Can This Ragtop Be Saved? 1970 Oldsmobile 98

This is one nice car! Or, it was when it was put into storage around 25 years ago. It’s also one long car and one very desirable car, or it could be again with a lot of elbow grease. It’s a 1970 Oldsmobile 90 Convertible and it’s in beautiful San Antonio, Texas. The seller has it listed on eBay and the current bid is $560 but the reserve isn’t met yet. How much will this project ragtop sell for?

I’m assuming that these are photos of the car when it was still in storage but I’m not positive. There isn’t a heck of a lot of information given on this particular car other than “bought this at a sale it has been in storage for around 25 years v8 2 dr all original top worn.” By 1970, the Olds 98 was already in its eighth-generation, having first debuted for the 1941 model year. What can be seen of the body on this car appears to be in excellent shape with no visible rust or dents really at all, even on the vulnerable front nose section. The interior doesn’t look quite as pleasing, however.

GAAAA! This interior gives me the shivers. Wow, just.. wow. Can this thing be cleaned up or is it just a parts car by this point? A full restoration would be the way to go, of course, but the Hagerty value for a #2 excellent 1970 Olds 98 convertible is just $18,200 with a #3 good car being $12,900. The next owner isn’t going to restore this car for anywhere near that price so it would be a labor of love. My dad had a green 1970 Olds 98 four-door sedan and it was a great car. The interior was a green brocade fabric and it was really comfortable, and F.A.S.T!

Here’s why: Oldsmobile’s 365 hp 455 cubic-inch V8. I surprised a lot of muscle cars with that 98 back in the early-80s. And, unfortunately I lost my share of wheel covers on fancy cornering maneuvers.. One time as a poor teenager I stopped at a gas station and put something like 28-cents worth of gas in that car. Back in those days that was good for probably a quarter of a gallon which I can’t believe even got me to the end of the gas station parking lot. I would love to have a 1970 Olds 98 someday, but this one is too much work for me. Can this car be saved?


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  1. RicK

    $561, but only if the mud dauber nests under the hood are removed. Unless they’re considered to be “Patina”
    Probably should have sold it when the price of scrap was up during the last boom.

    • jim b

      Mud daubers everywhere, on the jack, door jams…probably in all the heater/a/c vents and air cleaner….buzzzz

    • Richard Ochoa

      More Scrap Iron!!!!

  2. mark

    Lots of unanswered questions with this one. Is the engine free is one of them. How may miles is on the odometer? Rust, overall body condition etc? There are miles of electrical wiring in cars like this one. Rodents love to chew on the wiring. Spending several weekends cleaning the interior is one thing, spending more than that trying to track down all the electrical gremlins is another.


    Someone must decide to save this last of the land yachts.

    • Todd Crofts

      agreed at detroit land yacht! history needs to be preserved anything is possible!

  4. TriPowerVette

    You deleted my comment? It took 20 minutes to write that. OK Scotty… bye Barn Finds.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      What?! I don’t delete comments here, TriPowerVette! I don’t have any idea what your comment was, I was in bed!

      • TriPowerVette

        Lately, several of my comments have been deleted. On this thread, I took a good portion of an hour, writing my experience with our 1970 Olds 98 Convertible. It was fairly lengthy. I posted it, then thought better of a comma, and edited to delete it, and re-proof-read the entire article. I still had 2+ minutes left on the edit clock. When I pressed ‘Save’, it did so, then I pressed ‘refresh’, and it was no longer there.

        This has happened before on other threads… The last time it did, I had written out a really nice bunch of comments, pressed ‘Save’ (or, ‘Post Comment’) and the machine said ‘You are posting comments too quickly, slow down” (it has done this more than once, and I don’t post stuff ‘too quickly’. If anything, I post very carefully). In this case, this was the ONLY comment I had made in 2 days. I went back to the previous screen, and everything was gone!

        After the way I was treated on :
        this is becoming tiresome.

        Two of my comments were deliberately deleted on that thread, along with a picture of my own Corvette and that of another that was found on the web.

        If you say you didn’t delete it, very well. But I am a retired Systems Analyst for the State of Arizona. The problem is not on my end. I have lost a lot of content that took time to think about and produce, and for sure my stuff was deliberately deleted in the above-thread.

        I am just running out of enthusiasm.

      • Alan (Michigan) Member


        I’d be placing the blame for your loss of content where it belongs: Your browser/ISP. Adopting the attitude that a person on the BF or any other site is watching and editing/deleting incoming content in real time is unrealistic.

        Similar things have happened to me on this and other user-contribution sites. It occurred on an important item I listed on eBay! That is why if I am going to type and submit anything which takes more than a few minutes, I have a concurrently open text window, or at least a temporary (draft) email window that I do a copy/paste to BEFORE I hit the “send” button. Having well-considered words disappear into cyber-space is more than a little frustrating. And having a backup ready to re-submit is a great idea to maintain sanity.

