 mm) longer than the 88. Power came from the 240 horsepower Rocket V8 shared with the Super 88. Standard equipment included armrests, bumper guards, lined trunk, rotary door latches, dual horns, cigarette lighter, turn signals, rubber floor mats, aluminum door sill plates, sun visors, front and rear carpeting, foam rubber seat cushions, courtesy lights, front fender medallions, deck lid '98' script, back-up light moldings, electric clock, Jetaway Hydramatic Drive, padded dash, power steering, windshield washers and Deluxe steering wheel. Upholstery choices were pattern cloth and leather in a variety of colors and combinations. Standard tire size was 8.00 (203) by 15 inches (381 millimetres) made by either U.S. Royal, Goodrich, or Firestone. The parking brake was now a foot pedal.[8]

Fifth generation (1957–1958)[edit]

1957 Oldsmobile Starfire 98 Holiday coupe
Fifth generation
Oldsmobile Convertible.jpg
Overview
Model years 1957–1958
Assembly South Gate, California, USA
Wilmington, Delaware, USA
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Kansas City, Kansas, USA
Framingham, Massachusetts, USA
Lansing, Michigan, USA
Linden, New Jersey, USA
Arlington, Texas, USA
Designer Harley Earl
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door Holiday hardtop
4-door sedan
4-door Holiday hardtop
2-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Cadillac Series 62
Buick Limited
Buick Roadmaster
Buick Super
Powertrain
Engine 371 cu in (6.1 L) Rocket V8
Transmission 4-speed Hydramatic automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 126.5 in (3,213 mm)
Length 216.7 in (5,504 mm)[9]
Width 1957: 76.4 in (1,941 mm)[9]
1958: 78.5 in (1,994 mm)
Height 1957: 58.2 in (1,478 mm)[9]
1958: 57.4 in (1,458 mm)
Curb weight 4,700–4,900 lb (2,100–2,200 kg)
1957 Oldsmobile Starfire 98 Holiday sedan
1957 Oldsmobile Starfire 98 Holiday coupe interior
1958 Oldsmobile 98

A complete reengineering greeted the Oldsmobile fans in 1957 with a retrograde three-piece rear window treatment. Again the top of the line Oldsmobile was 4-door body style 98 series, this year officially titled Starfire 98.[10] Standard equipment included armrests, turn signals, rubber floor mats, sun visors, front fender chrome script, exposed chrome roof bows, side interior courtesy lights, electric windows,[2] special emblems, power steering, power brakes, and Jetaway Hydramatic. Upholstery choices included a variety of cloth, Morocceen (vinyl), and leather. Standard tire size was 9.00 (229) by 14 inches (356 millimetres). The standard engine was now the 371 cu in (6.1 L) Rocket V8.[11] A safety recessed steering wheel was added.[12] Front leg room was 43.8 inches (1,113 millimetres).[2]

A major styling change was seen in 1958. The 98 series again had its own exclusive wheelbase of 126.5 inches while sharing the more powerful Rocket V8 with the Super 88. Four body styles were available. Standard series equipment included four headlights, oil filter, turn signals, printed circuit instrument cluster, aluminum anodized grille, padded dash, foam rubber padded seat cushions, courtesy lights, parking brake light, special side moldings, chrome rocker panel moldings, Jetaway Hydramatic transmission, power steering and brakes, dual exhaust, electric clock, color accented wheel discs, and chrome wheel frames. Interiors could be ordered in a variety of colored leathers, cloth, and Morocceen. Standard tires were 8.50 (216) by 14 inches (356 millimetres). Air suspension was added as an option.[13] Also new was a speed warning device.[14]

Sixth generation (1959–1960)[edit]

1959 Oldsmobile 98 Holdiay 4-door hardtop
Sixth generation
'59 Oldsmobile 98 (Auto classique Laval '12).JPG
Overview
Model years 1959-1960
Assembly South Gate, California, USA
Wilmington, Delaware, USA
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Kansas City, Kansas, USA
Framingham, Massachusetts, USA
Lansing, Michigan, USA
Linden, New Jersey, USA
Arlington, Texas, USA
Designer Bill Mitchell
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door Holiday hardtop
4-door sedan
4-door Celebrity sedan
4-door Holiday hardtop
2-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Cadillac Eldorado
Cadillac Sixty Special
Cadillac De Ville
Cadillac Series 62
Buick Electra
Powertrain
Engine 394 cu in (6.5 L) Rocket V8
Transmission 4-speed Hydramatic automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 126.3 in (3,208 mm)
Length 1959: 223.0 in (5,664 mm)[15]
1960: 220.9 in (5,611 mm)
Width 1959: 80.8 in (2,052 mm)
1960: 80.6 in (2,047 mm)
Height 1959: 56.0 in (1,422 mm)
1960: 56.1 in (1,425 mm)
Curb weight 4,500–4,700 lb (2,000–2,100 kg)
1959 Oldsmobile 98 Holiday 4-door hardtop rear
1959 Oldsmobile 98 convertible rear
1959 Oldsmobile 98 interior

In 1959, the Oldsmobile line-up was completely redesigned. However, unlike other GM makes (such as Chevrolet and Cadillac[16]) Oldsmobile continued to use a full perimeter frame, instead of the GM X-frame.[17] Oldsmobile stayed with its top series format by offering four body styles on an exclusive 126.3 in (3,208 mm) wheelbase. Standard equipment included oil filter, turn signals, air scoop brakes, Safety spectrum speedometer, rocker panel moldings, special emblems, parking brake light, sponge vinyl headliner, deep twist carpeting, electric clock, wheel trim moldings, power steering, power brakes, and Jetaway Hydramatic Drive. Interiors were selected from leather, Moroccean, or cloth in different colors. Standard tire size was 9.00 (229) by 14 inches (356 millimetres). The 394 cu in (6.5 L), the largest first generation Rocket V8, was used from 1959 until 1964.

