12,594 Original Miles: 1979 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency

This 1979 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency is an incredible survivor, having resided in the care of one owner up until this year. The mileage is incredibly low, noted as being a mere 12,594, surely a sign of being in the care of an elderly owner since new. While other circumstances are possible, it seems unlikely to me. The Oldsmobile has beautiful black paint with a red pinstripe, along with minty wire wheel covers on white-line tires. While not necessarily a collector car, they rarely show up this nice. Find the Oldsmobile here on eBay is just over $12,500 with the reserve unmet.

While these cars may have been considered top of the line when new, they weren’t necessarily cherished as such. This era of American auto manufacturing represented one of the more challenging periods for an industry tasked with addressing increasingly stringent regulations regarding emissions and fuel economy, while still building cars that consumers wanted; in the case of the luxury brands, big, comfortable sedans that wafted down the road and isolated occupants from road noise and other intrusions. Despite being somewhat unpopular today, plenty of older shoppers still saw cars like these as top-of-the-line and worth preserving.

Unfortunately, sedans like this Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight have typically been used up and spit out by their fourth or fifth owner, and left the roadways eons ago as cheap, junk-able iron, likely discarded during a period of high scrap prices or cash for clunkers if it survived that long. This one has escaped that fate, and the incredibly low mileage suggests it was used sparingly, perhaps only for weekly errands or Sunday drives. The seller notes it has no evidence of paintwork and that the chrome and stainless trim is in mint condition. The Olds is powered by a Rocket 350 engine paired to a TH400 automatic transmission.

Check out that interior – and yes, the seller notes you can still smell the new car smell inside. The velour seating surfaces are in mint condition, and the fake wood trim still looks shockingly resilient. The dash pad shows no signs of cracking, and the seller notes the air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, cruise control, power right and left outside mirrors, and other features all work as intended.

New parts include a replacement exhaust system, new coolant, belts, hoses, wires, and battery. They don’t get much fresher than this, so bid often if a classic land barge like this is on your short-list of must-haves.

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Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Very nice car. Like I’ve said before, there are a lot of nice old cars out there for $15,000.

    Like 10
  2. IkeyHeyman Member

    I like big luxury cars, but this is sort of a “poor man’s Cadillac.” For the same amount of money, you should be able to move up to a decent Caddy.

    • CJinSD

      A friend of mine had one of these in high school. It was a hand-me-down from his father, who owned other things like mountain sides and mansions. My friend would have probably had something more interesting than a seven year old 98 Regency that had already been through a year or two of abuse at the hands of his older sister, but he’d sided with his mother in the divorce. I don’t know why his father got a new Oldsmobile or Buick every other year instead of a Cadillac, but it wasn’t because he was poor. I do believe he switched to Volvos at some point though.

      My memories of the car were that it didn’t have a robust cooling system, it was remarkably slow for something with 403 cubic inches, and that people always thought we were cops when we rolled up, because the local police were using Gran Furies with the same front light signature.

      Like 4
      • CJinSD

        I remember one other thing about the Oldsmobile. The light blue metallic paint had fallen off and the car had been repainted at by the time it was six years old.

    • Jean DESJARDINS

      There coud be an argument that some Oldsmobiles (like this one) come out as less tacky than some Cadillacs.

      Like 6
      • CJinSD

        In my opinion, the 1977-1979 Cadillac Sedan De Ville was a high point of restraint for the brand, although I had a hard time believing they had 7 liter engines after seeing them unable to keep up with some old beaters when I was a teen. Car and Driver published 18.2 seconds for the quarter mile for a 1978 Coupe De Ville with a 425 ci engine. There were slower cars, but how many returned 10.9 mpg in the hands of their biggest fans? https://testdrivejunkie.com/1978-cadillac-sedan-deville-test-drive/

        Like 1
      • Andre

        You could probably blame the loafy axle ratios of the era for many of those lousy acceleration times. IIRC, GM used a tall 2.28:1 axle with the 425 in the Cadillacs. Trust me, that car wanted to go faster than that quarter mile time would suggest. It’s just that the tall axle ratio they threw in there, to fake out the EPA’s laboratory tests wouldn’t allow it to!

    • Happy G.

      Honestly, I’d rather have a 98 Olds or any model of Buick than a Cad of this era. Guess I’ve never felt enough pretentiousness to even want a Cadillac. Now this is not meant as an insult to anyone, just for myself personally. Nothing more, nothing less.

      Like 2
    • jay Member

      But the quality control in a lot of cases, was more stringent with these cars than with the Caddies. Even Monte Carlo quality control was tighter.

  3. David

    I remember the days picking up these 98 & 88’s second hand. Very nice cars. This one is a peach, but I would not pay that much for it.

    Like 1
  4. David G

    Beautiful car, but have never seen one without power door locks. Shame they are not standard on the Regency trim level. Seat is also 4 way power, instead of the normal 6 way power.

