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12k Original Miles: 1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Convertible

There was a period during the 1970s when it appeared that time was running out for the convertible. Insurance companies were twitching at the prospect of accident claims involving roll-overs while legislators questioned their safety. Many manufacturers believed it would be the last hurrah for a car that had been an industry staple since the first horseless carriages coughed and spluttered their way along rough dirt tracks that were laughingly called roads. That motivated companies like Oldsmobile to focus on their convertible offerings and to make the most of their sales potential before they disappeared entirely. One example from that era was this 1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale Convertible, and our feature car is a gem. It is beautifully preserved, highly equipped, and has a genuine 12,600 miles on its odometer. The only thing it needs is a new home, with the seller listing it here on eBay in Blackwell, Oklahoma. They set their auction to open at $23,995, but there have been no bids. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder T.J. for spotting this stunning drop-top.

When Oldsmobile launched the 1975 Delta 88 Royale, the company knew it was the final year of production for the convertible variant. It focused advertising on the soft-top to boost sales and it proved a successful strategy. Today, they are a relatively rare sight on our roads, making this Cranberry example feel like a breath of fresh air. Its overall condition is hard to fault, with no visible flaws in the panels or paint. The car’s ownership history is unclear, but its appearance suggests it has been garage-kept its entire life. It features a contrasting White power top installed two years ago. The trim looks excellent, and the glass is flawless. Wire hubcaps and new narrow whitewall tires provide a perfect finishing touch to this classy classic.

It is unsurprising to find a spotless interior in any car with 12,000 miles on the clock, and this Olds is no exception. The original owner ordered the vehicle trimmed in rich Red leather, which remains as supple and inviting as it would have been in 1975. The overall condition is consistent with the mileage claim, with no evidence of wear or abuse. The dash, pad, and carpet show similar preservation levels. The faux woodgrain accentuates the feeling of luxury, although the air conditioning, power windows, power driver’s seat, cruise control, and AM/FM radio play their part in making the occupants feel special.

Buyers in 1975 could order their Delta 88 Royale with a choice of two engines, with this buyer selecting the range-topping 455ci V8. Shifting duties fall to a three-speed Hydramatic transmission, while power steering and power brakes were a standard part of this package. Although emission regulations had removed the sharp edge from engine performance by 1975, this V8 still produced 190hp in its prime. Mind you, the Dela 88 Royale Convertible needed every one of those ponies, tipping the scales at 4,663lbs. Considering how high-performance models were being throttled then, this classic’s ability to cover the ¼ mile in 18.4 seconds is noteworthy. The seller indicates this Olds has a genuine 12,600 miles on the clock but doesn’t mention verifying evidence. The vehicle’s exterior and interior condition seems to support the claim, but the engine bay doesn’t present at the same level. It may look better if thoroughly detailed, but the accumulated dust makes a negative impression. A new alternator is visible, but the remaining major components look original. The seller provides no information on how it runs or drives, but their emphasis on the vehicle being “like new” suggests the news should be positive.

History shows that the fears about the demise of the convertible proved unfounded. They thrive in the current market, with virtually every manufacturer offering at least one drop-top within their model range. Oldsmobile sold 118,082 Delta 88s in 1975, with an impressive 7,181 being the convertible variant. Our feature car is a gem, and it appears to need little. The opening bid figure on the auction is within market expectations, although the lack of action so far suggests it hasn’t hit the sweet spot with buyers. That lack of interest raises the prospect of someone becoming its new owner by submitting a single bid. Does that motivate you to monitor the auction? You never know, but this could be the next classic car to find its way into your garage.


  1. Big_Fun Member

    The phone number, listed in description, is a Farmers Insurance agency. Any claims against this example?
    Seller’s other items are diverse collectibles. This is the only vehicle for sale.
    Would love to see the new top in pictures. They are expensive – $2,000 installed is the best price I’ve found in 2022. They tend to shrink – or was the original vandalized? We have all looked at other low mile examples (several Caprice and Eldorados come to mind), and those example have nice original tops. Poor storage conditions?
    Lots of questions this on this one need to to be asked…

    Like 3
  2. WorldOJeff

    The rich red interior is vinyl. Leather was not offered. And am I the only one noticing the wide white body side molding is missing on the left rear fender? That won’t be easy to find.