In 1960, once again the top of the line Oldsmobile series was the 98. Standard equipment included Safety-vee steering wheel, turn signals, air scoop brakes, electric windshield wipers, safety-spectrum speedometer, carpets with rubber inserts, padded dash, courtesy lamps, wheel trim rings, Star-lite headliner, two-speed windshield wipers, chrome roof side moldings, Jetaway Hydramatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, windshield washers, electric clock, and deep twist carpeting. Upholstery was fabric, leather, or Morocceen in a variety of colors. Tire size was 9.00 (229) by 14 inches (356 millimetres). An anti-spin rear axle was optional.[18]

Seventh generation (1961–1964)[edit]

1961 Oldsmobile 98
Seventh generation
'64 Oldsmobile 98 Convertible (Auto classique VACM Laval '13).JPG
Overview
Model years 1961–1964
Assembly South Gate, California, USA
Wilmington, Delaware, USA
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Kansas City, Kansas, USA
Framingham, Massachusetts, USA
Lansing, Michigan, USA
Linden, New Jersey, USA
Arlington, Texas, USA
Designer Bill Mitchell
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door hardtop
4-door 4-window hardtop
4-door 6-window sedan
4-door 6-window hardtop
2-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Cadillac Eldorado
Cadillac Sixty Special
Cadillac De Ville
Cadillac Series 62
Buick Electra
Powertrain
Engine 394 cu in (6.5 L) Rocket V8
Transmission 3-speed Roto Hydramatic automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 126.0 in (3,200 mm)
Length 1961: 218.0 in (5,537 mm)
1962: 220.0 in (5,588 mm)
1963: 221.5 in (5,626 mm)
1964: 222.3 in (5,646 mm)
Width 1961: 77.2 in (1,961 mm)
1962–63: 77.9 in (1,979 mm)
1964: 78.0 in (1,981 mm)
Height 1961–62: 56.6 in (1,438 mm)
1963: 57.1 in (1,450 mm)
1964: 56.5 in (1,435 mm)
Curb weight 4,400–4,700 lb (2,000–2,100 kg)

For 1961 only, it was renamed Classic 98; nevertheless, most factory literature refers to the line as the Ninety-Eight.[11] It offered five body styles. The sedan was now called the Town Sedan. The 4-door 4-window hardtop body style was now called the Sport Sedan instead of the Holiday Sedan. A new 4-door 6-window hardtop body style, previously exclusive to Cadillac and the Buick Electra was now offered and the Holiday Sedan name was transferred to it. This was the first time not all Oldsmobile hardtops were called Holidays. Overall sales plunged from 59,364 to 43,010, probably due to the introduction of the new Starfire series, the 98's low point following the production record set in 1955. Standard equipment included padded dash, Safety spectrum speedometer, floating propeller, air scoop brakes, two-speed windshield wipers, Safety-Vee steering wheel, parking brake lamp, courtesy lamps, oil filter, windshield washer, electric clock, Roto Hydramatic transmission, power steering and power brakes. Upholstery was vinyl, cloth or leather. Standard tire size was 8.50 x 14 inches. With the 394 cu in (6.5 L) Rocket now standard equipment on the Oldsmobile 88 a higher compression version was made standard equipment on the 98 and Super 88 with horsepower rising to 325 in 1961 and 330 in 1962. It was dubbed the "Skyrocket" from 1961-63.

Unfortunately for loyal Oldsmobile customers, GM management on Woodward Avenue in Detroit were focusing on cost savings per vehicle by this time, a philosophy later called "less car for more money" by the 1970s.[who?] One drawback of this thinking was that the 1961 through 1964 Oldsmobiles lost their dependable (but expensive to build) Jetaway Hydramatic transmissions. Replacing those time-tested four speed units was a much cheaper to build three speed unit, the Roto Hydramatic. This transmission had no front fluid coupling at all, and utilized a single "fill-and-dump" coupling to perform double duty as both a fluid coupling in third speed while having a third reaction member, which Olds called an "Accel-O-Rotor," which was actually a small stator, thus giving some limited torque multiplication in first. In theory, the "Accel-O-Rotor" would provide the same multiplication range in first as both the first and second gears of the four speed unit without all the hardware...and cost. It was also unique at that time, in that second speed was pure mechanical connection from engine to rear end...no fluid coupling involved. The big problem with this unit in the Oldsmobiles (and lower line Pontiacs of the same era) was engine speed would race wildly in first, and then hit a "brick wall" of a very steep RPM decline in second, which was equivalent to third gear in the four speed Jetaway Hydramatic.[citation needed] This unit was very trouble prone and unreliable, and cost a great deal of performance otherwise obtainable from the Rocket.[citation needed] It would linger for only these three years, when it was replaced by the much more reliable, but less efficient, Turbo Hydramatic in 1965. Customer complaints caused many dealers and independent transmission shops to wholesale replace the Roto Hydramatic in these cars with older (or contemporary, from a Pontiac Star Chief or Bonneville) HM315 four speed Hydramatic.[citation needed]

The largest 1962 Oldsmobiles were again the 98s. Five body styles were offered including three 4-doors plus an open and a closed 2-door. The Holiday Coupe was renamed the Holiday Sport Coupe, and the Sport Sedan was renamed the Holiday Sport Sedan, so once again, at least temporarily, all hardtops were called Holidays. Ninety-Eights were well appointed with standard equipment including padded dash, guard beam frame, live rubber body cushions, coil springs, foam rubber seats, two-speed windshield wipers, parking brake lights, courtesy lamp package, special moldings, Roto Hydramatic, power brakes, power steering, power windows and power seat. Interiors were leather, vinyl or cloth. Standard tire size was 8.50 x 14 inches.