    • Chuck Dickinson

      Also looks to be lacking a tilt wheel. Very unusual, esp. on a Regency.

  5. Skorzeny

    I’m really partial to these as my grandfather owned several Oldsmobiles when I was a kid. I thought full size, rear drive GMs were some of the best cars made at the time, given the constraints they were working with under our nearly useless government at the time. BUT, those horrid wheel covers. Remember that cheap POS t-handle ‘key’ that came in the glove compartment? What a joke those were. I would put some wheels and tires on this and drive it. The styling of these and the Buick’s were nicer IMO than the Cadillacs. I liked the Seville though.

    Like 2
    • DrillnFill

      Lol at the “hubcap key” with those keyed bolts locking on the wire wheel covers on my ‘80s Caprice. I never did suffer a stolen one tho parking on the streets of ‘90s NYC :)

      Like 2
  6. Steve R

    It’s near or at the price where it’s worth a pass. It is nice, in a good color, but it’s onky selling point is the low mileage. Other than that, it’s not a car sought out at this price level for its own merits. If there is a coming correction for classic car, these big 70’s and 80’s 4 doors will be leading the way down.

    I wouldn’t believe the claim it has a TH400 on face value since the seller also says it’s a 4 speed automatic.

    Steve R

    Like 3
    • Bill S

      its a 3 speed if you look at the gear selector R N D S L and under the gas pedal a TH400 will have a kick-down switch

  7. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    It looks very clean, but I don’t care how clean it is, after 41 years there is no way one can still smell the new car smell in there.

    Like 6
    • Duaney Member

      You’re completely wrong. I have a 1961 Chevy truck with 30,000 actual miles, always garaged, and you can smell the new car (truck) smell still.

      Like 1
  8. Travis

    It also looks as though the car may have been repainted. The Oldsmobile badge on the header panel is in the wrong place. And, the 98 Regency had a pinstripe both at the top and the bottom in 1979.

  9. CCFisher

    Black with red pinstripe, wire wheel covers, and no vinyl roof is a great look for this car. Whoever ordered it had great taste!

    Like 3
  10. Travis

    My grandparents had a stunning 1979 98 Regency Coupe in camel metallic (medium brown) with a tan landau top and velour interior. They kept it for 12 years before trading it in for a new Oldsmobile. It had less than 80k miles and still looked like it just rolled off the assembly line. My grandfather taught me how to drive and how to properly detail a car on that 98. We also took several vacations in it. And, it felt like you were riding on clouds. I always thought that the 98 was the most elegant of GM’s flagships, even more than a Cadillac which I felt was too gaudy in that era. Today, it is my unicorn (exactly like theirs) to add to my vintage collection.

    Like 1
  11. Maestro1 Member

    Agree with Steve R. I am an enthusiast of these 98s; but yes, they will lead the
    Correction if there is one in the market. I’ve had a Regency, same model, just
    more toys, and as always remember the gas station to be welded to the filler
    neck on the gas tank in the car. Other than that, great cars. I sold the Regency to a neighbor who had to have it. He’s still driving it. Frankly I’m not sure about the price.

  12. Ronnie

    It’s a nice car but for the price just doesn’t match. Good luck on the sale

  13. Bob C.

    One more thing, during this period. Is it an Olds 350 or a Chevy 350?

    • Duaney Member

      Never seen the chevy in the 98’s, but it’s obvious in the e-Bay picture it’s the Olds engine

  14. K. R. V.

    Ok I’m not sure Olds still built a Rocket 350, Still in 1978? Or a TH 400, especially one with 4speeds. But it’s still a beautiful car, that would be lots of fun with an LS 6.0/6.2 Swap, with a nice 4 speed automatic or+!

    • Ralph

      The 4 speed part is not correct, but the TH400 was in production through 1982-1983 when it was replaced by the 700R4, Oldsmobile made gas 350’s through 1980 and diesel 350’s through 1985.

  15. Mitchell Ross

    Not so much a poor man’s Cadillac, but a Cadillac for a man who had nothing to prove.

    My story about a twin to this car is from when I owned a Car Service (Taxi to outsiders) in Brooklyn. My competition used Volares and later Diplomats. I found that I could buy 98s, Electras, even Sedan de villes a few years older for the same money and did. The Heritage for the Blind, a car donation charity had an office across the street from mine and they got lots of these in from widows of well off Brooklynites. I had a black one like this. One night around midnight, a ball broke in the left lane of Ocean Ave, a major street. I drove to Manhattan in my car to a 24 hr auto parts place that worked with taxi garages, got the ball joint and changed it in the middle of the street and the car was ready for the day shift.

  16. Jay

    We had this same model and level of trim but in a tan/tan combo. Loved it. Great car. This is a gorgeous example. If I had Jay Leno’s garage and money it would be mine!

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