17K Miles! 1976 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale

As the last year of the big Oldsmobiles, this 1976 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale sedan would be an imposing car to own. Not to mention parallel parking it without a backup camera that a lot of folks have gotten accustomed to while docking their gigantic SUVs. This understated Olds can be found here on craigslist in beautiful Sedona, Arizona. The seller wants $5,000 and they are NOT negotiating. Call only, don’t email or text, and no games. Thanks to Pat L. for sending in this tip!

Like politics in America today – who am I kidding, for the last 200 years – this Olds Delta 88 Royale is a 50/50 car. About half of the population will like this car and cars from this era and half will think that they’re the worst thing to ever come out of a car factory. I can truly say that I don’t dislike any cars, but I admit to preferring other years of Oldsmobiles. That being said, that doesn’t mean that I’m on the other side, this is a rare case when I’m on the fence with a car.

One thing that’s hard to argue with is the condition of this car. It isn’t perfect – other than the interior being as close to perfect as possible – but it’s really nice with only a couple of issues on the exterior. There is a ding on the corner of the trunk lid which could probably be massaged out by a PDR company. And, the bumper filler panels are somewhat overcooked by the Arizona sun. Replacements are available but it may be a trick to match the paint.

The interior really does look like it’s in amazing condition and it’s hard to beat a red interior for me. The seller says that this car has 17,000 miles on it and the odometer shows 17,474 miles. As always with a five-digit odometer, there will be a debate as to whether it’s rolled over or not, what are your thoughts? Adam showed us a really nice two-door version a few months ago with a 455 V8 and even fewer miles.

The engine is, I believe, an Olds Rocket 455 cubic-inch V8 which would have had 190 hp, but the seller doesn’t tell us which engine it is and you can see the decal is torn off of the air cleaner cover other than a round portion shown in the two engine photos. The other engine was a 350 V8 with 170 hp. Any thoughts on the engine? How about thoughts on the car in general?


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  1. Troy s

    The wheels and tires along with the faded out paint give this hauler a certain vibe…I don’t generally like these years all that much but this one grabbed my attention. Clean and comfortable for long drives.

    Like 3
  2. CCFisher

    Those balloon tires and tiny wheels are almost comical. It looks like someone slipped in life-sized axles from a vintage Matchbox car.

    • JoeNYWF64

      If you just take off the hubcaps & expose the black steel wheel, the wheel & tire kind of “blend” together & you won’t notice the tire so much.
      With the super soft seats on this car & those 75 series aspect ratio tires fitted (i believe they were 78 series in the 60’s & earlier!) they gave you a much smoother ride than “luxury” “cars” today with 40 series tires & 19″ wheels & hard(especially on imports) seats (ha ha). This would be THE type of car to relax in & drive across the country with cheap gas now.
      Almost ALL STANDARD cars in the 70’s & earlier came with these “baloon” tires, including mustang & camaro!!!(E78-14 the most popular size back in the 60’s – most fit 195/75R-14 replacement radials today. These baloon tires usually are S rated that not only last the longest, but don’t make that aggravating whirlybird noise on many, for ex. H rated, lower profile tires used today.
      & these tires are also best on horrible roads like the cross bronx where i have seen plenty of bent bog rims & blwn of low profile tires. lol
      Finally it is ez to ck if THESE tires are low on air by just looking at them.

      Like 3
      • JoeNYWF64

        Oops typo above – i have seen plenty of modern cars over the years on such bad potholled roads as the cross bronx pulled over to the side with a bent 18″ or bigger aluminum rim & blown out low profile tire. & maybe a spare in the trunk, depending on the make of car.

        Like 2
    • JoeNYWF64

      Guess what tires & wheels are on the back of the track only 2020 challenger? – big wheels & low profile tires are NOT ideal for the dragstrip either, as well as the cross bronx.
      & old school skinny front tires are fitted here too! …
      & so is an old school solid rear axle – for durability! …
      Oddly “The supercharged Hemi is hooked up to a[n old school] T[URBO]400 [GM!!] three-speed transmission”!
      Why not more gears & why not a Chrysler Torqueflite?

  3. Jack M.

    The lack of whitewalls isn’t helping the look.

    Like 14
  4. Snotty

    Looks great as is. If it were close I’d be all in.

    Like 5
  5. Superdessucke

    Wow. it’s a nicer version of Eminem’s car from “8-Mile.”


    Like 8
  6. Jay

    Wonderful Couch on wheels

    Roadtrip !

    Like 5
    • Randall Fitz

      Two couches, one behind the other 60 miles per hour all day!

      Like 2
      • Drake

        I had the Chevy Impala of that same year! Big black vinyl covered sofas that you swore peeled skin in the summer!