Again, in 1963, the top-of-the-line Oldsmobile 98 had an exclusive 126.0 in (3,200 mm) wheelbase. A new body style was the Custom Sports Coupe hardtop. It was the only body style with the 345 horsepower Starfire engine. The 4-door 6-window hardtop was renamed the Luxury Sedan (often condensed to L/S). The convention of naming all hardtops Holidays would not again return until 1965. Standard equipment included die-cast grille, deep pile carpeting, 21-gallon fuel tank, full-flow oil filter, foam seat cushions, foot-operated parking brake, two-speed windshield wipers, special molding package, Deluxe steering wheel, map light, heavy duty air cleaner, courtesy lights, Roto Hydramatic, power brakes, power steering, special rocker panel moldings, self-regulating electric clock, dual rear seat cigarette lighters and special headliner. Interiors were leather, vinyl or cloth. Standard tire size was 8.50 x 14 inches. Ninety-Eights were now made only in Lansing, Linden, Kansas City, Southgate and Wilmington.

Malcolm X owned a 1963 Oldsmobile 98—black, 4-door, hardtop—and it can be seen in the north lobby of the Malcolm X College on the near west side of Chicago.

In 1964 the top of the line 98 series was offered in six body styles in 2-door, 4-door and convertible configurations. Standard equipment included: Roto Hydramatic; power steering, brakes, windows and seats; windshield washer; special wheel discs; clock; courtesy and map lights and padded dash. Upholstery was a variety of colored cloth, vinyl and leather. Standard tire size was 8.50 x 14 inches. Ninety-Eights were now built only in Lansing.

Eighth generation (1965–1970)[edit]

1965 Oldsmobile 98
Eighth generation
Oldsmobile 98 -65.jpg
1965 Oldsmobile 98 sedan
Overview
Model years 1965–1970
Assembly Lansing, Michigan, United States
Designer Bill Mitchell
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door hardtop
4-door sedan
4-door hardtop
2-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Platform GM C platform
Related Cadillac Eldorado
Cadillac De Ville
Cadillac Calais
Buick Electra
Powertrain
Engine 425 cu in (7.0 L) Rocket V8
455 cu in (7.5 L) Rocket V8
Transmission 3-speed TH-400, automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 1965–68: 126.0 in (3,200 mm)
1969–70: 127.0 in (3,226 mm)
Length 1965: 222.9 in (5,662 mm)
1966–67: 223.0 in (5,664 mm)
1968: 223.7 in (5,682 mm)
1969: 224.4 in (5,700 mm)
1970: 225.2 in (5,720 mm)
Width 80.0 in (2,032 mm)
Height 1965–68: 55.8 in (1,417 mm)
1969–70: 54.8 in (1,392 mm)
Curb weight 4,300–4,700 lb (2,000–2,100 kg)
1969 Oldsmobile 98 4-door hardtop
1969 Oldsmobile 98 Holiday 2-door hardtop
1970 Oldsmobile 98 convertible

The 1965 98 was completely redesigned from the ground up along with other full-sized General Motors cars but retained the larger C-body shared with Cadillac and Buick Electra in contrast with the B-body used in the Oldsmobile 88. The Ninety-Eight featured many of the lines found on 88s but with more squared off styling. The exclusive 98 wheelbase had five body styles. The Custom Sport Coupe was gone and the 4-door 6-window body styles were replaced with 4-door 4-window body styles. The Luxury Sedan was no longer a hardtop but featured a more luxurious interior along with more standard amenities than the Town Sedan such as power seats. Most 98 Luxury Sedans also had vinyl roofs, which were offered only in black that year. For the first time since 1962 all hardtops were once again called Holidays.

Standard equipment included transmission, power steering and brakes, power windows, clock, padded dash, foam padded seats, parking brake light, Deluxe steering wheel, special wheel covers, windshield washer and two-speed electric wipers, courtesy and glovebox lamps, and front seat belts. Standard tire size was 8.55 x 14 inches. A new three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission with torque converter replaced the dismal three speed Roto Hydramatic that Oldsmobile had been using for the last three model years. Along with the transmission and redesigned platform, the engine was also new for 1965. It was a 425 cu in (7.0 L) Super Rocket V8 that was more powerful and of a more efficient design than the older 394 cu in (6.5 L) Rocket V8 previously used, yet it was much lighter in weight. The 98's standard and only engine offering for 1965 was the four-barrel "Ultra High Compression" version of the 425 Super Rocket rated at 360 horsepower (270 kW). Ninety-Eights were built only in Lansing.

Between 1965 and 1975 Oldsmobile commissioned Cotner-Bevington to build professional cars, (ambulances and hearses), using the large Ninety-Eight chassis. Ironically, during the '60's (1968), the only Oldsmobile professionally made into a limousine was the smaller Toronado, known as the AQC Jetway 707.

Some luxury market buyers purchased either the Starfires or the new Toronados in 1966 but the 98 remained the full-size top-of-the-line Oldsmobile. Five models, including a trio of 4-doors were available. Standard equipment included: Turbo-Hydramatic transmission; power steering, brakes, windows and seats; special wheel covors; front and rear seat belts; carpeting; windshield washer and two-speed wipers; foam seat cushions; electric clock and special armrests on selected models. Upholstery was cloth, vinyl and leather. Standard tire size was 8.55 x 14 inches. Ninety-Eights were built in Lansing.