        I have been way too busy in the past year to contribute here much, or even to spend time looking at most of the listings. But I still get back occasionally to take a look, for the cars, and mostly for the comments! Posters like yourself are so worth the time to read. The combined wealth of knowledge of the contributing readers is amazingly extensive.

        So, don’t get angry with any of the BF crew, make a backup of your comments prior to sending. The copy/paste thing takes 5 or 10 seconds. It is great insurance against work you have labored over being lost to that great sea of 0’s and 1’s which can never be recovered. I have done so for this entry.
        Merry Christmas.

      • TriPowerVette

        @Alan (Michigan) – Thank you, too, sir. Merry Christmas.

      • carsofchaos

        I’ve run in to the “slow down! you’re posting comments too quickly!” message a few times, too. Even when it’s my first comment. Usually, if you click on the “reply” button to whichever comment you were replying to, your comment shows up again and you can hit “post” and it will post the comment.
        If you have this problem often, my suggest is to write your post or comment in Notepad, and then when you are done copy and past the text from Notepad to the site.

    • Henry Drake

      Tip: Write your reply in MSWord, or similar. When you’re happy with it, copy, paste, & post.

      • TriPowerVette

        I copy and paste to the clipboard when I am in doubt. The times I lost the stuff, I had no reason to be in doubt. That still doesn’t account for the deliberate deletions on the other thread.

        However; you are correct. I should prepare the comments that tend to be lengthy in notepad, or something. Thank you.

  5. Redwagon

    Bought it at a sale and all you can do is provide pictures of the car from presumably before you bought it?

    Has the seller even taken possession of the car yet?

    Perhaps the ultimate in flipping … don’t even get a picture of the vehicle on a flatbed!

  6. Marvin Granger

    Sure this car can be saved. Spend a few grand on a same model fourdoor. Then strip the rag top down to nothing, blast it, prep it, paint it. Then start stitching parts from your fourdoor. This is how it was done 40 years ago….why do you think four door trip five Chevys are so hard to find.

  7. Dan

    Top “worn”? Understatement Of The Year!

    • TriPowerVette

      @Dan – Interior “good condition”? The back seat is the only one shown and it is ripped along the seam (as they all did). It has to be completely reupholstered in Pearl White Leather – the grain must match, and the button heads have to be hand made in the same material. That interior will get to be amazingly expensive, quickly. He doesn’t show the door panels or front seat. One can only imagine.

      I have written the owner, and asked my first round of questions. So far, no answer. If the rust component can’t be determined, I’m out.

      • TriPowerVette

        UPDATE: He answered my first inquiry… He said, “posted a few more”. That was his answer to my detailed questions. This is really beginning to stink. And his “few more” really are no surprise.

        I want the car, but maybe not this much.

      • robb

        TPV I’d let this 98 go to junkyard look at the rear bumper where it’s pinched towards the key latch for the trunk

  8. howard maryles

    Great car as is! Time to push some dumpsters around!


    TriPowerVette, don’t quit on us. I find your posts very informative and valuable.

    • TriPowerVette

      @PAPERBKWRITER – Thank you for the kind words. After the 1984 Mustang silliness and 1979 Corvette debacle on other threads here, my enthusiasm really took a hit. But Scotty says he deleted nothing, and I take him at his word. My spirits will likely improve in the coming week.

      I write these tomes not so much for myself, but because my brother, our group, and I have had many, many experiences that seem to strike a note with us car-people. They represent how these magnificent (and not so magnificent) cars were perceived, used, and traded, before anyone much cared about them.

      When I’m gone, I’d like to think they are written down somewhere in the ether.

      Thank you again. I’ll try to do better.

      • Josh Mortensen Staff

        Hi TriPowerVette,
        Some times comments get flagged by our automated spam filter when they actually aren’t spam. I get the frustration it can cause, but it’s the price we have to pay to keep spammers from posting all kinds of nasty junk in the comments. We do our best to keep legitimate comments from getting flagged, but with the filter catching about 10k spam comments per day, it’s hard to catch the 1% of real comments that accidentally get flagged. Sorry about the frustration and I’ll see if I can find your missing comments.

      • TriPowerVette

        Thank you Josh.

  10. Jeff

    That copy of Life on the front seat is probably worth saving! The rest of the car?

  11. Dan

    Says it has a Texas title. Please make sure it is in his name if you are interested in the car. I live in Texas, and the DMV will make you life miserable if the title is not squeaky, spanking clean, or you are willing to go the bonded route

    • Clinton

      Texas is easy peasy! Ohio is a pain in a..I’ve done more TX titles than I can count. Same with Ohio and would take a TX all day long. Texas will let you get away with a handwritten “statement of Fact” for any errors and Ohio makes you start all over. Bonded titles aren’t that bad either unless you plan to flip it.

      • Dan

        Well, glad your experience is different. I still stand by what I said though.

      • Vincent

        Colorado DMV lsughs at Texas and Ohio both. That is their training grounds… Only the greatest sadists will make it to the Colorado DMV.