        Like 1
  7. Stevieg

    I believe the miles are correct, based on general condition combined with the seller’s picture in the ad of the brake & gas pedal pads. Yeah, they can be replaced, but these are aged & not worn.
    But cars that sit like that, especially in warm & dry Arizona, will dry out and rot. The bumper fillers are typical for a GM car of this era, actually better than I expected lol. Tires have obviously been replaced, and done on the cheap. Makes me wonder what hidden projects were done on the cheap, or not done at all.
    I like the car for $2,000. Whoever buys it will be putting a bit of time & effort, along with money into it.
    As much as it is really a base model vehicle, I bet that is a 350 under the hood. It would be a great road trip car, if you don’t mind the gas bills.

    Like 3
  8. Ed Hardt

    350? 455? Who cares ±20 horsepower on an ugly boat.

    • Stevieg

      Lol good point. I guess the 455 was for “status”.

      Like 1
      • Wilburn C Shook

        I owned a ’76 Delta 88 Royale 2 dr, with a 455. Gas mileage was miserable, but the 400 transmission was the absolutely worst part of the car. I had to replace/rebuild the tranny several times, put in a 375 that gave me better service and longer life. I didn’t rod it, so I don’t know why so many transmission. I will say this tho. It registered 100, and it easily buried the speedometer. The sweetest ride I have ever owned. I semiretired it, had to put in a storage yard, but somebody wanted it real bad and stole it.

  9. Jack M.

    It’s not just the extra 20 hp you get when you go to the 455 ci, you also gain 75 ft/lbs of torque. Something you will really appreciate in a heavy car like this.

    Like 5
  10. S

    Judging from the interior, pedals, and plastic filler panels around the bumpers, this is probably accurate mileage. For that reason alone it is probably worth what he is asking to someone who really likes these cars and this body style. My personal opinion is that the Delta 88 sedan was much more attractive from 1971 – 74. The 1977 restyle was also a big improvement. 75 – 76 I don’t really care for. But on the plus side, the interior is cloth, not vinyl. It’s burgundy red which is attractive, and the dash, the seats, and the chrome look pretty much perfect! However, it’s going to burn a lot of gas. I love this commercial from 1976 – “All I really need is a good set of wheels that gets good gas mileage”! 14 mpg is good gas mileage with the base engine?? Compared to what, a car that gets 10 mpg? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIFJkL1odFY

    Like 1
    • Drake

      I saw a commercial on YouTube for I believe a 1972 Delta 88! They were ringing the hell outta it! It was hilarious! It was like they were practicing the getaway for a bank robbery!

  11. James Martin

    Decent car looks like mileage claim could be accurate. But it is still a 4 door 88. Mid 70s to boot. 2 strikes against it. Nice car to drive, but no real looks. If it where a 2 door coupe maybe 5 gs? But a 4 door? About half that price and that’s if you find the right person desperately needing it. Just not a desirable car.

    Like 1
  12. George

    Who told you this was the last year of the big Oldsmobiles? I believe the last year for the big 88 series was 1984, after which they switched to front wheel drive.

    • Randall Fitz

      GM did a significant down-sizing of its B and C bodies in 1977. Only the big Eldorado and Toronado were continued in their gargantuan proportions and heft.

      Like 3
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      What Randall said, George. 1985 was the last year for the rear-wheel-drive Olds 88.

      Like 3

      I bought a new 1985 88 big size Olds, so I know a they were made for that year.

      Like 1
      • Randall Fitz

        While not small, they were still body-on-frame and rear wheel drive, the 1985 Oldsmobile Delta 88s were some 600 pounds lighter than this 1975 boat made a decade earlier and prior to the CAFE ratings system for fuel ‘economy’!
        I have a ‘73 Eldorado now, had a ‘73 Coupe DeVille, and in the family we had two 1979 Delta 88s. I bet you miss your ‘85 Oldsmobile.

        Like 1
      • Drake

        Well yeah, compared to now, and 1985 IS big, but the 1976 GM full size was the last year before they downsized the entire lineup. Look at a 1976 Olds Regency 98, then go look at a 1977 Olds Regency 98. That’s what we mean when we say “last of the big ones.”

        Like 3
  13. Stevieg

    The 1977 Regency or Delta will fit in my garage…barely. But it will. The 1976 version of those cars won’t fit in my garage. Door won’t close. So when people on this site are referring to the 1976 being the last of the big body, I believe that is what they are referring to.
    The 1977 and later style full size GM products are about the same size as the 1973-1977 mid size GM products. They are big compared to today’s cars, but not as big as the 1971-1976 full size cars.

    Like 3
    • Drake

      That’s what I stated as well. I think a few are too young to really understand the downsizing we’re talking about. I mean NOW, even 1977 GM full size vehicles seen large! Lol But back then, it was radical! So radical in fact, that Ford and Chrysler kept right on making them big as ever!

  14. Duaney

    The underhood shot makes me vote for 117,000 miles. Without being able to see underneath and a closer exam can’t be certain. I’ve seen garaged cars with over 100K look like this example.

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