1-Of-500: 1999 Oldsmobile 88 50th Anniversary

The Olds Eighty-Eight (also 88) enjoyed a 50-year run from 1949 to 1999. It would be the GM division’s most profitable car for the first half of that period (the Cutlass Supreme would then take that position). With the end of the line coming in 1999, Olds executives commissioned a 50th Anniversary Limited Edition to celebrate its longevity and passing. They could easily be identified by their gold doodads everywhere on the low-production automobile. Located in Reno, Nevada, this nice survivor is available here on craigslist for $7,500. Pat L. comes through again with a tip that’s a little off the beaten path!

Eighty-Eight production was scheduled to end around Christmas 1998 for the 1999 model year. In the mix at the factory in Lake Orion, Michigan, would be 500 copies of the special edition, all 4-door sedans. The targeted audience was middle-aged professionals, executives, and retirees (so an older, more affluent group) who were loyal GM customers. The anniversary package included adjustments to the trim using gold plated this and that, such as the Oldsmobile hood emblem, door badges, moldings, pinstripes, medallions on the C-pillars, decklid, and even a special key chain.

Mechanically, the special editions were the same as the rest of the 88s. But the optional Automatic Level Control was standard. Under the hood resided a 3800 Series II fuel-injected V6 (205 hp) and a 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. The seller’s Olds has seen somewhat limited use over the years as the odometer reading is only about 40,000 miles. Though the number of owners isn’t mentioned, he, she, or they have taken good care of the car. The body, paint, and well-appointed interior all seem to have held up well.

For my taste, how the vinyl roof (which is dirty) was applied is a little funky. The material extends into the doors where the door frames join with the roof. That seems like overkill, but that’s a look that GM also extended to its expensive cars like the Cadillac. We’re told the vehicle runs extremely well and wants for nothing mechanically. So, it could be a reasonably priced, full-size, turn-key auto that you could immediately start using. I’m not sure that the special edition designation adds much to the resale value compared to a regular 88, but you’d have something to turn heads and get conversations going with.

Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    I’ve never understood the whole fake convertible thing,
    or why anyone would get it (& pay extra for it).I’d think that you’d
    need checkered pants, white shoes & a white belt to drive this one.

    Like 19
    • MathieuB

      And thoses kind of ”add-on” fake roof are a USA thing only.
      We don’t see theses in Canada. I never understood why this.

      Like 6
      • SubGothius

        People with more money than taste garishly flaunting their affluence is a pretty characteristic American thing, not that it doesn’t happen in other countries, just so particularly egregious and common here that there’s a thriving aftermarket industry catering to it.

        I’m pretty sure all those fake-convertible tops (including this one) were aftermarket add-ons commissioned by dealers, to sell to (typically elderly and retired) buyers who’d walk in and ask for one “fully loaded with all the bells’n’whistles” — the aftermarket mods piling on even more of those than even the factory offered — taste be damned, as long as the buyer could show off how much they’d spent and feel smug they’d “treated themselves to the best”.

        I’m actually kinda surprised they didn’t figure out some way of tacking on a faux Rolls-Royce-esque chrome grille shell with gold slats on this one, and maybe a garish Continental spare-tire hump (replete with an exposed chrome-spoked hubcap) on the trunklid while they were at it.

        Like 5
  2. Will Fox

    This is an ultra-special model! It’s the GERIATRIC Edition!!!! You get vinyl seats in case of those ‘accidents’ before you’re able to find a bathroom, and a cheesy fake convertible top so Gramps can feel like Telli Savalas!!

    Like 9
    • Brad460 Member

      I believe this car has leather seats. Me personally I prefer cloth but leather is still quite popular

      Like 1
  3. Gary W

    Laughed you are. You’re all headed there also. And soon they’ll be laughing at those old people who used to drive gas powered cars that had to be steered and braked. It’s all relative.

    The heyday of the gaudy cars made for the greatest generation that saved our way of life will become an endearment for future generations.. in time.

    Like 12
    • Howard A Member

      Right on, pal!

      Like 10
    • DN

      Cars presented like this will NEVER became an endearment. Not with that raggedy rag top 🤦🏻‍♂️

      Like 1
      • Gary L

        Well you may be correct on this specific car. Mostly because this car designed in the 90s was not meant for vinyl roofs. I’m referencing chrome ladened wire wheel covered vinyl landau cars of the 80s. By the time this car was made….that ship had sailed.

  4. DanA

    Always loved the look of the fake tops on the 80s cars, but it clearly does not work on a four door with rear quarter windows. Much better suited for the two door cars.