  12. Bill Decker

    This Oldsmobile can & should be saved. An important piece of our (US) automotive history.

  13. Kevin Carter

    Lovely potential here. Labor of love? Certainly. But I’m sure if carefully would break even, if by then you don’t gall back in love & keep it. Go mildly! Aim for a sticker & $3500.

  14. robb

    Well at one time this drop top was a sweet it’s present condition not so much – maybe part out the drivetrain for any significant value..but Scotty’s right regarding some get up and go!
    This is my 1970 98′ still runs but the rings are worn..not sure what a basic rebuild would cost these days

  15. robb

    TPV I’d let this 98 go to junkyard look at the rear bumper where it’s pinched towards the key latch for the trunk

  16. Clinton

    Bought a running and driving example of one of these that had rotted quarters but otherwise spotless for $750 back in 2005.

  17. Dovi65

    Restoring a classic car SHOULD be a labor of love, and not about “how much can I get for it when I’m done?” I’m not advocating taking out a 2nd mortgage, cashing in the retirement funds, or spending the kids college funds, but if it’s a car you desire, why not take on something like this? If the frame isn’t swiss cheese, and the price is right. The body appears straight, and the dirt & dust can be dealt with easy enough. It doesn’t have to be done to concours specs, but make it a nice driver.

  18. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    TriPowerVette — I’ve noticed the same phenomenon with some of my comments but in the end I usually find my lost words as an individual “reply” to a specific person’s comment buried in the mix, and not the latest comment of a thread.

    Not to get too political on here, but you can bet without Net Neutrality these types of open forums will indeed be easily controllable by one’s ISP. Hopefully we are a few years away from having that kind of throttling from the big communication giants.

  19. Doc

    It’s awfully grimy, but I don’t think this would be a bad project at all. The interior being white makes it look a lot worse than it is… elbow grease and a lot of simple green could make those seats presentable for a driver with a few hours of work.

    For the right price, this could be a nice old car for someone to putter around in… every old car doesn’t need to be a show car.

  20. Alan (Michigan) Member

    Because I like the concept of seeing this car running and driving, I went back and took a second look at the auction.
    First, these have to be some of the worst photos ever. Was it dark when they were taken, and brought up in brightness in editing? Either that, or they were taken with a potato. Perhaps the lister covered the lens with waxed paper prior to shooting. Blech.
    There are many things which give me pause. The seller’s comments that it was “bought at a sale” (estate?) and “in storage for around 25 years” (carport, not garage or barn) tell me that he is purposely limiting the transfer of factual information. This car had a roof over it, but that’s it. The photos are from “as-is, where-is”, before he had it pulled out.
    Then there is the other thing about the photos. Some sellers deliberately show the WORST spots on the car, but they are avoided here. Still some things can be gleaned. As @robb mentioned, the rear bumper is not right, as seen in the one partial view. I worry about the driver’s door, which seems to not fit well at the bottom. That can mean that the hinge attachment points are gone. There is a significant amount of overspray on the right door seal.
    And of course there is no mention of whether the engine is free. Having not run for a quarter of a century, I’d expect overhauls on the engine and the transmission to be in order. Note that there had to be a reason for the car to be parked and not driven. Fuel, brakes, and cooling systems would be expected to need complete replacements. These are “make it run” items, not “make it nice”.
    No keys… Well, at least this is from the time before electronically coded or chipped ones!

    • carsofchaos

      They were giving it the Cybill Shepherd treatment with those photos

  21. Russ sherry

    The 80″s I was living a life with out responsibility except for my commercial flooring installation company. I bought a 70 delta 88 2 door ragtop gold with white interior 150.00 dollars my friend needed something from the city we left Nassau county long island to the city ended up in Suffolk county Montauk way home hit a parked ford Granada ended up visiting Riverhead (jail)for a couple of days fell asleep at the wheel nobody hurt except for the cars.I miss that beast!!😎👍thanks for the memories.

  22. olddavidp

    I’d pay $1500 for this, seized engine or not. The wiring on this wouldn’t be that difficult and I would bet I can buy NOS or repro parts for everything. I have been kicking my own A** for passing on a nine passenger 1975 Pontiac DiNoc wagon for $1000 with a good running 455 and loaded to the gills with power everything. I cannot remember where my head was on that one but he had a second Gen Supra, too, and I was trying to package them when someone smarter than me swooped in a pulled the rug out from under me – for $2500 for both! ARGHHH

  23. Vincent

    I love the 88’s and 98’s

    Sure, put the top down, and it’s about as aerodynamic as a big shoebox with a windshield attached… but there is no finer cruiser.

  24. Chebby Staff

    This could be a fun cruiser for cheap. Like Doc said, Simple Green the seats, CLR on the grimy paint and this would probably look pretty good. If you keep it as a weekend fair-weather car you don’t even need a top. Nick Nolte style, baby!

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