In 1967 the sporty elegance of the Starfire was gone. The 98 and the Toronado were now Oldsmobile's remaining luxury cars. There were five 98 body styles available. Standard 98 trim included: armrests, power brakes, dual cigarette lighters, electric clock, carpeting, lamp package, molding package, seat belts, power seats, power steering, Turbo-Hydramatic and power windows. Upholstery was cloth, vinyl or leather. Standard tire size was 8.85 x 14 inches. Ninety-Eight models were built in Lansing.

In 1968 Oldsmobile continued to produce five well appointed 98 body styles. Standard equipment included: dual master cylinder, four way flasher, energy-absorbing steering column, back-up lights, side marker lights, seat belts, cross-flow radiator, rear armrest ashtrays, power brakes, electric clock, special moldings, shoulder belts, Deluxe steering wheel, power steering, carpeted trunk and Turbo-Hydramatic transmission. Upholstery was cloth, vinyl or leather. Standard tire size was 8.85 x 14 inches. Engine displacement was increased to the Rocket 455 cu in (7.5 L) V8 with 365 horsepower. Ninety-Eight production was in Lansing.

The 1969 98 conventional front engine/rear drive car remained the top-of-the-line Oldsmobile. It was the largest Oldsmobile product offered and now had a 127.0 in (3,226 mm) wheelbase. Six body styles were now available with a hardtop version of the Luxury Sedan added to the lineup. New to the 98 series were a recessed padded instrument panel, anti-theft lock within the steering column, rear view mirror map light, mini-buckle seat belts, and deeply padded head restraints. Standard equipment included: power brakes, self-regulating electric clock, full carpeting, courtesy lamps, paint stripes, power seat adjuster, seat belts and shoulder harnasses, power steering, Deluxe steering wheel, power windows, Turbo-Hydramatic transmission, custom sport seat, foam padded front seat, and wheel discs (hub caps). Standard tire size was 8.85 x 14 inches. Upholstery was vinyl, cloth or leather. The 98's standard engine was still the Rocket 455 which required premium leaded gas. All 98s were made in Lansing and had the code letter M.

Some of the available 1969 options were a tilt-telescope steering wheel, instant horn, four season air conditioning with comfortron, tinted glass windshield, 6-way power seat, divided front seat with dual controls, power trunk release (vacuum), power door locks, power front disc brakes, AM-FM stereo radio, rear seat speaker, stereo tape player (8-track), power operated antenna, door edge guards, cruise control, left outside remote control mirror, cornering lamps, anti-spin rear axle, vinyl roof, flo-thru ventilation, and safety sentinel.

Of the 98 series, the 1969's were the only models to have an attached hood extension. After receiving numerous complaints from dealership mechanics about hitting their heads on the extension, Oldsmobile changed the style of the hood in 1970, removing the extension, which resulted in a flat hood design.

In 1970, the 98s were the largest Oldsmobiles. They still shared the luxury side of Oldsmobile business with the Toronado. Standard equipment included: Turbo-Hydramatic 400 transmission, power steering, power brakes with front discs, power windows, power seats, Deluxe steering wheel, electric clock and full wheel discs. Standard tire size was J78-15. Interiors were vinyl, cloth or leather. All 98s were made in Lansing indicated by the codel letter M in the Vehicle Identification Number. The length grew to 225.2 inches.[19]

Ninth generation (1971–1976)[edit]

1971 Oldsmobile 98
Ninth generation
1971 Ninety-Eight.jpg
Overview
Model years 1971–1976
Assembly Lansing, Michigan, United States
Linden, New Jersey, United States
Designer Bill Mitchell
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door hardtop
2-door coupe
4-door hardtop
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Cadillac De Ville
Cadillac Calais
Buick Electra
Buick Estate
Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser
Pontiac Grand Safari
Pontiac Safari
Chevrolet Kingswood Estate
Chevrolet Kingswood
Chevrolet Townsman
Powertrain
Engine 455 cu in (7.5 L) Rocket V8
Transmission 3-speed TH-400, automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 127.0 in (3,226 mm)
Length 1971: 226.1 in (5,743 mm)
1972: 227.8 in (5,786 mm)
1973: 230.3 in (5,850 mm)
1974–75: 232.4 in (5,903 mm)
1976: 232.2 in (5,898 mm)
Width 1971: 79.0 in (2,007 mm)
1972–73: 79.6 in (2,022 mm)
1974–75: 79.8 in (2,027 mm)
1976: 80.0 in (2,032 mm)
Height 1971–72: 54.6 in (1,387 mm)
1973: 54.7 in (1,389 mm)
1974–75: 54.2 in (1,377 mm)
1976: 54.7 in (1,389 mm)
Curb weight 4,700–5,200 lb (2,100–2,400 kg)
1972 Oldsmobile 98
1972 Oldsmobile 98 2-door hardtop
1973 Oldsmobile 98 2-door hardtop
1974 Oldsmobile 98 LS 2-door hardtop

Oldsmobile built its biggest full-size car in 1971 although wheelbase was unchanged from 1970. The 98s were the roomiest Oldsmobiles ever built thanks to the new GM full-size bodies which, at 64.3" front shoulder room and 63.4" rear shoulder room, set a record for interior width that would not be matched by any car until the full-size GM rear-wheel drive models of the early to mid-1990s. The 1971 through 1976 Ninety-Eight was very similar to the Oldsmobile 88 (which by now was called the "Delta 88") except the Ninety-Eight had a longer passenger compartment owing to its 3" longer wheelbase, and had rear Cadillac-esque tailfins to better differentiate between the two full-size models. The standard 455 cubic-inch Rocket V8 was rated at 320 hp (239 kW) and designed to run on lower octane regular lead, low-lead or unleaded gasoline for the first time this year thanks to a General Motors-mandate that all engines be designed to run on such fuels in preparation for the catalytic converter equipped cars of 1975 and later years that absolutely required unleaded gasoline. Despite this, a few 1975 and 1976 Ninety Eights were released from this catalytic converter requirement in Canada and were given certification along with exemption from requiring unleaded gasoline. V8's were progressively detuned as production wore on in line with tighter emission standards. Trunk mounted louvers for the flow through ventilation system were only found on 1971 models (as in many other GM models of 1971). The louvers were moved to the door jambs for 1972-1976 models.