    Like 8
    • Chuck Dickinson

      Those stick-on moldings GM used during this period really suck. The Olds is probably the worst of those moldings to lose since they’re so wide, but they all look ‘naked’ w/out ‘something’. They usually come loose at first towards a piece’s cut end. I was lucky enough to be able to catch two of mine before the got ‘moving’ w/super glue. I don’t know how well it lasted, but it worked for the 2-3 years we still owned it. And you are certainly correct about being able to find another one (maybe they still have it?). You beat me to it about the “leather”.

      Like 0
  3. EDPnJAX

    The VIN/ID plate, something is wrong there. They were never put on with self tapping screws and you can see where it looks like it was covered or cut around and also has over spray on it.

    Like 0
  4. art

    Just superb when a seller photographs his or her car in near darkness. Does wonders for the imagination.

    Like 2
  5. Stan

    The Delta 88 model is a pleasure.

    Like 2
  6. Larhebiosas

    Recently brokered the sale of the same car out of a widows garage. It had 33,000 original miles, was white/red and a 350. BEWARE THE SCISSOR TOP. Buyer paid $4500 for it and it was rust free. These cars don’t bring big money.

    Like 2
    • firemedic2714

      I’ve been looking at full size convertibles on Ebay for several years and the market has dictated they’re worth about half what owners think they are. There’s been a couple of very nice restored ones that come to mind on Ebay for over a year. One, a late 60s Mercury Montego with a 428 that gets bid up to $18,000 frequently. The other is a 67 Bonneville or Catalina with a 400/4 speed that hits $23,000. The reserve on both has never been met.

      Like 0
  7. Pete Phillips

    I used to have one of these. After selling it several years ago, I learned that the 455 option is fairly rare in these convertibles–around 900-something, if I remember correctly. Most of them came with the 350 V8.

    Like 0
  8. TED W.

    My first car was my Dads 1970 Delta 88 Convertible, it was painted Ming Jade Green with Tan top and gold interior. Dad bought it on Long Island in 1973. It became mine in 1981. I wish I still had it, I loved that car, but Mom sold the car, while I was deployed in 1994-1995. It had the 350 Rocket. I later found out in 1970 only 3095 Delta 88 units were convertibles, and the majority were sold with the 455 Engine. Man I miss that car!

    Like 2
    • Idiot Boy

      Anything Ming Jade Green and gold is to die for in the depressing colorless abyss of 2022, that’s for sure

      Like 2
  9. Duaney Member

    Possible for the car to have went over 100K within the first 4-5 years, and then been carefully stored. Under carriage photo’s would confirm the mileage.

    Like 3
  10. RalphP

    The facts of no trim on the left rear fender AND no evidence of trim being there in the first place tell me this car had been hit and repaired. Probably why there are no takers.

    Like 0
  11. tom norman

    I had, a 1974 Delta 88 Royal Convertible purchased new, and the body side molding started falling off in about 3 years. They were very heavy and only held on by an adhesive. I had mine replaced in 1978 with a type fastened to the body with screws in channel and then vinyl strip over. Probably not from accident. Beautiful car, but not equiped with power door locks.

    Like 0
  12. DC

    Anyone else notice that the passenger sun visor is missing? If I remember, those are specific to the convertible models due to shape and size…

    Like 0

    The floor mats show that the odometer has rolled over once, at least. Also, the engine compartment doesn’t look like a 12,000 mile car. Why would such a low mileage car need a new alternator ? The air cleaner duct hose is non-existent,etc,etc.

    Like 0
  14. George Mattar

    Only worth what someone is willing to pay. Plenty of very observant guys on this site. I had a 1976 Olds Cutlass Salon in 1978. It had the thinner side moldings. Horrible quality. Otherwise, of the nearly 50 cars I have owned since 1973, that is the one I miss the most.

    Like 0
  15. Kenn

    Probably hasn’t been in a wreck. Probably has over 100,000 miles. It’s an Oklahoma car! Cities and towns are far apart. And yes, doubtful an alternator would go bad in 12K miles, though admittedly not impossible. Not worth the ask unless mileage can be documented. Which shouldn’t be difficult if only driven 12K miles.

    Like 0

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