    Like 4
    • Will Fox

      They scream, “Chince!!” “Cheesy!” “K-Tel Presents” and no taste.

      Like 4
      • Ike Onick

        “Chintzy” if you decide to use the term again.

        Like 8
      • angliagt angliagt Member

        I think this was from RONCO.

        Like 2
      • Tman

        Add a little Cal-Custom JC Whitney chrome air cleaner valve covers under the hood and watch the chrome peel off with the padded roof.
        It’s a Bro-hum look not Broughum

  5. Ike Onick

    It does not look good with the helmet on.

    Like 3
  6. nlpnt

    Please tell me the simcon top wasn’t part of the package, or GM-authorized in any way! (at most GM-barely tolerated because the dealers loved the extra profit!?)

    Like 3
  7. Stan

    Beautiful Anniversary edition Oldsmobile Delta 88

    Like 7
  8. Howard A Member

    “Special Edition”,,whistles,,,Oh, Oldsmobile, you had sunk to a new low. The end was clearly near. While Oldsmobile generally catered to, let’s say, an older crowd, ( my old man had Oldsmobiles, hence the saying) there was no denying, an Oldsmobile was a clear step up over the Chevy or Pontiac, on their way to a Caddy. Maybe a Buick in there too, but Olds was always a classy car. Look at the ’57, my favorite. So what happened here? With Pontiac almost gone, Olds and Buick tried to stay with the older folks, nobody wanted 3 deuces anymore, this is what gramps wanted. As driving habits changed, gramps never liked those SUVs, and these fell out of favor. I read, just the name “Oldsmobile”, like “Studebaker”, just sounded “old”.
    As far as the top treatment, I don’t recall may car companies offering these types, and most were aftermarket add ons. I worked for a body shop supplier in the 70s, and there were always cars getting a vinyl top of some sort put on. It was a very popular addition. It showed a shred of class, even on a Maverick.

    Like 4
  9. Dave

    My mother had the same model car, unbelievably comfortable. I miss her.

    Like 6
  10. Lothar... of the Hill People

    Good write-up, Russ.

    Well somebody might have liked it, despite the fake convertible top and all. The listing is gone already (and I just got my Barn Finds email today). That’s ok, I enjoyed reading the BF listing anyway!

    This wasn’t my father’s Oldsmobile (that was about a ’76 for my Mom’s & Dad’s, personally) and it wasn’t the final, GM clone-a-rama years in the early 2000’s. This car was somewhere in the middle and it was what it was.

    To be fair, you have to look at it through the eyes of the GM marketing people and older customers from ’99 (and I’ve seen worse.)

    Like 1
  11. George Mattar

    I bought a 40,000 mile 99 Olds 88 in 2005, after a deer as big as a horse ran in front of my 88 Okds Trofeo and destroyed it. The deer was DOA. Good. Hate them all. Anyway, the Trofeo had 200,000 miles smdcstill ran new. The 88, which I paid $4,500 for, never had a problem except the crappy plastic intake manifold. Put on a Dorman. Sold it to my daughter in 2009. She had it five years and sold it. I hear it is still running at more than 200,000 miles. That 3,8 engine one of GMs best. They only stopped making it because dealers could not make money fixing something that didn’t blow up like 4,1 Caddy junk and Northstar junk.

  12. Keith D.

    My first car was an Oldsmobile. I bought a 68 Cutlass 4-Door with the “Rocket” 350 for $50 back in 1982. Car ran well but was a cosmetic issue with some rear rust. My second car was a 70 Delta 88 2-Door I bought about a year later for…Yes you guessed it $50 Ha! No heat in the car which was definitely needed for the winter days & nights in New York City in the early 80’s. I’ve owned three Oldsmobiles in my lifetime, my last Olds was an 83 Delta 88 coupe I bought in the early 90’s. Great cars, dependable, strong, and always nicely designed vehicles. Back in the 80’s a friend of mine owned a 76 Ninety Eight (Unfortunately Not a Regency) however a very nice LS model White on White. I also had a friend who had a 75 Ninety Eight LS coupe with that powerful “Rocket” 455. The Oldsmobile brand will always be dear to me because my first car was an Olds and they were just plain ol good cars…I truly miss Oldsmobile…

    Like 3
  13. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    gone.

  14. Robert Levins

    To the new owner: “ Drive it, enjoy it , take good care of it. “ This car is a great family car for about $5,000.00 tops. Maybe in about 5-10 years from now it “Might “ be a collector to someone. Don’t spend a lot of money. Even 5k is a stretch right now. It will give you a lot of enjoyment, they are comfortable and luxurious. Enjoy.

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