From 1971 to 1976, Oldsmobile's full-sized Custom Cruiser station wagon shared the 127.0-inch (3,230 mm) wheelbase and 455 cubic-inch V8 with the Oldsmobile 98, and shared its interior and exterior styling, in particular the 98's distinctive front fascia and rear quarter panels complete with fender skirts. These were the first Oldsmobile station wagons ever to be built on Oldsmobile's largest chassis. The Custom Cruiser wagons, as did other GM full-sized wagons during these years, used a unique rear suspension with multi-leaf springs instead of the coil springs used on other full-sized Oldsmobiles, and other full-sized GM cars. The Custom Cruiser wagons also featured a new 'Clamshell' tailgate design where the rear power-operated glass slid up into the roof as the tailgate (manually or with power assist), slid into a recess under the cargo floor. The power tailgate, the first in station wagon history, ultimately supplanted the manual tailgate, which required marked effort to lift from storage. It was operated by switches on the instrument panel or a key switch on the rear quarter panel. The Clamshell system, heavy and complex, made it easier to load and unload the extremely long wagons in tight spaces. But it remained un-adopted by any other manufacturer, and would be eliminated when GM reduced the length of their wagons by about a foot in 1977, and the overriding concern became increased fuel economy.

At 5,161 lb (2,341 kg) shipping weight (5,186 lb (2,352 kg) with woodgrain), or about 5,400 lb (2,400 kg) curb weight, the three-seat 1974 Custom Cruiser wagons are easily the heaviest Oldsmobiles ever built.

The number of body styles was reduced to four for 1971. The convertible was gone as were the 4-door sedan body styles. A new body style was the Luxury Coupe. For the first time ever all Oldsmobile 98s were now hardtops, and for the first time since 1964 not all hardtops were called Holidays (in fact the Prestige Brochure fails to use the term at all). Standard equipment included: armrests, front and rear, power brakes with front discs, electric clock, carpeting, inside hood release, lamp package, power seat, power steering and Turbo-Hydramatic transmission. Standard tire size was J78-15. Interiors were vinyl, cloth and leather. Ninety-Eights were built in both Linden and Lansing.

Four body styles were offered in the 98 series for 1972. Standard equipment included: Deluxe armrests, dual ashtrays, power brakes with front discs, electric clock, carpeting, interior hood release, remote control outside mirror, molding package, interior light package, windshield radio antenna, power seat, power steering, spare tire cover and Turbo-Hydramatic transmission. A midyear version of the 4-door hardtop named the Regency was produced to commemorate Oldsmobile's 75th year as an automaker. For the first time in 17 years the 98 set a new sales record of 121,568.

In 1973 a five body style 98 series was at the top end of the Oldsmobile line. The 75th anniversary Regency 4-door hardtop continued, following its successful mid-1972 introduction. Standard equipment included: Deluxe armrests, dual ashtrays, power brakes with front discs, cigarette lighter, carpeting, inside hood release, dome light, molding package, windshield radio antenna, foam sheet cushions, power steering, Deluxe steering wheel, Turbo-Hydramatic transmission and wheel opening covers. Standard tire size was L78-15. Upholstery was vinyl or cloth. The Oldsmobile 98 set another record of 138,462 sold.

The 1974 Ninety-Eight was now Oldsmobile's longest running series dating back to 1941, and was still popular. Five models were offered with the Regency Coupe taking the place of the Luxury Coupe. Standard equipment included: power brakes with front discs, cigarette lighter, electric clock, interior hood release, lamp package, molding package, remote control outside mirror, windshield radio antenna, power steering, Deluxe steering wheel, spare tire cover, power windows, power seat and Turbo-Hydramatic transmission. Standard tire size was J78-15. Upholstery was vinyl, cloth or leather.

From 1974 to 1975 the 98 reached a record length of 232.4 in (5903 mm), when federally mandated 5 mph (8.0 km/h) bumpers were added both front and rear increasing the overall length of the cars by several inches, while 1976 model year saw minimal length reduction to 232.2 in (5898 mm). It is also worth to note that 1974 Oldsmobile 98 4-door hardtop was the longest car with that body style sold that year, since the longer Lincoln Continental, Cadillac Sixty Special and Cadillac Series 75 were basically sedans (and 1974 Lincoln Continental came only with one hardtop body style: the 2-door). The 1974-76 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight (as well as all full-size Oldsmobiles, Buicks and Cadillacs) also were among the first US production cars to offer an air bag option ("Air Cushion Restraint System") beginning in 1974. Very few cars were so equipped. The high cost ($700) plus public uncertainty about the yet-to-be proven safety systems that are now universal in today's automobiles saw quite handily to that.

The number of 98 body styles was reduced in 1975. Four were available consisting of coupes or 4-door hardtops in Luxury or Regency trim. Two door models were no longer hardtops. Standard equipment included: power brakes with front discs, cigarette lighter, electric clock, electronic ignition, hood release, bumper impact strips, lamp package, 455 CID engine, molding package, remote-controlled outside mirror, power seat, power windows, power steering, Deluxe steering wheel, chrome wheel discs and Turbo-Hydramatic transmission. Standard tire size was J78-15. Upholstery was vinyl, cloth or leather.

In 1976 the Luxury and Regency editions of the full-size 98s were offered, in 2-door coupes or 4-door hardtops. 4-doors had an extra window (like an opera window) in the C-pillar. A landau roof option for the coupe gave it a huge-looking opera window. Like the Custom Cruiser, 98s had a dual section eggcrate-design grille, with new front end panel, front bumper, and wraparound horizontal parking lamps. Amber marker lenses aligned with the headlamps wrapped around the fender sides. Separate clear cornering lamps had horizontal ribs. Vertical tailamps were decorated with a small emblem in each lens. Tiny back-up lamps stood alongside the license plate, on a panel that also contained small red lenses next to the tailamps. Standard 98 equipment included a 455 CID Rocket V8 with 4-barrel carburetor, Turbo-Hydramatic, vari-ratio power steering, power brakes, power driver's seat, driver's door armrest control console, electronic message center, electric clock, fold-down center armrests, front ashtray, and JR78 x 15 blackwall steel-belted radials. Rear fender skirts and bumper impact strips were also standard. A new 2.41:1 axle ratio became standard to improve fuel economy.

Ninety-Eight Regency[edit]

1976 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency coupe
1976 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency sedan

For the 1972 model year, the Limited Edition Regency was offered to commemorate Oldsmobile's 75th anniversary. Each 1972 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency was registered at Tiffany's and included the specially styled interior with a black or covert "pillow effect" velour upholstery, and power split bench seat, in place of the power bench seat with rear clock. Tiffany touches include the Tiffany Gold paint (an exclusive custom metallic color created especially for this car), the clock has also been specially styled by Tiffany's and bears a white Oldsmobile emblem above the Tiffany's name on a golden face. Each 1972 Regency owner received a distinctive sterling silver key ring as a gift, if ever lost the keys could be dropped in a mail box, and Tiffany's would return them to the owner. A total of 2650 75th anniversary Ninety-Eight Regencys were built, all of them four-door hardtops. In 1973 the non-anniversary Regency stayed in the line up slotted just above the LS. The Regency package would remain available on the Ninety Eight throughout the 1996 model year when it would become a separate model nameplate.

Tenth generation (1977–1984)[edit]

Tenth generation
1978 Oldsmobile 98 Regency sedan.jpg
Overview
Model years 1977–1984
Assembly Lansing, Michigan, United States
Linden, New Jersey, United States
Designer Bill Mitchell
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door sedan
Layout FR layout
Platform GM C platform
Related Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham
Cadillac De Ville
Buick Electra
Powertrain
Engine 252 in³ (4.1 L) Buick V6
307 in³ (5.0 L) Oldsmobile V8
350 in³ (5.7 L) Oldsmobile V8
350 in³ (5.7 L) Oldsmobile diesel V8
403 in³ (6.6 L) Oldsmobile V8
Transmission 3-speed TH350 automatic
3-speed TH400 automatic
4-speed THM 200-4R automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 119.0 in (3,023 mm)
Length 221.4 in (5,624 mm)
Width 76.3 in (1,938 mm)
Height 55.3 in (1,405 mm)
Rear view of 1977 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency coupe

The 1977 model was extensively redone and downsized, at the same time as the Delta 88. The new models, at around 4000 pounds curb weight, were over 800 pounds lighter, but headroom and rear seat legroom were increased compared to equivalent 1976 models. The 455 CID engine was replaced by the smaller 403 CID V8. The Oldsmobile 350 V8 was now the standard engine. The Ninety-Eight set a new sales record of 139,423. A four-door sedan and a two-door hardtop coupe were available.

Size comparison between 1974 and 1977 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight

1974 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight sedan 1977 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight sedan
Wheelbase 127.0 in (3,226 mm) 119.0 in (3,023 mm)
Overall length 232.4 in (5,903 mm) 220.4 in (5,598 mm)
Width 79.8 in (2,027 mm) 76.8 in (1,951 mm)
Height 54.2 in (1,377 mm) 56.6 in (1,438 mm)
Front headroom 39.3 in (998 mm) 39.3 in (998 mm)
Front legroom 42.2 in (1,072 mm) 42.2 in (1,072 mm)
Front hip room 62.3 in (1,582 mm) 55.0 in (1,397 mm)
Front shoulder room 64.3 in (1,633 mm) 60.6 in (1,539 mm)
Rear headroom 38.2 in (970 mm) 38.0 in (965 mm)
Rear legroom–ins. 40.8 in (1,036 mm) 40.9 in (1,039 mm)
Rear hip room 62.8 in (1,595 mm) 55.7 in (1,415 mm)
Rear shoulder room 63.4 in (1,610 mm) 60.6 in (1,539 mm)
Luggage capacity 22.3 cu ft (631 L) 20.3 cu ft (575 L)
1979 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight sedan
1980–1984 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency coupe

A diesel version of the 350 was added in 1978. Beginning in 1979, production of the Ninety-Eight was exclusive to Lansing as Linden Assembly was retooled to build the E-body cars. Base LS models were available as sedans only, and the premium Regency model came as either a coupe or a sedan.

The Ninety-Eight was restyled for 1980, along with the Delta 88. 1981 saw the introduction of Buick's 252 in³ V6 as standard, as well as a new 4-speed THM200-4R automatic transmission. The new Regency Brougham model was introduced for 1982. This car featured plush "Prima" velour seats with embroidered emblems, cut pile carpeting, and electroluminescent opera lamps on the B-pillars. Regency became the new 'base' model as the LS was discontinued. The 1983 models received a new grille, but were otherwise unchanged. The federal 5 mph (8.0 km/h) impact standard was rolled back for 1984, prompting GM to make major changes to the bumpers to save weight; predictably, this drastically reduced their effectiveness. An 8-track tape player was no longer an option.

Production ended in March 1984. These cars were actually sold concurrently with the new front-wheel drive 1985 model.[20] The body style reference in GM Manufacturing became "D" for the carryover RWD models, and the new FWD cars became C-bodies (which had been the designation used hitherto for the RWD cars).

Eleventh generation (1985–1990)[edit]

Eleventh generation
89-90 Oldsmobile 98 2.jpg
Overview
Model years 1985–1990
Assembly Wentzville, Missouri, United States
Lake Orion, Michigan, United States
Designer Irv Rybicki
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door sedan
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform GM C platform
Related Buick Electra
Cadillac De Ville
Cadillac Fleetwood
Cadillac Sixty Special
Powertrain
Engine 3.0 L Buick V6
3.8 L Buick V6
4.3 L Oldsmobile Diesel V6
Transmission 4-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 110.8 in (2,814 mm)
Length 1985–86: 196.1 in (4,981 mm)
1987–88: 196.4 in (4,989 mm)
1989–1990: 196.3 in (4,986 mm)
Width 1985–86: 72.1 in (1,831 mm)
1987–88: 72.4 in (1,839 mm)
1989–1990: 72.6 in (1,844 mm)
Height 1985–86: 55.0 in (1,397 mm)
1987–88: 55.1 in (1,400 mm)
1989–1990: 54.8 in (1,392 mm)

1985 saw the Ninety-Eight downsized for a second time, this time switching from rear-wheel drive to a new front-wheel drive platform, with sales beginning in April 1984.[20] Although this Ninety-Eight was nearly 25.0 in (635 mm) shorter in length and weighed over 700 lb (318 kg) less than its predecessor,[21] passenger space was nearly equal to 1984 models. Buyers seemed to prefer this new, more manageable Ninety-Eight, as 1985 model year sales, at 169,432 units, were more than double 1984's 76,833 units, an all-time sales record.[22]

Size comparison between 1984 and 1985 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight [21]

1984 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency sedan 1985 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency sedan
Wheelbase 119.0 in (3,023 mm) 110.8 in (2,814 mm)
Overall length 221.1 in (5,616 mm) 196.1 in (4,981 mm)
Width 76.3 in (1,938 mm) 72.1 in (1,831 mm)
Height 58.0 in (1,473 mm) 55.0 in (1,397 mm)
Curb weight 4,024 lb (1,825 kg) 3,292 lb (1,493 kg)
Front headroom 39.5 in (1,003 mm) 39.3 in (998 mm)
Front legroom 42.2 in (1,072 mm) 42.4 in (1,077 mm)
Front shoulder room 59.6 in (1,514 mm) 58.9 in (1,496 mm)
Rear headroom 38.1 in (968 mm) 38.1 in (968 mm)
Rear legroom 41.7 in (1,059 mm) 40.8 in (1,036 mm)
Rear shoulder room 59.8 in (1,519 mm) 58.8 in (1,494 mm)
Luggage capacity 20.5 cu ft (580 L) 16.2 cu ft (459 L)

As in previous years, the 1985 Ninety-Eight was available as a 4-door sedan and a 2-door coupe, in either Regency or Regency Brougham trim. Both models came with standard velour seating, with Sierra grain leather optional on both.[23] For the first year, the Buick 181 in³ V6 was the standard powerplant. V8 engines were gone for good, never to return to the Ninety-Eight. Optional engines were Buick's 231 and Oldsmobile's 263 in³ Diesel V6. The 3.0 gas V6 and 4.3 Diesel V6 were dropped for 1986.

1986 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency Brougham coupe
1988 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency sedan

Oldsmobile consistently improved this generation Ninety-Eight over its six-year run, treating it to yearly updates. Anti-lock brakes were a new option for 1986 and a special "Grande" package was offered in 1986 and 1987 featuring composite headlights and specific front end panel (1986 only), and 45/45 leather seats with pigskin inserts and console with combination lock. For 1987, all Ninety-Eights received a new grille with flush composite headlamps. It would also be the last year for the slow-selling 2-door coupe body style.

In 1988, a power pull-down trunklid and an on-board computer with oil life monitor (known as the "Driver Information System") were added to the options list. For the 1989 model year, the Ninety-Eight saw another grille change and the addition of Twilight Sentinel headlights, optional remote keyless entry, an automatic dimming rearview mirror which could be turned on and off, and an optional (but rarely ordered) driver's-side airbag.

By 1990, its final model year, the tenth-generation Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight was peaking in terms of mechanic perfection. It had a new harmonic balancer and increased horsepower from the somewhat sluggish 1985 models.

Engines:

Year Engine Power Torque
1985 3.0 L Buick V6 110 hp (82 kW) at 4800 rpm 145 lb·ft (197 N·m) at 2600 rpm
1985 3.8 L Buick MPFI V6 125 hp (93 kW) at 4400 rpm 195 lb·ft (264 N·m) at 2000 rpm
1985 4.3 L Oldsmobile Diesel V6 85 hp (63 kW) 165 lb·ft (224 N·m)
1986 3.8 L Buick SFI V6 140 hp (104 kW) at 4400 rpm 200 lb·ft (270 N·m) at 2000 rpm
1987 150 hp (112 kW) at 4400 rpm 200 lb·ft (270 N·m) at 2000 rpm
1988 160 hp (119 kW) at 5200 rpm
1990 3.8 L Buick LN3 V6 165 hp (123 kW) at 5200 rpm 210 lb·ft (285 N·m) at 2000 rpm

Touring Sedan[edit]

1988 Oldsmobile Touring Sedan

A new performance-oriented Touring Sedan model was introduced in 1987.[24] The Touring Sedan was based on the Ninety-Eight Regency and featured a long list of standard equipment including leather seats designed by Lear Siegler, anti-lock brakes, an on-board computer (1988-1990), FE3 sport suspension, self-closing trunk (1988-1990), burl walnut interior, console shifter, 15 inch (1987 only) or 16 inch (1988-1990) alloy wheels, and more.

Twelfth generation (1991–1996)[edit]

Twelfth generation
91-96 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight.jpg
Overview
Model years 1991–1996
Assembly United States: Lake Orion, Michigan (Orion Assembly)
Designer Chuck Jordan
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform GM C platform
Related
Powertrain
Engine
Transmission
Dimensions
Wheelbase 110.8 in (2,814 mm)
Length 205.7 in (5,225 mm)
1991–93 Touring: 205.8 in (5,227 mm)
Width 74.6 in (1,895 mm)
Height 54.8 in (1,392 mm)

The final redesigned generation of the Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight coincided with its 50th anniversary in 1991. The added length, rear fender skirts, wide tail, low nose, and split-grille with wraparound headlights gave this generation Ninety-Eight a far more distinctive appearance than its predecessor. Designers of the Ninety-Eight wanted to create a distinctive luxury car look that buyers would not confuse with a similar Buick or Cadillac sedan.

1991–1996 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight

Although wheelbase was unchanged from the previous generation, overall length increased by over 9 inches (229 mm).[25] Most of this extra space was added to the rear of the car, resulting in a larger trunk. Although throughout the model years names of the trim levels changed, the final generation Ninety-Eight was available in two main models: the traditional luxury-oriented Regency models and the performance-oriented Touring models. Regency models included 6-passenger seating in either velour or leather, column shifter, and the 170 horsepower (130 kW) 3.8 L Buick V6. Touring models featured the FE3 suspension package, a 205 hp (upped to 225 hp in 1994) supercharged version of the standard 3.8 L Buick V6, 18 gallon fuel tank, 16-inch wheels, and standard 5-passenger leather seating designed by Lear Seating.

Engines:

  • 1991–1996 3.8 L (231 in³) V6
  • 1992–1995 3.8 L (231 in³) supercharged V6

Trim levels:

  • Touring - 1991–1993
  • Regency Elite - 1991–1994
  • Regency - 1992–1994
  • Regency Special Edition - 1993–1994
  • Regency Elite Series I - 1995–1996
  • Regency Elite Series II - 1995–1996

Discontinuation[edit]

With the introduction of the Aurora a year earlier, the Ninety-Eight was discontinued for 1996, ending production on May 31 1996.[26] To fill the void, two Eighty-Eight relatives – the Regency and the LSS – were introduced. The sporty LSS featured the steel front fenders, while the more stately and traditional Regency had the carryover GTX-composite (plastic) fenders from the 1996 Ninety-Eight. The LSS model proved more popular to buyers than the Regency during the 1997-98 model years.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Directory Index: Oldsmobile/1941_Oldsmobile/1941_Oldsmobile_Prestige_Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Flory, Jr., J. "Kelly" (2008). American Cars, 1946-1959 Every Model Every Year. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7864-3229-5. 
  3. ^ "Directory Index: Oldsmobile/1953 Oldsmobile/album". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  4. ^ "Directory Index: Oldsmobile/1953 Oldsmobile/album". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-11-09. 
  5. ^ "Directory Index: Oldsmobile/1955 Oldsmobile/1955_Oldsmobile_Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  6. ^ "Directory Index: Oldsmobile/1955 Oldsmobile/1955_Oldsmobile_Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  7. ^ http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Oldsmobile/1955%20Oldsmobile/album_001/1955%20Oldsmobile%20Manual-09.html
  8. ^ "Directory Index: Oldsmobile/1956 Oldsmobile/album". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  9. ^ a b c "Directory Index: Oldsmobile/1957 Oldsmobile/album". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  10. ^ "Directory Index: Oldsmobile/1957 Oldsmobile/album". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  11. ^ a b Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1960-1972 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2004), p.118.
  12. ^ "Directory Index: Oldsmobile/1957 Oldsmobile/album". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  13. ^ "Directory Index: Oldsmobile/1958_Oldsmobile/1958_Oldsmobile_Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  14. ^ "Directory Index: Oldsmobile/1958_Oldsmobile/1958_Oldsmobile_Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  15. ^ "Directory Index: Oldsmobile/1959 Oldsmobile/album". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  16. ^ "Directory Index: Cadillac/1959_Cadillac/1959_Cadillac_Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  17. ^ "Directory Index: Oldsmobile/1959 Oldsmobile/album". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  18. ^ "Directory Index: Oldsmobile/1960 Oldsmobile/1960 Oldsmobile Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  19. ^ "Directory Index: Oldsmobile/1970 Oldsmobile/1970_Oldsmobile_Prestige_Brochure". Oldcarbrochures.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  20. ^ a b Stark, Harry A (February 1984). "C-car conundrum: selling two different cars with one name". Ward's Auto World. Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  21. ^ a b Oldsmobile Sales Material "1985 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency Marketing Guide", authorized by General Motors Corporation
  22. ^ Encyclopedia of American Cars "Oldsmobile" p.663: "Oldsmobile Production Figures."
  23. ^ Oldsmobile Sales Material "1985 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Sales Brochure", authorized by General Motors Corporation
  24. ^ Oldsmobile Sales Material "1987 Oldsmobile Line Sales Brochure, Vol. I", authorized by General Motors Corporation
  25. ^ "How Oldsmobile Cars Work: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 Oldsmobile Cars" by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, retrieved on 2010–05–17.
  26. ^ Ward's Automotive Yearbook 1997. Ward's Communications, Inc. 1997. 

External links[edit]